Cushings Disease is when the body produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is natural and plays a necessary role in the proper functioning of the body. An excess of cortisol, however, is immunosuppressive and can lead to many other illnesses or conditions. Our dog was diagnosed with Cushings when he was approximately 14 1/2 years old. For about a year prior to his official diagnosis as a Cushings dog, I had suspected he might have it and when I brought up various symptoms, our vets offered different reasonings behind the new behavior I had noticed in our dog. It wasn't until we were referred to a specialist clinic (ironically, to the oncologist to deal with a mast cell tumor) that we met the internist (also called an internal medicine specialist) who would end up treating our dog through both Cushings disease and subsequent liver problems.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a vet and I have no veterinary or medical background whatsoever. This information on Cushings disease in dogs is not meant as a substitute or replacement for veterinary advice. It's meant for educational and informational purposes only, as a starting point for discussing the diagnosis and treatment of canine Cushings disease with a qualified vet.
These pages are about our personal experience with managing our Cushings dog - but if you are interested in learning more about the disease itself, a good place to start is this article: What Exactly is Cushing's Disease?
This disease is so difficult because the symptoms mirror "old age." Treatment is expensive and requires an attentive pet owner... but it can work wonders for the dog. Cushings can be managed and provide an improved quality of life for your dog. This section of dog health articles are about our personal experiences with the disease, along with some informational tips and links to useful websites.
Please remember that every dog is an individual. Dogs will show different symptoms, and respond differently to treatment for canine Cushings. Cushings dogs can (and have!) happily live out their expected lifespans. Below are some links with a description of our own journey with Cushings disease - hopefully it can help provide a starting point for discussions with your own vet.