Hypoadrenocorticism in dogs under UK primary veterinary care: frequency, clinical approaches and risk factors.


Schofield I(1), Woolhead V(2), Johnson A(1), Brodbelt DC(1), Church DB(3), O'Neill DG(1).
Author information:
(1)Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 7TA, UK.
(2)Eastcott Referrals, Edison Park, Dorcan Way, Swindon, SN3 3RB, UK.
(3)Clinical Science and Services, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 7TA, UK.


OBJECTIVES: To estimate the frequency, clinical approaches and risk factors of hypoadrenocorticism in dogs under UK primary veterinary care. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Dogs diagnosed with hypoadrenocorticism were identified from the UK VetCompass™ programme by searching anonymised electronic patient records. Pre-existing and newly diagnosed cases of disease during 2016 were included. Cases were further sub-categorised as having a laboratory-confirmed or presumed diagnosis of hypoadrenocorticism based on the information recorded in the electronic patient records. Descriptive data were manually extracted. Multivariable logistic regression methods were used to identify demographic risk factors. RESULTS: There were 177 hypoadrenocorticism cases identified from 905,543 dogs in 2016; 72 laboratory-confirmed and 105 presumed. The 1-year period prevalence for hypoadrenocorticism in all dogs was 0.06% (95% confidence interval: 0.05-0.07%). The most common presenting clinical signs in laboratory-confirmed dogs were lethargy (51/66, 77.3%), anorexia (48/66, 66.7%) and vomiting (48/66, 66.7%). Hyperkalaemia was reported in 47 of 53 (88.7%), hyponatraemia in 46 of 53 (86.8%). Median sodium: potassium ratio was 19.00 (interquartile range: 16.20-20.60). Breed, age, neuter status and insurance status were associated with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of hypoadrenocorticism. No sex association with hypoadrenocorticism was observed in the multivariable model. The standard poodle had 51.38 times the odds (95% CI: 14.49-182.18) of hypoadrenocorticism compared with crossbreeds. The labradoodle and West Highland white terrier also had increased odds. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first epidemiological study to report on hypoadrenocorticism in dogs within the UK primary-care population. These results provide benchmark data of current veterinary activity relating to hypoadrenocorticism in primary-care practices.