Cushingâ€™s in dogs
Cushing’s is a hormonal disease state caused by the excessive production of cortisol, one of the “fight or flight” hormones produced by the adrenal glands.
Normally, when the cortisol level of blood is low, a gland in the brain (called the pituitary gland) secretes a stimulating hormone (ACTH) to tell the adrenal glands to produce and release more cortisol. Once blood cortisol levels are high enough again, it inhibits further secretion of ACTH by the brain. In this way the body keeps blood cortisol levels balanced.
The presence of excess cortisol can come about in three ways:
1. A tumour of the gland in the brain (the pituitary gland) – in this instance high levels of cortisol no longer inhibit the production of ACTH and results in over stimulation and secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
2. A tumour of the adrenal gland/s – cortisol is produced regardless of ACTH not being secreted.
3. Administering too much cortisone as a medication.
Most common symptoms in your pet:
- Drinking large amounts of water and urinating a lot
- Eating a lot and always hungry.
- Pot belly
- Symmetrical hair loss, especially over the sides
- Thin tummy skin with very visible blood vessels
Why is it a serious condition:
- If the condition is caused by one of the two tumours previously mentioned, the tumour itself will eventually pose a problem either in the abdomen or brain. Tumour cells could also spread to other organs
- It could cause pulmonary thromboemboli – small blood clots that block blood vessels in the lungs. These little emboli can also affect blood flow to other organs
- Predisposes to Diabetes Mellitus
- Causes reduced liver function
The prognosis depends on the type of Cushing’s, the age and general health of the animal, any other disease processes present and treatment.
Even though surgery is described it is not recommended. Treatment mostly consists of an oral tablet called Vetoryl, which inhibits the production of cortisol. This will resolve some of the symptoms and make the patient much more comfortable.
Life expectancy can vary from as little as 12 months to 5 years (mainly in younger patients in which treatment is effective).
Read more >Tuesday 1st of November 2016: With the warmer months just around the corner it's time to once again consider the dreaded flea. Fleas can be a real problem over the warmer months, but it all starts now!
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With spring arriving we are starting to see more itchy dogs through the clinic doors. The main cause of this seasonal itch is allergy. Skin allergies can be divided into a number of causes including contact allergy, flea allergy, atopy and food allergy/intolerance.
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: Desexing our pets is an important part of responsible pet ownership. As the days get longer and the nights get warmer, our pet cats will start to venture away from the fire and off the bed. More cats out and about means there is greater chance of unwanted pregnancies. Without any control in place, a single un-speyed female cat can produce up to 3 litters of kittens per year, with approximately 3-4 kittens per litter.
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With summer approaching, it is important to make sure your cat has a fresh water supply available at all times. Cats are not very good drinkers and partly as a result of this are susceptible to lower urinary tract inflammation or, even worse, kidney insufficiency which can lead to kidney failure.
Read more >Friday 9th of September 2016: Rearing orphan lambs can be an enjoyable and rewarding job for a whole spectrum of people â€“ from a lifestyler with a couple of pets lambs to the owner of a highly productive stud flock fostering triplet lambs of high genetic merit. Pet lambs are also easy for children to rear and are a great way to teach them some of the responsibility of pet care. No matter what the situation though, the rules for successful lamb rearing are the same for every situation.
Read more >Tuesday 23rd of August 2016: On 27 May 2016, Diana and Jerry Greer's Labrador, Tiggy, whelped and had 6 puppies. Unfortunately one was stillborn, which left five.
Two days after whelping Diana noticed that the firstborn puppy was losing weight and on closer inspection found that he had difficulty suckling.
On day three I offered to take him and attempt bottle feeding him and see if we could get him going again. When I arrived home I saw that he had a cleft palate. This is where the journey of 400g Olo and I started. Of course I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
Read more >Thursday 16th of June 2016: I have a habit of trying anything at least twice so when the National Aquarium asked if I liked reptiles, I was keen to get involved. The playing field changed somewhat when the reptile in question turned out to be an American Alligator, but I was definitely still enthused, so long as the staff were happy to restrain her
Read more >Tuesday 14th of June 2016: It's coming to that time again - soon the cows will be calving and the calf sheds will be full of happy, healthy, bright eyed calves. They will have all had a good drink of high quality colostrum soon after birth, and will be well set up to become a great dairy cow.
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Rat bait (rodenticide) poisoning is the most common poisoning we see in the clinic. It generally affects dogs as they are more readily ruled by their stomachs!
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Ziggy is an active 7 year old Bichon Frise who's owner brought him into the clinic after noticing him urinating more often than usual but only being able to pass small amounts of blood tinged urine. He also seemed in pain and was not his usual bouncy self.
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Most cats and dogs over 3 years old will have evidence of dental disease. Dental conditions we commonly see in the clinic include peridontal disease, broken teeth, retained temporary teeth and feline resorptive lesions.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Winter is the season for lice and if they are there in numbers in winter they will be there en masse by spring.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Rumensin contains an active ingredient from the ionophore family called Monensin. It has an action on the bacteria present in the rumen leading to a change in the composition of bacteria type.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: We are currently seeing and hearing about young beef cattle that are losing body condition and scouring. Some animals are being found dead or close to it. Examinations of these animals are revealing that internal parasitism is a major factor.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Quality milk is milk that is produced by a healthy udder, free of unwanted substances (e.g. antibiotics), and stored, treated and processed properly. The starting point is a healthy udder.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Incidence of lameness varies between herds and varies during the season. Smaller herds still have an incidence of 10% lame cows in the herd, larger herds often show higher incidences: up to 30%. Wet periods will boost the number of clinically lame cows, due to gravel being pushed into existing white line defects, softening of claw horn and washed out races.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: The start of the milking season is an eventful time for dairy cows. Returning from grazing, transition from a dry cow diet to a fresh cow production diet, calving and start of production are all risk factors. Feed conditions at the start of lactation are often difficult, grass quality can be low, available pasture can be low, weather can be adverse etc. In the mean time we expect our cows to produce milk, to peak at an acceptable level and to get pregnant as soon as possible after our planned Start of Mating.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Endometritis is a low-grade infection of the lining of the uterus that affects fertility and increases the period from calving to conception if a cow is infected. Most cows become infected around calving time. Treatment should be aimed at restoring fertility.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Non-cycling cows are cows that have not yet shown a heat at the planned start of mating. They occur for a wide variety of reasons including low body condition, endometritis, lameness etc.