Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Proper name for Cushing’s syndrome is hyperadrenocorticism. The disease is caused by overproduction of steroids by adrenal glands. There is generally no cure for veterinary patients but the disease can be controlled with oral medications.

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The only way to “cure” Cushing`s disease is to remove the adrenal tumor if the disease is adrenal-dependent and the tumor hasn`t spread, says Stohlman. However, because of the complexity and risks of the surgery, most cases are treated with medication.
Cushing`s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is a serious health condition in dogs that occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol (cortisone) in the animal`s body. Excess cortisol can put a dog at risk of several serious conditions and illnesses, from kidney damage to diabetes, and can be life-threatening.
Cushing`s disease in dogs is typically treated with medications that help decrease the amount of cortisone that the adrenal glands produce. The only way to cure Cushing`s disease is to remove the tumor. However, because of the complexity and risks of surgery, most cases are treated with medication.
For many adults with Cushing disease (the term used for Cushing syndrome caused by a pituitary adenoma), surgical removal of the tumor is successful. In rare cases, some of the tumor cells are left and the adenoma can grow back.
Items like beef and pork liver and kidney as well as sardines and some fishes should be avoided. “ “Moderate purine foods include chicken, beef (non-organ meat), turkey, tripe, rabbit, pork and lamb.
Generally, if the activity of the adrenal gland can be controlled, many dogs with this form of Cushing`s disease can live normal lives for many years, as long as they take their medication and stay under close medical supervision.
Are Dogs in Pain? Most dogs with Cushing`s are not in any pain and their symptoms can be easily managed through medication. Dogs that have developed the condition due to a tumor on the adrenal gland may require the tumor to be surgically removed as these tumors are aggressive.
Cushing`s disease affects a dog`s adrenal glands, which are part of the endocrine system. It deteriorates the skin, hair, and kidneys, making a dog feel tired and unwell. Female dogs and a few specific breeds are more likely to develop Cushing`s disease.
Cushing`s disease progresses slowly. Without treatment, dogs develop higher risks of high blood pressure; pulmonary thromboembolism, which can result in sudden death; congestive heart failure; neurological symptoms; blindness; and myopathy.
$500 to $1,500 is considered typical for a complete diagnosis (though the low end of this estimate would not include an ultrasound). Medical treatment can be as low as $50 a month or as high as $200, depending on the dog`s response to treatment and the drug selected.
The Cushing Syndrome Diet lays special emphasis on consuming protein rich food which can be achieved by eating leafy vegetables, tofu, cottage cheese, fish, yoghurt and beans. Higher cortisol levels tend to trigger the sugar levels of the body which can lead to diabetes if not controlled in time.
Because it takes time — at least one year — for these symptoms to develop, and because the symptoms are often mistaken for common signs of aging, many dogs have the advanced form of CD before the owner even recognizes a problem exists.
You must continually monitor your dog`s food and water intake. Both should return to a normal level. Water intake should be less than 1 ounce per pound (66 ml per kilogram) of body weight per day, but do not limit the water if your dog needs to drink more.
Reduce the quantities of fiber in the food for a Cushing`s patient by replacing these items with grated or finely ground fresh vegetables including carrots, peas or green beans, or fruit such as apples. These provide fresh, healthy fiber that is low in both carbohydrates and fats.
Since a diet of whole foods is known to cut down on inflammation, a common struggle for Cushing`s dogs, it` important to consider supplementing kibble with fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Yogurt, fruits and vegetables, and even sardines can become part of a life-changing diet for your dog.
Cortisol may also impact on signaling within the brain, leading to your dog sleeping more and being less willing to exercise. Hair loss can be common in dogs with Cushing`s and you may find that your dog is losing their fur along both sides of their body, over their belly and / or along their tail.
If Cushing`s disease is left untreated, dogs tend to become progressively lethargic and weak. They have an increased susceptibility to contracting infections (particularly urinary infections) and the skin is slow to heal after any injury. Osteoporosis has been reported.
While dogs with surgery to remove adrenal tumors need to rest for up to two weeks post operation, Cushing`s dogs without severe joint problems can benefit from regular walks or playtime once symptoms are managed. The key is to find out what works best for your dog.
Cushing`s Disease Symptoms in Dogs

Some common symptoms of Cushing`s disease include hair loss primarily on body, unusually thin skin, propensity for bruising, hard calcified lumps on skin, lethargy, swollen belly, increased appetite, thirst, and urination.

