Can Dogs Live with Cushing’s Disease?


If your senior dog is drinking and urinating more than usual, it could be a sign of Cushing’s Disease. This condition is caused by an overproduction of hormones, particularly cortisol, in the adrenal glands. While it is a serious and incurable condition, it can be managed to allow your dog to live a happy life. Let’s explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Cushing’s Disease.

Signs and Symptoms:

Increased thirst and urination are common indicators of Cushing’s Disease. Your dog may also have an increased appetite and experience lethargy or a reluctance to exercise. Look out for a poor coat and a pot-bellied appearance. These symptoms develop gradually over time, so regular veterinary check-ups are important.

Body Language:

Your dog’s body language may also show signs of Cushing’s Disease, such as panting, weakness, and dropped ears.

Other Signs:

Other signs to look out for include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, increased panting, pot-bellied appearance, and a poor-quality coat.

The Science of Cushing’s Disease:

Cushing’s Disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when there is an overproduction of cortisol. There are three different types of Cushing’s Disease that can affect dogs, caused by pituitary gland tumors, adrenal gland tumors, or excessive steroid use.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Cushing’s Disease often goes undiagnosed due to the complex and expensive testing required. If your vet suspects the condition, blood and urine tests will be conducted, and an ACTH stimulation test may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment varies depending on the cause, but oral medications are commonly used to control cortisol levels. Surgery may be an option for adrenal gland tumors, and iatrogenic Cushing’s Disease can be treated by discontinuing steroids and using additional medication if needed.


A diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease is not a death sentence for your dog. With proper management and treatment, dogs with this condition can live normal and happy lives. Consult with your vet to create a plan to best manage your pet’s health.

“Regular veterinary check-ups are an important protective measure and if you notice any Cushing’s symptoms, get your pet examined by a vet!”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Regular veterinary check-ups are important for senior dogs to detect and diagnose conditions like Cushing’s Disease early on. Don’t dismiss symptoms as just a natural consequence of aging.

2️⃣ Pay attention to your dog’s body language, as it can indicate potential signs of Cushing’s Disease such as panting, weakness, dropped ears, and changes in appetite.

3️⃣ Treatment options for Cushing’s Disease vary depending on the cause. Medications can help control cortisol levels in dogs with pituitary gland tumors, while surgery may be an option for adrenal gland tumors. Iatrogenic Cushing’s Disease can be managed by discontinuing excessive steroid use. Remember, a diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease does not mean the end for your dog – they can still live a normal and happy life with proper management and care.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. What are the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in dogs?
– Increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, lethargy, poor coat, pot-bellied appearance, muscle loss, skin lesions, and hair loss.

2. How can you recognize if your dog is potentially suffering from Cushing’s Disease through body language?
– Panting, weakness, dropped ears.

3. What is the scientific name for Cushing’s Disease?
– Hyperadrenocorticism.

4. What are the three causes of Cushing’s Disease in dogs?
– Pituitary gland tumor, adrenal gland tumor, and iatrogenic (resulting from excessive steroid use).

5. How is Cushing’s Disease diagnosed and treated?
– Diagnosis is confirmed through blood and urine tests, ACTH stimulation test, and ultrasounds. Treatment varies depending on the cause, but may involve oral medications, surgery, or controlled discontinuation of steroids. Regular monitoring is essential.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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