• Open Access

The Effects of Hydrocortisone on Systemic Arterial Blood Pressure and Urinary Protein Excretion in Dogs


  • An abstract of this study has been presented at the 2006 ACVIM Forum in Louisville, KY (J Vet Int Med 20, 741).

Corresponding author: Prof Dr Claudia E. Reusch, Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 260 CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland; e-mail: creusch@vetclinics.unizh.ch.


Background: Hypertension and proteinuria are commonly recognized in dogs with spontaneous hypercortisolism. There is, however, little information regarding the effect of exogenous glucocorticoids on blood pressure (BP) and proteinuria and whether these changes are reversible.

Hypothesis: Hydrocortisone administration increases systemic BP and urinary protein excretion, and these effects are reversible after hydrocortisone withdrawal.

Animals: Six control dogs and 6 dogs treated with hydrocortisone.

Methods: BP, urine protein : creatinine ratio (UPC), microalbuminuria (MALB), urine albumin : creatinine ratio (UAC), and urine gel electrophoresis were evaluated before, during, and after administration of hydrocortisone (8 mg/kg PO q12h for 12 weeks) or placebo.

Results: BP and UPC increased substantially during hydrocortisone administration from 123 mmHg (range 114–136 mmHg) and 0.17 (0.15–0.28) to a maximum of 143 mmHg (128–148 mmHg) and 0.38 (0.18–1.78), respectively, on day 28. MALB developed in 4 dogs and UAC significantly increased in all dogs during hydrocortisone administration with the maximum on day 84. Both increases in BP and proteinuria were reversible and completely resolved within 1 month after stopping hydrocortisone administration. SDS-AGE revealed the proteinuria to be primarily albuminuria with a pronounced increase during hydrocortisone treatment. Furthermore, a protein of 25–30 kDa was found in male dogs, identified by mass spectrometry to be arginine esterase, the major secretory prostatic protein.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Long-term hydrocortisone treatment results in significant but only mild increases in systemic BP and urinary protein excretion, which are both reversible within 1 month after discontinuation of hydrocortisone.