Did you know that dogs could get Cushings Disease? What is Cushings Disease? What should you look for and how can it be treated? What about Addison’s Disease? Are they they same, different?
Those are all questions that have run through my head. I have only really associated Cushings Disease with horses. In fact, it is talked about, quite commonly, in the horse world. With that being said, I was told by a holistic veterinarian that Cushings is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases in horses; “when the vet can’t figure out what is really wrong with the horse, they call it Cushings”. Now, I can’t agree or disagree with that statement, because I simply do not know the validity of it, but it did get me to wondering about the same disease in dogs.
As I have mentioned, in previous blogs, we have a dog, Payton, who has Addison’s Disease. Addison’s is the underproduction of cortisol, in the body. This can cause many issues, including death, if it is not diagnosed and treated. In fact, the treatment is ongoing, for the remainder of the dogs life. Thankfully, the treatment is not too expensive, you just have to stay on top of it.
Cushings Disease is basically the opposite of Addison’s. It is the overproduction of cortisol, in the body and most commonly affects older dogs. Like Addison’s Disease, Cushings Disease can be treated, but most likely, it cannot be “cured”. According to what I have read, this disease does not cause the dog to “suffer”, which is a great thing. I am a firm believer in no suffering, especially with our four-legged-loves. If they have to be put on daily pain meds, for an extended period of time to keep their “suffering” down, I will have them put to sleep. As sad as this is, I feel that it is even sadder to watch a pet suffer.
Signs and symptoms of both of these are a bit different, but can be similar. My Addi dog completely lost her appetite, her fur fell out at alarming rates, she slept a lot, and she had absolutely no energy. For those of you who have Boarder Collies, the lack of energy should be a very clear sign that something is very wrong. With Cushings, it seems that the signs are: increase in water consumption and urination, more sleep, no loss in appetite but rapid weight loss. There is also a thing with their coats; splotchy hair loss, especially in areas, like the neck, where a collar is worn.
I have been told that there are homeopathic remedies, for both of these diseases. Unfortunately, by the time we realized that there were options, other than traditional medicine, for Addison’s disease, we were a couple of years into the steroid treatments. When we tried to switch Payton over, it was very hard on her body and she became very sick, so we decided to continue with the mainstream treatment for her. (She is as active, happy, and healthy as she has ever been!) With that being said, we have another dog, Kate, who possibly has Cushings. Knowing now, what I didn’t know when Payton was diagnosed with Addison’s, I may opt to try the homeopathic option, since Kate’s body is not currently dependent on the synthetic drugs. I realize this conversation may be a bit premature, seeing as we don’t even have the diagnosis back yet, but it is something that I have been thinking about. While I am thankful for the amazing vets, who saved my sweet Payton’s life, I do wish I had been told about alternative, more natural options. Since I do now know, what I didn’t know then, I’d like to think that I will weigh both of these options out, and choose the one that is best for Kate. I will keep you all posted on her diagnosis and the treatment that I choose to use. In the meantime, I would like to encourage all of you to be sure that if you see one of your fur babies acting a little different, please take them to a vet, holistic or traditional, to get a correct diagnosis. You can even opt for hair analysis, which we have done on several occasions, when the problem didn’t seem quite so “severe” or time sensitive. Hair analysis results generally take longer to get back, than your usual blood panel. However, I have found that the hair analysis is usually more encompassing and less expensive.
With that being said, I would like to wish you all a “warm welcome”, into the month of December!
Many blessings to you and your four-legged-loves ~ Tammy