Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism in a Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2015
Sara K. Stoneburg1; Jennifer Langan2,3, DVM, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management); Michael J. Adkesson2, DVM, DACVM; Sathya K. Chinnadurai2, DVM, MS, DACZM, DACVAA; Randi Drees4, Dr med vet, DACVR, DECVDI, MRCVS
1College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 2Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL, USA; 3College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 4Department of Clinical Sciences and Services, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK


There is a scarcity of information regarding endocrine disease in New World primates (NWP). While diabetes mellitus has been described,3 there is little other published information about endocrinopathies in NWP1. Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) is a syndrome of persistent inappropriate hypercortisolemia which can be caused by pituitary overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone, functional adrenocortical neoplasms, and iatrogenic steroid administration. Although Cushing’s disease is one of the most common endocrinopathies in domestic dogs,2 this syndrome has not been reported in NWP. A 15-yr-old, intact, female golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) with a history of cholelithiasis was evaluated for slowly progressive bilaterally symmetric alopecia and weight loss of 3-yr duration. Basal serum cortisol concentration and results from a low-dose dexamethasone suppression test were greater than the upper detectable limit of the assay. Abdominal ultrasonographic examination identified bilateral adrenomegaly. Computed tomography exam pre- and post-contrast was performed and a 0.5 cm, slightly dome-shaped, strongly contrast enhancing mass arising from the pituitary fossa, consistent with a pituitary macroadenoma, was seen. Due to this animal’s advanced age and small size, medical management was elected rather than surgery or radiation therapy. Treatment with ketoconazole was initiated with monthly monitoring of response to therapy. This is the first report of spontaneous hyperadrenocorticism secondary to pituitary neoplasia in a NWP. Advanced imaging was integral to confirming the presence of bilateral adrenal hyperplasia and pituitary enlargement as pituitary function tests proved inconclusive.


We thank Brookfield Zoo ‘s animal care and veterinary technician staff for their assistance with this case. We especially thank the primate keepers for their contributions and all their efforts to provide for this animal.

Literature Cited

1.  Dias JLC, Montali RS, Strandberg JD, Johnson LK, Wolff MJ. Endocrine neoplasia in new world primates. J Med Primatol. 1996;25:34–41.

2.  Kahn CN, Line S. Hyperadrenocorticism. In: The Merck Veterinary Manual. 10th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck and Co, Inc.; 2010:496–500.

3.  Walzer C. Diabetes in primates. In: Miller RE, Fowler ME, eds. Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine. Current Therapy. Volume 4. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 1999:397–400.


Speaker Information
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Sara K. Stoneburg
College of Veterinary Medicine
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH, USA

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