Hyperadrenocorticism affects many adult dogs. Whether the disease is pituitarydependent (80% to 85% of spontaneous cases)
or adrenal-dependent (15% to 20% of cases), the clinical and laboratory abnormalities associated with it result from chronic
hypercortisolemia. Clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism at the time of diagnosis can vary widely, and they develop so gradually
that owners often mistake the signs for "normal" aging. Being aware of the more subtle signs of canine hyperadrenocorticism
can be key to early diagnosis and initiation of therapy.
Whenever possible, pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism and adrenal tumors should be differentiated to help guide therapy
and patient monitoring. Early diagnosis and management of canine hyperadrenocorticism may not only improve the patient's clinical
signs but may also keep the more severe consequences of Cushing's syndrome from developing.
COMMON CLINICAL SIGNS OF CANINE HYPERADRENOCORTICISM
CASE FILE: DALI
10-year-old, spayed female dachshund weighing 9 lb (4.1 kg)
Presenting complaint and history
Dali was referred to Texas A&M's Veterinary Teaching Hospital for evaluation of a mammary mass that had progressively enlarged
over a three-month period. Several years before referral, Dali had two malignant mammary masses removed. Dali was receiving
levothyroxine, and recent post-pill thyroxine concentrations showed effective control of her hypothyroidism.