Prevalence and characterization of hypoadrenocorticism in dogs with signs of chronic gastrointestinal disease: a multicenter study
Hauck, C. et al. (2020) Prevalence and characterization of hypoadrenocorticism in dogs with signs of chronic gastrointestinal disease: a multicenter study. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 34 (4) pp. 1399-1405
This prospective study aimed to assess the prevalence of hypoadrenocorticism (HA) in dogs with chronic signs of gastrointestinal disease (SGD) and to identify clinical and laboratory variables that might help to identify or exclude HA in this population.
The study was carried out by members of the German Small Animal Veterinary Association Working Group for Gastroenterology, based at six referral hospitals. Dogs older than six months of age presenting with chronic SGD of greater than three weeks duration were enrolled. A standardised diagnostic workup was performed, and basal serum cortisol concentration was measured in all dogs. An ACTH stimulation test (ACTHST) was performed if the basal serum cortisol concentration was <3 μg/dL (<83 nmol/L). A diagnosis of HA was defined by a stimulated serum cortisol concentration of ≤2 μg/dL.
There were 151 dogs enrolled in the study of which six were diagnosed with HA, a prevalence of 4%. There was no statistical difference concerning breed, sex, body weight, severity of clinical signs or in any of the laboratory variables between dogs with and without HA. Basal serum cortisol concentration was ≤3 μg/dL (≤83 nmol/L) in 53% dogs, ≤2 μg/dL (≤55 nmol/L) in 28% dogs and ≤1 μg/dL (≤28 nmol/L) in 6% dogs including all six dogs with HA.
Limitations of the study include that all dogs were from referral practices; therefore, the prevalence findings may not be generalisable to primary care practices.
This study reports a prevalence of hypoadrenocorticism of 4% amongst dogs with chronic signs of gastrointestinal disease. Based on this prevalence, ruling out hypoadrenocorticism is an important step in the investigation of dogs with chronic gastrointestinal signs. The study findings also show that there are no distinctive presenting features to indicate which cases should be tested for hypoadrenocorticism.
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