Canine Cushing’s Disease
Canine Cushing’s Disease is also called Hyperadrenocorticism. When either the pituitary or the adrenal glands secrete cortisone-like material in excess over many months or when cortisone-like drugs are given to a dog over many months, physical changes take place. This condition is called Cushing’s syndrome after a similar problem in humans. The causes are tumors of the pituitary gland or adrenal glands or medication.
The signs are a gradual loss of hair until the dog is almost hairless. For some reason, the hair usually remains on the head. The abdomen becomes distended, the appetite is increased, the muscles become weak, and the skin becomes thin and perhaps wrinkled. There may be pigment changes. Although one dog may not have all the above signs, all have one symptom in common: they drink great quantities of water and, of course, urinate frequently.
There are blood tests that help verify a correct diagnosis and there are treatments dependent on the cause. One is sophisticated surgery of the adrenal glands. Another treatment is chemotherapy and sometimes combinations of surgery and medication. Another method applies only to those dogs receiving cortisone-like drugs – and that is to stop the drugs.
Symptoms of Canine Cushing Disease
The disease of Canine Cushing disease is often ignored as being the signs of old age. It has been also said that at least one of the few symptoms of canine Cushing’s disease is showing up in the dog almost 6 years before the disease gets diagnosed. The disease in its initial stage develops very slowly. The following are the symptoms that are commonly associated with the disease.
- The symptom of increased levels of drinking water and urination is common among 85% of the affected dogs. The dogs would drink water at least eight to ten times more than the actual amount. They would start urinating when at home itself. The phenomenon of an increased level of urination is termed polyuria/polydipsia.
- The symptom of an increased level of intake of food is present in 80% of the affected dogs. This habit of overeating dogs is often overlooked by the owners thinking it is due to a good appetite for being a healthy dog. The affected dogs would be seen stealing food, protecting their food, ravaging the garbage, and always in the mood of begging for more food from the owner.
- 80% of the affected dogs have been seen to be having enlarged abdomens. The potbellies are due to the shifting of the fat to the abdominal region while the muscle mass of the abdomen becomes weakened and gets wasted.
- The quality of the skin becomes degraded. Would take time to heal. 50% to 90% of the dogs suffering from Crushing’s disease are also seen to be experiencing loss of hair. At first, hair starts falling from the skin that is exposed to wear or fiction like the elbows, and then proceeds towards the belly pot.
Crushing’s disease in dogs is actually of two distinct types, pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism or PDH and adrenal-based disease.
See more: Dog Anal Glands
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