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What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

Hyperadrenocorticism AKA Cushing’s Disease

Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, occurs when the adrenal glands become overstimulated and produce too much cortisol, more commonly known as the stress hormone. At normal levels, the hormone cortisol helps regulate the immune system, body weight, skin, tissue, and stress. Too much cortisol can weaken the immune system and lead to many health problems.

As an endocrine system disorder, Cushing’s disease occurs in people and other species. While it’s one of the most common endocrine disorders in dogs, it’s relatively rare in cats. Learn about the causes, the symptoms, and treatment for Cushing’s disease in dogs.

Causes of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease generally affects middle-aged to older animals. The disease develops when a dog’s adrenal glands begin to overproduce the hormone cortisol. The majority of dogs diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (around 80-90 percent) will have a benign (noncancerous) tumor in their pituitary gland causing the disease, known as Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease. Most of the remaining Cushing’s cases in dogs will be Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease, which is caused by a tumor on one of the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. Although Cushing’s syndrome can take on multiple forms, what they each have in common is the overproduction of cortisol. No matter the cause, the adrenal glands become enlarged, which makes sense since they’re getting quite a workout!

In rare cases, iatrogenic Cushing’s disease can be caused by long-term use or high doses of steroids like prednisone, cortisone or other medications for allergies, autoimmune disorders, and inflammation in the joints or body. This form of Cushing’s disease can develop in dogs at any age.

Many other health conditions have symptoms that are similar to those of Cushing’s disease in dogs. That’s why it’s important for your dog to have regular wellness exams, along with any lab work and screenings recommended by your vet.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease shares many of the same symptoms associated with a large number of other health conditions, so it’s best to make an appointment to see your veterinarian for further examination. In order to reach a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, the vet will need to perform several diagnostic tests.

Common symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease in dogs may include:

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
  • Frequent accidents or need to urinate at night
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased panting
  • Fatty pads around the neck and shoulders
  • Pot-belly or distended abdomen
  • Obesity or unexplained weight gain
  • Hair loss along the back and/or tail
  • Lack of energy, generally lethargic
  • Recurring skin or urinary tract infections
  • Muscle weakness
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Thin skin that bruises easily

Treatment of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

In most cases, medications that regulate the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream can help successfully manage Cushing’s disease in dogs for years to come. In others, surgery may be required. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Since there is no way to prevent Cushing’s disease, establishing a regular veterinary care routine that includes an appropriate blood-screening schedule with your vet is critical. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance you’ll have a wider, variety of treatment options. Finally, if you have questions about Cushing’s syndrome or your dog’s health, give your vet a call.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Pet Safety Around Holiday Decorations

Keeping Pets Safe During the Holiday Hustle

Glittering glass ornaments, shimmering tinsel, and shiny decorations give your home a warm, holiday glow. They can also be irresistibly tempting to pets. With a few simple precautions, you can turn your holidays into a joyful and safe season for all.

Before you bring out all the decorations, do a careful assessment of your home. Choose the safest possible location for all of your festive flourishes so they’re out of reach of pets and children.

Holiday Food, Cookie, and Candy Displays

Many homes traditionally set out all sorts of holiday indulgences for sampling any time of day (or night). From fudge, wrapped and unwrapped chocolates, candies, and cookies to gingerbread houses, cakes, and pies, the holidays are a treat for everyone – except your pets.

“People food” is a huge temptation for animals, so be sure to block access to people treats. Chocolate is toxic, so keep an extra close eye on your pets around these. People foods eaten by pets can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea or worse. Keep some pet-friendly holiday treats on hand. Remember to limit table scraps, and make sure your guests know not to share their
food with your pets.

Holiday Decorations, Lights, and Candles

While many items look beautiful and harmless to us, a shard of glass from an ornament, strands of tinsel, and even those cute hand-crafted cookie/playdoh or macaroni ornaments your kids made in school can be harmful to pets if ingested. Cats, in particular, love the sparkle from tinsel which can cause irreparable internal damage if ingested.

Make sure that any electrical wires are tucked out of sight and that ornaments and lights are placed well out of reach for your curious pet’s paws. Christmas Tree lights can get extremely hot, giving your dog or cat a bad little burn if they venture over to sniff or touch them.

Remember to blow out Menorah candles (actually any type of candle!) every night. A simple bump of the table by an excited pet could send the candles tumbling and start a fire. The same is true for the ever-popular scented holiday candles, especially those that smell like food. Never leave a flame unattended!

