Hyperadrenocorticism affects many adult dogs. Whether the disease is pituitary-dependent (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: PRINCESS
13-year-old spayed female Maltese weighing 9.2 lb (4.2 kg)
Princess has a five-year history of pedal pruritus that routinely appears in the summer and fall and responds to topical and
oral antibiotic and corticosteroid treatment. About 18 months ago, Princess also developed facial pruritus, but her facial
and pedal pruritus did not respond to this therapy, so she was referred for further dermatologic evaluation.