Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
Hyperadrenocorticism (HAC), commonly referred to as Cushing’s disease is a condition in which your dog’s adrenal glands produce excess hormones, most of which is cortisol. This hormone, if produced in excess, will affect several bodily functions; hence the symptoms might present themselves in a wide range.
Cushing’s disease is incurable, but even then, your dog still has a chance to live a long and happy life. For any pet parent wondering how long their furry friend will live with the disease, that will depend on factors like when the disease was diagnosed, the choice of treatment, and others.
Before answering your question, however, it would be nice to shed light on some basics about the condition.
Which dogs are most affected?
- Aging dogs: Cushing’s disease is mostly associated with middle-aged and older dogs, with the average age of dogs diagnosed with the disease being ten years.
- Females: There has been some evidence to show that female pets are more susceptible to the condition as compared to their male counterparts even though most vets dispute the claim.
- Spayed/neutered dogs: Has your dog been neutered? Well, if they aren’t, you might want to avoid getting such a procedure done on them since it’s said to put your pet at a higher risk as far as the disease is concerned.
- Predisposed breeds: It has been observed that some breeds are more prone to attack by the disease, even though that is also debatable. Poodles, Labradors, German Shepherds Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Boston Terriers, Beagles, Boxers, and Dachshund are some of the breeds thought to be at a higher risk.
Three main factors lead to Cushing’s syndrome, but all are related to excess production of cortisol:
- Pituitary gland tumor: This one is responsible for overproduction of a hormone that stimulates adrenal glands to release cortisol, which is then produced in excess.
- Adrenal gland tumor: The occurrence of a tumor in the adrenal gland is also known to cause Cushing’s disease.
- Iatrogenic: Steroids, both oral and injectable, are given for a reason but if given in excess or for a prolonged period, can trigger the excess production of cortisol.
Since the Cushing’s disease is more common in older dogs, most owners mistake its symptoms for old age and only realize that something is not right when symptoms worsen. Late diagnosis means that chances are reduced of your dog living long.
Watch out for the following symptoms, and ask your vet to check your dog for assurance if noted:
- Increased consumption of water
- Exercise intolerance
- Excess panting
- Muscle loss
- Increased appetite
- Increased urination, and
- Hair loss
Canine life expectancy with Cushing’s disease
Back to the main question, how long does a dog live with Cushing’s disease?
This answer to this question will vary depending on various factors. One such element is the origin of the condition. If it began in the adrenal gland, you should expect your pooch to live with the disease for an average of three more years. On the other hand, if your dog has a pituitary gland issue, he will most likely be alive for an estimated period of two years with the disease.
In most cases, dogs that are quite young when the disease is diagnosed have a chance of living longer. It is also good you know that health issues like diabetes and some forms of infection can lower the life expectancy of your pooch if they are suffering from Cushing’s disease.
Sometimes, the condition of your dog may deteriorate not so long after treatment has commenced, in which case you might want to consider putting your dog to sleep after closely monitoring the progress.
If all you are wondering is how long does a dog live with Cushing’s disease, then you will have to consider factors like age, choice of treatment, the stage in which the disease was diagnosed, among others. If, however, the condition is treated early enough, your dog can recover and remain healthy for years and will, in most cases, live out his normal lifespan.
“How Long Does a Dog Live with Cushing’s Disease?”
Featured Image: (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Caleb Christians) (Photo Credit: 1LT Caleb Christians)
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