Festive Plants, Trees, and Holiday Wreaths

Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and lilies look deceptively nice. Poinsettias do, too. However, when it comes to being safe for pets, they all belong on the naughty list. Their festive foliage can cause serious medical problems ranging from nausea to serious kidney failure and heart issues. Play it safe and opt for artificial holiday arrangements instead.

Pine needles (real and artificial) from wreaths or holiday trees can seriously injure your pet if they are ingested. If you have a live Christmas tree, you also want to keep your pet away from the water as they may be getting a dose of tree fertilizer or other harmful chemicals with their drink.

The safest place for your Christmas tree is in a room that’s off-limits to your pet. If that’s not feasible, situate it in a corner that you can block off with a play fence or other obstruction. Make sure the tree is secured and can’t topple over.

Gifts & Wrapping Paper

Who can resist the sight of gifts piled beneath the tree? Make sure that those beautifully wrapped presents are kept out of your pet’s reach, especially during gift opening time. From Styrofoam peanuts and plastic packaging to batteries, candy, and shiny twist ties, there’s a tantalizing treasure trove of temptation for your pet.

Having lots of people over to celebrate? With everyone’s attention diverted with presents and celebrations, you may want to have your pet in another room during gift exchanges to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest something harmful. Consider giving your furry friend a place of their own that’s well away from all the action and temptations. Setup a safe space that is designated as a “no people room” in a room in your house, with soft lighting and a comfortable place for your pets to relax for a bit.

Now that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe around holiday decorations, enjoy your holiday season!

[disclaimer]
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may
have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a
medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary
emergency hospital immediately.

How to Include Your Pet in Holiday Festivities

Five Fun Holiday Ideas for Your Furry Family Members

The holiday season brings family gatherings, parties, gourmet feasts, celebrations, and of course, lots of gifts. Since pets are part of our families, it’s fun to include them in the celebrations whenever it’s appropriate. Here are five fun ways to make your pet’s holiday merry and bright!

1) Have a Holiday Photo Session. Whether your family is into ugly sweaters, or cute matching outfits, including your animals in your holiday photos can be fun. Consider dressing your pet in a festive holiday bandana, themed collar, or a matching outfit if your pet is willing and receptive). These photos will allow you to cherish the memories of your holiday fun together!

Make sure your pet looks their best on holiday photo day. Schedule a pet pampering groom at any of the following AZPetVet locations.

2) Have a Family Snow Day. Some refreshing playtime in the cold, crisp air will get everyone into the holiday spirit! Pack the car, and head north for a romp in the snow. Manypets, will enjoy running and playing in the magical snow. Don’t forget to bring a coat or sweater to help keep them warm outside, pet snow shoes/boots, plus some cozy towels for drying off after playtime in the snow.

3) Buy or Bake Special Pet Treats: The holidays bring cookie exchanges and lots of tempting treats, most of which are on the no-no list for pets. Whether you’re making them homemade pet-friendly holiday cookies or buying treats from your favorite pet shop, make sure your pet has some savory or sweet holiday treats, too.

You can find a myriad of homemade treat recipes on the internet, but you’ll want to make sure that they don’t contain any inappropriate ingredients (or aren’t too high in calories) for your Individual pet. Be sure to check the recipe with your vet before you get baking!

Special Cat Treat Recipes

Special Dog Treat Recipes

4) Spoil Them With Gifts. Not that you need a reason, but the holidays provide the perfect no-guilt opportunity to spoil your pets. Gifts of toys, accessories like a new collar or leash, treats, a warm, cozy blanket or a new pet bed will help make their holidays wonderful.

5) Give to Other Animals. Animal shelters and rescues can always use more volunteers, especially during the busy holiday season! Busy holiday schedule, so no time to volunteer? Make a donation of money, food or toys. Each holiday season the AZPetVet family of animal hospitals conducts a Holiday Donation Drive to support local non-profits. This year, we are collecting for GrandPaws Pantry and Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds. You can drop off a donation at any AZPetVet location!

Seasonal Allergies & Symptoms in Pets

How To Tell If Your Dog or Cat Has Seasonal Allergies

Coughing, runny eyes, and nose, stuffiness and congestion – people agree that
seasonal allergies are miserable! But did you know pets can suffer from seasonal
allergies, too? While it may be surprising, don’t worry. It can be challenging to
recognize when your dog or cat is experiencing seasonal allergies. That’s because
pets with seasonal allergies will exhibit very different symptoms from people.

Knowing the signs of allergies to watch for can help you identify seasonal allergies
with your beloved pet. From there, you can get your furry friend the help
needed so they can enjoy the outdoors in peace.

