Canine Cushing’s Disease

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dog hair lose

What is Canine Cushing’s Disease?

Canine Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is a condition in dogs that occurs when the body overproduces cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol plays a vital role in regulating the body’s stress response, but excessive production can lead to a range of health problems.

A white sheet is over the dog.

Types of Cushing’s Disease

There are two types of Cushing’s disease in dogs:

Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease and Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease.

Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease is the most common form and occurs when a tumor in the pituitary gland causes the overproduction of a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease occurs when a tumor in one or both adrenal glands causes the overproduction of cortisol directly.

What Are the Symptoms of Cushing’s in Dogs?

black dog hair lose

Symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs can include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight gain, hair loss, skin infections, and muscle weakness. These symptoms can develop gradually and may be mistaken for normal aging or other conditions.

Diagnosis of Cushing’s disease typically involves blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan. Treatment options may include medication to control cortisol production, surgery to remove adrenal tumors, or radiation therapy to shrink pituitary tumors.

More Susceptible Dog Breeds

While it’s true that any dog can develop Cushing’s disease, some breeds are more susceptible than others.

Here are 13 dog breeds that have a higher risk of developing the disorder:

  • Poodle

Poodle is sitting

Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodles are all at higher risk for Cushing’s disease due to their genetics.

  • Dachshund

Brown Dachshund Dog

This breed is at a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, especially Miniature Dachshunds.

  • Boxer

Boxer dog stand on the green grass

Boxers are prone to a variety of health conditions, including Cushing’s disease.

  • Boston Terrier

Boston terrier dog jumping.

This breed has a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, especially as they age.

  • Beagle

Beagle dog stand on the green grass

Beagles are prone to a variety of health conditions, including Cushing’s disease.

  • German Shepherd

German Shepherd sitting on the grass

This breed is at higher risk for developing Cushing’s disease than some other breeds.

  • Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever dog is sitting

Labs are prone to a variety of health conditions, including Cushing’s disease.

  • Scottish Terrier

Black Scottish Terrier Dog

This breed has a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, especially as they age.

  • Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire is sitting

Yorkies are prone to several health conditions, including Cushing’s disease.

  • Shih Tzu

Small dog stand on the green grass

This breed is at higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, especially as they age.

  • Jack Russell Terrier

A dog is walking in the forest.

This breed has a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease than some other breeds.

  • Bichon Frise

White Bichon Frise stand on the green grass

Bichons are prone to several health conditions, including Cushing’s disease.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier dog looking at the camera

This breed has a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, especially as they age.

Treating Dog Cushing’s Disease

The treatment of Cushing’s disease in dogs depends on the underlying cause of the condition as well as the type be it pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease or adrenal-dependent. Your vet will have more specific recommendations for treatment that include traditional medicine while other options may take a holistic approach.

brown poodle

Medications

Medications such as trilostane and mitotane can be used to manage the symptoms of Cushing’s disease by reducing the production of cortisol. These medications are typically administered orally and require ongoing monitoring and dosage adjustments.

Surgery

If the cause of Cushing’s disease is a tumor in the adrenal gland, surgical removal of the affected gland may be recommended. This is typically only recommended in cases of adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to shrink pituitary tumors that are causing Cushing’s disease symptoms.

Dietary changes

In some cases, dietary changes may be recommended to manage Cushing’s disease symptoms. This may include a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet for a dog with Cushing’s to help manage weight gain and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Natural Treatments

Several natural treatments may help manage the symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs including some herbal supplements, acupuncture, natural pain management supplements, exercise, and stress reduction.

It’s still important to consult with a veterinarian before using any natural treatments as some may interact with medications or worsen underlying conditions.

Here are some potential natural treatments for dogs with Cushing’s disease:

Some herbal supplements such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and licorice root may help support liver function and hormone balance in dogs with Cushing’s disease.

Acupuncture may help manage symptoms of Cushing’s disease in some dogs, such as reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation.

Regular exercise can help manage weight gain and improve overall health in dogs with Cushing’s disease.

Stress can exacerbate symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs. Strategies such as massage, relaxation techniques, and minimizing changes to routine can help reduce stress levels.

Treating Cushing’s disease in dogs can be complex and may require ongoing monitoring and adjustments.

Conclusion

It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to manage Cushing’s disease in dogs, as untreated or poorly managed Cushing’s disease can lead to serious complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and infections.

Daniel Michael
Hello, I am Daniel Michael, who loves dogs and has extensive experience in the field. I have a passion for writing articles that help other dog lovers navigate the complexities of dog ownership and care. I have spent countless hours researching, learning, and working with dogs of all breeds and sizes, and I am excited to share my knowledge and experience with you through my writing. Whether you are a new dog owner or a seasoned pro, I am confident that my articles will provide you with valuable insights and practical advice that will enhance your relationship with your furry friend.