What is Cushing disease in Dogs?
When you get told first time by your veterinarian that a dog that is only 5 years old has Cushing’s disease. You go what is that. You think you misunderstood.
Learning from experience it is more common than you think. Cushing’s disease in dogs is common but hard to detect and most of the time it goes undetected.
Our dog Charly is five years old and was diagnosed to have Cushing’s Disease after endless expensive tests.
When our vet explained it to me, it sounded a bit strange, and I could not grasp the meaning of it. I went on to Google to search for it. Surprise it is more common than I thought.
Our dog has all the symptoms. Saying this despite having all the symptoms of Cushing disease it is difficult to detect especially if the dog is older most of the time it is taken back to old age.
Cushing’s disease a disease that is extremely difficult to nail down as the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome associated with some different ailments.
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What are the specific warning signs for older dogs that they have Cushing’s disease?
The adrenal gland, located in the dog’s belly near the kidneys, produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone cortisol affects many functions of different organs in the body.
In short, the Cushing’s disease in dogs otherwise knows as hyperadrenocorticism is the overproduction of cortisol, and is a condition that becomes increasingly likely as your dog ages.
If there is too much cortisol in a dogs body, it can cause problems like stress and possibly suppresses the immune system of a dog. When an immune system is weak, it will increase the chance that the dog is prone to get sick easier.
To diagnose the Cushings disease is a bit complicated and it can be a challenge.
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How often should I see the veterinarian with my dog?
Early detection is crucial.
What are the symptoms of the Cushing disease?
@ A Thirsty Dog that drinks more than usual.
@ Urinate more often than usual
@ Lack of energy
@ gains more weight special around the belly
@ The skin becomes thinner and the coat is not shiny anymore. The fur looks patchy
@ Easy bruising on the skin
@ Around back end there is a muscle wastage
@Reoccurence of Infections
The problem of the Cushings Disease
One of the most significant issues the Cushings disease brings is that it is difficult to detect. That is why it is also called the pretender. Many times this Cushing disease is misdiagnosed.
To be sure there is some test and those that are not cheap.
This test is expensive, and you are now in the questionable decision-making process to do or not to do the test.
It is not an easy decision.
The Cushing disease is a severe condition of the middle-aged to older dogs. Sometimes it is also misleading and over-diagnosed.
A variety of simulation tests are available and can confirm a suspicion of Cushing disease. Depending on the test chosen it may also indicate if the pituitary gland is the cause of the adrenal gland.
What Test is there to find out if your Dog has the Cushing Disease?
Those tests are:
#The ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) test
#Low dose dexamethasone stimulation test
#High dose dexamethasone stimulation test
#Most clinics start with an ACTH stimulation test to get an answer of yes or no. ( This information comes from our vet after having a thousand question. Thank you, Dr Dreyer, for explaining the basic in a more straightforward language.)
After that, the vet will discuss with you further test or further steps to take.
Treatment For Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
There is readily available Treatment, but it is a question of yes or no, as the treatment is costly in the long run. You have to weigh several factors, and one of the more significant factors is the expense.
With Cushing disease, there is not always a clear way of right or wrong action. It is a hard decision for a dog owner to decide to go with therapy or not to go with treatment.
You have to make a decision based on your circumstances and your wallet. ( I am not joking it is not cheap) unless you have taken pet insurance.
A veterinarian should thoroughly investigate Cushing Disease.
If that is a visible sign, the vet should also check for Thyroid problems and other skin conditions. Where the symptoms prevail but the diagnosis is negative, “homoeopathic formic acid” has been helpful in restoring a shabby coat to health again.
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Thyroid problems are commonly mistaken for Cushing’s disease.
Homoeopathic Thyroid 30c at one drop per day for three weeks can return thyroid levels to normal – recheck levels at this point.
Another factor about the Cushing disease is the cause of the overproduction of the adrenal gland. Not always but most of the times the excess production is caused by a benign tumour located in the pituitary gland. ( pituitary gland is stimulating the adrenals. )
Of the endocrine system, the pituitary gland is the boss. The primary function of the pituitary gland is the production of hormones which control the various endocrine glands in a dogsbody.
