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Dog Cushing's Disease and Dog Health Best Tips

Jun 7, 2008
to begin with we will look at Cushing's Disease Symptoms so you get a breif idea if this is stil a possiblity for your dog, and then we go on to discus it further and discuss the things you can do to help you dog or puppy.

1. Increased thirst and urination

2. Increased appetite

3. Fatter body and thinner legs

4. Thinning coat and thinner skin.

5. Skin bacterial problems causing Acne and black heads

What Causes Cushing's Disease?

There are two types of adrenal gland disorders, the first and most common is that the glands are over active (Cushing's disease), and the second is when the gland is under active (Addison's disease).

These small glands are situated on the front edge of each kidney and their job is to produce a chemical called glucocorticoid, but this chemical cannot be produced without first getting the message from another gland in the brain called a pituitary gland. The pituitary gland(gland in the brain) should tell the adrenal glands exactly how much of the chemical glucocorticoid to produce, but in the circumstances of Cushing's disease something is going wrong along this process causing the glands to make too much of this chemical and thus upsetting the balance of the dogs body.

The production of too much of this chemical could be due to two things, either there is a problem in the gland within the brain (pituitary) and it is sending out too many signals to the adrenal, or the adrenal gland itself is making too much of this chemical at a time when it is sent a message.

In most cases the cause is a pituitary gland that overproduces for no apparent reason with a possibility of a tumor, and in the case of the adrenal gland, tumours are the most common of causes, if there becomes a tumor on the adrenal gland then it will become a larger size and thus produce more/ too much of the chemical each time it is asked to do so. The same implies for the pituitary gland in the brain, if it too gets a tumour and increases in size, the amount of messages sent will increase also resulting in the same consequences as the above problem.

what your vet may say or do

After a quick examination resulting in findings of the above symptoms the vet will probably want to take further blood tests and a ACTH stimulation test for Cushing's disease.

This will then normally be followed by further more specialised tests once the Cushing's disease has been confirmed to narrow down the area that is causing the problem, this test is called a dexamethasone suppression test and tells the vet if the problem area is the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland.

The process then is the same wherever the problem area is, that is to reduce the size of the adrenal gland because operating and using anything that affects the brain as you may suspect is a more dangerous task and holds higher risk. There are two options the vet may want to take, the first is to surgically remove a part of the gland which is often used only if a tumour is the problem, or using a drug called vetoryl which comes in tablet form and is given to the dog daily for the rest of their lives to shrink the gland down to the correct size and help maintain the patients good health.

The drawbacks of this drug are that it can be expensive and needs to be given once a day but is a lot quicker than other available drugs and has little or no side effects to your dog.
About the Author
For more information on Dog Cushing's Disease or Dog Health take a look at this Dog Training website.
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