Cushings Disease in Dogs, Canine Cushing Syndrome, People, Humans, Treatment

Cushings Disease in Dogs

cushings disease in dogs

Canine cushings disease in dogs can affect people as well as your beloved dog. This syndrome is actually
better known as
with the cause of this disease being due to the production of too much adrenal hormone but specifically too many corticosteroids, and is sometimes caused by adrenal gland tumors.

Below you can get the symptoms of this nasty disease and how to treat it…

Cushings Disease in Dogs

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As mentioned before cushings disease in dogs or hyperadrenocorticism is caused by an over production of an adrenal hormone.

There are two reasons that this disease may occur…it maybe that your dog has developed a tumor in his adrenal glands or your dog may have normal adrenal glands that are being stimulated by the hormones that are supposed to control it.

15% of causes of spontaneous hyperadrenocorticism are due to tumors in the adrenal glands with 85% of tumors in the pituitary gland causing hyperadrenocorticism.


The symptoms of cushings disease in dogs are the following…

  • Excessive drinking
  • Incontinence
  • Excessive urination
  • Your dog may develop a pot belly
  • Skin becoming thin
  • Skin infections that often recur.
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive panting
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Extremely increased appetite
  • Muscle wastage

It is important that you remember that all dogs may have a different reaction to the disease, and each case should be taken on it’s own merits.

Your dog’s vet may need to take a blood test to determine whether he has the syndrome. A vet will get a reasonable idea of the disease being present from a blood panel which will decide whether your dog has a low dose of dexamethasone.

A normal dog that does not have the syndrome will have dexamethasone that is controlling the levels of cortisol in their blood. In a dog with cushings the levels will not be being controlled.

Your vet may decide to use other tests to determine whether the syndrome is present. The vet may use an ACTH response test and tests on the ratio of urine and cortisol/creatinine levels. Of course X-rays and ultrasonography can be used to determine whether tumors are present.

The treatment of cushings disease in dogs can vary depending on the symptoms. If an adrenal gland tumor is discovered it maybe decided It is possible that the vet may remove it but this is not always the case as surgical procedures can be risky.

Pituitary gland tumors that have been discovered by your vet are not normally removed. These symptoms are normally treated with Lysodren or Ketaconazole, Lysodren is used to kill the outside layer of the adrenal gland which produces the corticosteroids. The vet will use the Lysodren in just the right levels to so that just enough of the adrenal gland is destroyed to keep the corticosteroid levels normal.

During the process of your dog receiving Lysodren it is important that you keep a very close eye on your dog as an adverse reaction to Lysodren can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tiredness and lethargy. Obviously if this happens you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

Unfortunately dogs with the disease have a life span of about 2 years even with treatment, but this is really only an estimate and not an exact figure.

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