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Old 09-09-2007, 11:08 AM
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Default Diagnosis of Hyperadrenocorticism in Dogs

Diagnosis of Hyperadrenocorticism in Dogs
Mark E. Peterson, DVM


A presumptive diagnosis of hyperadrenocorticism in dogs can be made from clinical signs, physical examination, routine laboratory tests, and diagnostic imaging findings, but the diagnosis must be confirmed by use of pituitary-adrenal function tests. Screening tests designed to diagnose hyperadrenocorticism include the corticotropin (adrenocorticotropic
hormone; ACTH) stimulation test, low-dose dexamethasone suppression test, and the urinary cortisol:creatinine ratio. None of these screening tests are perfect, and all are capable of giving false-negative and false-positive test results. Because of the limitation of these diagnostic tests, screening for hyperadrenocorticism must be reserved for dogs in which the disease is strongly suspected on the basis of historical and clinical findings. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, the next step in the workup is to use one or more tests and procedures to distinguish pituitary-dependent from adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism. Endocrine tests in this category include the high-dose dexamethasone suppression test and endogenous plasma ACTH measurements. Imaging techniques such as abdominal radiography, ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging can also be extremely helpful in determining the cause.
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