What You Need to Know About Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

a dog with her owner

Cushing’s disease, or hypercortisolism, is a terminal illness that affects dogs in the same way human beings suffer from terminal illnesses. It can be hard to watch your dog suffering from a terminal illness. Bonding with a dog takes less time, but the thought of losing the four-legged family member can take forever to accept.

It is essential to know more about this disease to diagnose it early enough and start treatment. Cushing disease dog behavior changes can be tricky to identify if you are not keen or do not know the symptoms. Fortunately, this article can help you to get hints if your dog could be suffering from Cushing’s disease at an early stage. 

Signs and Symptoms

a dog with Cushing's diseaseIt is hard to spot the symptoms when the illness is beginning. However, you cannot fail to note some weird behaviors that will alert you, especially if you have been spending time with your pet. The illness mainly affects dogs of middle-age, and susceptibility increases with age.

You can check out for the following symptoms:

  • Increased hunger 
  • Your dog may start drinking more water than usual
  • Pees more often 
  • Unusual hair loss
  • Thinned skin
  • Suffering from skin infections
  • Develops a pot belly
  • The dog seems tired than usual
  • Panting

Types of Cushing’s Syndrome 

The disease comes in the following three forms;

  • Pituitary-Dependent Cushing’s Disease

The pituitary-dependent form of Cushing’s disease comes from the pituitary gland located at the bottom of the brain. A tumor forms above the gland leading to the production of excess ACTH hormone. The hormone spreads to adrenaline glands causing excessive production of cortisol than is needed. The type of Cushing disease comprises about 80% to 85% of the infection. 

  • Adrenaline Dependent Cushing’s Disease

Adrenaline dependence originates from adrenaline glands. Your dog will have a tumor in one or both of its adrenaline glands. The affected glands produce more cortisol than is needed in the body hence affecting the body functions. The type represents about 15% to 20% of Cushing’s type.

  • Iatrogenic Cushing’s Disease

This is a type of Cushing’s disease that results from excessive use of steroid medications.

Treatment of Cushing’s Disease 

You can manage Cushing’s disease in your pet once your vet has diagnosed it. You can administer the prescribed medications or have surgery to remove the tumor. In case of excessive use of steroids, you have to discontinue their use and start using the prescribed medicines. It is essential to visit your vet frequently to diagnose diseases affecting your pet before they become severe. 

However, as a loving pet owner, you may decide to euthanize your dog (have mercy killing administered) when the disease makes the pet suffer a lot and not enjoy life.