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.