Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs: Signs, diagnosis and treatment for this health problem

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in dogs that increases their cortisol hormone level in the body causing other health problems. Read below to know about this issue.
Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs: Signs, diagnosis and treatment for this health problem Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs: Signs, diagnosis and treatment for this health problem
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Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in dogs when their body makes too much of cortisol hormone which helps them to respond to stress, controls their weight, blood sugar levels and fights with infections. But when this hormone is increased in amount then there might be numerous problems. Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercortisolism and hyperadrenocorticism, is tough to diagnose as it has symptoms like other conditions.

In some cases, it needs surgery to get cured. Medicines are also prescribed to maintain cortisol levels. So, dog owners should know everything about this issue to help their furry friends to get cured.

Cushing’s syndrome in dogs:

Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs

This disease is mostly seen in middle-aged and older dogs, but the symptoms are really tough to notice. Some common signs are:

1.Unusual thirst.

2.Gets unusually hungry.

3.Increased urination.

4.Hair loss and decreased hair growth.

5.Thinning skin.

6.Tired and inactive most of the time.


8.Skin infections.

Types of Cushing’s syndrome

Generally, there are two major types of Cushing's syndrome in dogs are affected with:

Pituitary dependent- 80-90 percent of animals with Cushing’s syndrome are affected by this common issue. In this case, there is a tumour in a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain called as the pituitary.

Adrenal dependent- Almost 15 percent of dogs are diagnosed with this condition when there is a tumour in one of the adrenal glands located at the top of kidneys.

Diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome

There is no 100 percent accurate diagnosis for this condition. So, vets give the following tests to diagnose:

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) stimulation test- In this diagnosis, it is observed how adrenal glands work in response to the hormone ACTH that prompts them to make cortisol. Vets will take blood samples of your dog before and after giving a shot of ACTH to him or her.

Low dose dexamethasone suppression test (LDDS)- Here, it is checked how a man-made version of cortisol named dexamethasone works in their body. Blood samples are taken before and after giving the shot of the hormone.  


If the tumour is in adrenal glands, then it can be removed by surgery. But this won’t be an option anymore if the tumour has spread to other parts of the body and is causing other health issues. So, then they have to be given medications for the rest of their life. Drugs are also advised by doctors for a tumour in pituitary glands.

Also Read: Raw Food Diet for Dogs: Health benefits and risks that every dog owner should know