Everything You Need To Know About Cushing’s Disease In Dogs: Have you noticed excess drinking and urinating by your older dog? So many reasons may have caused this. One apparent reason for this unusual attitude is Cushing’s Disease. Hyperadrenocorticism, often easily called Cushing’s disease, is a condition caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland of your dog.
This ailment is prevalent among dogs, but due to the diagnostic involved in testing, it is often overlooked. Treating Cushing is often expensive and is an ongoing treatment with constant monitoring.
Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” reaction. It is controlled by the adrenal cortex, situated at the lower layer of the adrenal gland. These two small glands are in front of the kidneys and produce a hormone to assist the body to perform most functions.
The pituitary gland, found at the base of the brain, releases an adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), which tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol, also known as glucocorticoids. A pet with the CD ailment, a tumor in the pituitary gland, or less commonly in one of the adrenal glands may make the cortex send out an excess volume of cortisol.
Cushing’s Disease Dogs Symptoms
Most owners’ first clue of the disease in their dogs is its desire to go out to urinate at night. CD causes extreme thirst, so a pet with Cushing’s disease tends to drink a lot, and this is followed by frequent urination. As the illness persists, dogs lose muscle and become weak. Owners will notice hair loss on the flanks, neck, and perineum, skin thinning, and lesions on the skin. Obesity and lack of energy are common symptoms too.
Common Cushing’s syndrome in dogs is often mistaken for old age. It takes almost a year for the symptoms to be noticeable. Many dogs then get the advanced form of Cushing’s disease before their owners realize it.
The warning signs of CD is harder to spot in the beginning, but look out for the apparent symptoms below.
- Your dog may seem hungrier than usual.
- Usually thirstier.
- Loses hair in visible spots or slow hair growths
- Urinates often
- Grows potbelly.
- Pants a lot
- Gets skin infections
- Often tiered
- Reduced activity
Causes Of Cushing’s Disease syndrome
Though Cushing’s syndrome in dogs is often natural, administering excessive amounts of prednisone or dexamethasone for an extended period could contribute to CD. The application of steroid-containing ear drops can cause CD because the skin absorbs the medication. Dogs with the ailment show symptoms that are similar to the tumor-based ailment. This form is solved when the steroids are stopped.
Breeds like The Poodle, Dachshund, Boston Terrier, Beagle, and Boxer are prone to contracting this disease. Most carriers of CD are dogs older than eight years.
Prognosis Of Cushing Syndrome In Dogs
The average survival of an infected dog is often two years. Only ten percent of patients have been known to live to pass the four years mark. It doesn’t mean that CD causes death, but most carriers are often geriatric dogs and may die from unrelated causes courtesy of aging.
Getting Your Dog Diagnosed For CD
There currently is no 100% accurate diagnosis of Cushing’s diseases. Telling your veterinary the symptoms you’ve noticed will go a long way in helping the diagnosis. A vet carries out a few tests to see what may cause the dog’s symptoms and then rules out other health problems.
The vet tests the dogs’ urine and blood. These examinations can detect diluted urine, urinary tract infections, or problems with a group of enzymes mostly situated in the liver and bones known as alkaline phosphatase. These are common in animals with Cushing’s Disease.
If the results show symptoms of CD your Vet will follow up with hormone screening tests example
- Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression (LDDS) Test
- ACTH Stimulation Test
Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression (LDDS) Test
LDDS considers your dog’s bodywork with a human-made version of cortisol known as dexamethasone. Blood samples before and after he gets the human-made cortisol hormone will help the vet in the diagnosis.
ACTH Simulation Tests
This test measures how well the adrenal gland works in response to the ACTH hormone; this usually makes them secrete cortisol. The vet takes samples of your dog’s blood on and before he gave the ACTH hormone.
If it seems your dog has Cushing’s disease, your vet now carries out an ultrasound scan of your dog’s belly. This test will help determine if your dog has a tumor in its adrenal glands. That will determine the kind of treatment your pet needs.
Treatment Of Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
The tumor’s location determines what treatment to use. Ninety percent of dogs with this disease have a pituitary-gland tumor. It may be small in size but still pose a significant threat since it manufactures and releases uncontrolled quantities of ACTH.
Pituitary tumors are often removed in humans; these operations are still being introduced to dogs. Dogs with pituitary tumors are often treated with medications. Mitotane (Lysodren) and Trilostane (Vetroyl) are common substances used to destroy part of the adrenal cortex selectively. A vet should administer this treatment because inadequate monitoring could destroy the cortex.
Adrenal based CD, on the other hand, though a rear form of CD, is more concerning and surgery is often the way to treat it. About one-half of these tumors grow aggressively and are malignant.
Once you start treatment, the symptoms of Cushing’s disease should start reducing. The constant drinking should be the first noticeable sign, and the skin lesions take several months to resolve.
Regular checks and following your dog’s treatment plan is essential. Keep a close watch on its behavior and symptoms and give your dog the right medication doses as prescribed by your vet. Your dog can still live a healthy and happy life with you and your vet’s collaboration. Thanks for reading.