Seeing our pets sick with minimalistic suffering can make our hearts ache. But imagining them suffering from any chronic illness is something we don’t even want to imagine. However, our dogs can sometimes fall ill to chronic disease, and Cushing’s disease is one such condition that is just worse. When a disease this big is in the picture, it requires proper knowledge of dealing with it and taking necessary action. When our pet has even the slightest discomfort, we do not think about anything else but want to see them get better and run around the house. But the real question is, ‘when to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease?’. This guide will help you with this question.
Dogs in this generation are less resilient and tend to fall sick. The number of stray dogs compared to domesticated ones has increased, leading to improper management of pests and diseases. Everything aside, Cushing’s disease can make any of our dear dog’s suffering worse and worse day by day. Thus, many people choose to end this suffering by euthanizing their pets.
What causes Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?
What is Cushing’s disease? So, first, let’s know about Cushing’s disease. This particular illness is the overproduction of the hormone called cortisol. If the vet says your canine is suffering from Hypercortisolism or Hyperadrenocorticism, it is nothing but Cushing’s disease. So, if you ask, ‘what causes cushing’s disease in dogs?’, simply blame it on the cortisol’s overproduction.
Now, cortisol is an important steroid that helps fight infections, maintain stress, and balance body weight. However, when this steroid is anywhere in high amounts in a dog’s body it will become fatal and dangerous. Furthermore, high amounts of cortisol cause high blood pressure, liver disease, and congestive heart failure.
Besides, Cushing’s disease can be of 2 types- adrenal-dependent and pituitary-dependent. Speaking about adrenal-dependent, this type is a result of a tumor on a canine’s adrenal gland. In contrast, pituitary-dependent is a condition where a tumor develops on the pituitary gland.
Signs and Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
Typically, the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease dog can be more or less the same in most dogs. Improper or less knowledge can make the disease undiagnosed for a long time. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of all those symptoms so that you can take your pet to the vet as early as possible. Furthermore, it can help the vet prepare the next plan of action to increase the chances of managing this disease as much as he can.
- Boosted Hunger
- Constant Urination
- Slow Hair Growth
- Muscle Loss
- Changes in the Skin, such as Darkening in Pigment or Thinned Skin
- Chronic Skin Infections
- Chronic UTI’s
- Excessive Panting
- Pot Belly
One should note that even though this disease is mainly found in middle-aged to old dogs, one should not hesitate to look for such symptoms in younger dogs.
How Long Can a Dog Live with Cushing’s Disease?
After knowing the answer to the question, ‘what is cushing’s disease in dogs?’, it is important to know its impact on a dog. There’s no definite answer to how long a dog can live with this disease, as it depends on many factors. Also, keep in mind that this sickness can only be treated as there is no permanent cure.
Moreover, it also depends on how far the tumor has progressed, the dog’s age, etc. If the disease begins in the adrenal gland, then the dog can live for at least 3 or more years, but if it takes place in the pituitary gland, then we can guarantee 2 or fewer years.
In cases where a younger dog has been diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, it lives longer than an older dog as its body can fight. Regardless, this particular chronic illness is the most common in 6-year-old dogs. It can also occur mostly in female dogs and spayed or neutered canines. The critical thing to note here is that medical care is of utmost significance in managing the symptoms and not the disease itself.
Diagnosing & Treating Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
After your dog has been diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, the vet will start with the course of treatment by taking some blood and urine tests. Doing so will help him see how far the symptoms and, thereby, the illness have progressed. Furthermore, the tests can be ultrasound, ACTH Stimulation Examination, high blood pressure, and pee cortisol. These tests will help the vet understand the disease’s prime cause.
If it is adrenal-dependent, it will show a lump on a canine’s adrenal gland, and the vet may suggest abdominal surgery to remove it. Besides, such tumors are unusual, and only around 10% of doggies deal with this condition.
Coming to the pituitary-dependent, over 90% of canines suffer through this condition. The tumor causes excessive release of ACTH, which can weaken the immune system. But with proper medication and care, the dog can still have a long healthy life.
#1 Allopathic Medicine
One should note that deciding which type of medicine to give requires a lot of knowledge, as it’s both time and money investing. Many medications can help control the symptoms like constant urination and thirst.
- Vetoryl – Also known as Trilostane, it can help with hair growth. This medication can be given as a pill or injection. Moreover, it works by masking the production of cortisol. Its side effects can be drowsiness or a decline in hunger.
- Lysodren – This drug works by blocking the adrenal glands to such levels which can cease the overproduction of cortisol. Besides, it has been on the market since the ’70s. However, this is a hazardous drug as it may result in death if the dosage is unmonitored. Speaking about its ingestion, one can give it as a pill or injection to their fur buddy.
#2 Herbal Medications
Given the side effects of such foreign medicines, some dog owners may choose the herbal route, and eastern herbal medicine helps with the symptoms of the disease without having to worry about the costs.
- Rehmannia 14 – Has almost 14 herbs in it. And it helps in lessening the symptoms of the disease.
- Lignans – Arrives in 2 variations-SDG and HMR. SDG comes from the flax hull, whereas HRM comes from the Norwegian spruce trees. In comparison, HMR lignans help regulate the adrenal gland’s estrogen levels more than SDG lignans.
- Melatonin- Being readily available in many health food stores, it greatly helps in the production of antioxidants, regulation of hormones, and maintaining the circadian rhythm.
- Ophiopogon Formula- This one consists of 12 herbs. By helping in the treatment of all imbalances that result in Cushing’s disease, it can prove to be greatly helpful.
The other way to deal with Cushing’s disease may be surgery, but that depends on the tumor’s location, as some tumors may be inoperable or too big.
#4 Radiation Therapy
Another method can be by using radiation therapy. It helps in shrinking the tumor in size, making it more operable. Nonetheless, radiation therapy has many side effects, like nausea, pain, and vomiting. It can also increase the recurrence chances of cancer.
#5 Home Remedies through Food
As a pet owner, you can make any changes to your canine’s diet to help them alleviate the pain. Try including a diet with more protein and less fiber and fat. Giving medicinal mushrooms can help with inflammation and the immune system. Giving liver treats, digestive enzymes, and probiotics can improve gut health and help with digestion.
When To Put A Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?
Putting a pet down is the hardest decision a person has ever to make. But, if this horrible thing can help your pet pass away peacefully without any more pain and suffering, it can make this horrible thing a great solution. So, when is it time to put a dog down? The factors to consider for the euthanizing of a dog with Cushing’s disease are
- Dog is having difficulty breathing.
- Pet is in tremendous pain.
- Inoperable tumor in the canine.
- Increased levels of diabetes in the pet.
- Dog experienced renal failure.
- Neurological sufferings like seizures in the canine.
Letting go of our dog can be challenging, but ending the suffering becomes the right choice. Cushing’s disease can be well fought by some dogs so that they can lead a healthy life, whereas some dogs aren’t strong. So, a wise decision has to be made for the dog’s welfare. The vet can make this decision process more accessible as they will consider all the factors and help you make the right choice. So, hope you all got the answer for when to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease.