How Cushing’s Disease Causes Thin Skin in Dogs and Affects Bone Density

Cushing’s disease, or, as it is known in the veterinary world, hyperadrenocorticism, affects many areas of a dog’s body. Two of the areas that are often highly affected by Cushing’s are the skin and bones. Diagnostics have shown that often Cushing’s disease causes thin skin in dogs and can reduce bone density.

The Research

Thin Skin
Since skin-thinning is often a tell-tale sign a dog has Cushing’s disease, the phenomenon was put to the test. In a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Science, a sampling of small dog breeds suffering from Cushing’s were given an abdominal ultrasound to record the thickness of their skin in that area. When compared to the normal group of non-Cushing’s dogs, the results showed a significant difference in the skin of the abdominal area.

With the clear results of this study, experts are hopeful that it may prove a reliable way to detect hyperadrenocorticism. In other words, veterinarians may be able to use this technique more frequently to diagnose Cushing’s without more invasive tests.

Bone Density
Another study in the Journal of Veterinary Science showed the relationship of bone density to dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease. In this study, 36 dogs were analyzed for their bone density according to a quantitative computed tomography (QCT) measurement. Out of the test group, 8 displayed known symptoms of hyperadrenocorticism. When studied, 7 of the 8 Cushing’s dogs showed signs of osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.

Researchers added that dog breed and varying bone size may also play a role in the findings, however, more research is needed to investigate the implications of this phenomenon. Of the dogs tested, many of the breeds considered more likely to develop Cushing’s were part of the study. These included the Maltese, Poodle, Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, and Dachshund.

Helping the Skin and Bones

Dog parents of Cushing’s pets often notice subtle signs of these ailments. When it comes to alleviating these symptoms of Cushing’s, a holistic approach may be the gentlest relief for your pooch. Dietary changes and additions can also prove helpful. If the thin skin results in wounds, some salves and essential oil blends are also available to ease your pup’s discomfort and promote healing.

A Holistic Approach
Treating the skin thickness problem is trickier. However, an overall treatment for Cushing’s symptoms may help relieve this problem. Traditional chemo drugs like Trilostane have been found to increase the skin’s vitality after Cushing’s however, these drugs may also bring a range of negative side-effects. Using a supplement like CushAway may also yield healthier skin by providing relief from plant-based and natural-occurring compounds that impact Cushing’s at the root cause.

Omega 3 and Calcium for bone health
The fatty acid Omega 3 is found in supplements, but also in fish. Kibble additions like sardines or anchovies can be a beneficial treat for your dog. Calcium has long been touted as a bone-super food. Surprisingly, many vegetables can be sources of calcium. Then there’s yogurt. A double punch of gut health and calcium, topping your dog’s food with a dollop may be the healthy treat that packs a big restorative punch.

Caring for your Cushing’s Dog

Though Cushing’s has no known cure, there are ways to relieve symptoms and discomfort. Though subtle, low bone density and thinning skin are telltale signs of Cushing’s that may lead to diagnosis and treatment plans. Treating these symptoms often means treating the dog as a whole, through supplements, gentle exercise, and dietary changes. If you notice thinning skin and lethargy or obvious markers of pain, it may be time to make a plan to keep your canine best friend living their best life.