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5 Facts on Canine Cushing's Disease

What to Know about Cushing's Disease in Dogs

By Robyn Johnson. June 19, 2012 | See Comments

5 Facts on Canine Cushing's Disease

Dogs of all ages may be developing Cushing’s disease. Here are five facts you should know about the disease.

Whether middle aged or older, your dog may be developing Cushing’s disease without notable symptoms. It is important for your veterinarian to know any and all physical or behavioral changes your dog experiences, even if they seem a natural progression. Cushing’s disease often can be controlled or cured, and finding it early may increase the efficacy of treatment. These five facts may help guide you toward helping your dog live a longer and happier life.

1. It may be more than just getting old.

Cushing’s disease is often not identified correctly, due to symptoms seeming too mild or just a natural progression of aging. In fact, many instances of Cushing’s disease are diagnosed late in the development, because the dog just seemed to be getting old. Thinning fur around the body, and a distended abdomen are easy to spot, but subtle behavioral changes, such as increased thirst or lethargy after exercise can go unnoted. Ask your veterinarian for Cushing’s tests around six years and older.

2. Certain Dog Breeds Tend to Get Cushing’s More than Others.

There are several breeds that tend to suffer from Cushing’s, such as beagles, Boston terriers, boxers, dachshunds, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Scottish terriers, Yorkshire terriers, and terriers in general. If your dog is one of these breeds, be on the lookout for symptoms and request a blood test from your vet. While these breeds may be more prone to Cushing’s than others, all breeds can get it.

3. It’s Hormonal.

Cushing’s disease is caused by tumors on either the pituitary gland or the adrenal glands, preventing the endocrine system from effectively understanding information delivered through hormones in the blood stream, and disabling the ability to maintain hormonal balance.

4. Is Cushing’s Disease Preventable?

No. While there is no known way to effectively prevent Cushing’s disease, there are diagnostic tests that can be performed early enough to prevent further damage. As dogs reach middle age, more frequent visits to the veterinarian for blood tests may become necessary.

5. Cushing’s Can Be Controlled, and in Some Cases, Cured.

Pituitary dependent Cushing’s may be controlled by oral medication, while adrenal dependent Cushing’s may be controlled by oral medication, and in some cases, cured by surgical removal of tumors or the entire adrenal gland.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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