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Cushing’s Disease Essentials Kit

Supraglan & Milk Thistle to Support Dog & Pet Cushing's Disease

USD $91.90
Cushing’s Disease Essentials Kit USD $91.90 Add to Cart

Vet Talk: Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Vet Talks 3 min read
Vet Talk: Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism in dogs is an endocrine disease resulting in a set of symptoms observed when the body is exposed to excess cortisone over a long period of time. It commonly affects middle-aged dogs and the most common breeds affected are poodles, dachshunds, and beagles.

Complete blood workup is recommended and specific Cushing’s disease tests are performed to diagnose Cushing’s disease in dogs.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that are located on top of the kidneys. Cortisol is stored in the adrenal glands and is released in times of stress where it helps our bodies prepare for a fight or flight situation. It adjusts the metabolism to expect physical exertion by mobilizing fat and sugar stores and retaining sodium and water. It puts us in a state of a breakdown so that our stored resources can be used quickly. However, if the body is exposed to this hormone on an ongoing basis instead of during short stressful periods only, the state of breakdown becomes debilitating. This disease affects a number of bodily systems, and signs of the disease vary considerably between cases.

The most common symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs that we see in our clinic include:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of water and urinating excessively
  • Increased hunger
  • Hair loss
  • Darkening of the skin and appearance of blackheads on the skin
  • Potbellied abdomen and obesity
  • Urinary bladder stones and or crystals

There are three types of conditions that can lead to Cushing’s syndrome and it is important to know which one your dog has since the treatments are different.

1) Pituitary Dependent Cushing’s syndrome – is an enlargement of the pituitary gland (85% of dogs have this type),

2) Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s syndrome – is a tumor of the adrenal gland (15% of dogs have this type)

3) Iatrogenic – overuse of steroids medications in your dog.

Testing Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

It is important to visit your veterinarian if any of the above signs are seen in your dog – The above symptoms can mimic other endocrine or metabolic diseases. Complete blood workup is recommended and specific Cushing’s disease tests are performed to diagnose Cushing’s disease in dogs. A low dose dexamethasone suppression test, and or high dose dexamethasone suppression test, and an adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) stimulation test. An abdominal ultrasound of the adrenal glands is helpful in differentiating between adrenal gland tumor versus pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease.

The most commonly prescribed medications to treat PDH Cushing’s disease include trilostane or lysodren.  Your veterinarian will know which medication will be best for your dog. However, you should be aware that there are side effects to the medications used for Cushing’s in dogs.  

Surgery is the most common treatment for adrenal gland tumors.

NHV Natural Pet Products does have a natural supplement called Supraglan, which may be beneficial in managing Cushing’s disease in dogs. Supraglan contains herbs like borage, astragalus, and eleuthero, which may help support the adrenal gland. In addition to the Supraglan, it is a good idea to use the Milk Thistle to help detoxify the liver. Both the Supraglan and the Milk Thistle can be used in conjunction with western medication or alone. Always consult your veterinarian before the use of supplements, and during use so that they may monitor your pet.

High levels of fish oils (you may want to try NHV PetOmega-3), antioxidants, and a good quality diet are also recommended.

We have also successfully used acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapies to improve the management of Cushing’s disease.

Do you think your dog may have Cushing’s Disease? We are available for online consultations. Book here.

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for over 20 years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

Published: August 26, 2016

2 replies

  1. Marlene Mouton says:

    My beagle was diagnosed with Cushings 3 months ago. She had severe side effects from using Trilostane and I stopped the medication after about 6 weeks.
    When I got home from work today, she could not stand up. Is this due to the disease?

    1. NHV Natural Pet Products says:

      Hello Marlene,

      We’re so sad to hear of your Beagle’s diagnosis, we know how difficult it can be when our fur baby’s have a bad reaction to medication.

      We recommend the use of our Adrenal Support & Nutritional Balance Kit found here:
      This will help to support your pets adrenal function and address many of the symptoms of Cushing’s disease and also help to detox your pets system and support the liver.

      Muscle weakness is a common symptom of Cushing’s Disease. You should always check with your veterinarian to ensure there is not an underlying cause such as an injury or bone condition.

      Please do reach out if you have any questions and we are happy to help you and your beloved Beagle.

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