Ask the Vet About Cushing's Disease in Dogs & Cats

Ask the Vet About Cushing's Disease in Dogs & Cats
Dr. MichaelDym
Dr. Michael Dym

As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Date: Nov 26, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Diet and Cushing’s disease
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Question:Visiting my dad and observing their female 7yr old cavalier King Charles with Cushing’s disease. I’m worried at her poor condition but especially because they constantly feed her table scraps all day long. Pieces of cheese, fruit, twinkies, milk poured directly in her bowl every night, and even chocolate. When I express concern they say “it’s only a little bit” - yet every time anyone eats the dog gets a piece and/or licks the plate or bowl when they are done. Isn’t Cushing’s greatly affected by diet? Couldn’t this be hurting her?

Answer:It is not ideal with Cushing's, but it may not be too terribly bad - would totally depend on the percentage of her diet that is made up by people food.

Date: Oct 18, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Dewclaw disappearances
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Question:My Corgi mix will be 9 in January. A few days ago, I noticed one of her dewclaws was missing. There is no break in the skin or bleeding, and she does not appear uncomfortable in the area. Do dogs retract their dewclaws? The said dewclaw was there ( visible, in its proper place) last night, but again, not today. She is being treated for Cushing’s (since July) with Trilostane. Some moderation of symptoms with the medicine— Vetoryl 30mg in am and 10mg with supper. Recently she has lost hair on her elbows—due to Cushing’s? She has sometimes caught her dewclaw ( I’m not sure if it was the one that “disappeared “.) in the metal ring attached to her collar—where the leash attaches. She is a short dog. Most importantly, is the dewclaw disappearance something that needs to be treated? Also the the vet tech said the hairless patch looked tike rug burn. She does strongly jump on and off the furniture to the rug and also rests ( sometimes noisily lands) on the kitchen tile. Is it likely hair loss from Cushing’s or rug burn? And can anything help restore the hair and prevent more loss? Thank you so much for your help

Answer:1- Do dogs retract their dewclaws? No. 2- is the dewclaw disappearance something that needs to be treated? Possibly if it is swollen or painful or she licks it excessively. 3- Is it likely hair loss from Cushing’s or rug burn? Could be either or something else entirely. 4- And can anything help restore the hair and prevent more loss? Regulating her Cushing's disease will help more than anything

Date: Oct 4, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Adrenal VS. Pituitary
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Question:Hi Doc Michael, it's clear my dog has Cushing's, but I've not yet had him tested to see if it's adrenal or pituitary. I love Kirby and want to treat him but I'm strapped at this time. Are the meds dedicated to EITHER adrenal OR pituitary? Or will a good med treat both either type? Thank you so much! Very honorable vocation you've chosen by the way. - Susan Hall

Answer:There are medications that can treat both but they can have serious side effects. Work closely with your veterinarian, based on the blood work, to find the right medication and dosage for him. Here is our article about Cushing's disease, detailing many of those treatments: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/cushings-disease Then here is a good article written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust, about Cushing's disease: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951495

Date: Jun 30, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Cushings Disease
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Question:We have 2 Brittany Spaniels (related thru bloodline) both 8.5 +/- yrs old. "Rustee" has a few cyst type bumps on him and our vet wanted to check and remove them. Before doing so they checked his blood and they thought he had Cushings. So they tested further and now say he does have it. Not much was explained to us but I have looked it up for symptoms and he has none that have been listed. Like NONE. (i guess besides elevated numbers concerning his liver.... not sure of the medical terms that were used) Anyway... My main questions is, Does him not having any visual symptoms mean that this was caught early? Also, what is the best option. Our vet said it was very expensive to treat but, like I said, not much else was explained. So I have just been looking online. But I still don't know what to do. I mentioned we have 2 in the same family because our vet said that cushings was genetic so our other dog may have it also. (I think like their grandfather was the same or something like that - would have to check their papers again) Thanks!

Answer:Does him not having any visual symptoms mean that this was caught early? Probably. Here is a link to our article about Cushing's disease: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/cushings-disease And here is a link to another helpful article about Cushing's disease, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951495

Date: Jun 19, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Cushing Disease
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Question:My dog is a cockapoo with Cushing and she’s on Vetroyl for treatment. However she is losing her hair and gets warts. Is there a supplement which can help with her hair loss and to stop warts?

Answer:You can try fatty acids, but really controlling her Cushing's disease really well with rechecks and medication is what helps the most with their haircoat. (There are no known medications that stop warts.) Here is an example of a good fatty acid product: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Welactin+Omega+3+Canine-prod11837.html

Date: May 12, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Liver blood test elavated
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Question:The Vet recommended Hepatotrubenefits for Liver please advise

Answer:Yes, that is a good product. I like Denamarin as well: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Denamarin+Tablets+-prod11008.html

Date: Apr 29, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Skin
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Question:A lot of shin lumps.

