Abstract Glucocorticoid effects on kainic acid-induced motor seizures and wet dog shakes in rats were investigated by adrenalectomy and dexamethasone treatment. One-day adrenalectomy attenuated kainic acid-induced wet dog shakes and seizure activity. These effects were restored by dexamethasone. Administration of dexamethasone to non-adrenalectomized rats potentiated kainic acid-induced wet dog shakes and severity of seizure activity. These results suggest that glucocorticoids may play an important role in modulating the severity of kainic acid-induced seizures and wet dog shakes.