ISSN 2398-2969      

Pituitary gland: neoplasia



  • Pituitary tumors can be classified as :
  • A study looking at necropsy of dogs with pituitary tumors showed the following incidence:
    • 61% dogs with non invasive adenomas, 33% dogs with invasive adenomas, and 6% with carcinomas. 
  • Another classification of micro (< 1cm) vs macro (>1 cm) tumors has been derived from human medicine but is controversial due to variability in dogs’ conformation and size. 
  • Pituitary neoplasia can be silent (non functional) or secreting hormone (functional). 
  • Pituitary tumor can arise from different cell types:
    • Corticotroph, somatotroph, thyrotroph (not reported in dogs), gonadotroph (not reported in dogs), lactotroph (one case report).  
  • The most common pituitary tumor in dogs is the corticotroph adenoma, which can cause pituitary- dependent hypercortisolism by overproducing ACTH. 
  • Signs: depend on tumor size (neurological signs such a obtundation, decreased appetite, seizures) and secretory properties (eg hypercorticism for ACTH producing tumors). 
  • Metastatic tumors have also been reported to the pituitary. 
  • Despite being benign, adenoma can still compress or invade neighboring tissues. 
  • Diagnosis: CT or MRI of the head.  
  • Treatment: options include surgery, radiotherapy. 

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Sanders K, Galac S, Meij B P (2021) Pituitary tumour types in dogs and cats. Vet J 270, 105623 PubMed
  • Pollard R E, Reilly C M, Uerling M N, Wood F D, Feldman E C (2010) Cross-sectional imaging characteristics of pituitary adenomas, invasive adenomas and adenocarcinomas in dogs: 33 cases (1988-2006). J Vet Intern Med 24(1),160-165 PubMed.  

Other Sources of Information

  • Lunn K L, Boston S E (2020) Cancer chemotherapy. In: Small Animal Clinical Oncology. 6th edn. Eds Withrow & MacEwen. Elsevier Saunders, St. Louis. pp 565-568. 

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