What’s a Pheochromocytoma, and How Do Vets Diagnose It?

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There’s a hormone-secreting tumor that can form in the adrenal glands of horses, potentially causing damaging high blood pressure, but it’s so incredibly rare that only a handful of cases have ever been described in studies. Veterinarians don’t normally notice the tumor until the horse is on the post-mortem table, at which time it’s difficult to determine its significance (Did it kill the horse, or was it just an incidental finding?). But if veterinarians could know what combination of signs to look for, they could conceivably recognize the tumor—called a pheochromocytoma–in a sick horse with colic or internal bleeding, perhaps, and intervene, or at least not subject the horse to medications or treatments that could cause the case to worsen. Read more…

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