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Comparison of classic hypoadrenocorticism with glucocorticoid-deficient hypoadrenocorticism in dogs: 46 cases (1985–2005)

Ann L. Thompson BVSc1, J. Catharine Scott-Moncrieff MA, MS, Vet MB, DACVIM2, and Johnna D. Anderson MS3
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • | 3 Department of Statistics, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Abstract

Objective—To compare dogs with glucocorticoid-deficient hypoadrenocorticism (GDH) with those with mineralocorticoid- and glucocorticoid-deficient hypoadrenocorticism (MGDH) and determine prevalence, historical and clinicopathologic markers, and outcome of dogs with GDH.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—46 dogs with hypoadrenocorticism.

Procedures—Records in the veterinary medical database at Purdue University were searched for dogs in which hypoadrenocorticism had been diagnosed at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital from 1985 to 2005. Data pertaining to signalment, history, a minimum clinicopathologic database, treatment, and outcome were collected. Dogs with hypoadrenocorticism were classified as having MGDH if hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, or both were detected and as having GDH if hyponatremia and hyperkalemia were absent. Dogs were excluded if they had ever been treated with mitotane or had been treated with > 1 dose of corticosteroids within a month prior to the ACTH-stimulation test.

Results—35 dogs with MGDH and 11 dogs with GDH met the inclusion criteria. Dogs with GDH were older at the time of diagnosis and had a longer duration of clinical signs prior to diagnosis than those with MGDH. Dogs with GDH were more likely to be anemic, hypoalbuminemic, and hypocholesterolemic than dogs with MGDH.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—GDH was more common than reported in a referral hospital population of dogs with primary hypoadrenocorticism. Definitive diagnosis of GDH remains a clinical challenge. Absence of a stress leukogram in dogs with signs of illness (especially relating to the gastrointestinal tract) warrants further investigation. Most dogs with primary cortisol deficiency do not develop mineralocorticoid deficiency.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Thompson's present address is Veterinary Specialist Services, 2/10 Compton Rd, Underwood, QLD 4119, Australia.

Presented as an abstract at the 24th annual American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Louisville, May 2006.

Address correspondence to Dr. Thompson.