The two major organs involved in the development of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs are the two glandular organs of the endocrine system – the pituitary and the adrenal glands (to be particular, the adrenal cortex). The pituitary is the parent gland that releases the Adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) to signal the adrenal cortex to release the stress hormone, cortisol.
Excess of this hormone is the basic cause of Cushing’s syndrome. Excessive levels of cortisol may be caused due to a problem, usually a tumor, with the pituitary or the adrenal gland. When the problem is caused due to a pituitary tumor, it is known as Cushing’s disease. Regardless of the nature of these tumors, benign or malignant, the result is an increase in the production of cortisol. Dogs that have previously undergone corticosteroid therapy for allergies or immune diseases are also at a risk of developing symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome.
Cortisol has a strong physiological and chemical effect and acts as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agent. Large amounts of freely circulating cortisol in the body suppresses the dog’s immune system, exposing it to various bacterial infections.
Holistic treatments pay more attention to the underlying cause of the problem rather than suppressing the symptoms for temporary relief. Although there are numerous remedies that fall under holistic treatments, the major emphasis in holistic treatments is to concentrate on prevention rather than waiting for symptoms to show. It is a dedicated effort to encourage healing by understanding the body’s signals.
The holistic way of treatment, therefore, is to read the organic relation of the entire body with the symptoms presented by it and decide how the treatment should be applied. It is a belief that says that only the body’s system as a whole can explain how different organs are functioning. These include behavioral as well as physiological symptoms.
With regards to Cushing’s disease, a holistic treatment would involve choosing alternative therapies that do not conceal symptoms but focus on improving organ functioning. In the case of Cushing’s, it is the adrenal gland that needs a helping hand to improve its functionality. A homeopathic remedy for Cushing’s disease or a natural medicine or even a change in diet that extends support to the organs involved, especially the adrenal gland, along with alleviating allied symptoms, would thus be part of a holistic treatment of the disease.