Cushing’s disease in dogs is a condition where the body is producing excessive amounts of cortisol; this hormone affects the way your pet eats, feels, and behaves. As a dog owner, you’ll want to be familiar with Cushing’s disease symptoms and how you can help your pet cope with the most difficult aspects of treatment.
End stage Cushings in dogs
Symptoms of this disease can be vague and go unnoticed for years until the disease has progressed to a terminal phase. Early detection greatly increases the dog’s chances of survival, so here are some symptoms to watch for:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Weight gain and loss
- Muscle wasting
- Lethargy and weakness
- Recurrent skin problems, including hair loss, scaling, ulcers, and infections
- Problems with the liver and kidney
- Behavioral changes
In end-stage Cushing’s disease, these symptoms are the result of having their medication no longer be able to control the symptoms of the disease, causing them to worsen. In addition, complications and secondary issues will arise.
Are dogs with Cushing’s Disease in pain?
Cushing’s disease is not a painful condition but dogs with this disease who do not receive treatment can develop life-threatening complications, such as kidney infection and high blood pressure. The high blood pressure that accompanies Cushing’s disease can cause the heart to enlarge, which can lead to heart failure.
Takeaway: The disease can be managed with medication, but if left untreated, the dog will eventually succumb to the disease. At this point, the dog’s suffering is usually unbearable for the owner to handle.
Can you reverse Cushing’s disease in dogs?
Treatment of Cushing’s disease varies depending on whether the tumor can be removed surgically or not. If it can’t, then your vet will prescribe drugs to treat the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease and help to slow down the progression of the disease.
Surgery is rarely used to treat Cushing’s disease in dogs because it can be extremely difficult to remove the tumor. However, if medications fail to produce results or if the dog is suffering from complications resulting from the disease, surgery may be an option.
It is best to talk to your veterinarian about what your options are for treating your dog’s Cushing’s disease.
How long can a dog live with Cushing’s untreated?
Depending on their age and the severity of their case, dogs with Cushing’s disease may live anywhere from 1 to 4 years after they are diagnosed with the condition.
Can a dog live a normal life with Cushing’s disease?
Treating Cushing’s disease involves suppressing cortisol production and administering medications to counter the effects of excess levels of this hormone. Dogs with Cushing’s disease will require lifelong treatment. The good news is that most dogs can live a normal life.
Does Cushing’s disease affect a dog’s back legs?
Symptoms of Cushing syndrome can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition but may include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, panting, thinning of the skin and hair loss, and weakness in the back legs.
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of a successful outcome.
What are the complications of Cushing’s disease in dogs?
Some of the potential complications of Cushing’s disease in dogs may include:
- Damage to the liver, which can cause abnormal liver function and potentially lead to liver failure.
- Damage to the kidneys, which can cause kidney failure and potentially lead to electrolyte imbalances.
- Diabetes mellitus, which is a condition that affects the way the body processes sugar.
- High blood pressure, which can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Increased susceptibility to infections, due to the effects of cortisol on the immune system.
- Behavioral changes, such as increased irritability or aggression.
- Skin problems, such as thinning of the skin, hair loss, and bruising.
- Weakness in the back legs and difficulty walking.
It is important for dogs with Cushing’s disease to be regularly monitored by a veterinarian and treated as needed to prevent or manage these complications. Early detection and treatment can help improve the chances of a successful outcome for your dog.
Can Cushing’s in dogs cause neurological problems?
Yes, Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, can potentially cause neurological problems in dogs.
In severe cases, this excess cortisol can lead to the development of neurological problems, such as seizures and cognitive dysfunction (also known as “doggie dementia”).
The exact mechanisms by which Cushing’s disease leads to neurological problems are not fully understood, but it is thought that the excess cortisol may cause damage to the brain and nervous system.
In some cases, the underlying cause of Cushing’s disease, such as a tumor on the adrenal gland or pituitary gland, may also directly affect the brain and cause neurological symptoms.
If your dog is showing signs of neurological problems, such as seizures or changes in behavior, it is important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Early detection and treatment of Cushing’s disease can help prevent or manage neurological complications and improve your dog’s overall health and quality of life.
When is it time to put a dog down with Cushing’s?
Some possible reasons for euthanizing a dog with Cushing’s disease may include:
- Severe pain or discomfort that cannot be adequately managed with medication.
- Progressive deterioration in the dog’s quality of life, such as loss of appetite, difficulty walking, or loss of interest in their usual activities.
- Development of complications from Cushing’s disease, such as liver failure, kidney failure, or diabetes.
- Inability to control the symptoms of Cushing’s disease, despite treatment.
- The financial or practical burden of caring for a dog with a chronic, incurable condition.
Ultimately, the decision to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease should be based on the individual circumstances and the overall well-being of the dog. It is important to carefully consider all of the factors involved and to discuss your concerns with a veterinarian who can provide guidance and support.
Conclusion of end-stage Cushings in dogs
The prognosis for dogs with Cushing’s disease is generally poor. The disease is difficult to treat, and although it may be controlled temporarily, it almost always recurs. When treated with trilostane (Vetoryl) or mitotane (Lysodren), the average survival time is two years.
Surgery or radiation therapy are also options for treating Cushing’s disease in dogs, but both are more complicated procedures with a greater potential for complications.
Monitoring for metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes mellitus is important in any dog receiving long-term treatment for Cushing’s disease.
The best results are achieved if the disease is detected early and treatment begins immediately. Although clinical signs may stabilize, they will never completely disappear. The dog will continue to drink and urinate excessively, and pant frequently.