What is Canine Cushing’s Disease?
|One of the more common hormonal disorders of middle age and older dogs is an adrenal gland condition known as Cushing’s disease, which causes an over product of adrenal gland hormones leading to many potential uncomfortable symptoms. The most common signs of Cushing’s disease include:
Rare complications include heart disease and blood clots. The most common form of Cushing’s disease is due to a small tumor of the pituitary gland in the brain, but in up to 20 percent of cases an adrenal tumor may be the cause. Diagnosis of Cushing’s disease can be difficult and tricky, but is usually made through the important presence of clinical signs, as well as through the judicious use of blood tests and abdominal ultrasound.
I have often found that many veterinarians over diagnose this disease based on laboratory tests only, rather than the all-important clinical signs being present. This is especially important as the common drugs used to treat this disease i.e Lysodren and Trilostane (Vetoryl) are very powerful chemicals that can have serious side effects in many pets.
Before these drugs are started an animal guardian needs to question their veterinarian on the certainty of the diagnosis, as well as perhaps confirming the diagnosis through as many tests as possible, including ultrasound and blood tests that correlate with the pet’s clinical symptoms and history.