Dog Atopy
Dog Arthritis
Dog Cancer
Dog Colitis
Dog Coughing
Dog Cushings
Dog Diabetes
Dog Diarrhea
Dog Ear Infections
Dog Ear Mites
Dog Eye Infections
Dog Fever
Dog Fleas
Dog Health Care
Dog Heart Failure
Dog Heartworms
Dog Hot Spots
Dog Itchy Skin
Dog Mange
Dog Not Eating
Dog Pancreatitis
Dog Parvovirus
Dog Seizures
Dog Sneezing
Dog Vaccines
Dog Vomiting
Dog Worms
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use
About Dr Sam
Our Animal Hospitals
Contact Us

Dog Cushings

Cushings in dogs seems to be on the rise in the United
States.  We are finding more cases of dog Cushings disease
because we as veterinarians have developed better screens
for the disease.  Many veterinary hospitals offer annual
blood screen testing at the time of the annual physical
exam.  Often, the results of this annual blood testing will
point to
dog Cushings disease.  The common symptoms of
Cushings in dogs are discussed as well as how we diagnose
and treat the disease.

Post a message or ask a question on our new Dog Health Problems Advice Forums

Cushings in Dogs

Dog Cushings Disease is a hormone disorder where your
dog’s body is producing an oversupply of cortisol.  Cortisol
is produced by the adrenal glands which are located adjacent
to each kidney.  Cortisol is helpful to the body in many ways
especially in handling stress.  In Dog Cushings Disease, the
adrenal gland produces too much cortisol and the effects of
too much cortisol are what lead to the symptoms of Dog
Cushings Disease.  These symptoms may include any or all
of the following:  increased drinking and urination (cortisol is
a diuretic), increased appetite, poor hair coat, increased
infections, a pot-bellied appearance, restlessness and
increased panting.

Why does the adrenal gland produce too much cortisol
in Dog Cushings Disease?
 The excess production of
cortisol can happen for one of two reasons: 1) the adrenal
gland may have a benign tumor on it that is producing too
much cortisol on its own, or 2) the pituitary gland (located
at the base of the brain) which normally controls the
production of cortisol by the adrenal gland has a benign
tumor itself.  In the latter case, the benign tumor of the
pituitary gland produces too much of a hormone called
ACTH.  The adrenal gland then responds to this
overproduction of ACTH by secreting excess cortisol.

How is Dog Cushings Disease diagnosed?  The most
common method to diagnose Dog Cushings Disease is to do
an ACTH stimulation test.  A baseline blood cortisol level is
taken from your dog.  Then ACTH is injected into your dog
and a second blood cortisol level is taken at a certain time
interval afterwards.  If the cortisol level jumps by a certain
amount, then Dog Cushings Disease is diagnosed.  Other
tests include both high and low dose dexamethasone
suppression tests.  An ultrasound of the adrenal gland can
be done to see if your dog has Dog Cushings Disease
caused by an adrenal tumor (versus a pituitary tumor).

Treatment of Dog Cushings Disease involves giving
medications that either decrease the size of the adrenal
gland or suppress the pituitary gland.  Periodic testing is
necessary to make sure the cortisol level is indeed staying at
a normal level.  With treatment, one should see a decrease
in the symptoms of Dog Cushings Disease.

- Sam Meisler DVM

The statements or information on this website have not
been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.