A Common Disease in Older Dogs
By Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD
Cushing's disease is a common endocrine (glandular) problem seen and middle-aged to older dogs. Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, the condition is caused by excessive corticosteroid production by the adrenal glands. The most common cause of canine Cushing's disease is the presence of a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, which releases hormones that stimulate the adrenal glands’ production of corticosteroids. Less frequently, a corticosteroid-producing tumor can grow on one or both of the adrenal glands.
Dogs being treated with oral or injectable corticosteroids (prednisone, dexamethasone, etc.) can also exhibits clinical signs of Cushing's disease. Therefore, it’s important that a veterinarian consider all factors potentially contributing to clinical signs of hyperadrenocorticism.