Dog Cushings Disease Prognosis

While dog Cushings Disease is a serious, sometimes fatal and often misdiagnosed disorder, catching and treating it can greatly improve your dog's quality of life.

Canine Cushing's Disease

Canine Cushing's Disease (hyperadrenocorticism) occurs in middle-aged or senior dogs, and is therefore often thought to be typical changes due to old age.

There are two types of Cushing's Disease:

In both types of Cushing's, an excess of glucocorticoid hormones are being released into the dog's body.

Symptoms of Cushing's Disease

An increase in appetite and an enlarged abdomen appear in 80% of dogs with Cushing's. Owners may think nothing of this other than their dog having a "healthy appetite." Obesity is a result of over-eating. Your dog may seem to be completely insatiable when it comes to food. Dogs suffering from Cushing's might have thinner skin and hair loss, and will consume more water and urinate more frequently.

Diagnosis of Canine Cushing's Disease

If you suspect your dog is suffering from Cushing's Disease, you should have your veterinarian run a full blood panel and urinalysis to check. Although some symptoms are known to show up years before a solid diagnosis of Cushing's can be made, early diagnosis and treatment will greatly improve your dog's chances of living a happier life.

The most common reason owners finally bring their dogs into the vet is notice of hair loss. For any dog, conditions like Cushing's can be spotted earlier on with regular trips to the vet, and any major changes should be mentioned to your dog's doctor. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better.

Canine Cushing's Disease Dog's Prognosis

This varies on the cause of your dog's Cushing's Disease.

Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism is less treatable and tumors on the pituitary gland are rarely removed. Veterinarians will try to treat the symptoms instead. If the tumors are benign, the outcome is pretty good. However in dogs with malignant tumors, the prognosis is dimmer. 80% of Cushing's cases are pituitary gland related, and this branch often responds well to oral treatment.

In Adrenal-based Hyperadrenocorticism, tumors on the adrenal gland can be surgically removed. While the surgery can be risky, there are good chances of a complete recovery. Like with pituitary tumors, prognosis for malignant tumors is much less favorable.

Canine Cushing's can cause a number of other life-threatening problems such as obesity, kidney and liver failure, congestive heart failure, or diabetes. Many dogs with Cushing's suffer recurrent urinary tract infections. In the event no treatment is given, the infected dog usually dies.

If your dog is treated, symptoms will dissipate in 4 to 6 months, with the excessive food and water intake the first ones to go. Treatment can expand your dog's life by many years. While your dog may never have normal adrenal function again, after treatment he or she can better enjoy their quality of life.