Just like people, dogs can fall ill too. So, reading the signs usually poses the biggest challenge in a situation like this. Learning how to successfully interpret them enables you to take proper action in making your dog feel better. Minor issues like fleas can be easily dealt with, but other more serious problems require specific care and assistance from your vet.
Cushings disease in dogs is one example of a serious health condition which may harm your pet. It can appear when the body produces too much of a hormone called cortisol. Its overproduction is usually caused by a tumor in the pituitary or adrenal glands. As a result, there are three types of Cushing’s disease (pituitary, adrenal, and iatrogenic) which share similar symptoms but may differ in the ways they are treated.
The most common symptoms are increased thirst, urination and appetite, abdominal swelling, drowsiness and hair loss. Therefore, in order to help your dog feel better, here are several treatment methods you can employ and things you can do that have proven helpful in treating this disease.
Methods for Treating Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
No matter where the tumor has occurred, Cushing is usually treated with medication which dogs may end up taking for the rest of their lives. The only possible way to cure your dog is to remove the tumor surgically if the disease is adrenal-dependent.
However, because of the risks and complexity of the surgery, pet owners rely on medication as well as natural treatments to help ease the symptoms. Here are three examples of such treatments that serve as an alternative in dealing with Cushing’s disease in dogs.
1. Diet Changes
Changing the diet is the first step you should take in treating this illness. Dogs with Cushing’s disease often suffer from hyperlipidemia which is the excessive amount of fat in your dog’s blood. Therefore, switching to a low-fat diet with moderate protein content can help reduce the fat circulating in the blood.
Another thing you can do is cook energetically balanced food for your dog which includes vegetables, fruits and protein. By sticking to a healthy diet, the high levels of cortisol will be reduced and other secondary disease processes will be easily managed.
2. Herbal Treatments and Supplements
Certain herbs can also help control the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. For example, dandelion helps regulate the functioning of the adrenal gland. It is a powerful antioxidant which contains vitamins and minerals that stimulate hair growth. Burdock is another herb that helps eliminate toxins in the body.
In addition, there are some common supplements that also help control the symptoms of the disease. Melatonin blocks the uptake of increased cortisone and maintains circadian rhythms. Another supplement is flaxseed lignans which restore normal thirst, urination and appetite and inhibit enzymes to reduce cortisol levels.
3. Acupuncture and Acupressure
The major benefits of using acupuncture for treating Cushing’s disease are its ability to decrease symptoms like nausea and lack of appetite, improve blood circulation and its healing ability. This method consists of inserting needles at particular points in your dog’s body where nerves and blood vessels converge. This way the muscles will be relaxed and the pain your dog may be feeling will be relieved.
Acupressure is an alternative option if your dog is afraid of needles. This method involves applying gentle pressure to specific points which help in supporting the immune system and balancing the endocrine system in your dog. It basically restores balance and nourishes your dog’s body.
Helpful Tips for Dealing with Cushing’s Disease
Besides relying on medications and natural treatments to help your dog deal with Cushing’s disease, there are other methods you can apply. Here is a brief description of some things you can do to make caring for your dog a little bit easier.
1. Change Your Toileting Schedule
Dogs usually go out to relieve themselves 3 to 5 times a day. However, with Cushing’s disease, your dog suffers from polyuria which refers to the increased need for urination and it is one of the key symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Therefore, taking your pet for a potty break more often will help avoid any accidents that may occur at home.
As soon as you notice that your dog is getting restless and starts pacing, it is a sign that you should take it out.
2. Exercise Your Dog
Weight gain, muscle weakness and fatigue are other symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Therefore, exercising your dog can help manage the weight and lower the levels of cortisol at the same time.
When done in a moderate and healthy way, the blood flow will function properly. If your dog doesn’t suffer from serious joint problems, regular walks and playtime can certainly help manage the symptoms. The most important thing is to find which type of exercise works the best, start slow and build up as you go if you notice progress.
3. Put a Water Bowl in Each Room
Increased thirst can be treated by increasing the water intake of your dog as it can get very impatient if the water isn’t available right away. Therefore, putting water bowls in each room of the house will help your dog receive its necessary water intake when it needs it.
You can even teach your dog to tip over the bowl to tell you that there is no more water. The recommended amount of water intake per day is about 66 ml, but don’t restrict your dog if it needs more.
Noticing the first signs of Cushing’s disease is the first important step in dealing with it. This will further help you take proper action and give your dog the appropriate care it needs. Also, before you decide on what treatments you will be going for, it is important that you do all the necessary examinations in order to define the type of Cushing’s disease.
Once you do thorough tests, along with your vet you will be able to decide on a treatment method that will make dealing with this disease easier. In any case, keep this guide nearby to help you and your dog get through this disease with fewer issues and provide your pet with a longer and happier life.