Treating Dog Skin Allergies with Hydrocortisone

Hydrocortisone is one of the leading anti-itch and anti-inflammation drugs on the market today for both human and veterinary medicines. Although it has been approved for use in human patients only, veterinarians prescribe it frequently to address skin allergies and complications related to excessive itching and irritation in dogs. Hydrocortisone is a potent medicine that can dramatically improve your pet's skin allergy symptoms, but it may have other adverse effects on your pet as well. For this reason, it is important that you be aware of all of the different functions and risks associated with hydrocortisone for use in pets.

Hydrocortisone Overview

Hydrocortisone, also called cortisol, is a type of steroid called a glucocorticoid. These chemicals occur naturally in your pet's body and help to suppress the immune system reaction to an allergy. Hydrocortisone boosts your pet's glucocorticoid levels in order to further reduce inflammation and irritation. While hydrocortisone is not the most powerful steroid available for this use, it is nevertheless a potent medicine that can have effects on a variety of different systems within your pet's body.

Due to the wide range of effects of hydrocortisone, it's both a popular choice of medicine for a number of different ailments and conditions, and a regulated prescription drug. You will not be able to purchase a hydrocortisone tablet or injection without first receiving a prescription request from your veterinarian.

Treating Your Pet's Condition with Hydrocortisone

If you suspect that your pet has skin irritation as a result of canine allergies, take him to a veterinarian immediately. There are a wide variety of conditions that present symptoms similar to those of a skin allergy, and it's crucial that you properly determine what is causing your pet's irritation, inflammation and other symptoms before attempting to treat his ailment.

After your veterinarian diagnoses your pet's skin allergy through a series of physical examinations and allergen-specific tests, he may recommend a treatment program involving hydrocortisone. This medicine is available in tablet form and as a regular injection. In most cases, pet owners find that the tablet form of the drug is easiest to work with.

Exact dosing varies according to the type of allergy that your dog experiences, as well as his size. In most cases, your vet will advise you to provide a dose of medicine to your pet twice per day. Before beginning any treatment program for your pet's allergic reaction, it's crucial that you inform your veterinarian of any other medicines or existing conditions that your pet may currently have.

As with any other prescription medicine, watch your pet closely for any adverse reactions. Hydrocortisone treatments may influence your pet's appetite and weight, his muscle definition, skin and coat and may cause damage to his liver or kidneys in certain cases. Report any changes in your pet's physical appearance or behavior to a veterinarian as soon as you can, but do not discontinue treating your pet with hydrocortisone until instructed to do so by your vet. Otherwise, continue your pet's hydrocortisone regimen through to completion, even if your dog's symptoms appear to clear up in the meantime.