Managing Cushing's Syndrome in Dogs with Anipryl

Anipryl is a relatively new treatment for Canine Cushing's syndrome, as well as senility in dogs.

Canine Cushing's Disease

Canine Cushing's Disease (hyperadrenocorticism) happens in middle-aged or older dogs, and is therefore often considered to be normal changes as a result of old age.

There are two types of Cushing's Disease:

With both variations of Cushing's, an excess of cortisol (steroid) hormones are being sent into the dog's body.

Symptoms include:

  • insatiable appetite—which in turn leads to obesity and the problems associated with that
  • excessive thirst and urination
  • possible hair loss

How Anipryl Works

Anipryl is a relatively new drug used in the treatment of Canine cognitive dysfunction, as well as Canine Cushing's disease. Most cases of Cushing's in dogs are a result of tumors located on the pituitary gland, which in turn cause the hyperactivity of the adrenal glands. 

Other treatments have zeroed in on affecting the adrenal glands to inhibit production of cortisol. Anipryl, however, goes straight for the pituitary functions. Anipryl prevents Dopamine in the brain from breaking down. By doing this, the Dopamine (which inhibits the creation of ACTH in the pituitary—thus, in a chain reaction, inhibiting the creation of cortisol in the adrenal glands) sticks around to keep the pituitary from over-producing. 

While a majority of Cushing's cases in dogs are due to pituitary tumors, only about 20% of those cases have tumors on the part of the pituitary that is dependant on Dopamine. Any dogs outside of this 20% will not see a significant improvement when given Anipryl.

Side-Effects of Anipryl

Side-effects include the following: 

With any of these side-effects, you'll want to let your vet know. Anipryl may also have negative affects when interacting with other health products or medications. This includes something as simple as a tick collar. Be sure to let your veterinarian know any and all medical and health products your dog is using. 

Benefits of Anipryl

Rather than focusing in on the functions of the adrenal glands, Anipryl goes straight for the pituitary gland itself. It does not need to erode the gland, such as Lysodren does to the adrenal glands. Lysodren also requires a large amount of blood work to monitor treatment. Anipryl does not require such extensive monitoring.

When compared to Trilostane, another medication to treat Cushing's, Anipryl may be a slightly cheaper alternative. Their doses are about the same—once or twice a day. Lysodren is probably the cheapest, however, as treatments are only once or twice a week. 

Whatever treatment you choose, talk it over with your vet to decide what is best for your dog's specific situation.