Our furry companions deserve the best care. From planning the right diet to purchasing the most comfortable beds, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure your pet’s life is as comfortable as possible. Since our dogs are so dependent on us, as their owners, it’s important for us to prioritize their wellbeing.
One thing that you always need to look out for is your pet’s health. While some signs of illness are apparent, others may not rear their ugly heads until it’s too late, unfortunately. This is precisely why it’s vital to be aware of telltale signs of illness that ensure you’re looking out for your dog’s health.
One such disease that’s challenging to detect is Cushing’s disease. It’s an issue to tell whether your dog’s suffering from it because this disease’s symptoms are linked to quite a number of ailments. That is why it’s essential to know what the warning signs are and, if they occur together, you should consider checking your pals for Cushings disease in dogs and treating it accordingly.
What is Cushing’s Disease?
Just like humans, dogs also have a fight-or-flight response in the face of danger. This instinct is managed by a hormone called cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal gland. These adrenal glands are controlled by the pituitary gland, which is found at the base of your dog’s brain.
This pituitary gland releases the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that signals the adrenal gland to release cortisol. An overproduction of cortisol could endanger their lives and, in the case of Cushing’s disease, that’s exactly what happens. It is a syndrome where the adrenal gland malfunctions and produces too much cortisol.
Generally speaking, there are three main types of Cushing’s disease in dogs: pituitary-dependent, which is the most common form and is a result of a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, adrenal-dependent which occurs when a tumor forms in an adrenal gland, and Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease, which occurs due to the excessive use of steroids.
Typically, Cushing’s disease affects dogs seven years or older, and some breeds, such as poodles, Boston terriers, boxers, dachshunds, Staffordshire terriers, and Yorkshire terriers, are more susceptible to be diagnosed with it.
Cushing’s disease can be challenging to spot, and the treatment is quite tricky, too. To minimize its impact, early detection and treatment are incredibly crucial.
Where symptoms are concerned, here’s what dog owners need to look out for:
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease
Increased urination and thirst
Cushing’s disease can take a while to show up. One of the earliest signs of this syndrome is excessive urination and thirst. You may find yourself filling your pet’s water bowl very frequently, and your dog demanding to go outside more often. Additionally, if your dog is otherwise well-trained and has been having accidents in the house, then you might be looking at Cushing’s disease.
Since Cushing’s disease is usually found in older dogs, its symptoms can be confused with urinary tract infections or kidney disease. So it’s essential to run a diagnostic test that could help you determine the root cause of these symptoms.
While panting is typically a normal behavior when your dog overexerts itself, is stressed out, or feels hot, excessive panting is not. If you find your dog panting more regularly and other symptoms accompany it, you may be dealing with Cushing’s disease.
Increased appetite and weight gain
Increased cortisone levels can increase your dog’s appetite, causing them to eat more and gain weight. This weight gain can result in inactivity as your dog doesn’t jump or move around as much as they previously did.
Cortisone also relaxes your dog’s abdominal ligaments, causing bloating in their liver. These symptoms are often misinterpreted as arthritis, which also affects older dogs. A diagnostic exam can help you determine the exact cause.
If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s disease, it may lose quite a bit of fur on its body. Usually, a dog doesn’t lose its head and legs’ fur since this hair loss typically occurs in its midsection. Additionally, this hair loss may also be symmetrical as your dog loses equal amounts of fur on each side.
Dogs suffering from Cushing’s may exhibit behavioral changes as they act more calmly or aggressively than they usually do. If not Cushing’s disease, these behavioral changes could indicate other issues, making it increasingly crucial for you to get your dog checked regardless.
Easily-bruised, thin skin
If you’re witnessing the above symptoms occurring in your dog, then you should perform a little test of your own. Gently pinch a fold of skin on the abdomen near your dog’s flank. If the skin doesn’t feel healthy and plump and, instead, feels too thin and you’re noticing bruises on your dog’s body, you should get it checked.
Frequent infection rate
Any disease makes your pet’s immune system weaker. A telltale symptom of Cushing’s disease in dogs is a frequent reoccurrence of eye and ear infections. Apart from this, it can also cause skin and respiratory infections.
Perhaps one of Cushing’s disease’s most dangerous aspects is how it can be confused with other medical issues. As mentioned previously, these symptoms can often occur in senior dogs, making it challenging to diagnose this disease.
It’s incredibly important to monitor your dog’s overall health regularly. Any slight change in what’s normal could indicate a serious underlying medical issue. Early diagnosis is always better so you can start treating a condition before it takes a detrimental turn, potentially putting your furry companion’s life in danger.