The ACTH stimulation test is used mostly to monitor treatment for patients with Hyperadrenocorticisim or “Cushing’s Disease”. This test involves tracking a patients blood cortisol level changes in response to an injection of a synthetic hormone that increases adrenal production of cortisol.
In the clinic we take a blood sample, then give an intramuscular injection of the synthetic hormone called Synacten. Another blood sample is taken 1 hour later and a final sample 1 hour after that. Typically the patient will need to stay with us for the 2 1/2 hours needed to complete the sample collection.
All three samples are sent together to our reference lab to be tested for cortisol levels, and we are then able to determine how well our current treatment schedule and dose is controlling the disease.
It is very important that we obtain our last 2 samples 4-6 hours after a patient receives their medication for the test to be accurate.
Please follow these instructions if your pet is scheduled for an ACTH stimulation test:
1) Give your medication at the usual time.
2) You must be at the clinic at your scheduled time, no more than 3- 4 hours after the medication is given.
3) You can feed and exercise your pet as usual prior to this test.
4) Expect to have to leave your pet for 2-3 hours.
For more information on the tests for Cushing’s disease, click here.