Acromegaly in 14 cats.

M. E. Peterson, R. S. Taylor, D. S. Greco, Richard W Nelson, J. F. Randolph, M. S. Foodman, S. D. Moroff, S. A. Morrison, C. D. Lothrop

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148 Scopus citations


Acromegaly was diagnosed in 14 middle-aged to old cats of mixed breeding. Thirteen (93%) of the cats were male and one was female. The earliest clinical signs in the 14 cats included polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, all of which were associated with untreated diabetes mellitus. All developed severe insulin resistance within a few months; peak insulin dosages required to control severe hyperglycemia ranged from 20 to 130 U per day. Other clinical findings weeks to months after diagnosis included enlargement of one or more organs (e.g., liver, heart, kidneys, and tongue) (n = 14), cardiomyopathy (n = 13), increase in body size and weight gain (n = 8), nephropathy associated with azotemia and clinical signs of renal failure (n = 7), degenerative arthropathy (n = 6), and central nervous system signs (i.e., circling and seizures) caused by enlargement of the pituitary tumor (n = 2). The diagnosis of acromegaly was confirmed by demonstration of extremely high basal serum growth hormone concentrations (22 to 131 micrograms/l) in all cats. Computerized tomography disclosed a mass in the region of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in five of the six cats in which it was performed. Two cats were treated by cobalt radiotherapy followed by administration of a somatostatin analogue (octreotide), whereas two cats were treated with octreotide alone. Treatment had little to no effect in decreasing serum GH concentrations in any of the cats. Eleven of the 14 cats were euthanized or died four to 42 months (median survival time, 20.5 months) after the onset of acromegaly because of renal failure (n = 2), congestive heart failure (n = 1), concomitant renal failure and congestive heart failure (n = 3), progressive neurologic signs (n = 2), persistent anorexia and lethargy of unknown cause (n = 1), the owner's unwillingness to treat the diabetes mellitus (n = 1), or unknown causes (n = 1). Results of necropsy examination in ten cats revealed a large pituitary acidophil adenoma (n = 10), marked left ventricular and septal hypertrophy (n = 7), dilated cardiomyopathy (n = 1), arthropathy affecting the shoulder, elbow, or stifle (n = 5), and glomerulopathy characterized by expansion of the mesangial matrix and variable periglomerular fibrosis (n = 10).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-201
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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