Decrease Stress

Since cortisol is a response to stress, the key for Cushing`s dogs is to eliminate stressors as much as possible. Create an environment for your pet that is tranquil and consistent. Know what triggers your pet, and find ways to calm Fido during those times.

Cushing`s disease. Cushing`s disease is caused from a tumor on either the base of the brain or on the adrenal gland. One of the many symptoms of Cushing`s disease is increased thirst.
Answer: In general, a dog with untreated Cushing`s can actually live as long as a treated dog, but will likely have more side effects (over time) from the disease if not treated.
Breeds that are prone to Cushing`s disease include:

Boston terriers. Yorkshire terriers. Poodles, especially miniature poodles. Dachshunds.

Cortisol in particular is a hormone that can cause weight loss if there is too much of it (i.e. Cushing`s disease in dogs) or too little of it (i.e. Addison`s disease in dogs). Dogs with Cushing`s disease tend to lose weight due to muscle wasting.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. I’ve been told my dog (11) may have liver disease and she’s had a seizure. What’s this mean for her future.
ANSWER : A. Well to be honest it really depends on the type of liver disease she has. If the liver disease and seizure are related then this sounds like a disease called Hepatic Encephalopathy, which is where the liver has a defect (i.e. cirrhosis, fibrosis or live shunt) that is not enabling the liver to filter the blood properly. Sometimes this can be managed with medications and/or surgery if there is a liver shunt. Discuss with your vet what medications are indicated for your particular pets liver disease, but a product called SAMe (Denamarin) is recommended for any liver insult.
The prognosis for liver disease really varies and depends on which of the underlying diseases I listed above is present in your pet.

Q. My dog has Addison’s Disease and is panting alot, is this normal?
ANSWER : A. I don’t typically associate panting with Addison’s disease. I do see panting (it’s a primary symptom) of the disease that’s the opposite of Addison’s disease, which is Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease involves having an overactive adrenal gland, as opposed to a non-active or under active adrenal gland. Panting can also happen with steroid administration. If you’ve upped the dose of prednisone that your dog normally takes to combat holiday stress that may be the cause of the panting.

Panting can be a sign of stress, so evaluate the environment and see if there’s something that could have your dog agitated – fireworks, small children visiting, etc. This is especially important with an addisonian dog, as I’m sure you know.

Other causes of panting could include primary respiratory problems or heart disease, since low oxygen states can trigger panting. Definitely mention this to your vet (a phone call isn’t a bad idea) for this reason, just to see if he’ like to examine your dog to make sure everything’s OK>

Q. What is cushin disease and how do you cure it or maintain it?
ANSWER : A. Proper name for Cushing’s syndrome is hyperadrenocorticism. The disease is caused by overproduction of steroids by adrenal glands. There is generally no cure for veterinary patients but the disease can be controlled with oral medications.

Q. My 15 yr old Shitzu/peek eats but has head tilt and now when she has to go to the bathroom sometimes has accidents. Also some whining nite.
ANSWER : A. Your dog may have what is called idiopathic vestibular disease. The vestibular system is composed of portions of the brain and ear and is responsible for maintaining our sense of balance. When something goes wrong with the vestibular system, it feels like the world is spinning.

Dogs with idiopathic vestibular disease have some combination of the following symptoms:

A head tilt

They are unsteady on their feet and may fall over

They circle in one direction or even roll across the floor

Their eyes flick back and forth, up and down, or rotate in a circle (this is called nystagmus)

An unwillingness to eat due to nausea

Vomiting

These clinical signs are not unique to idiopathic vestibular disease. Infections, tumors, inflammatory diseases and other conditions can all adversely affect a dog’s vestibular system, so a thorough physical exam is necessary. But when the symptoms seemingly appear out of nowhere in an older dog and then start to improve over the course of a few days to weeks, idiopathic vestibular disease is usually the cause.

