Cushings disease in dogs is a terrible infliction that usually affects older dogs. Quite often it can be mistaken for the dog’s natural aging process, due to similar symptoms. While Cushings is the common name for the disorder, a more accurate medical term is actually hyperadrenocorticism, so if your veterinarian gives a diagnosis with that term, do not be alarmed, your dog actually has Cushings Disease. It is marked by the generation of far too many hormones, such as corticosteroids, from their adrenal glands, giving rise to their ailments.
So how do you know if your animal has canine cushings disease or is simply getting old?
Cushings Disease in dogs is generally characterised by increased appetite, drinking and urination, as well as massive shedding and heavy panting. While these are all symptoms of an aging, or perhaps diabetic dog, there are also specific traits to look out for. Symptoms in dogs include having noticeable thinning of the skin, and an increased amount of skin infections. Furthermore, be aware of hard lumps under the skin, as this could be a sign.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Don’t worry; the process is simple and relatively painless for your pet. The main method of diagnosis is a simple blood test to determine how high the adrenal gland hormone levels are. If the veterinarian determines the levels are far above normal, Cushings Disease in dogs may be to blame, and your animal will undergo a series of x-ray tests to determine the extent of the problem. It is generally caused by tumors in either the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland, so the x-ray is helpful in determining which gland should pinpointed for therapy.
What are the treatment options for Cushings disease ?
Some of the most promising and newest remedies for Cushing’s are natural treatments that can normalise adrenal function and reduce circulating levels of corticosteroids. Cushings Disease dogs will greatly benefit if they have an adrenal gland tumor, as the practiced treatment for such ailment is to simply remove the whole gland. Unfortunately Cushings disease in dogs is blamed on an adrenal gland tumor only fifteen percent of the time, so a good eighty five percent of cases are due to pituitary gland tumors. In the case that cushings disease in dogs has manifested itself in your animal’s pituitary gland, then a mechanical removal becomes out of the question since risk of damage to the gland is too high to be considered practical. Instead, the common chemotherapy for cushings disease in dogs is to use chemical solutions to destroy the tumor.
Much like with human chemotherapies, expect some adverse results to the chemicals. The symptoms to watch for include: lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. As always, be sure to let your veterinarian know if your dog is exhibiting any of those symptoms.
Please note you should always consult with your veterinarian before deciding on a treatment for cushings disease in dogs. He or she will help you decide on what is the best solution for your pet.