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Blog What is Cushing’s Disease?

Many ask the same question: What is Cushing Disease? The endocrine system: organs that control hormones in the body. The cortisone hormone, part of the endocrine system, is responsible for proteins and carbohydrate metabolism. When there’s a surplus level of cortisone the metabolism is hindered causing cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism).

The pituitary gland controls all the hormone production in the entire body. A tumor on the pituitary gland can cause pituitary-dependent cushing’s disease. Most dogs that suffer from cushing’s disease suffer from pituitary-dependent.

In some cases cushing’s disease occurs from the result of cortisol secreting cancer. Another reasoning for cushing’s disease is when the dog receives an excess amount of glucocorticoids.

With many symptoms to look for in cushing’s disease it’s the diagnosis of it that can be difficult.

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

There is no set method to diagnose cushing’s disease. Blood and urine tests can give a wide suspicion on the presence of cushing’s disease. An increase in blood sugar and cholesterol can provide the great suspicion of cushing’s as well as diluted urine. A lab test to count the white blood cell count is also weighted for the prognosis of cushing’s.

If a dog has cushing’s disease an inflamed liver through x-rays may also be present. Calcium present in the place of an adrenal gland helps pin point cushing’s as well. The calcium is suggestive of a tumor on the adrenal gland.

Treatment of Cushing’s Disease

Treatment for pituitary-dependent cushing’s is lifetime oral medication. The most common types of drugs used for the duration of the treatment are Lysodren and Trilostane. Lysodren has a reputation for serious side effects so monitoring your dog very closely is mandatory.

Treatment for adrenal-dependent cushing’s is through surgery. In surgery the cancerous adrenal gland will be removed to prevent spreading. If surgery happens after the spreading has already occurred than the areas where it spread to will not be able to be surgically removed.

Both types of cushing’s are not to be taken lightly. Seeking medical attention from your vet is strongly recommended if your dog is showing signs of cushing’s.

 

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