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Does my dog have Cushing’s disease?
Cushing's disease is an illness that can affect cats and dogs, and is caused by an excess of cortisol, the hormone released by adrenal glands when a pet is stressed. However, not all pets that get stressed out will get Cushing's disease. Here is what to look for to make sure your pooch gets the treatment it needs.
Which dogs are most at risk?
Poodles, Dachshunds and terriers are genetically predisposed to Cushing's disease, but it can occur in any dog. It can be caused by certain steroid medications we give pets, by brain dysfunction or by adrenal dysfunction. Problems with the pituitary gland, the one that sits deep behind the eyes, is another cause of Cushing's disease.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptom of Cushing's disease may actually be confused with a skin infection or condition. They may develop bald patches on their sides and their skin may darken. If these conditions do not clear up with a skin healing pet shampoo, you should consult your vet about the possibility of a more serious issue like Cushing's disease. Other symptoms of this disease include excessive drinking and urinating, a ravenous appetite, high blood sugar, ringworm and demodex mite infections. If your pet is on a flea, mite and worm preventative medication like Sentinel and still gets worms or mites, it might be a sign of Cushing's disease.
How is it treated?
Once your vet determines that your dog does in fact have Cushing's disease, it can be treated depending on its cause. If it was caused by a steroid medication, your vet will discontinue the use of these pet drugs and the issue will usually clear up on its own. If it was caused by a problems in the glands, a number of prescription pet products are available to treat it. Your vet may prescribe pills like Lysodren, Anipryl or Vetoryl to treat the condition. These medications usually need to be given to the dog for the remainder of its life, so you might want to make medicine time more enjoyable for the pooch by hiding the pills inside Greenies Pill Pockets, which taste like treats.