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Does anyone know about Cushings Disease in dogs?

(5 Posts)
horsemadgal Fri 12-Jun-09 19:01:41

My mum's dog has been dagnosed with Cushings Disease. Does anyone have any experience?
We have just been told that it is not curable but treatable, but the treatment is very expensive.

FairMidden Fri 12-Jun-09 21:18:59

Cushing's is a funny disease. It's not generally a sinister thing but its effects can be a PITA. Affected dogs are often lethargic, lazy, hungry and thirsty, they tend to pant a lot and their hair coat becomes thin and wispy. They often look pot-bellied and their skin may become thin or dark in colour. The disease is caused by an overproduction of cortisol, a stress hormone.

As well as being a bugger to diagnose in some cases, it's very expensive to treat, particularly in larger dogs. Many dogs do respond very well to treatment though and return almost to normal. The medication can be a bit hard on the organs and a vet will probably want to monitor the dog closely.

IMO it isn't vital that the disease is treated - it isn't fatal or painful and if funds are limited it may be more sensible to deal with the complications of the disease (it suppresses the immune system so infections become more likely and harder to deal with) than break the bank treating it.

Depending on the form of Cushing's (there are two) there's a small risk that it has developed secondary to a tumour, which may go on to have other more sinister effects. In most dogs this isn't the case.

This website might be useful


horsemadgal Sat 13-Jun-09 23:19:55

Thanks FairMidden that is very helpful.
My mum really can't afford the treatment and we are mainly worried about what would happen if she didn't try it. All the websites I have googled haven't mentioned this, just what treatment is available.
He is an old dog at 13, however seems to be in no pain or anything at the moment.
I guess we just have to keep an eye on him and hope he doesn't suffer any.

FairMidden Sun 14-Jun-09 10:58:48

Cushing's isn't painful. As I said, it's not (in my opinion anyway) essential that you treat this disease. Obviously if you can it's preferable, but if you can't then the dog can still enjoy a good quality of life.

horsemadgal Sun 14-Jun-09 14:11:02

Thanks again, that does make me feel better (and less guilty).

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