What Cushings Disease Really Is
Cushings Disease, or also known as Cushings Syndrome and Hyperadrenocorticism, is a disorder relating to the hormonal functions of a dog due to excessive amounts of glucocorticoid. A little bit of background is necessary to understand what Cushings Disease really is. The pituitary gland normally produces ACTH, a known hormone that produces glucocorticoid, which is very useful in the normal functioning of the dogs system. When the pituitary gland or any of the systems related to it experiences problems, then that becomes Cushings Disease. Cushings Disease in dogs are common among older dogs. Any dog, male or female, and of whatever breed, can face the danger of Cushings Disease or Hyperadrenocorticism.
The Signs of Cushings Disease
Cushings Disease is pretty difficult to diagnose. This is because its symptoms do not suddenly show up. The symptoms of Cushings Disease in dogs occur far in between, and quite silently, that a lot of dog owners do not notice them. And since this disorder occurs more in older dogs, most dog owners are mistakenly led to believe that their dogs are already experiencing the earliest signs of old age. If only it could be as simple as that, but as a dog owner, you need to be on the lookout for any changes, and never cross out the options that these are caused by a disease. These are some of the symptoms you might miss. Your dog may eat more than normal. For you, this may be a good thing. Your dog is developing an appetite. In most cases, that is good, but not if it is related to Cushings Disease. The higher level of food consumption can then lead to abdominal swelling. Again, dont mistake this as a result of your dogs overeating habits.
It may be related to a weakening of your dogs muscles in the abdomen. Your dog may also consume more water than normal, and urinate more as well. Some dogs make this change more obvious, consuming up to ten times more than their usual water amount. This is a very telltale sign, but most dog owners just dont pay enough attention. The most apparent symptom, however, is hair loss, and most dog owners dont miss this one anymore. It is only when hair loss is experienced that dogs with Cushings Disease are usually given the medical attention that they need.
Treatment Options for Dogs with Cushings Disease
If you suspect your dog of having Cushings Disease due to the symptoms above, consult a veterinarian immediately and ask for a urinalysis, complete blood count or CBC, blood chemistry panel, and other tests geared towards detecting Hyperadrenocorticism. Abdominal ultrasound can also be done. When your dog has been diagnosed as a dog with Cushings Disease, there are several options now facing you. In some more severe cases, surgery becomes necessary. This is most needed when there is a physical abnormality in the pituitary gland that is causing the problem in the first place. Dont, however, consider surgery your first option. Oral treatments are available for dogs with Cushings Disease, such as Lysodren. This is more commonly used for Cushings Disease of the pituitary form. It destroys the cells responsible for producing excess glucocorticoid. Another effective oral treatment to treat Cushings Disease is Ketoconazole, an antifungal agent, and Anipryl. However, if oral treatments are chosen to treat Cushings Disease, watch out for any side effects.