Cushings Disease

This is Milo, our great friend and regular visitor (with mum Karen and dad Wayne) over many years. Two years ago he wmiloas diagnosed with Cushings Disease, otherwise called hyperadrenocorticism, which is a syndrome that affects middle aged or older dogs, and is caused by the body producing too much of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol has many roles in the body, and if there is too much produced, it has effects on almost every part of the body from the brain (mood changes, appetite and thirst changes) to the circulation (fluid retention), skin and immune system. In Milo’s case he had a persistent nagging cough caused by fluid retention. His heart and lungs checked out just fine with X-rays and an echocardiograph, but Karen had noticed his urgent appetite and he certainly had a pot belly and was putting on weight!
Diagnosis involves a couple of hours at the clinic where we administer a hormone which stimulates cortisol release, and then we measure cortisol levels a set time later. With Cushings Disease, levels of cortisol skyrocket. After diagnosis, we use a drug called trilostane which must be given at the same time every day to control hormone production. Care must be taken not to overdose, as this can lead to a condition called Addisons disease which is potentially quite dangerous, so every three months or so Milo comes back for a full check up and to test his cortisol levels again.
It is not easy to have a dog with Cushings disease, as Karen and Wayne and many others will tell you, but with diligent treatment the rewards are great. If you suspect your dog has Cushings give us a ring for more information about the disease and about our plans for a clinic sponsored owner support network

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