Cushings Disease, also called hyperadrenocorticism, is relatively common in older dogs. Dogs with Cushings Disease produce too much of a natural hormone called cortisol, producing symptoms such as excessive drinking and urinating, a distended, swaying belly, hair loss and a sparse hair coat, possibly an increased appetite, and frequent panting.
Dogs with Cushings Disease may have been tested for other causes of increased drinking, including diabetes, kidney and liver disease, where all tests have come back negative. This is another sign of Cushings Disease.
The disease is an overproduction of a hormone (cortisol) which produces the signs of excessive drinking and urinating. The most common cause is due to a tumor on the pituitary gland (a gland at the base of the brain). A small percentage of cases are caused by a tumor on the adrenal gland (a gland in the kidneys). In some cases, dogs can show all these signs by being on steroids, such as prednisone. In this case, the treatment is to wean your dog off the drug.
To begin with, as always, have your dog correctly diagnosed - take him to your Vet. If he has some of the signs of Cushings (excessive drinking and urination) then it is first important to rule out other diseases. Your Vet will check for diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. A general blood screen will be suggestive of Cushings Disease. At this time they may recommend further screening tests and discuss treatment.
Treatments that your Vet may suggest might include drug therapy with trilostane or mitotane. Other conventional treatment might include radiation therapy or in some cases, adrenalectomy.
There are natural alternatives that can be used in conjunction with the conventional options. In this article, I offer several that you can try that may help.
A possibly effective natural solution is to try antioxidants. In Cushings Disease, the cells are more prone to injury from the high cortisol levels. The three most effective antioxidants are Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Selenium. These are best given in combination: give 100IU of Vitamin E, 100mg of Vitamin C and 20 ug if Selenium per 10 lbs of body weight daily.
Another natural solution is to try the herb Ginkgo Biloba. It has been shown to reduce cortisol production, similar to anipryl (see below).
High cortisol levels will make your pet feel anxious. A herbal solution to reduce anxiety is to try Valerian. The dog dose is 1 drop per lb of body weight twice daily.
When it comes to conventional solutions, try Anipryl. This is a newer, safe medication to treat the disease, available from your Veterinarian. It must be given daily, and can be quite costly to treat a large dog. It works directly on the pituitary gland helping to decrease cortisol production.
If you find these remedies useful, I guarantee that you will find the other remedies in my book and home study course, Veterinary Secrets Revealed, just as practical. If you use only a few of the remedies I offer, you will see how easy it is to save money at your Vet.
These remedies work - I use them every day in practice.
Dr. Andrew Jones, a practicing Veterinarian, has a special interest in alternative, natural remedies for pets. His holistic pet health manual is at: http://www.veterinarysecretsrevealed.com and http://www.theonlinevet.com.
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