Here we are discussing one of the most common health problems in some breeds of dogs that is Cushing’s disease. What is Cushing’s syndrome, its symptoms, treatments? There must come the point when you are wondering about when to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease?
To understand all essential details about Cushing’s disease, read this article to the end. You will not about different causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disease. You will also know about holistic options and changes that you can make in their diet.
- Dog Throwing Up Blood? Things You Need To Do Next!
- Gas X For Dogs – Treat Bloating In Dogs With Simethicone!
- Why My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish? 8 Surprising Reasons!
What Will I Learn?
- 1 Cushing’s Disease In Dogs And It Types
- 2 3 Major Causes Of Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
- 3 Symptoms Of Cushing’s Disease
- 4 In Which Age, Dogs Are More Susceptible To Cushing’s Disease?
- 5 Diagnosis Of Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
- 6 Life Expectancy Of A Dog With Cushing’s Disease
- 7 5 Ways To Treat Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
- 8 What If You left Your Dog Untreated?
- 9 Does My Dog Feel Pain?
- 10 When To put a Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?
- 11 Dog Breeds Prone To Cushing’s Disease
- 12 Diet For Dog With Cushing’s Disease
- 13 Caring For A Dog With Cushing’s Disease
- 14 Conclusion
Cushing’s Disease In Dogs And It Types
Cushing’s disease is an incurable disease which is also known as hyperadrenocorticism. It is a release of Cortisol more than the optimal amounts. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. This hormone is responsible for regulating stress, skin conditions, body weight, and tissue structure. Just like everything else, excess of Cortisol is also bad for the health of your dog.
However, Cushing’s disease may be of two different types based upon the malfunctioning gland; it may either by the adrenal gland or pituitary gland. Blood tests are used to diagnose either of the types of the disease. Ultrasound may also be used to check the presence of the tumor.
Among both conditions, the pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease prevails 80% to 85% of the total number of cases. The fundamental cause of this infection is that a tumor is formed at the base of the brain on the pituitary gland.
A hormone called Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) triggers the adrenal gland to produce Cortisol. This hormone is provided by the pituitary gland, which is then released into the bloodstream and reaches the adrenal gland. It lies on the upper portion of both of the kidneys if a tumor is formed as in Cushing’s disease. It results in unregulated increased amounts of Cortisol in the blood.
Adrenal dependent Cushing’s accounts for the remaining 15% to 20%. In this case, the tumor is formed on one or both of the adrenal glands. Cancer causes the adrenal gland to produce Cortisol in excessive amounts.
Cortisol is a hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose, metabolism, reducing inflammation, and controlling blood pressure. It also regulates the body’s response to stress or danger.
3 Major Causes Of Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
To treat Cushing’s disease in dogs, the first step is to identify the causes. Identifying the cause is important because different treatments are depending upon the cause. Different causes lead a dog to Cushing’s disease.
1. Pituitary Gland Tumor:
In most cases, the leading cause is a pituitary gland tumor, which leads your dog to Cushing’s disease. It can either be a malignant or benign tumor which makes the pituitary gland to produce a hormone in excess amount.
2. The Tumor On Adrenal Gland:
The tumor on the Adrenal gland is also one of Cushing’s disease in dogs. Different treatments are depending upon either cancer is malignant or benign. In the case of a benign tumor, it will be removed through surgery.
3. Use of Steroids:
The use of steroids for an extended period can result in excessive release of Cortisol, which is ultimately resulting in Cushing’s disease. Therefore, always be careful about the use of steroids for your dog.
Symptoms Of Cushing’s Disease
You can check your dog for Cushing’s if he shows any of the following symptoms:
- Polydipsia/ Increased water intake
- Polyuria/ Increased urination
- Elevated appetite
- Decrease inactivity
- Loss of hair
- Skin problems
- Sensitive skin/ skin gets thinner
- Increased panting
- Pot Bellied appearance
- Increase of skin infections
In Which Age, Dogs Are More Susceptible To Cushing’s Disease?
It is more common with middle-aged dogs. A large number of dogs suffer from Cushing’s disease. To be exact, 100,000 dogs per year in America are reported to be diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome. The age of affected dogs ranges from six to older.
Diagnosis Of Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
If you witness any of the symptoms mentioned above in your dog, you might get anxious because it’s your family, after all. But there is no need to worry because proper diagnosis for canine Cushing’s disease is available.
First of all, your pup’s blood and urine are tested for biomarkers such as some enzymes produced by the liver, e.g., Alkaline phosphatase. It is studied to be elevated in the dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease. Moreover, it is common for dogs suffering from the disease to develop several urinary tract infections. Therefore, these abnormalities are considered as markers of the illness. If these tests give positive results, there are some further specific tests mentioned below
- ACTH test
- Low dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS) test
ACTH test is used to distinguish between the pituitary based or adrenal Cushing’s disease. The blood is drawn from the dog under observation before and after being given a shot of ACTH. As a result, the vet may observe how the body reacts to ACTH concerning producing Cortisol.
LDDS test means to give a shot or Cortisol to the dog and observe how it responds to synthetic Cortisol. This is called Dexamethasone. Blood samples are withdrawn before and after Dexamethasone’s dose to compare the body’s condition concerning administered Cortisol.
