What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

Cushing’s disease is a serious health issue that can affect our beloved canine companions, but it’s important to know what it is, what causes it, and how to manage it. It affects dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes, and can arise for a variety of reasons. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of this condition and to know the signs of Cushing’s disease in order to ensure that their pet is receiving the best possible care.

Cushing’s disease (Hyperadrenocorticism) in dogs is a hormonal disorder caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands. Symptoms may include increased drinking and urination, excessive panting, a pot-bellied appearance, thinning skin and hair, and slow healing of wounds. Treatment typically includes medication and lifestyle modifications.

Learning more about this disease can help you recognize the signs, get treatment for your dog, and ensure a long and healthy life. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Cushing’s Disease?

Cushing’s disease, or Hyperadrenocorticism, is a disorder that affects dogs and is caused by an excess of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body’s adrenal glands. If left untreated, it can cause serious health complications such as diabetes, liver disease, and even death in the worst cases.

What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs in centennial, co

How to Identify Cushing’s Disease

Signs that a dog may have this include increased drinking and urination, increased appetite, a pot-bellied appearance, thinning of the skin, hair loss, and a dull or dry coat. If you suspect your dog may have Cushing’s disease, it is important to take them to the vet for a complete physical and blood work. The vet will be able to diagnose it by looking at the results of the blood work.

Diagnoses and Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition and can include dietary changes, medications, or surgery. It is important to speak with a veterinarian if your dog is displaying any of the symptoms of Cushing’s disease, as early diagnosis and treatment are key to a successful outcome.

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease in dogs can be diagnosed through a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, abdominal imaging, and a dexamethasone suppression test. A veterinarian will use these tests to determine whether a dog has Cushing’s disease.

cushings disease in dogs

Treating Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is a common endocrine disorder in dogs. It occurs when the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol, resulting in a variety of symptoms that can be debilitating. Treatment in dogs typically involves the use of medication, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle changes.

Here is a list of tips for treatment in dogs:

  • Administer prescribed medication on time and as directed.
  • Monitor changes in the dog’s physical condition, including weight, coat condition, and any other symptoms.
  • Provide the dog with a low-sodium diet and plenty of fresh, clean water.
  • Increase exercise to help keep the dog’s weight and cortisol levels under control.
  • Avoid stress and excessive stimulation, as this can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Work with a professional vet to determine the optimal course of treatment for your dog.

Prevention in Dogs

Cushing’s disease in dogs can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and regular check-ups with a vet to monitor the dog’s health. It is important to monitor any changes in behavior, appetite, or energy levels, as these can be signs of Cushing’s disease.

Avoiding Risk Factors

To avoid risk factors of Cushing’s disease in dogs, it’s important to feed them a balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, breed, and size. Make sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water and monitor the number of treats they are getting.

It is also important to keep up with regular vet visits and discuss any changes in the dog’s behavior or health. If the dog is obese, make sure to exercise it regularly and keep its body weight in check. Additionally, it is important not to give any over-the-counter medications without consulting a vet first. This is a serious condition and can be avoided or managed with proper diet, exercise, and veterinary care.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Early detection is important to prevent further complications. The primary symptom of Cushing’s disease is excessive drinking and urinating. Other symptoms include increased appetite, increased panting, and hair loss.

The above symptoms should be taken seriously, and your dog should be seen by a veterinarian if any of them appear. For a proper diagnosis and to rule out other potential causes, the vet may order blood tests and urine tests. To ensure successful treatment and management of this disease in your dog, early detection is crucial.


Cushing’s disease in dogs is a complex disorder that can have a serious impact on a dog’s quality of life. It is important to seek veterinary care if your dog is displaying any of the signs and symptoms associated with this. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and management, these dogs can still lead healthy, happy lives.

If you have any questions regarding your dog’s health, call our veterinarian at (303) 850-9393 or Make an Appointment online!

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