Circulating concentration of dexamethasone in healthy dogs, dogs with hyperadrenocorticism, and dogs with nonadrenal illness during dexamethasone suppression testing

Robert J. Kemppainen From the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kemppainen) and the Department of Medicine, The Animal Medical Center, New York, NY 10021 (Peterson).

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Mark E. Peterson From the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kemppainen) and the Department of Medicine, The Animal Medical Center, New York, NY 10021 (Peterson).

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Summary

Concentration of dexamethasone was determined in plasma or serum samples from dogs after iv administration of a low dose (0.01 mg/kg of body weight) or high dose (0.1 mg/kg) of dexamethasone. On the basis of history, clinical signs of disease, and degree of cortisol suppression in response to dexamethasone, dogs were assigned to these groups: healthy dogs, dogs with nonadrenal illness, and dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. Four hours after administration of the low dose of dexamethasone, concentration of the steroid was reduced (P < 0.05) in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism, compared with healthy dogs, but not compared with values from dogs with nonadrenal illness. By 8 hours after dexamethasone administration, values were similar across groups. Dexamethasone concentration 4 and 8 hours after high-dose administration was similar between healthy dogs and dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. Concentration of dexamethasone 4 and 8 hours after its administration overlapped after the 2 doses. For example, in 11 of 66 dogs from all groups, concentration measured 4 hours after the low dose was greater than the minimal concentration determined in the 18 dogs given the high dose. These data indicate that dexamethasone metabolism may be altered in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism, and that individuals may have appreciable variability in dexamethasone clearance. Such variability provides a possible explanation for false-positive and false-negative results associated with dexamethasone suppression testing in dogs.

Summary

Concentration of dexamethasone was determined in plasma or serum samples from dogs after iv administration of a low dose (0.01 mg/kg of body weight) or high dose (0.1 mg/kg) of dexamethasone. On the basis of history, clinical signs of disease, and degree of cortisol suppression in response to dexamethasone, dogs were assigned to these groups: healthy dogs, dogs with nonadrenal illness, and dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. Four hours after administration of the low dose of dexamethasone, concentration of the steroid was reduced (P < 0.05) in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism, compared with healthy dogs, but not compared with values from dogs with nonadrenal illness. By 8 hours after dexamethasone administration, values were similar across groups. Dexamethasone concentration 4 and 8 hours after high-dose administration was similar between healthy dogs and dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. Concentration of dexamethasone 4 and 8 hours after its administration overlapped after the 2 doses. For example, in 11 of 66 dogs from all groups, concentration measured 4 hours after the low dose was greater than the minimal concentration determined in the 18 dogs given the high dose. These data indicate that dexamethasone metabolism may be altered in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism, and that individuals may have appreciable variability in dexamethasone clearance. Such variability provides a possible explanation for false-positive and false-negative results associated with dexamethasone suppression testing in dogs.

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