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Cushings Disease in Dogs

Cushings disease in dogs arises from a chronic excessive production of glucocorticoid in the body.



Normally, the pituitary gland releases a hormone known as ACTH. This hormone stimulates the production of glucocorticoid by the adrenal gland. Glucocorticoid is then used in many important functions of the body. However, due to complications in the adrenal gland or pituitary gland, an increased amount of glucocorticoid is produced and dog cushings disease occurs.




Cushings Disease Dog Symptoms

 

Cushings disease dog signs include increase in appetite which may be displayed as continuous begging, stealing food and eating from garbage bins. There is also an increase the water consumption and excessive urination. This is the most common symptom of the disease wherein dogs tend to drink 2 to 10 times more water than they normally drink. There is also abdominal enlargement which results when the fat shifts into the abdominal area.



The muscles of the abdomen also begin to weaken and waste away. Other common symptoms of cushings disease are hair loss and thinning of the skin. Hair loss generally begins around the areas of excess use such as the elbows. It then spreads to the abdomen and flanks. The skin may also become thin and becomes susceptible to damage.

The cause of cushings disease in dogs could either be due to overproduction of the ACTH hormone by the pituitary gland, in which case it is known as pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism. Or it could result from an over-secretion of glucocorticoid by the adrenal gland due to a tumor. This is referred to as adrenal-based hyperadrenocorticism. If a dog is suspected of having this condition, a complete blood count, urine analysis and blood chemistry panel is advisable. Many different types of tests may be used in the diagnosis of cushings disease and in most cases, the vet will perform multiple tests before arriving at a diagnosis.

Treatment for this condition includes various options. If an adrenal tumor has been detected, surgery may be required. Surgical removal of tumors is an often used treatment method for cushings disease. Different types of tumors may affect the adrenal gland and the treatment will depend on the type. The most common type of treatment used in dogs with cushings disease is non-surgical. Most cases of this condition are associated with the pituitary gland and respond well to oral treatments. There are many different types of oral medications available for the treatment of cushings disease in dogs.

 
  Submitted on May 12, 2010