Cushing's disease in dogs and humans

Horm Res. 2009 Jan;71 Suppl 1:140-3. doi: 10.1159/000178058. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


Background: Cushing's disease (CD) is a common endocrinological disorder in dogs with an estimated incidence of 1 to 2 cases/1,000 dogs/year. This is in contrast to humans in whom CD is rare. The clinical presentation of CD, however, is highly similar between dogs and humans, with characteristic signs, such as abdominal obesity, weight gain, fatigue, muscle atrophy and skin changes. Canine CD may therefore serve as an animal model for human CD, especially since therapeutic canine hypophysectomy can generate substantial amounts of primary corticotroph adenoma tissue for in vitro research purposes. In a recent study, we found that dopamine (DA) D(2) and somatostatin (SS) receptor subtypes are well expressed in canine corticotroph adenomas, but there are some distinct differences compared with the expression profile observed in human CD. These differences need to be considered when using canine CD as a model to evaluate the efficacy of novel DA/SS compounds for potential use in human CD.

Case report: This case involves an 8-year-old female dog that developed signs of exercise intolerance, muscle weakness and polyuria/polydipsia due to an adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting pituitary adenoma. The dog underwent curative transsphenoidal hypophysectomy and has remained in complete remission in the 3.5 years since surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dog Diseases / surgery
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Hypophysectomy / methods
  • Incidence
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / epidemiology
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / surgery
  • Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion / veterinary*
  • Radiography