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Lady’s Story: Cushing’s in Dogs

Posted June 8, 2015

*Before I get into this week’s blog, I just wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the pet parents that have been reading Lady’s Story. My little Ladybug is certainly getting on in age (20 years old!) and I’m grateful for our time together and the chance to share her story. She’s such a remarkable girl and she continues to inspire me with her bravery. If you’re new to Lady’s story, you can read her first blog here, and her second blog where I share her story of dog mammary gland cancer here.

Today, I wanted to share Lady’s battle with dog Cushing’s disease, and my choices to help her. In case you are not familiar with this disease, I’ve posted some facts for you at the end of this blog.

In early 2003, when Lady was 8 years old, I noticed a significant increase in her thirst, urination, and appetite. I also noticed her developing a bit of a potbelly. Being in the business of pet health and wellness, I was aware of the possibility that she could have Cushing’s disease. I took her to the vet right away. Her liver enzyme readings were high, which led our vet to diagnose her with Cushing’s.

At the time there were no pharmaceutical options for Cushing’s for animals; what was available was for human use only. Only recently has the FDA approved any pharmaceuticals for animal use to treat Cushing’s disease. My only option was natural support; since I had already experienced such success with natural supplements, I was confident with this choice.

I started her on 2-3ml of the NHV Supraglan for the adrenal issues and the same dosage for the NHV Milk Thistle and NHV Multi Essentials. Cushing’s Disease often affects the liver, and the Milk Thistle offers many benefits including support to the liver.   Throughout her life, I’ve had to adjust her dosage. Last year, her dosage increased to 5ml of each product. Each pet is different, so if you have any questions about dosage, please ask us.

With Cushing’s, it is very important that you carefully monitor how much food you give to your dog as their increased appetite can lead to obesity, which leads to more health complications. Lady has always had a strong appetite, but I was careful not to over feed her. I also have always made home cooked meals for Lady, and added supplements like Multi Essentials for increased nutritional value.

It is my suspicion that Lady’s Cushing’s disease was related to her use of prednisone (an anti-inflammatory medication). Lady was on prednisone a couple of times in her life. As I’ve said before, she’s been quite the remarkable survivor: A tough cookie, Lady survived a horrible midnight battle with a raccoon while trying to defend a family member who was babysitting her while I was away. Previous to that horrible incident, a Lynx attacked her while she was in the yard of our home!

Because anti-inflammatory drugs can cause complication’s including Cushing’s, I strongly advise pet parents to support their pet’s liver with Milk Thistle. I did not do this while Lady was on prednisone, and it is one of my biggest regrets.

Some breeds are more prone to getting Cushing’s than others. If your fur baby is any of the breeds listed below, I highly recommend beginning supplements earlier on. Remember, supplements can be used as preventative measures, and you don’t need to wait until the disease has progressed significantly before beginning herbal supplements for your pet. Use the maintenance dosage for preventative care; both maintenance and therapeutic dosages are listed on website.

As promised, here are some Cushing’s Disease facts for you.

What is Cushing’s in Dogs? 

  • Cushing’s in dogs is a common endocrine disease in adult and aged dogs.
  • Symptoms of dog Cushing’s are the result of chronic excess of the hormone cortisol.

Why Do Dogs get Cushing’s Disease? There are several reasons why your dog may get Cushing’s Disease:

  • Most common is a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, which triggers excessive development of the adrenal gland.
  • Less common is a tumor in the adrenal glands themselves
  • Other reasons include the use of corticosteroid drugs (e.g. to treat an immune disorders or decrease inflammation)

What are the Symptoms of Dog Cushing’s Disease?

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased appetite and/ or overeating
  • Weak muscles
  • Heat intolerance
  • Thin Skin
  • Hair Loss
  • Bruising
  • Potbelly and obesity
  • Panting

What Breeds Commonly get Cushing’s Disease?

  • Miniature poodles
  • Dachshunds
  • Boxers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Beagles (Lady is a beagle cross).

We love your pet naturally


Patra de Silva

Mom to Lady (and President of NHV Natural Pet Products)


*Product reviews are solely the experience and opinion of the reviewer. Actual results may vary.

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*Product reviews are solely the experience and opinion of the reviewer. Actual results may vary.