A tumour in one of the glands can cause overproduction of the corticosteroid hormones. It can be then the result of hair loss.( it is like overuse of steroid drugs that overuse can have the same reaction)
Sweating and weight loss ( even if your dog has a big appetite) increased intake of water, anaemia and listlessness are also symptoms of the Cushing’s disease.
If Cushing’s disease is diagnosed in the early stages, the homoeopathic remedies are an excellent option to consider. Please ask your Veterinarian about the homoeopathic remedies.
Cushing’s Disease and the confusion with other diseases
Older dogs will have a lot of symptoms like Cushing’s disease. It is difficult to diagnose as a lot of signs are universal to ageing symptoms in dogs.
What are the symptoms that can be mistaken for Cushing’s disease
#Bloated belly is a sign of gastric torsion and gastric dilation; it can be fatal when untreated.
#Urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections are a sign of old age.
#Diabetes shows signs of increased thirst slow-healing wounds and those signs can easy associated with the Cushings disease.
#Hypothyroidism has similar patterns of hair loss can be misdiagnosed as Cushing’s disease.
#Discuss this with your veterinarian as he will understand and will analyse the proper test and treatments.
It is a historically made Remedy from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. It balances the action of the gland.
It is given in low potencies over an extended period. Consult your Veterinarian as he knows best how to tune the homoeopathic treatment.
Natural Herbs for Cushing’s Disease
There are also a lot of herbs available and what are beneficial. I like natural medicine, but I have learned over the years that sometimes we need to combine medication and natural treatment to achieve the best result. Believe it or not, sometimes both can complement each other. To judge this, please ask your veterinarian and follow their instructions.
If your animal is suffering from this condition and is on cortisone, and you wish to take it off of this drug and pursue an alternative treatment, you should find a holistic veterinarian that has experience with this condition.
Cushing’s disease is a difficult disease to detect. It will be not easy for your dog and yourself when diagnosed with this Cushing’s disease.
One thing I have learned is that the Cushings disease can come out of the blue and a lot has to do with what you feed your dog.
I have written a blog on homemade dog food recipes and when I was looking for an alternative for my dogs I came across the “dog food secrets “and I was shocked what is actually in dog food.
Charly is much better now, and I have to say his condition improved a lot and yes I am feeding my dogs now homemade dog food.
Thank you for stopping by to read Cushing’s Disease in Dogs. The silent killer for dogs and how to detect it early to prevent it. Please share this blog that people are aware of this disease. Sharing them helps us to understand them better and we are able to soothe their condition.
All yours Melanie
This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at mypetshopworld.com is exclusive of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
Duke Wolf says
This is a useful site.
The post-Cushing’s Disease in Dogs.. is very helpful for stages of Cushing’s in dogs! Can I share the article with my private blog?
I find it useful as I know a lot of dog owners and I am sure they are happy to read it.
thank you for allowing me to share it.
Is black skin hair loss ,odor and glasseyeyes also a symptom?
Cushing’s disease has some symptoms of hair loss. Black skin and hair loss can have different causes.
I would recommend you go and have a veterinarian look at your dog.
There are different diseases the symptoms fit but I am not a vet and if your dog is uncomfortable and has glassy eyes it is a symptom that there is a virus in his body. The odour might be a problem with his gums and teeth. To be sure look for a vet it is the safest way to ensure your dog is getting the right treatment. Symptoms of Cushing’s disease here is a list again … do not self-diagnose your dog.
Increased thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria, respectively)
Fat pads on the neck and shoulders
Recurrent infections of the skin, ears, urinary tract, etc.
Loss of hair and Lack of energy
Darkening of the skin
Inability to sleep (insomnia)
Hard white scaly patches on the skin, elbows, etc. (associated with the disease calcinosis cutis)
Neurologic abnormalities (circling, behavioural changes, seizures, etc.)
The appearance of blackheads on the skin
I hope this helps but in case of doubt I repeat that you should visit a vet.
