Could my dog have Cushing’s Disease?

  1. What is Cushing’s Disease?

Cushing’s disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, is caused by excessive secretion of steroids (cortisol) from the adrenal glands due to a mass on one of the adrenal glands or a small benign growth on the pituitary gland.

  1. What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms seen at home are increased thirst and urination, panting, increased hunger, and thinning of the hair coat. Additionally, this condition most commonly occurs in small breed dogs over the age of six.

  1. What should I do if I suspect my dog has Cushing’s Disease?

Talk to your veterinarian about the symptoms you see. To diagnose the condition, your veterinarian will most likely start with lab work, including complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis, to evaluate for common abnormalities seen with this condition. If Cushing’s disease is still suspected, more directed tests and an abdominal ultrasound may be recommended.

  1. How is Cushing’s Disease treated?

Cushing’s Disease is generally treated with a medication called trilostane. This medication decreases production of cortisol from the adrenal gland. Other medications such as lysodren, or supplements, may be recommended. Monitoring of blood work is also needed to ensure the medication therapy is effective.

  1. What is the prognosis with Cushing’s Disease?

Many dogs have a marked improvement in their quality of life after starting therapy. However, the long-term prognosis is better discussed with your veterinarian on an individualized basis.

MedVet works in partnership with your family veterinarian to achieve the best possible outcome. To learn about our Internal Medicine services or any of our other Specialty Services, please ask your family veterinarian about a Referral.

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