• Open Access

Treatment of Aldosterone-Secreting Adrenocortical Tumors in Cats by Unilateral Adrenalectomy: 10 Cases (2002–2012)


  • The work was performed at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Studies - Philadelphia, PA and at the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center û Levittown, PA. The study was not supported by a grant. The study was not presented at any meetings. There are no special acknowledgments.



Primary hyperaldosteronism (PHA) in cats occurs as a consequence of excessive hormone production by an adrenocortical tumor. Median survival time, association between tumor type and prognosis, and the likelihood that cats require continued medical therapy after surgery have not been systematically evaluated.


To determine the median survival time of cats with PHA treated by unilateral adrenalectomy. To examine if tumor type, anesthesia time, or tumor location (left or right side) affect survival and if affected cats require continued postoperative treatment for persistent hypertension or hypokalemia.


Ten client-owned cats.


Retrospective study. Cats were diagnosed with PHA based on clinical signs, increased plasma aldosterone concentration, and advanced imaging. Cats underwent unilateral adrenalectomy. Survival time (days alive after surgery) was determined for each cat. Factors affecting median survival time were investigated, including histopathology, anesthesia time, and location (side) of the tumor.


Eight of 10 cats survived to discharge from the hospital post adrenalectomy. Overall median survival was 1,297 days (range 2–1,582 days). The only significant factor affecting median survival time was anesthesia time >4 hours. Tumor type and location (side) did not significantly affect median survival time. No cats required continued medical treatment for PHA.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Although PHA in cats is still considered an uncommon condition, it should be considered in middle to older aged cats with hypokalemic polymyopathy and systemic hypertension. Surgical correction by unilateral adrenalectomy is a viable approach to definitive treatment of PHA with no need for continued medical management.