The symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs can be extremely debilitating for the animal. It also presents a lot of difficulties for dog owners. Many times, lab reports portray an entirely different picture from the physically observed symptoms. The condition is quite difficult to diagnose and requires a number of tests that can be heavy on the pocket.
The fact of the matter is that symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs are vague and tend to mimic other ailments. The most recognizable symptom is abnormally high hair loss, which is also the primary reason why dog owners generally seek evaluation form a veterinarian. An abnormal increase in water consumption and urination, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the other common symptoms of dogs with Cushing’s.
Diarrhea as a symptom of Cushing’s is not itself indicative of the disease. Cushing’s disease is caused by elevated levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. Diarrhea, on the other hand, is associated with low level of cortisol. Diarrhea thus may appear as a result of excessive medication for Cushing’s disease.
High levels of cortisol in the blood can be caused due to a problem (usually a tumor) with the adrenal or pituitary gland. It is possible to remove adrenal tumors through surgical resection, but the procedure requires exceptional skills. Most cases of canine Cushing’s are pituitary dependent, usually due to a number of micro-tumors that cannot be removed.
Conventional medication for canine Cushing disease focuses on immunosuppressants, drugs that lower the body’s normal immune response or drugs that destroy some parts of the adrenal cortex. These drugs are given daily during the induction phase to normalize cortisol levels in the blood and are continued till the resolution of clinical signs. The most common sign used for determining the induction phase is resumption of normal water consumption.
The problem arises with dosage. Despite standardized dosages, there is no surety of how individual patients will respond to medications. This at times leads to low levels of cortisol in the blood. During the induction phase as well as throughout the treatment period, occurrence of diarrhea is considered to be a sign of low cortisol levels. It is because of this that caring owners are always advised to keep cortisone pills handy. These serve as a Cushing’s disease supplement for dogs to elevate levels that have fallen due to medication.
Diarrhea as a symptom during treatment of Cushing’s presents a classical example of the see-saw effect of conventional medications. If you are wary of putting your pet to through more discomfort than he is already suffering, you may look for safer options like natural remedies for canine Cushing’s disease. These may include herbal, natural and homeopathic remedies.