The effects of two glucocorticoid compounds (Dexamedium; Intervet. Voreen; Boehringer Ingelheim) were tested in 20 healthy and 28 ketotic dairy cows. Both compounds induced an increased blood glucose concentration and a temporary decrease in the milk yield of healthy dairy cows. Dexamedium reduced the milk yield only of cows producing 25 or more kg milk daily. Of 28 ketotic cows 22 were treated with one of the two glucocorticoid compounds, while the remaining six were treated orally with propylene glycol. After treatment all but one of the cows improved clinically within one week. Biochemical analysis of blood samples revealed that after treatment with any of the three therapeutic compounds some animals responded inadequately to therapy or relapsed after initial recovery.