Canine Cushings disease is a condition that occurs fairly often in dogs 6 years and older. When it is detected early and subsequently given the proper treatment in a timely manner, you can vastly improve the quality of your dog’s life.
Canine Cushings Disease
What is canine Cushings disease? This condition is also known as hyperandrenocorticism, is a malfunction of the adrenal glands found in the dog’s belly. The adrenal glands is tasked to produce cortisolaE”a hormone that affects many of the dog’s bodily functions like blood sugar, metabolism, nervous system, stress, sugar levels, kidney functions, etc. What happens when a dog has Cushings disease is that the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol and his body responds with a myriad of problematic health symptoms.
Many of the symptoms of this disease are similar to other canine sicknesses so you need to consult the vet for an accurate diagnosis of his condition. Often times, pet owners think that their dog is getting too old and sickly and they consider euthanasia to humanely end the suffering of their poor pet when in actuality, their dog is suffering from Cushings disease and proper management of it can keep your dog alive and in relatively good condition for a few more years.
Symptoms of Canine Cushings Disease
There are several symptoms of canine Cushings disease. Hair loss on the body, increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, a distended tummy, weakness, calcified lumps in the skin and increased occurance of skin infection are common symptoms. In some cases dogs will also show loss of muscle mass, an appearance of a bony head, slow regrowth of hair and healing of bruises, intolerance to exercise and even seizures. When these signs happen, do not panic. Bring them to the vet right away for consultation and proper treatment.
Cushings disease can be diagnosed with a blood test and urinalysis. Many times tumors are the cause of the problems in the adrenal gland so a X-ray or CT scan may also be needed. Depending on the exact nature of the disease and the factors that contribute to your dog’s health, your vet may prescribe different treatments. What is important is the comfort and quality of life that will be afforded to your pet in the duration of the treatment.
For instance, since Cushings disease often occur in older dogs, it is highly likely that these animals may already have arthritis, or a myriad of other health concerns. It might not be wise to put them through surgery or radiation. Given that an effect of this disease is slow healing processaE”it might end up to be more detrimental to the dog’s life if we take on the more severe treatments for it.
Medication for Canine Cushings Disease
More often than not, oral medication is prescribed to the ailing dog. If he is in the earlier stages of canine Cushings disease, there are more chances of him to experience a better quality of life in the weeks to come. It might take a while to see significant improvement in his skin and hair, but with regular treatment, he will look better soon enough.
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