Summary: Natural supplements are a more cost effective, less invasive way to help control your dog’s Cushings disease than the regularly prescribed veterinary treatments.
Cushing’s disease, also called hyperadrenocorticism, is caused by the production of excess hormones from the adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease typically occurs in older dogs with a variety of symptoms that can mimic other illnesses. Common symptoms of Cushings disease include increased drinking and urination, increased appetite, bulging abdomen, hair loss on the sides of the torso, skin lumps and discoloring, panting, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and nervous system disorders can also occur with the disease.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce a complex of steroid hormones that help regulate body weight, skin health, mineral balance, the structure of connective tissue, and some white blood cell production. This steroid complex is called cortin. The pituitary gland uses adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce the cortin. Cushing’s disease can be triggered by a tumor of either the adrenal glands, or the pituitary gland; either one can cause the adrenal glands to be overstimulated and produce an excess of corticosteroids. The most common cause of Cushing’s disease is a microscopic, benign pituitary tumor (microadenoma) which secretes ACTH in overabundance and ignores the adrenal glands’ response. Pituitary tumors account for roughly 85% of Cushings cases. The other 15% of Cushings cases are caused by an adrenal tumor that is responsible for secreting too much cortisol. Approximately half of the adrenal tumors are benign, and the other half are malignant. In either of these cases, the balance of the pituitary gland and adrenal glands in creating corticosteroids is lost, and an excess of corticosteroids are always present in the animal’s blood stream.
Typical treatment with drug therapy and surgery is usually dependent on the underlying cause of the dog’s Cushings, and requires blood tests, urine tests, and even ultrasounds, to determine where the tumor is located. The medications are typically extremely expensive and fairly toxic, as chemotherapy drugs are frequently used (Lysoderm is a human chemotherapy that is used to kill the outer layer of the adrenal gland that manufactures the corticosteroids in dogs.) It is for these reasons that people are seeking supplements to help their dogs manage the symptoms of Cushings disease without the outrageous cost or illness that can accompany chemotherapy treatment. Some such supplements include Supraglan for Dog Cushings Disease, A Natural Supplement for Dog Adrenal Gland Dysfunction. A 4 month supply only costs about $80.00. Another supplement is Cushex drops by Pet Alive, that can be used for either cats or dogs with Cushings disease. A 50mL bottle is priced around $33.00. The natural supplements treat the symptoms of cushings and help to regulate the levels of corticosteroids in the blood stream regardless of the underlying cause of the Cushings. Cushings Disease is a serious ailment that is sometimes difficult to see, as many of the symptoms are exaggerations of the natural aging process. Natural supplements provide another option for people that love their pets, but cannot afford other treatments, or deal with the side effects of chemotherapy drugs.