Restored vision in a young dog following corticosteroid treatment of presumptive hypophysitis

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Background: Hypophysitis is an umbrella term for a group of disorders involving
inflammation of the pituitary gland. A rare occurrence in humans, hypophysitis can produce a range of clinical signs including (but not limited to) visual deficits and diabetes insipidus. Only five cases of canine hypophysitis exist in the literature, all presenting in mature dogs with no visual deficits and a grave outcome. This case report describes the clinical and advanced imaging features of blindness-inducing presumptive hypophysitis in a dog, which rapidly resolved with medical management.
Case presentation: A 1-year-and-seven-month-old neutered male Standard Poodle presented with subacute blindness, ataxia, and polyuria/polydipsia (PUPD). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detected a contrast-enhancing pituitary mass with perilesional oedema compromising the optic chiasm. Suspecting neoplasia, anti-inflammatory corticosteroid was commenced prior to radiation therapy planning. Complete resolution of neurological and visual deficits occurred within 12 days of starting steroid treatment. Repeated advanced imaging indicated macroscopic resolution of the lesion. An extended thyroid panel with insulin-like growth factor-1 analysis supported a diagnosis of hypophysitis. Resolution of PUPD was achieved with tapering courses of prednisolone and desmopressin; the dog has since been clinically normal for 14 months and treatment-free for 11 months.
Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first instance in which a canine pituitary mass has demonstrated long-term resolution with palliative medical treatment alone, alongside reversal of associated blindness and presumptive diabetes insipidus. We suspect this lesion to be a form of hypophysitis, which should be included among differential diagnoses for pituitary masses, and for subacute blindness in dogs. Where possible, we advocate biopsy-confirmation of hypophysitis prior to timely intervention
with anti-inflammatory treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


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