Symptoms and treatment of cushing's disease in dogs

Cushing's syndrome or hyperadrenocorticism is one of the most frequent diseases in dogs from the endocrine system.

Its cause is the increased production of steroid hormones of the adrenal cortex, usually cortisol. The disease can be caused by damage to the pituitary tumor or its hyperplasia, as well as adrenal gland disease: carcinoma or adenoma.

Older animals older than seven years are most often affected, although pituitary adrenocorticism may be the disease of children from the age of two. A representative of any breed can become sick with Cushing's syndrome, but boxers, dachshunds, poodles, bigley and various terriers are more likely to occur.

Symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome in Dogs

Because cortisol affects virtually all vital systems, the clinical symptoms of Cushing's syndrome are very multifaceted. They hurt:

  • cardiovascular,
  • urinary,
  • musculoskeletal,
  • nervous
  • reproductive and immune systems
  • kidneys and other endocrine glands are affected,
  • liver (read more about liver disease in dogs)
  • leather.

The main sign that deserves attention is that the dog drinks a lot of water and, therefore, frequent urination. Not uncommon and incontinence at any time of the day. Also, the animal can greatly increase the appetite, it begins to suffer from obesity, the stomach hangs heavily.

In this case, the dog is drowsy, weak, does not tolerate physical exertion, tries not to move. Hyperpigmentation, calcinosis and symmetric alopecia appear on the skin (extensive bald patches on the neck, torso and tail). There are atrophy of the testes and violations of the sexual cycle (in females estrus disappears). Less common are neurological signs:

  • lack of coordination of movements,
  • depression,
  • blindness, etc.

Treatment of Cushing's Disease in Dogs

The choice of treatment method depends on where the pathological focus is located - in the pituitary gland or adrenal glands. When a neoplasm is found in the adrenal gland, the necessary treatment is surgery to remove the adrenal gland. Unless, of course, metastasis has yet been found in the liver and lungs.

In case of pituitary adenoma, either both adrenal glands are removed, or only conservative treatment is used, in particular, with mitotane. There are also alternative methods of treatment with medical ketoconazole (nizoral), therapy with L-deprenyl, cyproheptadine (peritol).

If, after the animal was treated with mitotane, it survived for 16 weeks, then the prognosis for treatment of Cushing's syndrome is favorable.. On average, these dogs live for another two years. In adrenal carcinoma of the adrenal gland with metastases and pituitary macroadenoma, as well as with neurological manifestations, the prognosis of treatment is rather not comforting.

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