Cushing's disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, affects the adrenal system or pituitary gland in middle-aged to old dogs, which causes an overproduction of glucocorticoid hormones. Dogs with Cushing's will suffer thirst, hair loss, an increased appetite and a distended abdomen. There are two varieties of Cushing's disease: adrenal-based hyperadrenocorticism and pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism. Ongoing oral medications for control can have harmful side effects. There are several natural treatment methods available for canine Cushing's.
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A dog's diet can help with Cushing's disease by strengthening the immune system. Raw meats on a limited basis are believed to help a dog's overall health. High levels of protein need to be maintained in the dog's foods. Look for brands that offer natural preservatives and contain meat, milk and eggs. Food should also contain low fiber and amino acids. A food that is a low purine diet is ideal. Purines are the nitrogenous bases of foods, such as organ meats. High purines are found in the meat byproducts of dog foods that are made up mostly of organ meats and brains. Finding a dog food that offers meat as the first ingredient that is not a meat byproduct, but human grade meat, is ideal The dog food should also contain potassium and sodium because these are often depleted by prescription medications prescribed for Cushing's. Cooked vegetables offer dogs a good source of antioxidants for their immune system. Offer cooked green beans, carrots, zucchini and beets.
According to PetAlive.com, dandelion, or taraxacum officinale, is believed to help normalize the adrenal gland's function in dogs. The herb is also believed to help reduce inflammation in the body and promote hair growth. Dandelion extract is also considered to be a powerful antioxidant. The extract from the plant can help ease canine digestive upset and also aid in the digestion of food. The dog's appetite is commonly suppressed with Cushing's but the dandelion works as an appetite stimulant, which can help the dog gain back weight that has been lost. Dandelion supplements are loaded with vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B. Fresh or dried leaves can be added to the dog's diet daily. Flowers can be dried and added to the dog's food.
Burdock, or arctium lappa, can detoxify the dog's tissues and help the canine to eliminate toxins from its system according to VetInfo.com. Burdock is also known to balance the pet's sugar levels and can even help prevent diabetes. The herb contains calcium, silicon, phosphorous, iron, thiamine and riboflavin. Burdock also contains a large amount of vitamin B-12. Feed liberal amounts daily in the dog's diet. It can be fed either dried or fresh.
Nettle is high in vitamins A, C, D and B. The supplement helps the dog's skin and coat health. The herb also works as a diuretic. Nettle contains beneficial protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and beta-carotene. Sprinkle dried nettle onto the dog's food. A few people suffer a stinging sensation in their hands when handling nettle fresh. The herb can be administered daily to a dog suffering from Cushing's according to Natural-Dog-Health-Remedies.com.
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.