What Is Cushings Disease in Dogs?

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What Is Cushings Disease in Dogs?

Cushing's disease is a disorder of the adrenal glands. Cushing's disease causes the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. Cushing's disease is also referred to as hyperadrenocorticism.

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Dogs with Cushing's disease present symptoms very similar to side effects of being on prednisone or cortisone. Dogs exhibit symptoms such as extreme thirst and extreme hunger, frequent urination and weight gain. An advanced symptom of Cushing's disease is liver damage.


According to "Cushing's Disease in Dogs Guide," it is not uncommon for a dog to exhibit no symptoms at all when suffering from Cushing's disease. One of the reasons for asymptomatic Cushing's disease can be that the dog is exhibiting symptoms of aging so the owners don't consider other illnesses or disorders.



One form of treatment for Cushing's disease is trilostant. Although not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, trilostant has been successful in keeping dogs symptom free of Cushing's disease. Vetoryl has recently been developed and approved by the FDA. Vetoryl is similar in make-up and properties to trilostant and provides the same successful results.

Controversial Treatment

Some veterinarians opt for chemotherapy treatment for dogs affected by Cushing's disease. According to Pet Connection, this treatment option can occasionally backfire as the body can go from producing too much cortisol to producing none at all. Surgery is another treatment option for dogs with Cushing's disease. Surgery is usually a last-resort treatment option due to its invasive properties.



Untreated Cushing's disease can be extremely uncomfortable for the dog and may eventually result in death. If left untreated, the dog's body will eventually become poisoned by too much cortisol.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.