Canine Cushing's Case Files: The ins and outs of detection and treatment—Case file: Princess (Sponsored by Dechra Veterinary Products)

Feb 01, 2013

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.


13-year-old spayed female Maltese weighing 9.2 lb (4.2 kg)

Patient history

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.