When to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease?.
When a dog begins to drink more water than usual and also needs to urinate more frequently, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Although excessive thirst and peeing in abundance are symptoms of other diseases, from diabetes to a kidney problem, they can also be alert that the four-legged friend suffers from Cushing’s syndrome, also called hyperadrenocorticism. In the following lines, we clarify what this disease is, which indicates that the dog can suffer it, why it arises, and what is its treatment.
What is canine Cushing syndrome? Symptoms and treatment
When a dog’s body produces high levels of the hormone cortisol, we can face an endocrine disease: Cushing’s Syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism.
In this article, we will explain what it is, mentioning its most common causes and symptoms, especially in some breeds of dogs more genetically prone to suffer from this dysfunction.
We will also talk about how it is diagnosed and the primary treatment for Cushing’s Syndrome. In this way, you can know better how to fight. Do you think? Well, let’s start talking about the causes that cause it.
Why does Cushing syndrome occur in dogs?
As we have already advanced, Cushing Syndrome in dogs is related to cortisol, a hormone that, at adequate levels, helps the body respond well to stress, that the bodyweight is balanced and that the tissues and skin have a good structure.
However, when there is a chronic overproduction of cortisol, the dog’s immune system weakens, and that makes him more exposed to infections and diseases. Also, it can cause damage to some organs, compromising the health of the dog.
The causes of Cushing Syndrome can be several, although three main reasons can be distinguished:
- The malfunction of the pituitary gland, which regulates the activity of most endocrine glands.
- Poor functioning of the adrenal glands, where cortisol is produced.
- The reaction to certain medications used to treat other diseases in dogs.
In 80% of cases, according to experts, the most common origin of this dysfunction is a tumor or hypertrophy in the pituitary gland. It is, therefore, a severe condition, and it is essential to detect it as soon as possible to begin treatment.
Symptoms of Cushing Syndrome in dogs
The most common signs that a dog with Cushing’s syndrome presents are the following:
- You are more thirsty and urinate more frequently.
- He is more hungry than usual
- May present with skin problems or diseases
- There are signs of baldness or poor hair quality
- Pant often
- He is tired and decayed.
- Have muscle weakness or atrophy
- His belly is swollen
- In females, there may be mismatches in the reproductive cycle
- In males, testicular atrophy may occur
Also, internally, other signs may indicate that a dog suffers from this syndrome. Despite this, it is often detected by another disease caused by Cushing. Mainly, canine diabetes, hypothyroidism in dogs, or other nervous disorders.
Many times the visible symptoms are usually attributed to the dog’s healthy aging so that the syndrome can go unnoticed at the beginning. This can make it difficult to detect this condition early, which is critical for the dog to recover its health.
Usually, the symptoms appear little by little, and it can take even a few years to appear as a whole, which also makes it difficult for us to realize what is happening. On the other hand, not all dogs respond in the same way to increased cortisol, so that the symptoms can vary in each case.
Which dogs are more prone to Cushing Syndrome?
The dogs that are usually most affected by Cushing Syndrome are adult dogs, from 6 years of age, or elderly. Also, it can also occur in dogs with stress problems.
The fact that a dog is male or female does not seem to influence this hormonal condition. What does affect is race, as there are some more prone than others?
The Dachshunds, the Poodles, the Boston Terriers, the small Schnauzer, the Maltese Bichon, and the Bobtail may have chronic cortisol excess due to a pituitary malfunction.
Instead, the origin of Cushing’s Syndrome in the Yorkshire terrier, in the Dwarf Poodle or the German Shepherd, is usually in the adrenal glands. And how can we know for sure if a dog has this condition? Let’s see.
Diagnosis and treatment of Cushing Syndrome
For the determination of Cushing Syndrome in dogs, the veterinarian should perform blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, ultrasound tests, and specific tests to measure cortisol levels. That is, it will take a full review to find out what happens to our furry friend. In some cases, a CT scan and an MRI should also be done.
If the syndrome is confirmed, all these tests will allow discovering its origin, and, depending on this, a chronic medication will be prescribed, or an operation to remove the tumor and thus solve the problems in the glands will be recommended.
If Cushing’s Syndrome has pharmacological causes, then the medication that is causing the problem will have to be stopped. In any case, a dog with this dysfunction must go to the periodic reviews with the specialist to control their cortisol levels and adjust the medication whenever necessary.
This article is purely informative; at redargentina.com, we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any condition or discomfort.