Dogs And Cushing's Disease: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 26 February 2015


The older your dog gets, the more likely the chances of them obtaining Cushing's disease is. This disease is the result of an overproduction of glucocorticoid from the adrenal gland. Middle-aged dogs and elderly dogs are at risk to have something go wrong in the adrenal gland and it doesn't matter whether your dog is male or female. This guide explains what the symptoms of Cushing's disease are, how it is diagnosed and the treatment options available.

Symptoms of Cushing's Disease

If your older dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms, take them to a vet to see if Cushing's disease may be the culprit:

  • hair loss
  • thin skin
  • increased thirst and appetite
  • potbelly

Cushing's disease also creates liver enzyme problems, kidney problems and other issues with internal organs. Other problems include diabetes and congestive heart failure. This is why it is extremely important to take your furry family member to the vet to find out exactly whether Cushing's disease is causing this problem, or if it is something else.

Diagnosis of Cushing's Disease

Expect the vet to give your dog a thorough examination and to draw blood to test for Cushing's disease by testing their hormone levels. They may palpate the abdomen to see if any of the organs are enlarged. Additionally, X-rays may be ordered to check for any cancerous tumors.

Treatment of Cushing's Disease

Currently, drug therapy is the only way to treat Cushing's disease in dogs. Some of these drugs work to kill the outer layer of the adrenal gland so that less hormones are produced. Others work in different ways, but the focus is on the adrenal gland. Expect to take your dog to the vet for frequent checks to ensure that other medical conditions are not developing, such as Addison's disease, which can rarely occur when the adrenal gland produces too few hormones.

The medication your vet chooses is given to your pet a few times a week via pill or shot. Blood tests are done frequently to check the hormone levels. Once the hormone production is under control, your vet visits will be less frequent and you will only give them the pill once a week at home.

If you suspect that your dog has Cushing's disease, take them to the vet right away. With the right drug therapy, you can keep your dog around for many years to come, and they can have a vibrant life. On the other hand, leaving Cushing's disease untreated can lead to life-threatening issues that you may not know exist until it's too late. For more information, contact Berlin Township Animal Clinic or a similar location.