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Canine Cushing’s Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism)

  • Last updated on January 24, 2012

Cushing’s disease is a condition that can often result in symptoms of adrenal fatigue in dogs. It is caused by the overproduction of hormones from the adrenal glands. I can also be caused by a tumor on the adrenal glands or on the pituitary gland. It more commonly affects middle-aged dogs of either gender. Breeds with a higher incidence of the disease include boxer, beagle, dachshund, miniature poodle, and terrier breeds.

Symptoms

  • Frequent urination
  • High blood pressure 
  • Increase appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Panting 
  • Hair loss 
  • Blackheads on the abdomen
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Sagging abdomen
  • Skin lumps and discoloration

Treatment

Medication called Mitotane is used to kill the outside layer of the adrenal glands. Treatment lasts for two years and requires close supervision by your veterinarian.

Regulating the medication allows the Veterinarian to control the amount of hormones produced by the remaining adrenal glands. 

If left untreated, Cushing’s disease may lead to life-threatening disorders such as infection, high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, and/or liver failure.