Here are some general cat and dog allergy symptoms of seasonal allergies to look
out for:

● Constant scratching and licking
● Chewing of the paws and pads
● Scratching or rubbing of the face
● Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
● Recurrent hot spots in dogs and facial scabs in cats
● Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
● Any foul odor from the skin or coat may indicate secondary infections

Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

It is not uncommon for our beloved pups to experience seasonal allergies due to
various allergens in the air. There are many ways to tell if your dog has seasonal
allergies, but the single most common symptom is scratching. Dogs will often chew
on their feet and pads, which is a huge tip-off that they’re dealing with an
environmental allergic reaction to pollen, mold, or dust mites. This condition is
known as allergic dermatitis.

Keep a close eye on specific parts of your dog’s body that will show signs of irritation,
including the paws, face, tummy, ears, and armpits. When a dog has irritated skin,
they can fall into the vicious itch-scratch cycle, which can leave their skin inflamed.
Untreated, allergies can potentially lead to developing hot spots, bleeding, and even
hair loss. Being aware of these common dog allergy symptoms so you can recognize
when your dog needs help.

Seasonal Allergies in Cats

Can cats suffer from seasonal allergies? Yes! Although cats are much less likely to
suffer from seasonal allergies, cats can experience symptoms of seasonal allergies
similar to their dog counterparts. While your cat might sneeze after exploring the
outdoors for a bit, your feline friend’s reaction is more likely due to slight physical
irritation to the pollen in the air. If this happens, you can try to keep your cat inside
on days that have high pollen warnings. To lessen sneezing, you can try leaving your
shoes by the door. Also, remember to wipe your feet on the welcome mat before
entering the house — this simple act helps to reduce the amount of pollen traveling
into your home!

What Causes Seasonal Allergies in Dogs and Cats?

Environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin and can cause
irritation are also known as “atopy.” Seasonal examples of atopy include ragweed,
which will usually occur here in Phoenix during the fall months. Reactions to
spring pollens from trees and other plants will most commonly occur during April
and May when trees and flowers are in full bloom.

Although dust mites tend to thrive better in more humid environments, dust mites
in Arizona are not uncommon. If you notice your furry friend suffering from allergy
symptoms, it could be due to dust mites in your own home. While it’s impossible to
rid your home of these pesky, microscopic critters completely, you can reduce the amount of them living with you. Some recommended ways to reduce the number of dust mites in your home include replacing carpet In favor of tile or wood flooring, swapping out upholstered
furniture with alternatives such as leather and wood, and washing bedding on a weekly basis.

There are also many products and treatments available to help ease your cat’s or
dog’s allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you
and your pet.

[disclaimer]

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may
have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a
medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary
emergency hospital immediately.

How to Recognize Diabetes in Pets

 

diabetes sign with exclamation pointWhat To Do If Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes
the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy.
Unfortunately, Diabetes is not curable in either dogs or cats. However, early diagnosis,
along with regular treatment and care, means your furry friend can still live a very long
and happy life.

Being aware and able to recognize the signs of Diabetes in your dog or cat is critical to
ensuring they get the help they need. Left unmanaged, Diabetes can have irreversible
effects. If you suspect your beloved dog or cat has Diabetes, be sure to consult your
veterinarian.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as
they could be indicators that your dog has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms
overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Change in appetite
● Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
● Weight loss
● Increased urination
● Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
● Lethargy
● Dehydration
● Urinary tract infections
● Vomiting
● Cataract formation, blindness
● Chronic skin infections

While Diabetes is more common in middle-aged to older dogs, especially among
females, it’s not uncommon for younger dogs to develop Diabetes. Certain breeds are
more likely to develop Diabetes, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and
Cocker Spaniels.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is
experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be
indicators that your cat has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
● Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
● Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
● Weight loss
● Change in gait (walking)
● Reduced activity, weakness, depression
● Vomiting

Diabetes tends to be more common among middle-aged to older cats, as well as among
felines that are overweight. However, unlike dogs, neutered male cats are more likely to
develop Diabetes. While any cat can develop Diabetes, breeds that are more prone to
this disease include Siamese, Maine Coon, and Burmese.

What To Do if Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

If you find out your furry friend has Diabetes, it’s totally normal to feel worried and
anxious. First, take a deep breath. With the right kind of care and treatment, your beloved cat or dog can still live a happy and productive life. Your veterinarian can discuss various lifestyle changes
you will need to make in your pet’s life to ensure they remain healthy. These can include
more exercise, diet changes, oral medication, and insulin injections.

Still not sure if your furry friend has Diabetes? Take the quiz and see if your pet could be
at risk or schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations.

With proper veterinary care, Diabetes can be manageable. Working together, we can help your pet live a long and healthy life.

[disclaimer]
Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may
have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical
emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital
immediately.