Dogs
labrador retriever, dog, pet @ Pixabay

Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism is a serious health condition in dogs where its adrenal gland starts to overproduce the cortisone or cortisol in the body. Excess levels of cortisol can also result because of prolonged steroid usage. 

Overproduction of cortisol puts the dog at risk of developing several serious illnesses like diabetes and kidney damage which could be life-threatening.

A malignant or benign tumor causes cushing’s disease in dogs in the pituitary gland. This is a small pea-sized gland that is located on the base of the brain. The tumors may sometimes be located in the dogs’ adrenal gland, which is just above the kidney.

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

The vet carries out a physical examination and runs several tests to determine the cause of the condition. The tests also help to rule out other health issues. 

  • The vet would ask you to get urine culture, urinalysis, full chemistry panel, and complete blood panel checked. However, there could be more tests prescribed as per what the doctor feels necessary.
  • An adrenal function test tests low adrenal and high dexamethasone suppression. However, the adrenal function test can show a false positive if there is another disease that has a similar clinical sign.
  • Ultrasound helps to rule out any other complications which could be causing the symptom. Tumors rule out an ultrasound in the liver and spleen, gallbladder diseases, chronic inflammatory liver disease, and bladder issues.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is the most effective test to determine the adrenal glands. However, this is an expensive test.

Treatment for Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

The most prevalent treatment for Cushing’s disease is through medication that helps to decrease the cortisone amount produced by the adrenal glands. The permanent treatment, however, is to remove the tumor completely. However, surgery’s risk and complexities make many vets opt to treat the condition through medications.

The treatment is determined as per the kind of the disease.

  • Treating Pituitary tumors is the most difficult. The doctor will use the drugs mitotane and trilostane to treat it.
  • In case of an adrenal tumor, your dog will have to undergo abdominal surgery. If it is possible to remove the tumor completely and not be malignant, the dog will likely regain its normal health.
  • Iatrogenic Cushing’s diseases will need gradual discontinuation of the steroid, which is being used to treat another condition.

After the medication starts, the dog will have to see the vet regularly to carry out the ACTH stimulation tests until excess cortisone production is controlled. However, routine blood tests and medication adjustments will have to be carried out all through the pets’ life.

How Can CBD Help Your Dog with Cushing’s Disease?

Cannabidiol or CBD is derived from hemp and helps treat Cushing’s disease in dogs. CBD balances the hormone production and has shown positive interactions with the endocannabinoid system of dogs. 

The benign tumor present in the pituitary gland is the main reason that causes Cushing’s disease. CBD does not just help to manage the disease but also treats gastrointestinal issues and eases inflammation and pain. Introducing CBD into the dogs’ routine helps them to maintain and balance a healthy hormone system.

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