Life Expectancy Of A Dog With Cushing’s Disease
Dogs suffering from Canine Cushing’s syndrome usually have a life expectancy of 3 years. However, in some cases, it can be reduced to 3 years. It is essential to take special care of your dog for better health. For this, you need to pay regular visits to the vet, blood tests, and medication.
5 Ways To Treat Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
As far as the treatment is concerned, Cushing’s disease is not entirely curable, but it can be treated somewhat. It cannot be cured completely; a dog under treatment differs from the untreated dog only in that it bears better health conditions.
Dogs with Cushing’s disease due to pituitary or small tumors can be well-managed with medication. However, your dog may have to take it throughout his life. A diseased dog lives up to the same life span as an average healthy dog does. However, he may suffer due to the conditions mentioned in the symptoms section. Medications have been proven to be 99% effective, providing the same healthy lifestyle as a healthy dog.
Some medications that have been used to treat Cushing’s dogs are as follows:
The veterinarian might like to adjust the dose according to the condition of your dog.
However, in the case of large tumors, the vet may suggest surgery. With the removal of cancer, the dog may revive his healthy lifestyle back. To your dismay, chances of enjoying health throughout his life would be hard if the disease is expansive, and it spreads to another body.
3. Natural Treatments Of Cushing’s Disease
Some natural remedies may ease the pain of your pup and improve the condition to some extent. These natural substances include Arsenicum that pacifies the thirst, Hepar Sulph & Sulfur, which treats the skin irritation and improve skin health. Melatonin works in a feedback mechanism as it halts the activity of two enzymes that work for the production of Cortisol.
Other than the proteins interrupted by Melatonin, Lignans helps to hinder two different enzymes that produce Cortisol. Dandelion normalizes adrenal function, and Burdock helps in cleansing the wasted substance from the body.
4. Use of CBD
CBD is not the proper treatment for your dog, but it can help to soothe the pain. It will also prove useful for the overall health of your dog. A good thing about this is that it doesn’t have any side effects. However, an important thing to keep in mind is to consult your vet before using it. Its use can vary for different dogs; therefore, you need to check it before.
5. Holistic Options For Treating Cushing’s Disease
The condition of every dog is different in the case of Cushing’s syndrome. Not all dogs need to be on medication. Some holistic options may work for your dog. This includes the changes in the diet of the dog. The food which helps in reducing the level of Cortisol will be useful for dogs. Moreover, there are different supplements for liver support. These help in managing the symptoms without using any medication.
What If You left Your Dog Untreated?
Both treated and untreated dogs have the same life expectancy. However, if you left your dog untreated, it can have many side effects. Life span cannot be changed with the help of treatment, but it can give better health conditions. Moreover, different complications and difficulties can be avoided with the help of therapy.
Does My Dog Feel Pain?
If your dog is properly diagnosed and treated, you can control the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Different herbal remedies can also help in this case. Moreover, your dog will feel less pain, and signs of disease and illness can be reduced.
When To put a Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?
Finally, the answer to the question: “When to Put Down a dog with Cushing’s disease?” is here. It is rare, but as far as there is no ultimate cure, there may be a chance that your dog continues to suffer the condition. This may be as heartbreaking as it can be for any of the members of the family. But in such cases, dogs show a specific type of behavior.
They start to be lethargic all the time and like to be sitting indoors, and they lose their appetite altogether. Some dog parents have shared their experiences. They say that in such situations, it seems that it is time to turn your dog down. It is quite a hard decision and must be taken after the detailed discussion with the vet. Euthanizing your dog may leave you devastated, but it would lessen your beloved dog’s pain.
Dog Breeds Prone To Cushing’s Disease
This canine Cushing’s disease prevails, especially in some dog breeds. These dog breeds include Poodle, German shepherd, Dachshund, and the terriers such as Yorkies, Dinmonts, and Dandies. Some other beautiful canine breeds prone to this disease are the boxer, Maltese, Boston terrier, Cocker Spaniel, and Australian Shepherd. The mode of inheritance for this disease is still not known.
Diet For Dog With Cushing’s Disease
A best suitable diet for a dog who suffers the disease must be low in fat. It should have high potassium levels and little fiber. Moreover, raw food is also good for the good. The natural remedies discussed above would also be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. For further detailed recommendations, you must see your vet.
Caring For A Dog With Cushing’s Disease
Caring for a dog with Cushing’s disease is very important for better health conditions. Taking the best care of your dog will reduce the symptoms and will also help to soothe the pain. For this purpose, you need to take your dog to vet regularly for complete checkups. Moreover, give your dog all the required medications as the vet has guided.
It is essential to consult the vet before giving any medication to know its side effects. Proper care will give your dog a better health condition.
When to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease? This question has been answered above, and all the related information has been explained. There is no proper cure or treatment for this disease. However, adequate care can help your dog to have better health conditions. Medication cannot change the life span of your dog.
There are different causes of this disease, and you need to identify the reason for better treatment. There are various changes that you can make in their diet. Make sure that it reduces the amount of cortisol level in your dog.