Topical Steroids (Hydrocortisone) as Part of Your Multi-Modal Approach to Treating the Allergic Pet

Topical Steroids (Hydrocortisone) as Part of Your Multi-Modal Approach to Treating the Allergic Pet

Your dog is just as likely to develop allergies as you are (or other humans). An allergy is a misguided reaction to a foreign substance by the immune system, and people, as well as pets, can suffer these reactions. Dogs can develop several different allergies, including food allergies, skin, and environmental allergies that will all pose a challenge to you and your pet.

Canine atopic dermatitis, or the pre-disposition to being allergic is a hereditary condition.  Humans suffering from similar allergies will experience symptoms such as sneezing, or runny nose or eyes. When your dog suffers from these allergies, they can experience licking of the feet or perianal area, sneezing, recurrent ear (and skin) infections, weepy eyes or chronic itching - also called “pruritus”.

Atopic dermatitis usually appears in dogs when they reach six months to five years of age. In cats, this condition can occur at any age. Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to allergies, such as the Cocker spaniels, terriers, golden retrievers, labs, and German Shepherds, but any breed can be affected.

Proper diagnosis of canine allergic skin disease or atopic dermatitis can be frustrating for the pet owner and veterinarian alike. Once your vet has made a clinical diagnosis, treatment options include treating your pet with a multi-modal approach to therapy.  Systemic medications are often combined with effective topical solutions aimed at calming the skin, while blocking histamines, cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. A common topical medication prescribed by veterinarians is hydrocortisone, a topical steroid known for its efficacy and safety profile. 

What is Hydrocortisone?

Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid used to treat inflammation. Inflammation is a common reaction caused by your pet's allergies. Hydrocortisone is effective at relieving “itch” and other inflammation of the skin and ears. This product is most commonly sold in topical forms, such as lotions, shampoos, creams and ear drops. 

What is Hydrocortisone Used For?

As a topical steroid, it keeps your pet from suffering dog skin conditions, including those resulting from bug bites, itching, and redness. 

Hydrocortisone Dosage for Dogs

There is a lot of variation in the strength of hydrocortisone medications. Depending on the condition of the dog skin it is treating, and your pet's needs, you have to ask your vet's advice to know what dosage will be effective and safe for your dog.

Your vet will be able to recommend the precise dosage of hydrocortisone your dog needs based on the type of medication being used and your dog's condition. You must follow the instructions given with this medication as listed as far as how you apply it to your dog skin, and the amount you use.

When you apply any topical medication to your dog’s skin, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying.  Make sure your pet cannot lick the medication off after you've applied it to their skin by using the appropriate amount and rubbing completely into the skin, to avoid “pooling” on the skin. 

Hydrocortisone Side Effects

Hydrocortisone has been used by veterinarians as a topical treatment for decades.  While side effects are rare, if you notice your pet is reacting to the medication, such as difficulty breathing, swelling, or hives after you apply it, you should contact your vet right away.  Other problems have been noted from the overuse of hydrocortisone for prolonged periods of time, resulting in cutaneous atrophy or “thinning” of the epidermis.   This medication is best suited for short-course treatments (example: daily up to 1 week) or “as needed” but should not be part of a pet's normal, daily lifestyle.

If you believe your pet consumed the hydrocortisone accidentally, or you think they are suffering from an overdose, contact your emergency vet services immediately.

In Conclusion

Allergies are not curable with your pet, but they can be treated and controlled in most dogs. Each animal is individual and different medications may have to be tried or a combination may have to be created to provide maximal comfort for your dog. If you search to find relief for your dog's allergic reactions, they can live a comfortable long life.

Where to Learn More About Hydrocortisone for Dog Allergies

VetriMax has more than twenty years of experience in the animal health industry. With the use of ingredient-delivery technologies, we are experts in creating clinically tested medications for your pet. We aim to provide maximum benefits for your dog’s skin and coat health. If you are a veterinarian, a pet products retailer,  a pet-parent of a dog, or anyone connected with caring for animals, contact VetriMax to find a solution for your dog or other pet's allergy-related relief.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published