Objective—To evaluate adrenal sex hormone concentrations in response to ACTH stimulation in healthy dogs, dogs with adrenal tumors, and dogs with pituitary- dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH).
Animals—11 healthy control dogs, 9 dogs with adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (adenocarcinoma [ACA] or other tumor); 11 dogs with PDH, and 6 dogs with noncortisol-secreting adrenal tumors (ATs).
Procedure—Hyperadrenocorticism was diagnosed on the basis of clinical signs; physical examination findings; and results of ACTH stimulation test, low-dose dexamethasone suppression test, or both. Dogs with noncortisol-secreting ATs did not have hyperadrenocorticism but had ultrasonographic evidence of an AT. Concentrations of cortisol, androstenedione, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone were measured before and 1 hour after IM administration of 0.25 mg of synthetic ACTH.
Results—All dogs with ACA, 10 dogs with PDH, and 4 dogs with ATs had 1 or more sex hormone concentrations greater than the reference range after ACTH stimulation. The absolute difference for progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and testosterone concentrations (value obtained after ACTH administration minus value obtained before ACTH administration) was significantly greater for dogs with ACA, compared with the other 3 groups. The absolute difference for androstenedione was significantly greater for dogs with ACA, compared with dogs with AT and healthy control dogs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dogs with ACA secrete increased concentrations of adrenal sex hormones, compared with dogs with PDH, noncortisol-secreting ATs, and healthy dogs. Dogs with noncortisol-secreting ATs also have increased concentrations of sex hormones. There is great interdog variability in sex hormone concentrations in dogs with ACA after stimulation with ACTH. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:556–561)