Cushing's syndrome in dogs: symptoms and treatment
The endocrine system is one of the biggest mysteries of our body. On the glands of internal secretion, almost all biochemical processes in the body are tied, and the slightest change in the level of hormones leads to often irreversible consequences. If we talk about the field of veterinary medicine, then most often there is such a violation as Cushing's syndrome. In dogs, most often this disorder occurs in old age, but today we will analyze in detail what it is and how it can be combated. This article is extremely informative, in any case, you should consult a doctor to make a diagnosis and choose a treatment regimen.
What is Cushing's syndrome in dogs
This pathology, which is not so rare as it would be desirable. There is a violation in that the pituitary body of the animal begins to release cortisol in excessively high amounts. This is a very important hormone, which is a powerful natural remedy for resisting stress. We will not dwell on the mechanism of the effect of this hormone on the body, let us say only that this substance mobilizes all the reserves to counter the negative influences of the external environment.
It seems that there is a lot of good, why are we talking about Cushing's syndrome in dogs when describing this mechanism? The fact is that those quantities of the hormone that begin to excrete into the blood are redundant even for the elephant. A pituitary gland, which must control the amount of hormone produced, is generally turned off from this process. Because of this, your pet encounters extremely unpleasant consequences.
Cushing's syndrome in dogs leads to the fact that the behavior of the animal changes. Disorders of the psyche are clearly manifested. The dog is tormented by constant, exhausting thirst. This creates a high burden on the kidneys, and in addition, leads to excessive urination. This disorder may well lead to a fatal outcome, and quickly enough. The reason for this is easily explained from the point of view of physiology. The body is in a mobilized state, which means it wears out several times faster. In veterinary practice, there are examples where the state of the organism of a three-year-old dog, who is sick with this disease, is identical in terms of the worn-out body to a dog of 13-15 years.
Let's now talk about how you can suspect Cushing's syndrome in dogs. First of all, the owners pay attention to the increased appetite. The animal begins to gain weight very quickly. In parallel, you may notice a strong thirst and very frequent urination. The animal can not tolerate long and, despite the increased number of walks, still pisses at home.
In fact, this disease does not arise out of nowhere, but gradually develops, and the symptoms all intensify. The dog becomes weak and lethargic, drowsy, but demonstrates an excellent appetite. The abdomen is sagging because of the weakness of the abdominal muscles. Very rapid fatigue is observed. Gradually, hair loss is added. Extensive areas of the skin remain completely free of wool. Most often these are areas on the body, but not on the head or feet. Itching is absent. In the absence of treatment very soon against the background of this disease develops diabetes.
Causes of the disease
In fact, veterinarians have several versions as to why dogs suffer from this hormonal disorder. However, the main cause is a tumor that affects the adrenal glands. Most often, doctors try to correct this condition with the help of a surgical operation or drugs, which also have their side effects. However, this is not the only reason that can cause Cushing's syndrome in dogs. The photo shows us the external changes that occur with sick animals, but below we will return to the symptoms.
Another reason may be pituitary adenoma. Therefore, it will be necessary to examine both the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. However, after discovering the tumor, the doctor is just starting his work. It is still necessary to determine whether we are dealing with a benign or malignant lesion and only then predict the course of treatment.
There are certain breeds among whose representatives this disease occurs more often than in others. Thus, in the risk group are boxers and terriers of all kinds. Here you can include taxes, beagles, poodles and basset hounds. Most often this disease affects adults, who turned 7-10 years old. At this age, doctors can only maintain the body as much as possible. However, Cushing's syndrome is also diagnosed and at a fairly young age - in dogs that have not reached the age of two. The disease is very dangerous in that it affects all organs and systems at once, and therefore, without proper treatment, the likelihood of death of the animal is high, as well as a serious reduction in life expectancy with adequate treatment.
It is extremely important to reliably confirm Cushing's syndrome in dogs. Diagnosis of this disease is very difficult, not all clinics are able to provide the necessary conditions for this. First of all, the doctor must examine the animal and take the necessary tests. Indicative will be a clinical and biochemical blood test, as well as urinalysis, in which it is important to check the level of protein.
To clarify the picture, the doctor may prescribe an X-ray that will show an increase in the liver or mineralization of the adrenal glands. It is necessary to conduct an ultrasound to exclude a tumor of the adrenal glands. Proper diagnosis should not only confirm Cushing's syndrome in dogs. Symptoms, the treatment of which will be carried out at the next stage, can be blurred, which means it is extremely important to find the source of the problem.
This is a difficult and important moment. At this stage, the doctor should choose the most appropriate therapy. Restoring the level of cortisol, supporting the work of all organs and systems is the main task that confronts him since he diagnosed Cushing's syndrome. Dog treatment can take place in two ways.
The first way is surgical. It is not shown to all animals, but only to those who have a tumor of the adrenal gland. In the case of an adenoma of the pituitary gland it is still more difficult, and the adrenal glands simply remove and prescribe to the animal lifelong hormonal treatment.
The second way is medication. In this case, hormonal therapy is used to normalize the level of cortisol. This is the drug "Mitotan". Admission begins with a dosage of 50 mg per day per 1 kg of body weight. The daily dose is divided into 2-3 doses. Treatment lasts two weeks. The condition of the animal is monitored by a blood test. With a decrease in cortisol in the blood to acceptable levels, you need to switch to a dosage of 50 mg / kg once a week.
The second option, often prescribed by doctors, is the drug Ketoconazole. First of all, it is prescribed to those animals, who, in addition to Cushing's syndrome, develop fungal skin damage. Take this drug in the first week - 10 mg per 1 kg of weight (for two meals). The second week increase the dosage to 20 mg per 1 kg of weight (also in two doses). Finally, the third week of treatment involves a daily dosage of 30 mg per 1 kg of body weight.
How to determine the effectiveness of treatment
In the first place, reference points will be blood tests, ultrasound and x-rays. However, there are indicators that can be assessed by the owner himself. This is primarily a reduction in the amount of water consumed by the dog. However, one should take into account that complications can develop in the animal against the background of the therapy. This is vomiting and increased weakness, lethargy and refusal to eat. Such symptoms may indicate concomitant disorders and diseases. Therefore, for the purity of the picture, it is necessary to conduct laboratory studies.
Results of treatment
What can you hope for if you diagnosed Cushing's syndrome in dogs? How many live such patients? These questions are often asked by owners of veterinarians. I must say that the described disease can be treated only partially. Most often, life expectancy even after successful therapy does not exceed 2-3 years. This is due to the fact that Cushing's syndrome is a systemic disease that affects all organs and systems and causes a number of irreversible changes. This is the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and nervous systems. In parallel, this disease reduces the body's resistance to various infections, and also provokes a significant increase in blood pressure.