What is Cushings Disease in Dogs?

Cushings disease is a severe skin condition that affects the lining of the dog’s stomach. The disorder is most common in dogs aged one year and older but can affect human and canine patients. It’s also called pyloric stenosis or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDSV). 

As its name implies, this disease causes the stomach to stretch out or “dilate,” as the people who suffer from it call it. In other words, it restricts the dog’s ability to empty his stomach.

This health problem usually affects elderly dogs and puppies who have trouble maintaining frequent stools or eating correctly. Adult dogs with Cushings disease are prone to vomiting and diarrhea. They may also experience gas pain when they eat. If left untreated, this diet-related illness can lead to malnutrition and death.

Fortunately, many ways to treat your dog with Cushings disease without resorting to expensive surgery or long-term medication. Read on for more information about what this diagnosis means, possible symptoms, potential treatments, and much more!

Table of Contents

What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

Cushings disease is caused by a genetic medical condition that causes the walls of the dog’s stomach to be weak or absent. The condition is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The exact cause of this condition is unknown.

However, studies have found that a defect in the enzymes that break down amino acid homocysteine may be responsible. Without this chemical compound involved in several essential metabolic functions, the stomach muscles do not get the energy they need to work correctly.

It causes the stomach to become “ballooned” or “stretched” out, and the dog feels complete and “stuck” or “loose” even though he’s not eating anything. However, not all dogs with Cushings disease experience these symptoms.

A dog with mild to moderate disease usually does fine on a regular dog food diet, but a dog with highly advanced disease may need to be on a high-quality special diet.

These potential causes include liver and pancreatic diseases and certain kidney and brain diseases. Different breeds are more likely to be affected than other dog breeds.

How Common is Cushings Disease in Dogs?

According to the American Heart Association, about 1 in 10 dogs in the United States is diagnosed with heart disease. However, about 1 in 8 of these dogs has Cushing’s disease, the most common form of Cushing’s disease. Unfortunately, this genetic condition is tough to predict or prevent.

The average age at which a dog starts to experience the effects of Cushing’s disease is usually between the ages of one and four. Unfortunately, this condition is more likely to occur in older age dogs, and it’s more likely to occur in female dogs.

What Is the Cause of Cushings Disease in Dogs?

Although several genes have been associated with Cushing’s disease, the exact cause is still a mystery. However, several factors seem to increase or decrease the risk of developing this condition. One study found that: Having a murine model of canine parvovirus, Canis familiaris, in the stomach may increase the risk of developing GDSV.

Having an underactive thyroid may increase the risk of developing GDSV. A genetic disorder affecting how the body breaks down certain drugs (e.g., cytochrome P-450) may increase the risk of developing GDSV.

As with many conditions, a combination of these and other factors seems to be involved. Another study found that: Feeding your dog in a way that leads to poor digestion (e.g., slow, repeated feedings, large amounts of table scraps, etc.) may promote the growth of bacteria that may lead to GDSV.

Practicing “on-the-chew” training (e.g., “umming” before meals, never offering a Kong toy to your dog for “free,” etc.) can also lead to a “leaky gut,” which may promote the growth of harmful bacteria.

Potential Symptoms of Cushings Disease in Dogs

The following are the most typical signs and symptoms of Cushings disease in dogs: Weight loss – Many breeds, especially older ones, may become severely underweight due to Cushing’s disease. Weakness in the hindquarters (from being unable to support herself physically) – This can also be a sign of advanced disease.

Lethargy – Affected dogs may become very lethargic. They may not want to interact with you or do anything strenuous. L-5 Diet – This is a high-quality special diet commonly prescribed for dogs with Cushing’s disease. Lack of Interest in Exercise – Affected dogs rarely show any signs of enjoying exercise.

How to Diagnose Cushings Disease in Dogs?

Your dog’s veterinarian will likely first ask you to check his diet to see if there are any obvious dietary causes of your dog’s symptoms. From there, the correct diagnosis will likely follow. Unfortunately, the exact diagnosis of this condition is often difficult, especially in older dogs.

Your veterinarian may order a variety of tests to help confirm his diagnosis, including: –

  • Blood tests to check for excess blood in your dog’s tissues
  • Urine tests to check for periodic (usually related to food intake) bladder spraying
  • X-rays of the spine to rule out other conditions that could be causing your dog’s back problems
  • Urinalysis to check for crystals or other substances in your dog’s urine
  • Radiography to rule out other causes of abdominal pain such as parasites, tumors, and other medical conditions
  • Ultrasound to rule out other causes of abdominal discomfort
  • Echocardiogram to rule out heart problems such as atrial flutter or patented heart
  • Biochemical analysis of your dog’s blood to check for abnormality

How to Treat Cushing in Your Dog without Surgery?

Unfortunately, existing treatments for Cushing’s disease are not up to managing your dog’s condition long-term. Not only is surgery an expensive option, but it’s also not guaranteed to help your dog. Several factors are involved in determining whether or not he will ultimately benefit from the surgery.

There’s also the issue of putting your dog through the surgery, which may have serious side effects (e.g., bleeding, infection, and difficulty with breathing). On the other hand, plenty of simple treatments have been proven to help a wide range of conditions.

