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Cushing's disease occurs when the dog's adrenal system produces too much corticosteroid hormones. The disorder normally affects middle-aged or elderly canines. Cushing's often arises from a benign tumor on the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland. Conventional medicines often include the drug known as Lysodren which works by destroying the other layer of the adrenal gland to control the disease's symptoms, however, several holistic treatment plans show promise for dogs suffering from Cushing's.
One of the first symptoms of Cushing's is widespread hair loss on the dog. The dog may also be constantly thirsty and hungry. The head of the dog often takes on a skull-like appearance. It suffers lethargy and excessive panting. The abdomen may be distended and have a sagging appearance. The skin often thins out and feels papery to the touch. Benign tumors develop below the skin's surface in some cases. All the muscles of the body, including the heart, will begin to weaken.
The veterinarian will evaluate all of the dog's symptoms. Blood work will be ordered. The dog will have blood drawn in the morning and then the veterinarian will administer an injection of dexamethasone, which suppresses cortisol in the blood if the dog does not suffer from Cushing's. Eight hours after the injection, the blood of the dog is drawn again and evaluated to see what the level of cortisol is within the blood stream.
Cushing's is normally treated by surgical removal of an adrenal gland tumor if feasible. If the tumor is located on the pituitary gland, the dog is prescribed Lysodren to kill off enough of the adrenal gland so that the cortisol in the dogs body is lowered. Unfortunately, Lysodren carries adverse affects such as vomiting, weakness and diarrhea. The dog's average live span after a diagnosis of Cushing's disease is made averages two years, according to Vet Info.
Adding several holistic treatments to the veterinarian's care regime can aid in the dog's overall health. Dandelion helps the liver, kidneys and adrenal gland in functioning properly. It helps to level out the production of cortisol naturally in the dog's blood stream. Adding the herb arsenicum to the dog's diet helps to lessen the excessive thirst that the dog often experiences. Hepar sulph works well to help the the skin conditions of Cushing's disease. Burdock detoxifies the dog's cells.
Homeopathic pituitary is manufactured from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland from the healthy pituitary glands of animals. When administered to a dog with Cushing's disease it helps to balance the actions of the gland which helps level the cortisol in the dogs blood. Homeopathic formic acid works to restore the dog's coat and skin health.
- dog image by Lina Miseviciute from Fotolia.com