Canine Addison's Disease FAQ

Q. What is the ACTH test and what does it do?

A. The ACTH Response test is really the only definitive test for diagnosis of Addison's. It's also called the ACTH stim. If you want to dazzle 'em you can tell them ACTH is adrenocorticotropin). Essentially it is a "trigger" or one of the releasing hormones the hypothalmus sends to the pituitary gland thereby informing it to release another type of hormone. When the adrenals receive the pituitary's signal via ACTH, answer by secreting cortisol. In the case of an AD dog, this does not happen, or the cortisol is released in insufficient amount to maintain the dog's health.

What happens is the dog is given a synthetic form of the ACTH by injection. The cortisol production is then judged as the before injection reading of cortisol, vs.the number following injection of the ACTH.

(courtesy Cathy R)

Also, have a look at the FDA's Site: ACTH Information

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