A retrospective study of dogs with atypical hypoadrenocorticism: a diagnostic cut-off or continuum?

J. A. Wakayama, E. Furrow, L. K. Merkel, P. J. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the clinicopathologic findings and outcome in dogs with atypical hypoadrenocorticism (Group 1) and dogs with suspected atypical hypoadrenocorticism whose post-adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation cortisol concentrations were greater than 55 nmol/L but below the laboratory reference interval (Group 2). Methods: Medical records were searched to identify dogs diagnosed with hypoadrenocorticism between January 2004 and June 2014. Dogs were excluded if their Na:K ratio was less than 27 or if they had received prior therapy that could interfere with adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation testing. Results: Forty dogs were included in Group 1 and nine dogs in Group 2. In Group 1, the most common biochemical abnormalities were hypoalbuminaemia (87%) and hypocholesterolaemia (76%). Of 35 dogs in Group 1 with follow-up biochemistry results, five (14%) developed electrolyte abnormalities at 2 to 51 months post diagnosis. Of seven dogs in Group 2 with follow-up, glucocorticoid therapy was discontinued in two dogs without return of clinical signs, four dogs were subsequently diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and one dog continued to have clinical signs despite glucocorticoid treatment. Clinical Significance: Dogs with gastrointestinal signs and hypoalbuminaemia and, or, hypocholesterolaemia should be evaluated for atypical hypoadrenocorticism. Follow-up electrolyte monitoring is recommended because some will develop electrolyte abnormalities. Although dogs in Group 2 had a clinical presentation compatible with atypical hypoadrenocorticism, the diagnosis appears unlikely based on review of follow-up data. Dogs with equivocal adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation results should be evaluated for other underlying diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. The use of endogenous adrenocorticotropic hormone measurements in these dogs warrants investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 British Small Animal Veterinary Association


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