Answer:Masses can be benign, malignant and everything in between. It is impossible to tell, just by looking at a mass, what kind of cells it contains. Have your veterinarian check it out - they will usually do a "fine needle aspirate" - a little mini-biopsy where they stick a small needle in it and suck some cells out and either look at it right there in their office or send it off to a pathologist. Then you can make a plan for it - if it is definitely benign, your veterinarian may recommend doing nothing.

Date: Apr 1, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Medication
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Question:My dog needs medications for cushions disease she is a senior vets are closed right now so trying to see what meds she needs so I can purchase online thank you

Answer:The veterinarian that met her in person and diagnosed her has to prescibe the medications. Here is a link to our article about treating Cushing's disease: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/cushings-disease-treatment-3.htm

Date: Mar 23, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Maxi, 13 yr. old dachshund
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Question:Doeshe have Cushings? Drinks more water oflate...less control over peeing in house. Seems to have difficulty with bowel movements some of the time. Only feeding him canned soft food now. More info please. Was at our vet's in Dec. and Jan. for annual checkup (all good) in De. and constipation issues in Jan. He recovered with change in diet. Next test by Dr. ultrasound...too costly. Have not returned.

Answer:With those symptoms, it's certainly possible, as are other things. Did they run blood work? That might be cheaper than the ultrasound and would also rule out other possible causes like kidney disease and diabetes.

Date: Feb 22, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: ALP level 900
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Question:My 6 year old dog's ALP level was 800 last month, this month it is 900. We did the steroid cushings test and it came back negative, his platelet count is also increased, what could be causing this, he did have 3 types of bacteria growing in his eyes and 1 year ago had cryptosporidium could that have caused this problem. Please help!!

Answer:Cushing's disease is still possible. Liver disease is as well. Ask your veterinarian if a product like Denamarin might be a good idea to try to lower his ALP phos levels. Here is a link to read about it: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Denamarin+Tablets+-prod11008.html

Date: Feb 20, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Special Diet for Cushing's Disease
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Question:My 8 year old lab has had Cushing's Disease for several years. The medication is helping but is there any special diet that would help ease his symptoms?

Answer:There are no specific dietary concerns, in general, for Cushingoid dogs, as long as they aren't diabetic or have other issues at the same time, so any good, quality diet is usually fine.

Date: Feb 18, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: multiple medical issues
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Question:my Havanese is nearly 11, 2 years ago she had some dire medical issues - she is diebetic with two shots daily, has Cushings Disease and is blind from cateracts - and has few teeth left. Recently she has symptoms that appear to be Vestibule Syndrome. How do I know when it is the right time?

Answer:I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's the hardest part of pet ownership! Your veterinarian is definitely the best one to answer these type of questions because s/he knows your dog and her entire medical history much better than I do and can examine your dog directly. Geriartic vestibular syndrome can look really bad and then they can potentially recover from it fully.

Date: Jan 19, 2020
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Drug interactions
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Question:Is it safe to give heart guard to a dog on Vetoryl .

Answer:Yes.

Date: Nov 26, 2019
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Diet
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Question:Is there a diet that will help with Cushings

Answer:Not really. Here is a good article about Cushing's disease, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951983

Date: Nov 15, 2019
Category: Cushing's Disease
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Vetoryl (Trilostane)
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Question:Hello, my dog is on Vetoryl 5mg po qam. The results of her most recent ACTH Stimulation test on 9/28/19 was Pre-ACTH Cortisol: 2.8 and post ACTH Cortisol 5.2. I asked my vet about increasing the dose to 5mg twice a day because I noticed her appetite and thirst start to increase around 3pm to 5pm but my vet wants me to keep her on the AM dose only based on these results. My dog's previous ACTH Stimulation Test on 6/28/19 also on Vetoryl 5mg po qam was Pre-ACTH Cortisol 2.2 and Post ACTH Cortisol 4.1. Back on 1/4/19 (also on Vetoryl 5mg po qam) it was Pre-ACTH Cortisol 0.7 and Post-ACTH Cortisol 1.6. At that time, my vet told me to discontinue Vetoryl. Her symptoms returned so on June 1, 2019 she said to restart the Vetoryl 5mg po qd. What does it mean that the post ACTH Cortisol has been increasing on the same dose? One of the reasons, I wanted to try twice a day dosing in addition to controlling her symptoms, is that I read excess cortisol is immunosuprresive and treatment prolongs the dog's life. I want to prolong her life for a long as I can. When she was first diagnosed in Feb. 2018, her Alkaline Phosphatase was over 4000 and with treatment, it went down to 2, 264 on June 1, 2019 so if I increased the dose to Vetoryl 5mg po bid, would the ALP go down even more and therefore, help prevent or delay any organ damage caused by Cushing's Disease?

Answer:Managing Cushing's patients is really a balancing act. The side effects of the medication can be worse than the disease itself, so it's good that your veterinarian is cautious. You can always ask for a referral to an internal medicine specialist that specializes in Cushings disease to get her very tightly regulated.

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