Cushing's disease in dogs

The hormone cortisol is important for immune support and stress regulation.  When your dog suffers from a lack or excess of this hormone, it can spell major trouble for their well-being.

The medical term for Cushing’s disease is hyperadrenocorticism, which occurs when your dog’s body over produces the hormone cortisol. Now hyperadrenocorticism is not easy or fun to say, so let’s stick with the term Cushing’s disease. When produced normally in your dog’s body, cortisol actually does some incredible things. Cortisol helps your dog modulate their immune system and respond to stress; however, too much cortisol can be extremely harmful to your dog.




causes of canine cushing’s disease

The most common cause of cushing’s disease in dogs, responsible for about 80-85% of all cases, is a pituitary tumor. These tumors are usually benign but in some rare cases they can be malignant. Ready for another really long name? When a dogs cushing’s disease is due to problems with the pituitary gland it’s called pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH).


The other 15-20% of cases are due to tumors in the adrenal gland. This also gets a long name, adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (ADH). adrenal tumors are about 50/50 on being benign or malignant.

Another known cause of cushing’s disease in dogs is when a dog is given too much corticosteroid medications. People use it to treat allergies and immune disorders. The good news is that you can simply reverse it by stopping or lowering the dosage.

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symptoms of cushing’s disease in dogs:

Every dog is different and their symptoms may not be noticeable right away. Many of the symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease can also be associated with other serious diseases. It is important that you see your veterinarian so they can help properly diagnose your dog. With that said, here are some common symptoms normally associated with Cushing’s disease in dogs:

  • Drinking and urinating more than usual
  • Urinating in the house
  • Eating more than usual
  • Swollen and tender abdomen
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Irritation and darkening of the skin
  • Bruising

treatment for cushing’s disease

Some mild cases of Cushing’s disease don’t require immediate attention. It is important that you monitor your dog closely to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen. Signs that it’s time for treatment include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive panting
  • Bladder control issues
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Infections

When treating pituitary gland Cushing’s disease, vets usually prescribe a drug called Trilostane. This drug does not play well with other medication. You should let your veterinarian know any additional medications your dog may be taking.

Treatment of a adrenal tumor is a little more complicated and can include a CT scan or MRI. Vets will do these tests to find out if there is any possible metastatic spread of the disease. If no metastases are there, medication will be given for a period of time. This will help to shrink the tumor before eventually removing it.

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Remember to always:

Paws – Think – Act



Why might my pet be at risk? How can I help my pet avoid this ailment? What changes can I impact to minimize the effects associated with this illness?


Why CBD can benefit your dog suffering from cushing’s disease

CBD – or Cannabidiol – can be a very effective remedy for the treatment and prevention of your dog’s hyperadrenocorticism.  

Cannabidiol (CBD) can be very beneficial for balancing your dog’s hormone production.  CBD oils and treats can assist in the prevention of infections and reduction of tumors.  The main reason for Cushing’s Disease is benign tumor in the pituitary glands. Cannabidiol is very effective at reducing tumors.  CBD also helps to lessen the effects of lethargy, gastrointestinal issues and skin & coat deterioration.

CBD is generally effective at treating the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in your dog, but it is not formulated to treat the disease itself.  Think of CBD as a supplement that can reduce the severity and frequency of many of the disease’s symptoms.

Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that have a prominent effect on numerous ailments – including epilepsy and seizures.  Remedies containing CBD achieve this by interacting with your dog’s endocannabinoid system. Almost all animals, like people, have an endocannabinoid system; this network of neurotransmitters is integral to physiological processes like memory, mood, pain, stress and appetite.

This complex biosystem is very prevalent in dogs in comparison to other species.  Canines have a high concentration of CB1 & CB2 receptors in their brainstem. CB1 receptors affect the brain, lungs, vascular system and muscles, gastrointestinal function; whereas, CB2 receptors affects bones, skin spleen and glial cells.  In combination, CB1-CB2 collaborate in influencing the overall immune system, liver, kidneys, bone marrow, pancreas and brainstem.

How CBD Can Help Your Dog?

CBD can help your dog by producing anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, antispasmodic and analgesic effects indirectly – that is, CBD interacts with your dog’s ECS (Endocannabinoid System) opposite to THC which directly binds to the Cannabinoid Receptors of the body.  This does two things: makes the positive remedial properties more bioavailable to your dog; and lessens or negates the psychoactive effects, such as those associated with THC ingestion.

As you can see by the wide scope of ailments that CBD effects, it is clear how introducing CBD into your dog’s routine can help to maintain a healthy, balanced hormone system.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Wild Thing Pets® products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained in or made available through the Wild Thing Pets® website is not intended to constitute or substitute legal advice or consultation from veterinary professionals.

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