The cortisol keeps entering the bloodstream unhampered which has a negative impact on the blood pressure, electrolyte balance, immune function, fat metabolism and even the cardiovascular system. This hormonal imbalance is known as hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s Disease.
The most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is a tumor in the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). At times, it may also be due to a tumor in the adrenal glands. In either case, the condition causes the adrenal glands to secrete excessive cortisol in the body. Occasionally, it can also be triggered by illness or injury.
Difficult to diagnose
The problem with Cushing’s disease is that it does not manifest with common indications such as pain, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding and so on. The symptoms such as increased thirst, increased appetite, excessive urination, excessive panting, gastrointestinal disorders, lethargy, obesity, insomnia, hair loss and muscle weakness are mistakenly connected to normal signs of aging in the pet animal. It can even make the pet irritable or restless.
This is the reason why pet owners can be forgiven for failing to seek veterinary intervention at the onset of the disease itself. However, if left untreated, Cushing’s syndrome can lead to diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures or congestive heart failure in the dog.
Therefore, pet owners are advised to watch out for the warning signs of a bulging belly, sagging body, symmetric balding, skin darkening, hard white scaly patches on the skin, easy bruising or hypertension.
Route to diagnosis
Pet owners should consult a veterinarian at the earliest to rule out any underlying cause even for the general signs of aging. The physician will discuss the symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination. He will run blood and urine tests to measure the level of cortisol in the dog’s body. If cortisol is elevated, the veterinarian can do an ultrasound scan to locate the tumor and determine if the Cushing’s disease is emanating from the pituitary or adrenal glands.
Tumors in the adrenal glands can be surgically removed in most cases. While Cushing’s disease from the pituitary gland is incurable, the condition can still be treated with drugs.
In either case, the veterinarian will prescribe trilostane (through vetoryl for dogs) to block the excessive production and synthesis of cortisol in the canine. The medication has to be continued lifelong.
Therefore, vetoryl for dogs can improve both the quality and length of the pet’s life. He or she will be able to stay active, comfortable and healthy for a much longer time.