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Vet Rec. 1999 May 15;144(20):551-4.

Dynamic adrenal function testing in eight dogs with hyperadrenocorticism associated with adrenocortical neoplasia.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Glasgow Veterinary School.


The results of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) stimulation and low-dose dexamethasone suppression tests (LDDST) were evaluated retrospectively in eight dogs with clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism arising from functional adrenocortical tumours, and compared with the results from 12 dogs with confirmed pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH). The post-ACTH cortisol concentration in the dogs with adrenocortical tumours ranged from 61 to 345-6 nmol/litre (median 251.5 nmol/litre) and they were within the reference range (150 to 450 nmol/litre) in five and unexpectedly low (< 150 nmol/litre) in three dogs. Both the basal and post-ACTH cortisol concentrations were significantly lower in the dogs with adrenocortical neoplasia than in the dogs with PDH. Eight hours after the LDDST, only two of six dogs with adrenocortical tumours had a cortisol concentration above 30 nmol/litre, and the median resting, three, and eight-hour cortisol concentrations were 31.5, 23.0, and 22.7 nmol/litre respectively. There was no significant cortisol suppression during the LDDST, although interpretation was complicated by the low cortisol concentrations, but two dogs showed a pattern of apparent suppression. Two dogs with adrenal tumours showed a diagnostically significant increase in 17-OH-progesterone concentration in response to ACTH although their cortisol concentrations did not increase greatly. These results differ from previous reports of the response of functional adrenal tumours to dynamic endocrine tests.

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