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Hydrocortisone is a short-acting corticosteroid commonly used in canine medicine for topical treatment of dermatitis-associated conditions and self-trauma such as acral lick dermatitis.

This drug is a synthetic glucocorticoid which closely resembling endogenous cortisol in dogs[1].

Long term used of this drug results in reversible increases in glomerular filtration rates, leading to polyuria and polydipsia. Centrla effects lead to polyphagia and reduction in new hair growth can lead to skin abnormalities such as alopecia[2].

Most of the older proprietary hydrocortisone preparations showed poor effectiveness at treating chronic skin conditions such as atopy[3].

However, a recently developed 0.0584% hydrocortisone aceponate as a topical diester formula spray has however shown benefit in dogs with atopy, flea allergy dermatitis[4] and chronic otitis externa[5].

This enhances its accumulation in the epidermis-dermis without entering the blood circulation. In recent studies, HCA was show to be very well tolerated and the repeated use of the HCA had no observable adverse reactions over 70 days in dogs[6].

Recommended dose rate of oral hydrocortisone is 8.5 mg/kg given once daily[7].


  1. Schellenberg S et al (2008) The effects of hydrocortisone on systemic arterial blood pressure and urinary protein excretion in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 22:273–281
  2. Smets PM et al (2012) Renal function and morphology in aged Beagle dogs before and after hydrocortisone administration. PLoS One 7(2):e31702
  3. Olivry T & Bizikova P (2012) A systematic review of randomized controlled trials for prevention or treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs: 2008-2011 update. Vet Dermatol 24(1):97-117
  4. Bonneau S et al (2009) Therapeutic efficacy of topical hydrocortisone aceponate in experimental flea-allergy dermatitis in dogs. Aust Vet J 87:287–291
  5. Nam EH et al (2012) Evaluation of the effect of a 0.0584% hydrocortisone aceponate spray on clinical signs and skin barrier function in dogs with atopic dermatitis. J Vet Sci 13(2):187-191
  6. Nuttall T et al (2009) Efficacy of a 0.0584% hydrocortisone aceponate spray in the management of canine atopic dermatitis: a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Vet Dermatol 20:191–198
  7. Kook PH et al (2011) Effect of twice-daily oral administration of hydrocortisone on the bile acids composition of gallbladder bile in dogs. Am J Vet Res 72(12):1607-1612