Glycyrrhizin , the glycoside found in liquorice, has a chemical structure similar to naturally occurring corticosteroids. This makes licorice an excellent anti-inflammatory for joint and allergy issues. Unlike veterinary corticosteroids, licorice enhances the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory processes, without seriously compromising the immune system. The glycyrrhizin found in licorice also makes it a useful adjunct to hydrocortisone therapy, often allowing for lower drug dosages. Since steroids often have debilitating side effects, licorice is the go-to herb for dogs taking corticosteroids and can even be used to wean dogs off steroids safely.
Anabolic steroids increase the production of red blood cells, which increases the amount of circulating oxygen and promotes tissue growth. Testosterone, made by the testes, is a naturally-occurring anabolic steroid. Synthetic anabolic steroids are similar to testosterone, but they don’t have as many masculinizing effects. Anabolic steroids are used to treat chronic, non-regenerative anemia in pets. They also are used to increase muscle mass, improve body weight and condition in older dogs and restore weight and body condition in animals after surgery or debilitating disease.