The two major organs involved in the development of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs are the two glandular organs of the endocrine system – the pituitary and the adrenal glands (to be particular, the adrenal cortex).
The pituitary is the parent gland that releases the Adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) to signal the adrenal cortex to release the stress hormone, cortisol.
What Causes Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?
Excess of this hormone is the basic cause of Cushing’s syndrome. Excessive levels of cortisol may be caused due to a problem, usually a tumor, with the pituitary or the adrenal gland. When the problem is caused due to a pituitary tumor, it is known as Cushing’s disease.
Regardless of the nature of these tumors, benign or malignant, the result is an increase in the production of cortisol. Dogs that have previously undergone corticosteroid therapy for allergies or immune diseases are also at a risk of developing symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome.
Cortisol has a strong physiological and chemical effect and acts as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agent. Large amounts of freely circulating cortisol in the body suppresses the dog’s immune system, exposing it to various bacterial infections.
Diagnosing a Cushing’s Disease
The diagnosis of Cushing’s disease is based on the symptoms, medical history and a thorough physical examination. If Cushing’s disease is suspected, certain tests such as a complete blood count, blood chemistry panel and urinalysis will be performed.
Further screening tests such as a urine cortisol, creatinine ratio, low dose dexamethasone suppression test, ultrasound, high dose dexamethasone suppression test and the ACTH stimulation test may be performed to obtain a definitive diagnosis of Cushing’s disease.
Traditional Treatment for Cushing’s Disease
Depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, your vet may recommend various treatment options. Oral medications such as Mitotane (Lysodren), Ketoconazole, L-deprenyl (Amery) or Trilostane are typically prescribed for canine Cushing’s disease.
Mitotane is the most widely used medication, similar to chemotherapy. This type of therapy is life-long, and while undergoing therapy, your pet has to be monitored carefully to determine whether the treatment is successful.
These medications have some serious side effects and can also become very costly – consult with your vet about a treatment that best suits your pet needs. With treatment, improvement may be noticed within 4 to 6 months.
If your pet develops Cushing’s disease because of the overuse of corticosteroids to treat allergies or skin disorders, your pet may have to be weaned off the medication first. In severe cases where a tumor may develop in the adrenal glands, surgery may be required.
Are There Natural Ways to Help Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs?
Holistic treatments pay more attention to the underlying cause of the problem rather than suppressing the symptoms for temporary relief.
Although there are numerous remedies that fall under holistic treatments, the major emphasis in holistic treatments is to concentrate on prevention rather than waiting for symptoms to show. It is a dedicated effort to encourage healing by understanding the body’s signals.
Natural Remedies for Cushing’s Disease
Herbal and homeopathic remedies are a gentle, yet safe natural alternative for the treatment of your pet’s adrenal health and Cushing’s Disease. These remedies can be used in combination with conventional treatment approaches to ensure overall pet health and well-being.
Cushex Drops contains a blend of natural ingredients specially selected to target adrenal health and balance in pets, as well as help address the symptoms and causes of Cushing’s Disease.
* Each ingredient in this natural remedy plays a specific role in maintaining adrenal function; maintaining normal fluid and electrolyte levels; and supporting the health and integrity of the coat and skin.*
The holistic way of treatment, therefore, is to read the organic relation of the entire body with the symptoms presented by it and decide how the treatment should be applied. It is a belief that says that only the body’s system as a whole can explain how different organs are functioning. These include behavioral as well as physiological symptoms.
With regards to Cushing’s disease, a holistic treatment would involve choosing alternative therapies that do not conceal symptoms but focus on improving organ functioning. In the case of Cushing’s, it is the adrenal gland that needs a helping hand to improve its functionality.
A homeopathic remedy for Cushing’s disease or a natural medicine or even a change in diet that extends support to the organs involved, especially the adrenal gland, along with alleviating allied symptoms, would thus be part of a holistic treatment of the disease.
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