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Hyperadrenocorticism in the Hamster.

Hamsters may suffer from either primary or secondary hyperadrenocorticism. This disease is basically one of excess steroid production. Tumours are usually at the root of this disease either in the adrenal cortex (a very common tumour especially in male hamsters ) for primary disease or in the pituitary for secondary disease.

Signs of hyperadrenocorticism in the hamster include drinking and urinating excessively, thinning of the skin, hair loss and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Polyphagia (eating excessively) and changes in behaviour may also be noted.

Blood samples can be used to diagnose the disease but may not always be accurate. This problem may occur following corticosteroid therapy.

It is difficult to treat hyperadrenocorticism in hamsters, although some drug treatment may be attempted (e.g. treatment with mitotane). There are likely to be difficulties in determining the correct dose of any drugs used and there may be side effects to treatment.

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