All the best
My dog has Cushing’s disease. It is not always easy to live with a pet who has it all you can do is make life as comfortable for your pet as possible. I have to admit I never thought about changing the food but in your post, you talk about it and it makes sense. As it is like with older horses after a while they have problems to digest the protein in their diet. Thank you for that.
I think it is important for dogs with Cushing’s disease. As you said it is like in horses some older animals start to have a protein allergy or cannot digest the protein. It is important to play with the food and keep a journal to see in the beginning what and how your dog reacts to certain foods. Any dog who has Cushing’s disease has a bit of a difficult life. With the help of the owner, the dog can live a comfortable and happy life.
Do look up our post about homemade dog food with our dog food secret training.
Harry Dovers says
I am not so sure but the symptoms fit my golden retriever. Bella is around 5 years old but even she does not eat much her belly is really bloated and she has problems walking. I have been to the vet a few times and they told me that she is to fat and she should go on a diet. Do you think if I change her diet she will get well again? I ask this question as I am thinking maybe the food I feed is not good.
Please reply to me thanks
Harry and Bella
Hello Harry and Bella
I would recommend changing the diet of your dog. You can visit my post about homemade dog food recipes. It is important to see if Bella your golden retriever has the Cushings disease or not. It might be that in your food what you feed your dog is too much wheat, sugar and starch. Changing the diet might be a good idea when her belly is bloated. It would be a good idea to try it out, but please understand you can not change the food from today on you need to integrate the change of food day by day. Keep a journal on what Bella likes and what food she doesn’t like. In any case, it would be a good idea to consult your veterinarian and his suggestion.
More and more veterinarians are open to alternative treatments.
If you decide to go on your own then please start slowly with the change from package food to homecooked dog food.
I hope all works out for you and Bella is getting better soon.
My mother’s dog got diagnosed with CD recently but this was after nearly 2 years of testing and being in and out of the vet. She must have spent over 10 grand. I am not sure why it is so hard to diagnose for some dogs but this was his case. He is doing okay now but she is getting in touch with a holistic veterinarian about a more natural approach.
It is not easy to have a dog with Cushing’s disease. It takes a long time to test and find out. The disease is so common with other symptoms that is why often it is not diagnosed at all. Alternative medicine and a food change is a good way to make it easier for your dog.
I was baffled first when I heart about Cushing’s disease but now it is easier and since I changed the diet completely of course slowly our Aicha is so much better. Here is the link to the blog with the homemade dog food recipes. It helped our dog a lot and a lot of little things Aicha had actually disappeared. I was surprised how much food can do. But then think about when we change our diet we feel better too. Thanks for stopping by
Mandy Allen says
I have a horse with cushings. He’s very thin, looks underfed all the time. It’s sad to see but he seems happy. A friend’s dog has just been diagnosed so they are currently getting treatment from the vet and hope he will settle back into being a happy dog. He’s been quite ‘disturbed’ for some time. Glad they have a diagnosis now.
Enjoy the journey!
Cushing’s disease is not fun. As long as the pet is happy we are happy. Finding it out is a long process and getting treatment is good for any pet.
I had changed the diet of my dog when we discovered that Charly has Cushing’s disease. It helped him a lot, and I guess his cortisol levels are not so bad anymore. We check them on a regular base, and our vet is always surprised how good our Charly looks. I make him homemade dog food, and he and our other pets love it. I also have to say a lot of allergies, and other small pain and aches disappeared after we started to make our homecooked dog food. https://mypetshopworld.com/make-your-own-homemade-dog-food-recipes/
thanks for stopping by
Nice article! Very instructive. I didn’t onow about that disease either, so it’s nice to have an idea of what it is. Thanks for sharing
All the best,
I was quite shocked when I got the information from our vet. Cushing’s disease is actually more common than I thought.
Since I changed the dog food for our dogs we got the Cushings disease good under control.
We never stop learning especially when you have pets, you worry the same as you would have children.
Thanks for stopping by
Have a great day and a beautiful week ahead of you