What Is Cushing’s Syndrome In Dogs?

When you bring home a dog, surely, you’d like to give them TLC (tender, loving, care). It’s like bringing home a new member of your family. Additionally, you also want them to live their best life in your household.

Dogs, like humans, are also susceptible to diseases. Part of taking good care of your dog involves being aware of the possible diseases that could affect them. One of those that’s common for dogs and need immediate attention is Cushing’s Syndrome.

To be informed about Cushing’s Syndrome in dogs–from care and even up to the appropriate Cushings treatment for dogs–read through below.

Cushing disease

A Brief Background On Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome happens when your dog’s body makes too much cortisol. This is a type of hormone that controls your dog’s weight, respond to stress, fight infections, as well as keep their blood sugar levels in check.

The body needs to have regular levels of cortisol, otherwise too little or too much becomes a cause for concern. This is when health problems like Cushing’s syndrome will start to develop.

The Three Types Of Cushing’s Disease Dogs Can Suffer From

Dogs can generally suffer from either of the three forms of Cushing’s Disease:

  • Typical Cushing’s Disease. With this kind of Cushing’s disease, your dog’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. These hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism and the immune system, so the problems start to arise in these areas with Typical Cushing’s Disease.
  • Atypical Cushing’s Disease. This is one of the more recently discovered types of Cushing’s disease whereby the adrenal cortex produces too much steroid hormones in the body.
  • Pituitary Dependent Cushing’s. As its name implies, this kind of Cushing’s disease affects the pituitary glands, which results in an overproduction of the ATCH hormone. The direct effect of this excess production is the release of excessive stress levels.

cushing disease

The Common Symptoms In Dogs

Cushing’s Disease usually affects dogs that belong to the middle age or older age group. Unfortunately, when Cushing’s disease is in its early stages, it can be quite difficult to identify. This is because Cushing’s disease’s symptoms start to show only when it may be in the more severe stages.

Here are some of the common signs that your dog is suffering from Cushing’s Syndrome:

  • Your dog is thirstier than usual;
  • Skin infections start to manifest;
  • Your dog’s appetite increases;
  • Your dog is panting more;
  • Your dog pees more frequently.

The Manner Of Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

When you suspect that your dog has any of the symptoms above or there are changes in your dog’s behavior and health, bring your dog to a trusted veterinarian. By doing so, you can subject your dog to a thorough examination to determine what their health problem is if there’s any.

When you bring your dog to the vet, a blood and urine test will be performed to rule out some of the more common health issues with dogs, like urinary tract infection (UTI) and diluted urine.

Typically, these are some tests that are performed to diagnose Cushing’s disease:

  • Ultrasound;
  • Screening tests to identify urine cortisol ratios;
  • Differentiation tests.

However, this is often subjective depending on your dog’s condition as there’s no 100% accurate and uniform way of diagnosing your dog’s problem.

The Lifespan Of Dogs With Cushing’s Syndrome

When you’re given the bad news that your dog has Cushing’s Syndrome, surely one of the very first questions you’re going to ask your veterinarian relates to your dog’s lifespan. In most instances, when your dog’s immune system can stay strong, your dog can live for up to three more years after its diagnosis.

When your dog has proper treatment and medication, its overall quality of life can also be better. This means you’re giving them that better chance to enjoy the last years of their life, despite the presence of their disease.

A huge chunk of the responsibility falls on you to be diligent with the vet visits and feeding your dog with healthy and nutritious food.


Now that you’ve got information and background knowledge on what Cushing’s Syndrome is, here’s also the hope that you can give your dog the attention that it needs, should they suffer from the disease. In closing, however, do note that what you’ve just read here isn’t meant to be a substitute for sound, medical advice. Whenever you’re unsure, it’s always best to seek the advice of your veterinarian; you wouldn’t want to put the life of your dog at risk. When you feel your dog has the symptoms above, don’t take chances with putting your dog’s health and safety at risk.

Jenny Carter

Jenny Carter is an animal rights advocate and dog lover. She has a background in rescuing dogs. Jenny shares her dog care expertise through blogging. She spends her free time running and playing with her dogs and other pets. She also loves swimming and biking.

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