What is Cushings Disease in Dogs? The following are some of the most popular treatments for Cushing’s disease: – 

Nutrient Food – Consuming a low-fat, high-sugar diet may promote the growth of bacteria that can lead to GDSV. –

Exercise Antonio Exercise – Exercise is proven beneficial for lowering blood pressure and improving cardiac function. It can also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the dog’s stomach. –

Zinc and Selenium – These minerals help promote the growth of good bacteria in the dog’s stomach.

Probiotics – This particular type of good bacteria may help restore your dog’s stomach balance. –

Folate – This helps promote the growth of good bacteria in the dog’s stomach. –

Vitamin B-12 – This is a co-factor needed for the proper activity of the amino acid tryptophan. Vitamin A is needed for good vision, brain, and immune system function. –

Coconut Oil – This can be used as a dietary supplement.

Potassium – This is necessary for proper heart and muscle activity. –

Calcium – This is important for strong bones and teeth. –

Iron – This is needed for the production of red blood cells and the movement of oxygen in the body.

Phosphorus – This is needed for proper development and maturation of the brain and other body organs

Cushings Disease in Dogs FAQ

  • What Causes Cushings Disease in Dogs?

    Cushings disease is a common problem in dogs and can be caused by several things. One of the most common causes is a lack of exercise.
    Dogs who don’t get enough exercise can become obese and develop cushioning disease. This is a condition in which the dog’s skin becomes thick and tough, making it difficult for them to move.

  • is cushings disease fatal in dogs?

    No, cushings disease is not fatal in dogs. Dogs can digest and fight off the disease, but it can still cause problems down the road.

  • How to test for cushings disease in dogs?

    – Testing for cushings disease in dogs can be performed by a veterinarian using a routine blood test to detect the presence of the protein substance, myoglobin, in the blood. – If your dog has evidence of cushings disease, he or she may require treatment by a veterinarian.

  • What are the symptoms of cushings disease in dogs?

    Some symptoms of cushings disease in dogs may include:

    – Poor coat quality
    – Poor digestion
    – Poor coat health
    – Difficulty breathing
    – Difficulty sleeping

  • When to euthanize a dog with cushings disease?

    – When the dog has developed an extensive and progressive neurologic involvement and there is no hope of rescue or cure
    – When the dog is no longer able to Bear weight or respond to standard behavior practices

  • What to feed dogs with cushings disease?

    – Feed a dog with a high-quality diet that consists of fresh, fresh-fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat proteins, and healthy fats.
    – Make sure to provide plenty of water and toys for your dog.

  • Does my dog have cushings disease?

    – Testing for cushings disease in dogs can be performed by a veterinarian using a routine blood test to detect the presence of the protein substance, myoglobin, in the blood.
    – If your dog has evidence of cushings disease, he or she may require treatment by a veterinarian.

  • What are the end stages of cushings disease in dogs?

    The end stages of cushings disease in dogs are: –
    – Inappetence –
    – Anorexia
    – Weight loss
    – Dental problems
    – Bleeding gums
    – Respiratory problems
    – Death

  • What are the stages of cushings disease in dogs?

    – Stage 1: general symptoms –
    Stage 2: muscle weakness and lameness –
    Stage 3: death

  • What do you feed a dog with cushings disease?

    – A high quality diet that is low in sugar, grains, dairy, and processed foods
    – Regular exercise
    – Proper grooming

  • What is the best dog food for cushings disease?

    – A food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates will help to improve the overall health and well-being of your dog.
    – A food that is high in fiber will help to keep your dog’s intestines healthy and regular.

  • How do you know if your dog has cushings disease?

    – Pawing around the base of the tail and the back of the neck is the most common symptom.
    – The disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics and/or pain relief.

  • How long can a dog live with cushings disease?

    A dog with cushings disease will usually live 4-6 years with the disease.

  • How long will a dog live with untreated cushings disease?

    A dog with untreated cushings disease will likely die within a year.

  • How do dogs get cushings disease?

    Dogs get cushings disease when their coat is infected with a virus that causes a skin infection.

  • How do you treat cushings disease in dogs?

    – Place the dog on its side with its front paws on the floor and its back paws on the edge of the bed.
    – Apply pressure to the back of the dog’s neck with your hands, and then slowly release the pressure.
    – Repeat the process three times.

  • Are cushings disease in humans the same as dogs?

    No, cushings are not found in dogs and humans are not related.

  • Are dogs with cushings disease depressed?

    There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that dogs with cushings disease are depressed.

  • Can 14 year old dog live with cushings disease?

    Yes, a 14 year old dog can live with cushings disease.

  • Can a dog get hearing loss with cushings disease?

    No, cushings disease does not cause hearing loss in dogs.

  • Can a dog live with cushings disease without treatment?

    There is no cure for cushioning disease, however, treatments can help reduce the symptoms. Chamberlain’s Disease is a condition where the fatty tissues in the dog’s feet become thick and rub against each other causing inflammation and pain. Treatment involves physical therapy and/or antibiotics. Some dogs may also require a special diet to help manage the disease.

  • Can a dog with cushings disease be given heartworm medication?

    Yes, a dog with cushings disease that is given heartworm medication can be treated successfully.

  • Can chlorophyll help dogs with cushings disease?

    There is limited research on chlorophyll and cushings disease, so it is unknown whether it can help dogs with cushings disease.

  • Can cushings disease cause microbleeds in dogs?

    -Yes, cushings disease can cause microbleeds in dogs.

Leave a Comment