Treating and managing Cushing’s in dogs
It’s not always necessary to treat Cushing’s disease – treatment is not without risks, and you should discuss with your vet whether treatment is right for you and your dog.
Treatment for Cushing’s disease depends on the type your dog has but medical therapy (tablets) can be used in most cases, as surgery is usually a specialist option.
If your dog’s illness is due to the most common cause, a benign pituitary tumour, they may be prescribed daily tablets to help manage the disease. Treatment with medicine may not be necessary for dogs with mild symptoms; your vet may want to closely monitor your pet for a while first. Specialist surgery to remove pituitary tumours is also available.
Dogs whose Cushing’s disease is caused by a growth on the adrenal gland will need a scan to see whether their condition is benign or malignant. If there is just one tumour, your vet may advise a course of medication to shrink it and possibly surgery to remove it. In some cases, further tumours may spread through the body and in severe cases are unfortunately untreatable.
Dogs who have developed Cushing’s due to taking steroids for other health conditions such as allergies or immunity issues will needs to be weaned off those steroids under the advice of a vet. Coming off steroids too quickly can lead to further, potentially-fatal, problems.
While Cushing’s disease cannot be cured, it can be managed in most cases but it is a costly condition to treat.
Owners with dogs who are being treated for Cushing’s with tablets will need to give them to their pet for the rest of their pet’s life. You will need to visit your vet regularly with your dog as treatment can be dangerous without careful monitoring, which often includes regular blood tests.