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Pet Health Concerns: Cushing’s Disease

Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease is a serious condition that occurs when the adrenal glands, located next to the kidneys, produce excessive amounts of hormones, specifically corticosteroids. Although this condition can occur in any dog breed, it is found most commonly in the Bichon Frise, Dachshund, and Silky Terrier dog breeds. Symptoms usually consist of  excessive  drinking and urinating, which can also cause urinary tract infections. The pet may also experience an appetite increase, high blood pressure, thinning of the skin, weakened muscles, calcified skin lumps, hair color change, and possibly even a slower rate of hair and nail growth.

Cushing’s can occur naturally or due to administering too much Prednisone, which is a corticosteroid. It is possible that hyperadrenocorticism can occur due to a tumor being present on the adrenal glands as well.  To diagnose, veterinarians usually do a series of blood tests. Lysodren can be used to treat Cushing’s disease by eliminating the adrenal glands outer layer where a larger amount of the cortisone’s are produced. Lysodren needs to be administered with caution so that it only kills off enough of the outer layer of the gland so it  produces a more normal amount of hormones. In extreme cases such as tumors being present, the adrenal gland tumors can be removed but it is a high risk procedure.  If this condition is left untreated,  it can lead to heart, liver, and kidney failure.

To learn more about Cushing’s Disease in pets, check out our Pet Health Concerns Guide. By enrolling your pet with Trupanion pet insurance, your cat or dog’s policy will include coverage for diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, hereditary and congenital disorders, as long as treatment for a certain condition is required after enrolling and is not pre-existing.

Has your cat or dog ever been diagnosed with this Cushing’s Disease? If so, we would love to hear from you and any comments, advice, experiences, of thoughts on this condition.

About Akvile @

Akvile is an avid fan of surfing on snow, on water, and the web! Growing up in NY, she moved to Seattle a few years ago and has found her happiness here, where she can do all of the above. Aside from working during the week in the Trupanion office, she has her hands full being the mother of Batman, her massive-eared mini schnauzer who is a cuddle monster by day and super hero by night. She enjoys traveling, wakeboarding, snowboarding, camping, painting, and DJ'ing for fun.

4 Responses to Pet Health Concerns: Cushing’s Disease

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Pet Health Concerns: Cushing’s Disease - Trupanion Pet Insurance -- Topsy.com

  2. ER says:

    My LLasa Apso of nine and 1/2 years was diagnosed with Cushing’s and two months later developed diabetes. He would later pass within the month. The Cushing’s could have been treated but the blood results were not shown. Only the possible first indications of the disease were mentioned by the Vet of the Cushing’s not blood levels. The levels after being diagnosed two months later with Diabetes were discovered to be in the 500 count for the Cushing’s , which could have been treated two month’s earlier with the hope of preventing the Diabetes. This dog should have lived at least 15 years. I lost faith with the Vet. , not happy at all with the clinic. If your dog has allergies and is given some form of steriod dosages over time this can also cause this disease; look for natural preventions if possible.

    • Stacy says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s experience with Cushing’s. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and helping inform other pet owners.

    • Hello ER.
      could you please share the location and the name of the Vet? Cushings disease is very very common these days and its one of the most expensive to treat too. I am saddened about your dog.

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