Dogs are exposed to some diseases, even by these unknown but deadly dog diseases every dog owner should know. As a dog owner, it is a must to be knowledgeable to the common diseases your dogs may suffer from. One of the diseases a dog may suffer from is Cushing’s disease.
Hyperadrenocorticism, or known as Cushing’s disease is a serious health problem in dogs. It occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol or cortisone in the dog’s body. Excessive amount of cortisol can lead the dog to a risk of serious problems and illnesses, from kidney damage to diabetes and even death.
Cushing’s disease in dogs is commonly caused by a benign or malignant tumor located in the pituitary gland, a pea-sized gland that is located at the base of the brain. In some cases, the tumor could also be located on the adrenal glands, on top of the kidneys.
Based on the cause, there are 3 types of Cushing’s disease in dogs. Let’s take a look at each of the types:
- Pituitary Gland Tumors
This is the most common cause of Cushing’s disease in dogs; This tumor is located at the base of the brain. The tumor might be benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous). This tumor stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
- Adrenal Gland Tumor
Cushing’s disease in dogs could be the result of a benign or malignant tumor of the adrenal gland itself. If the tumor is benign, then it can be cured by the surgical removal, however, if the tumor is malignant, then surgery may help, but the prognosis is much less favorable.
- Excessive Cortisol from Prolonged Use of Steroids
This type is known as the iatrogenic Cushing’s disease. It is caused when there is an excessive administration of an oral or injected steroid.
There are certain dog breeds which are at a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, such as the poodle, dachshund, Boston terrier, boxer and beagle.
If you have any of these dog breeds, then you should be aware of it. Surprisingly, most of the patients suffering from Cushing’s disease are older than 8 years.
As a dog owner, you should be aware of this disease. It is not a disease you can underestimate. Let’s start understanding this disease by looking at the symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs.
Dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease will experience at least one of the following symptoms:
- Drinking more water (excessive thirst or drinking) – this symptom is also listed as one of the symptoms of low blood sugar in dogs and heat stroke in dogs.
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Muscles weakness
- Hair loss or poor regrowth
- Pot-belly appearance, enlarged abdomen
- Thin skin
- Recurrent skin infections
- Recurrent urinary infections
- Sudden blindness
- Urinary incontinence
- Seborrhea or oily skin
- Firm, irregular plaques on skin (called calcinosis cutis)
If you notice any symptoms above, then you should contact your vet immediately. Dog’s that suffer from Cushing’s disease face an increased risk of some serious diseases, such as kidney damage, blood clots, high blood pressure and diabetes. Get to know that dog diseases can also infect humans, such as elaborated in common diseases that are contagious to human.
How to test whether your dog is suffering from Cushing’s disease? To check it, your vet will run some tests and a physical exam. By doing so, your vet is able to determine the cause of the symptoms. Some tests can be done, such as the urinary test, blood test, MRI and many more.
What to do with dogs with Cushing’s disease? There are some treatments you can do to treat dogs with Cushing’s disease. They include the medications that are used to decrease the amount of cortisone which is produced by the adrenal glands.
Removing the tumor is one of the ways to cure Cushing’s disease, however, due to its complexity and risk of surgery, most dogs are treated with medications.
Diabetes is one of the diseases that becomes the result of Cushing’s disease. If your dog is suffering from diabetes, then it is important to do these exercises for dogs with diabetes.
By doing exercise, the sugar level in the dog’s body can be maintained. You may not be able to cure it, but you surely can maintain it from getting worse.
Keeping your dog healthy is a must. You can prevent your dog from getting Cushing’s disease by providing healthy lifestyle for it. One of the ways is by not giving poisonous food to your dogs. Some of the food may look delicious, but they are extremely harmful for your dog.