The cushing syndrome hyperadrenocorticism in dogs napani blog

Cushing's syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) in dogsCushing's syndrome is a disease caused by excess cortisol. The disease, unlike cortisol deficiency, is not life threatening to the animal.

How does a cortisol surplus develop??

On the one hand, there is the so-called iatrogenic form. In this case the excess is triggered by drugs. It is independent in which form (injection, ointment or tablet) the medication is given to the dog.

On the other hand, there is the natural form, which is caused by a hormonal disturbance. This form of the disease, occurs more in older congeners of smaller breeds of dogs. Here are still the pituitary. To distinguish the adrenergic hyperadrenocorticism.

The pituitary hormone disorder is caused by a small tumor in the pituitary gland (hypophysis), which permanently sends signals (in the form of hormones) to the adrenal glands for cortisol production.

The more rare, adrenergic version is caused by a tumor in one of the two adrenal glands. This tumor is the cause of the excessive cortisol production and at the same time contributes to the reduction in size of the unaffected kidney as the other takes over all hormone production.

Internal symptoms

– Altered blood and urine values – Increase in liver size – Diabetes mellitus or bladder stones (rare long-term effect)

External symptoms

– Increased drinking and urine production – Increased food intake – Bald patches – Thin skin and pigmentation disorders – Muscle weakness – Increase in abdominal girth


Usually the examination begins with a urine and blood examination. In this way various similar diseases can be excluded. An ultrasound examination of the abdomen is also recommended. Rarely also in the area of the chest is x-rayed.

In order to be absolutely sure, the dog should be subjected to a hormone test. Three different types are used here:

1. ACTH stimulation test: this test was often used in the past, but is no longer a common method due to inaccuracies in results.

1. Urine cortisol creatinine quotient (UCC): This is a screening test that analyzes three samples of the dog's morning urine and determines the cortisol content. If this value is elevated, then the syndrome is very likely, but should be confirmed with the help of a LDDS test.

1. LowDose Dexamethasone Suppression Test (LDDS test): The LDDS test is independent of UCC testing. In this case, the connection between the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland is considered. In diseased dogs, cortisol levels remain elevated during testing.

Treatment options

1. Medication: The iatrogenic form of the disease is treated by adjusting or discontinuing the triggering medication. The two naturally occurring forms can also be treated with medication. Here a drug is administered which inhibits the production of cortisol. This medication must be taken by the animal every day for the rest of its life. At the beginning it should be under regular observation to find the optimal dosage and not to cause cortisol deficiency.

1. surgical: adrenergic Cushing's can also be treated by surgery. In this case, the affected adrenal gland is removed. The remaining kidney will be responsible for hormone production in the future. However, since this is a serious and complicated operation, it should only be performed by a specialist. In addition, this type of treatment method is not possible for every dog.

– Tags: cortisol dog, cushing dog nutrition, cushing syndrome dog, cushing syndrome dog alternative treatment, dog nutrition, dog diseases, morbus cushing, morbus cushing dog, kidney failure dog, kidney friendly dog nutrition

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