Q. My cat is vomiting, what might be the cause and what should I do about it?
ANSWER : A. Vomiting in cats is the active expulsion of stomach content and it is typically preceded by nausea and retching. It is not a diagnosis in itself, and occasional vomiting in an otherwise healthy cat may not indicate anything abnormal.

Common gastrointestinal causes of vomiting in cats include :

– Gastrointestinal disease: bacterial, viral, parasites.
– Obstruction: foreign body, intussusceptions.
– Neoplasia: lymphoma.
– Inflammation: gastritis,inflammatory bowel disease.
– Dietary: food intolerance, food allergy.

Non gastrointestinal causes include:

– Renal disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetic ketoacidosis, urethral obstruction,hepatic disease, pancreatitis, peritonitis.
– Drugs (NSAID’s, antibiotics) or plants (lily).
– Neurological conditions, i.e. vestibular disease.

Younger cats are more likely to have ingested a foreign body, whilst older cats are more likely to have systemic disease.

Treatment will vary according to the underlying condition. If a specific cause can

Q. My Shih Tzu is very confused running constantly in a circle
ANSWER : A. Your dog may have what is called idiopathic vestibular disease. The vestibular system is composed of portions of the brain and ear and is responsible for maintaining our sense of balance. When something goes wrong with the vestibular system, it feels like the world is spinning.

Dogs with idiopathic vestibular disease have some combination of the following symptoms:

A head tilt

They are unsteady on their feet and may fall over

They circle in one direction or even roll across the floor

Their eyes flick back and forth, up and down, or rotate in a circle (this is called nystagmus)

An unwillingness to eat due to nausea

Vomiting

These clinical signs are not unique to idiopathic vestibular disease. Infections, tumors, inflammatory diseases and other conditions can all adversely affect a dog’s vestibular system, so a thorough physical exam is necessary. But when the symptoms seemingly appear out of nowhere in an older dog and then start to improve over the course of a few days to weeks, idiopathic vestibular disease is usually the cause.

Q. We are moving to Spain with our dog. I have read about a few cases of LM disease in dogs in Spain,
what is this and how can i protect my dog?
ANSWER : A. LM is often referred to as Leishmaniasis. This is a vector-borne disease often transmitted by sandflies and other parasites to a host (canine, human, etc). Some dogs may become ill while infected, while others may not show any symptoms at all. The disease may also be possible to transmit from dog to dog.

Treatment usually involves medications to treat the disease itself, however prevention is better through the use of anti-parasite medications such as flea and tick medications that repel or deter external parasites from feeding on your dog.

If you would like a much more in-depth read about this disease, please visit http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/canine-leishmaniasis

Q. 5 Yr old female cat change in behavior last 2 mos: hides, sleeps all the time, meows when touched, decrease appetite; last 1-2 wks wobbley.
ANSWER : A. While I think neurologic disease is certainly a concern based on what you’re describing, and should be ruled out with a good neuro exam (full examination of spinal reflexes and cranial nerves), a cat that sleeps all the time and is wobbly could have many things going on. What you’re describing sounds like generalized weakness to me, and that could be caused by heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, anemia (lots of causes to this) or metabolic/hormonal conditions like diabetes. Often cats “look” neurologic when in fact they’re just really weak.

However, as far as specific neurologic conditions that might cause what you’re seeing, chronic ear infections or a polyp in the inner or middle ear can affect the vestibular nerve and affect balance, some drugs if used long term (metronidazole) can cause it as well. Other things include intervertebral disk disease (slipped disk), cancer in the spinal cord, thiamine deficiency (not a problem if your cat eats a commercially-prepared diet) and feline infectious peritonitis.

Unfortunately the only way to start figuring out what’s going on is likely with lab work (complete blood count, chemistry panel, and urinalysis) and x-rays for starters (likely of the spine). And as I said above a good neuro exam is critical to starting to figure out whether it’s a neuro problem or not. Your vet will possibly recommend other tests based on the initial results. If you’d like to consult further about exactly what’s going on with your cat select the “consult” button.