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Acromegaly in cats

Greco DS. Feline acromegaly. Top Companion Anim Med. 2012; 27: 31-5.

From Dr. Mark Peterson: endocrinevet.blogspot.com

Acromegaly (or hypersomatotropism) is a disease that derives its name from two Greek words: ‘acro’ (meaning extremity) and ‘megale’ (meaning great). The disease has been known in humans for at least 100 years, and has been identified in cats starting in the 1980s. The disease is caused by a tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland in the brain that leads to excessive secretion of growth hormone. The effects of excessive growth hormone include the development of diabetes mellitus and increase in size of certain parts of the body (e.g., jaw, skull, limbs). Internal organs (e.g., heart, liver, kidney) may also be increased in size. 

The typical feline patient is an older male cat with diabetes mellitus that is difficult to manage. The disease is diagnosed by finding increased blood levels of growth hormone and/or insulin-like growth factor as well as demonstration of a pituitary mass using magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography. Few treatments are available for this disease in cats; to date, the most effective approach has been radiation therapy. Most affected cats eventually die of congestive heart failure, chronic kidney failure, or complications of the growing pituitary tumor. [SL]

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