Diagnosing and Treating Cushing’s Disease
If you observe the aforementioned symptoms, schedule a consult with your dog’s veterinarian. The diagnosis and subsequent treatment of Cushing’s disease is important for maintaining your dog’s health and quality of life as well as preserving the human-animal bond. Unfortunately, many pet parents become frustrated and annoyed as their dog begins to have urinary accidents or needs to be walked additional times during the day and in the middle of the night. Treating Cushing’s disease will furthermore reduce the risk of high blood pressure, urinary tract infections and life threatening blood clots.
There are several tests available that are used as diagnostic tools for Cushing’s disease. The tests include analysis of urine and blood samples as well as abdominal ultrasound. Often, a combination of tests is done to support a diagnosis.
The treatment of Cushing’s disease depends on whether diagnostic tests indicate a pituitary or adrenal tumor. For pituitary based disease, the medications Trilostane and Mitotane are most commonly used. In cases of large pituitary tumors, surgery or radiation may be considered if the dog is exhibiting neurologic problems.
Since adrenal tumors have the potential to be malignant, evaluation for evidence of metastasis is needed. If tests indicate the spread of disease has occurred, a veterinary oncology consult is recommended. If there are no signs of metastasis, it does not definitively rule out the tumor’s dissemination. Adrenal tumors can be treated both medically and surgically. Due to the anatomical position of the adrenal glands, surgery can be very difficult and unpredictable. Pet owners should consult a board-certified veterinary surgeon to discuss the benefits and risks of surgery.
Cushing’s disease is a chronic condition that necessitates long term care and monitoring tests. Familiarity with the symptoms enables dog parents to recognize the early warning signs and seek prompt treatment. With appropriate care, dogs with Cushing’s disease can lead long and happy lives.
Learn more about how to treat Cushing’s disease in dogs.