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ABSTRACT

Hypoadrenocorticism was diagnosed in 42 dogs over a two-and-a-half-year period. The disease occurred more commonly in young to middle-aged dogs, with a female:male ratio of 2:1. Most dogs had chronic intermittent signs (eg, poor appetite, lethargy and vomiting), but more than a third were in acute adrenal crisis at the time of diagnosis. Serum biochemical testing revealed azotaemia, hyperphosphataemia, hyper-kalaemia and hyponatraemia in almost all the dogs. In all dogs, results of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) stimulation testing revealed a low to low-normal serum baseline Cortisol concentration that failed to increase after ACTH administration. In two dogs with persistently normal serum electrolytes concentration, one had a markedly high plasma ACTH concentration diagnostic for primary hypoadrenocorticism, whereas the other had a low concentration confirming secondary hypoadrenocorticism. Fludrocortisone acetate was initially used for mineralocorticoid replacement in 33 of the 37 treated dogs withprimary hypoadrenocorticism (final median dosage, 27-0 μg/kg/day), but supplementation was changed to desoxycorticos-terone pivalate (DOCP) in four dogs because of poor response or adverse effects. Seven dogs with primary hypoadrenocorticism were treated with DOCP (final median dosage, 2-02 mg/kg/month). Prednisone, initially administered to 36 dogs, was discontinued in 11 dogs because of side effects. Of the dogs treated with fludrocortisone, the response was considered good to excellent in 26 dogs (78.8 per cent), fair in three, and poor in four. All dogs treated with DOCP responded well.