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Excessive production of sex hormones in a cat with an adrenocortical tumor

Ralph P. MillardDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.

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Erika H. PickensVeterinary Medicine Specialists of Dallas/Fort Worth, 2700 W State Hwy 114, Grapevine, TX 76051.

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Katherine L. WellsDallas Veterinary Surgical Center, 4444 Trinity Mills Rd, Dallas, TX 75287.

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Abstract

Case Description—A 13-year-old neutered male domestic shorthair cat was evaluated because it was spraying urine that had a strong odor and had developed aggressive behavior.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination did not detect any palpable testes within the scrotum; however, spines were detected on the penis. Abdominal ultrasonography revealed a mass in the region of the right adrenal gland. Results of adrenal hormonal analyses revealed considerable increases in serum concentrations of androstenedione and testosterone.

Treatment and Outcome—A mass associated with the right adrenal gland was found during exploratory laparotomy. There was no invasion of the mass into the caudal vena cava. No ectopic gonadal tissue was seen within the abdomen. Adrenalectomy of the right adrenal gland was performed, and histologic evaluation of the mass revealed an adrenocortical adenoma. Two weeks after surgery, serum concentrations of androgens had decreased. Eight weeks after surgery, the cat was no longer spraying urine and was acting affectionate toward the owner.

Clinical Relevance—Adrenal gland tumors can produce a variety of hormones other than cortisol. An adrenal gland tumor should be considered in neutered cats with newly developed physical and behavioral changes of a sexual nature. In the absence of debilitating conditions that are often associated with hyperadrenocorticism, cats undergoing adrenalectomy for an adrenal gland tumor that is producing sex hormones may have resolution of clinical signs and a good prognosis.

Abstract

Case Description—A 13-year-old neutered male domestic shorthair cat was evaluated because it was spraying urine that had a strong odor and had developed aggressive behavior.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination did not detect any palpable testes within the scrotum; however, spines were detected on the penis. Abdominal ultrasonography revealed a mass in the region of the right adrenal gland. Results of adrenal hormonal analyses revealed considerable increases in serum concentrations of androstenedione and testosterone.

Treatment and Outcome—A mass associated with the right adrenal gland was found during exploratory laparotomy. There was no invasion of the mass into the caudal vena cava. No ectopic gonadal tissue was seen within the abdomen. Adrenalectomy of the right adrenal gland was performed, and histologic evaluation of the mass revealed an adrenocortical adenoma. Two weeks after surgery, serum concentrations of androgens had decreased. Eight weeks after surgery, the cat was no longer spraying urine and was acting affectionate toward the owner.

Clinical Relevance—Adrenal gland tumors can produce a variety of hormones other than cortisol. An adrenal gland tumor should be considered in neutered cats with newly developed physical and behavioral changes of a sexual nature. In the absence of debilitating conditions that are often associated with hyperadrenocorticism, cats undergoing adrenalectomy for an adrenal gland tumor that is producing sex hormones may have resolution of clinical signs and a good prognosis.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Millard.