Exploring New Medical Treatments for Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs

Novel Medical Approach to Canine Hyperadrenocorticism with Melanocortin 2 Receptor (MC2R) Antagonist and Steroidogenic Factor 1 (SF-1) Inverse Agonists

Summary: Researchers will investigate potential new medical treatments for canine Cushing’s syndrome.

Description: Cushing’s syndrome is a hormonal disorder that occurs when the body produces higher than normal levels of the hormone cortisol. Unhealthy levels of cortisol can be triggered by various causes, including pituitary and adrenal gland tumors.

Researchers will assess how two novel compounds affect cortisol production and adrenal tumor growth. Identifying novel medical options will help improve treatment strategies for dogs with Cushing’s syndrome.

Co-sponsored with the Morris Animal Foundation, Grant Number: D15CA-052

Dr. Sara Galac
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Plasma Cortisol Concentration in Dogs with Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism and Atypical Cushing’s Syndrome

To use a modified version of intermittent samplings to assess whether dogs with atypical Cushing’s syndrome produce increased cortisol over a certain time period.


Twenty-eight dogs were enrolled in the study to compare cortisol concentrations among healthy dogs, dogs with excess cortisol associated with pituitary dependent Cushing’s syndrome and dogs categorized as having “atypical” Cushing’s syndrome. The latter is diagnosed when dogs have clinical signs suggestive of excess cortisol (drinking a lot, infections, losing hair) but increases in peak cortisol concentration are not detected with routine tests. Nine hourly blood samples were collected from each dog through a catheter. The serum was saved and then sent to a lab for determination of cortisol concentrations. The cortisol concentrations from dogs within each group will be statistically compared to see if dogs with “atypical” Cushing’s syndrome have similar cortisol levels to those with pituitary dependent Cushing’s syndrome.

Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 01684-A


Linda Frank, DVM
University of Tennessee