When your veterinary professional confirms Cushing’s Disease in your beloved pet, it’s easy for your heart to sink and worry about the life your pet can lead. While Cushing’s is not a curable disease, it is very possible for a dog to live a long life by managing Cushing’s disease symptoms with treatment and lifestyle changes.
Cushing’s dogs experience elevated cortisol levels which lead to varied symptoms throughout the body. Most common are fatigue, excess thirst, weight gain, hair loss, and muscle weakness. Vets may prescribe a chemotherapy drug like Mitotane or Trilostane to treat Cushing’s in your dog. Though effective in controlling the adrenal or pituitary tumors that cause cortisol overproduction, they also carry a risk of side effects.
Another option for managing Cushing’s disease symptoms is using a holistic supplement containing lignans and melatonin which work to naturally suppress the overproduction of cortisol in the body. These supplements pose little to no side effects and help a Cushing’s dog regain energy and a healthy frame.
Once you choose a treatment, you can also help your dog heal through their eating habits. A diet high in whole foods can help decrease inflammation, a reaction in the body to the overproduction of cortisol. Dogs with Cushing’s may benefit from a diet low in processed grains and high in nutrient-rich fresh foods. Even adding yogurt or fresh meat to kibble can help your pooch’s health.
Because the gut is central to nutrient absorption and overall health, giving your Cushing’s dog probiotics may also help restore energy and muscle function. A balanced digestive system will also allow the dog to absorb a supplement better, leading to increased overall wellness.
Some Cushing’s dog owners question the amount of exercise their pup should have if they suffer from Cushing’s. While dogs with surgery to remove adrenal tumors need to rest for up to two weeks post operation, Cushing’s dogs without severe joint problems can benefit from regular walks or playtime once symptoms are managed. The key is to find out what works best for your dog. Start slow, then build up to longer walks or more frequent outdoor playtimes.
A dog with Cushing’s needs lots of love and careful observation. Watch your pet for any changes in their behavior or bodies. With a balanced treatment for Cushing’s symptoms that includes overall digestive health, many Cushing’s dogs can lead a happy life.