Have you ever felt helpless, desperate and powerless when it comes to helping your dog face a difficult health issues? Everyone has a different solution and yet now one really knows what the problem is. Try one and a million things only to find that nothing has lasting effects!! How frustrating and costly! Be assured that, if this is your case, you are not alone. This situation can, and probably has happened to every one of us pet owners. Sometimes it even seems that right after solving one problem another arises.
Did you know that sometimes problems and diseases are caused by medications given to treat other problems?? This is often the unhappy case with Cushing’s Syndrome…
What is Cushing’s Disease?Cushing’s disease comes from the adrenal glands producing too much cortisol hormone. If your dog is 6 years or older; chances of Cushing’s can be much greater than other younger dogs. This over production can be caused by a tumor on the adrenal gland (adrenal-dependent) or a natural or chemical imbalance of the pituitary(pituitary-dependent). Since cortisol affects a lot of different organs, the signs to identify Cushing’s are difficult to pin point. Keep an eye out for the following: The most common symptoms are:
- Fur loss
- Swollen belly
- Increased appetite
- Increase drinking
- Increased urination
- Tendency to bruise easily
- Difficulty breathing or panting
- Abnormal walking
- Adrenal tumor (specific to adrenal-dependent)
- Enlarged liver
What causes Cushing’s?
As we mentioned above, Cushing’s can be the result of medications given to treat other problems. Dogs that are given too much prednisone, dexamethasone, prednisolone or other similar drugs can develop signs of Cushing’s. It is sad that so many medications given to dogs and other animals often cause other major health problems later on. So especially beware of the above-mentioned drugs to prevent possible Cushing’s later! Unfortunately some dogs naturally overproduce the cortisol hormone in their bodies. Since this hormone weakens the immune system, they are more prone to easily catch any passing bacterial infection. This also tends to complicate the identification process. Your vet may keep treating the different symptoms and infections without realizing that the cause is Cushing’s disease. This means added stress, money and grief for you before getting satisfying relief for your poor pet!