End Stage Cushings in Dogs

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 of Cushings disease 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.

When should a dog with Cushing’s disease be put down?

Many dogs with Cushing’s disease live for years after diagnosis as long as the tumor does not interfere with their quality of life. However, over time many dogs develop other health problems associated with Cushing’s disease and are euthanized due to these issues.

It’s important to know what stage your dog’s Cushing’s disease is at. If it’s in the early stages, it might not have had time to cause too many problems. If it’s fully developed and has already caused organ damage, your dog is likely to have a poor prognosis.

Cushing’s disease makes some dogs more vulnerable to infections and dehydration, especially if they’re not eating properly or not drinking enough water. Some dogs are so uncomfortable they will refuse food or water and become dehydrated without their owners’ knowledge. This is another reason it might be better to let a dog go with dignity rather than suffer.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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