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ACTH tests in dogs with different neoplasia
Neoplasia are sometimes diagnosed in dogs. Do they influence the plasma endogenous ACTH levels and the results of ACTH stimulation tests? An important question which is now answered by this brandnew study in which adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation tests were done in healthy and tumour-bearing dogs. One of the results: 15% of the lymphoma patients had increased serum basal cortisol levels!

In the tumour-bearing dogs, plasma endogenous ACTH (eACTH) concentration was measured and adrenal gland size was assessed ultrasonographically. Measurements in the tumour-bearing dogs were taken prior to therapy.

No difference existed in basal or ACTH-stimulated cortisol concentration between tumour-bearing and healthy dogs.

No difference existed in eACTH concentration between dogs with non-haematopoietic neoplasia (NHN) and lymphoma. However, of 20 dogs with lymphoma, 15% had increased basal serum cortisol concentration, 5% had an exaggerated response to ACTH and 5% had an increased eACTH concentration. Of 15 dogs with NHN, 20% had increased basal cortisol concentration, 7% had an exaggerated ACTH response and no dogs had an increased eACTH concentration.

Of the dogs with lymphoma and NHN, 5 and 13%, respectively, had decreased basal cortisol concentrations; 20% of dogs with lymphoma and 13% with NHN had a subnormal ACTH response. eACTH levels were below the reference range in 10% of dogs with lymphoma and 7% with NHN.

Overall, 10 adrenal glands were enlarged in seven dogs, five with lymphoma and two with NHN. The clinical significance of these findings remains to be determined.


Source: Boozer, A. L., Behrend, E. N., Kemppainen, R. J., Whitley, E. M., Smith, A. N. & Busch, K. A. (2005): Pituitary–adrenal axis function in dogs with neoplasia*. In: Veterinary and Comparative Oncology 3 (4), 194-202.





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