Cushing’s Disease

Cushing's Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism)

Cushing’s Disease is a slow and insiduous developing disease resulting in an excess of cortisol production.  It is more common in adult and elderly dogs.  In many cases (roughly 85%) it occurs from an underlying tumour of the pituitary gland. Whether the tumour is benign or malignant it causes the pituitary to over activate the adrenal glands in the production of cortisol.  It may also eventuate from a benign or malignant tumour of the adrenal gland itself.  Although not as common, the over-use of medical glucocorticod can result in what’s known as latrogenic Cushing’s Disease.

Clinical signs can include:

  • polyuria (increased urination)
  • polydipsia (increased drinking)
  • polyphagia (increased eating)
  • atrophy in muscles of the abdomen and extremities
  • abdominal enlargement (pot belly)
  • lordosis ( curvature of the spine)
  • alopecia (lack of hair) usually bilateral
  • lethargy
  • change in sleep cycle (often sleeping during day & awake at night)
  • panting
  • less sociable or wanting interaction

Cushing’s Disease will need to be diagnosed by a vet using blood tests.  The most common test are the ACTH stimulation test and the low dose and high dose dexamethosone supression tests .  Treatment is normally in the form of life-long medication or in the case of an adrenal gland tumour surgery may be required.  If from medication then discontinuation of the prescribed medication in a controlled manner.

We also recommend Kinesiology balances focusing on the pituitary and adrenal glands along with natural remedies and herbs to help boost and repair hormonal function.
 

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