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
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
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.
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!
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!
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
● 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.
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.
Cancer in Dogs and Cats is More Common Than You Might Think
Cancer is, unfortunately, a natural part of life, and many people don’t realize
that dogs and cats can get cancer, too. According to the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA), dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
The AVMA also reports than nearly 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop
some form of cancer. When it comes to cats, according to the Animal Cancer
Foundation (ACF), 1 in every 5 cats develop cancer in their lifetime. Some common
types of cancer in cats are lymphoma, feline leukemia virus, and breast cancer.
Because of the veterinary medical advances in diagnosing and treating cancer in
dogs and cats, regular wellness exams are more important than ever in order to help
with early intervention, and treatment. Happily, with early detection, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment, some forms of cancer in pets can be cured. Other cancers can only be managed to slow the spread of the disease and keep your pet’s life as normal as possible. The biggest factors determining the treatment for pet cancers are:
● The type of cancer, location and the rate of spread to other parts of the body.
● The stage of the disease and how far it may have spread in the pet’s body.
Sadly, some forms of cancer in dogs and cats may not respond to treatment. If
your dog or cat is diagnosed with cancer, your veterinarian will discuss the best
treatment option(s) available for your pet, as well as the risks and side effects
associated with each option, so you can make the choice that’s best for your family,
your pet and their quality of life.
Early Cancer Warning Signs in Dogs & Cats
Consult your veterinarian if you observe any of the following signs in your dog or cat:
● Abdominal swelling
● Bleeding from the mouth, nose or other body openings
● Difficulty breathing or coughing
● Difficulty eating
● Difficulty urinating
● Lumps, bumps or skin discolorations
● Non-healing wounds or sores
● Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
● Sudden changes in weight, especially weight loss
● Unexplained swelling, heat, pain or lameness
● Visible mass or tumor on the pet’s body
What’s Next After a Pet Cancer Diagnosis
If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with cancer, your veterinary team will be at
your side to help you make the best decision for your pet, your family and to ensure
the animal’s quality of life. Recommended treatments may be a single type of
therapy or a combination of therapies. These may include surgery, chemotherapy,
radiation, cryosurgery (freezing), or immunotherapy. In certain cases, your
veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified veterinary oncologist (cancer
specialist) for the best care possible.
Since your pet’s overall health is important, your veterinarian may also recommend
dietary changes and/or complementary therapies such as acupuncture that may
help your pet better respond to treatment. Pain management is also an important
aspect of any cancer treatment and will be determined on a case by case basis.
As veterinary professionals and animal lovers, we understand you want the best care
for your pet at every stage of their life. To help ease the possible financial concerns, our interest-free payment plans may be of assistance during the care and treatment of your pet. We’re here to help, so your pet can remain comfortable, happy, and as pain-free as possible.
[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 Choose the Best Type of Dog or Cat For Your Family Pet
At AZPetVet, we think pets are so awesome, we’ve made them our life’s work! Often, we’re asked what’s the best type of dog for a family pet or what are the best types of cats? These are great questions to be asking BEFORE you get a new dog or cat, and they spawn a lot of other questions that you might not have thought to ask. The type of dog or cat is not simply limited to a choice of the breed — there are many other things to consider.
If you’re an experienced pet owner, you already know the challenges and rewards of owning a cat or dog; it’s a lifetime commitment! Sometimes, people can underestimate the particular needs of a type of dog or cat or get a pet without fully thinking things through, which can lead to frustration or even the animal being surrendered to a shelter or being rehomed.
Taking the time to explore different breeds of cats and dogs and the specific care needs of each type can help you make the decision that’s best suited for you, your family, your lifestyle and your future pet dog or cat. This is especially important if you’re a first-time pet owner or have small children or other restrictions. Read on to learn what things you should consider when choosing the best dog or cat for your family.
Experience Levels & Time Commitments for Training Pets
Bringing a pet into your life has lots of benefits, but there’s also a big adjustment period for everyone, including the animal. Have you ever owned a dog or cat or are you venturing into dog or cat ownership for the first time? Do you currently own a dog or cat (or both) and are planning a new addition to your family? Do you want a puppy or kitten or an older animal?
If you’re considering a puppy or kitten, ask yourself how much time you are willing to devote to training? A little (1-5 hours per week)? Mid-range (6-10 hours per week)? A lot (10+ hours)?
Are you gone from home for long periods of time for work or other commitments? Will the dog or cat be crated during the day/night, or free to run around?
If you’re looking for an older pet that’s already trained or housebroken, adoption from a shelter or rescue may be your best bet — and due to the number of unwanted or homeless animals, adoption is always encouraged!
If you currently own a dog or cat or a mix of pets, bringing a new dog or cat, puppy or kitten into the pack will be a gradual process to minimize any territory or jealousy issues or possible personality clashes. Your vet can recommend the right steps and sometimes even products that may help ease the transition period.
Your Home, Family & Lifestyle Matters
Do you live in an apartment or condominium with breed or size restrictions? A home with a big yard? A patio style home with a small yard or limited space? Do you have children under age 10? Choosing the right type of dog or cat for your family and living situation is a must.
For instance, larger breeds of dogs such as Great Danes, Mastiffs or Saint Bernards may not be as happy in an apartment or home with little yard space and can often act out by chewing everything they can find, including furniture and walls! Really active breeds like Australian Shepherds, Retrievers or Jack Russell Terriers tend to be extremely smart and will need regular exercise, interactive toys,
and playtime to stay happy and healthy.
Barking, Meowing & Shedding, Oh My!
Can you tolerate barking and meowing, or do you prefer a quieter pet? Dogs will bark, and some tend to do it more than others. Many breeds of dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds tend to be much more vocal by nature due to their natural hunting instincts. Cats may not bark, but some of them are definitely talkers! Siamese Persian, Japanese Bobtail, and the Sphynx are just some of the breeds of cats known to be very vocal compared to other types of
cats, so it’s important to choose your next pet according to your tolerance level for
barks and meows.
Longer haired pets need regular brushing to help keep their coats in good shape and to prevent matting. While all pet dogs and cats will need some grooming from time to time, shedding is another big consideration, especially if you have allergies or someone with allergies is living in your home.
Some breeds of dogs and cats are natural-born fur factories, while others are low-to-no shedding or even hypoallergenic. The types of dogs that shed the most include Saint Bernards (long or short-coats, they both shed a LOT), Siberian Huskies, Labrador/Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, among others. Types of dogs that shed the least include the Dachshund, Cockapoo, Havanese, and Bichon Frise, among others.
Cats that shed the most fur include the Ragamuffin, Ragdoll, and the Russian Blue. If you’re looking for a low-shedding type of cat, consider a Siamese, Turkish Angora, the Siberian, or the Tonkinese breeds. One note: if you’re allergic to cats, choosing a low shedding breed might not help. Eighty percent of cat allergies are actually due to a protein that’s found in the skin and saliva, rather than the actual fur itself.
Consider your activity levels and lifestyle: are you more one to relax and hang out on the couch, go out to take a walk around the neighborhood or park, or are you an active runner, biker or hiker?
Some of the best dogs for more sedentary lifestyles include the English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. People with active lifestyles who want to bring their dog along for the adventure and exercise. If you’re one of those people, consider an Irish Setter, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, or Dalmation for your next companion.
Whew, that’s a lot, we know! Hopefully the questions here will help you make a wise choice when selecting the right new member of your family. Whether you end up choosing a purebred cat or dog or adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, the lucky cat or dog will likely make a wonderful addition to your life and family for years to come. A final note: don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet, and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian. Happy adopting!
Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of dog for you: