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.
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
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
● Urinary tract infections
● 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
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
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.
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.
A Brief History of Beagles: From Hunters to Family Dogs
With big floppy ears and the signature multi-colored coat — Beagles are just as fun-
loving and sweet as they appear! If you are looking to welcome a new pup into your
family, a Beagle could be an excellent choice. This breed is loving, curious, and
extremely loyal — you’ll never have a dull day with a Beagle in your home.
What Were Beagles Bred For?
With a short yet sturdy body, this breed is built to be the ultimate hunting
companion. Due to their keen sense of smell, Beagles were originally bred as hound
dogs for hunting small game. Interestingly, the pups were being bred for specific
hunting needs; they were taller in Europe for fox hunting and smaller in the United
States to hunt rabbits.
History of Beagles
The history of the Beagle is not as precise as some other breeds we have profiled.
While ancient Greek documents place Beagle-like dogs as far back as 400 B.C., the
breed, as we know it now, was not formally recognized until the 19th century. During
this time, Beagles were very popular in England, and it wasn’t much longer before
the breed became a favorite in the United States. The American Kennel Club (AKC)
started recognizing the Beagle as a breed in 1884. Today, they are a consistently
popular choice for family dogs, appearing regularly on the AKC’s Top Ten Most
Popular Dog Breeds.
Different Beagle Breeds
While there is technically only one breed of Beagle, there are two different varieties
of Beagles that are recognized by the American Kennel Club. The only feature that
separates the two varieties is their size. One type stands below 13 inches tall while
the other stands between 13 to 15 inches tall. Other than the slight difference in
height, no other physical or personality traits differ between these two varieties of
Beagles. Both types can — and should — weigh anywhere between 18 and 30 pounds.
Since this breed is susceptible to weight problems in their old age, it’s important
to maintain their activity levels as they age.
Beagles are black, brown, and white in color and are relatively easy to care for in
regards to grooming. A proper brushing once a week will cut down on the amount
of bathing they need unless they are used for hunting. They do, however, need to
have their ears checked frequently to help avoid infections.
Beagles do best in homes that have backyards, allowing them the freedom to
wander around. While all dogs should be microchipped, it’s very important for
Beagles because their mischievous behavior can get the best of them. Beagles
follow their noses, so if they escape the yard, they can wander further from
home in pursuit of whatever scent is enticing them. Do your best to get them
outside and exercising, which should cut down on some of their pent-up energy and
keep them on their best behavior in the house.
Beagles of all ages do well in homes with adults, kids, and other pets. They are at
their best in extremely social settings and typically do not like being left home
alone. If they become bored, they will find things to occupy their time until you
return, which can include chewing shoes and furniture.
Beagles are a smart, curious, and energetic breed that packs a lot of love and
sweetness into a small package. Caution: don’t think there won’t be moments where
you are driven utterly crazy by their mischievous behavior! Please remember —
purebred Beagles are popular and lucrative “products” for puppy mills. There are
many wonderful Beagle rescue organizations and animal advocates working hard to
prevent the puppy mills from mass breeding. Consider adopting from a local Beagle
It’s a gradual change: It begins with grey hair around their eyes and snout. Your evening jogs together in the park become strolls, and there are less and less games of fetch. This is when you realize that your pet has entered their senior years, and this new stage of life may require some adjustments to your pet’s healthcare practices – needing a little extra TLC! With these expected changes, we wanted to take the time to share some essential senior pet care tips!
Regular vet visits are important: This is not the first time you have heard this from us! To keep your senior pet happy and healthy, we recommend at least two visits a year – but this is also contingent on your individual pet’s needs. More frequent visits to the vet allow us to detect any health concerns as soon as possible. Plus, we always love seeing you and your furry family member! 😊
Modify their diet as needed: As your pet gets older, they typically become less active and are naturally burning fewer calories. Because of this, they may not need as much food or even require a slight adjustment to their diet. With obesity being one of the most common age-related diseases in senior pets, it’s important we look at all options to ensure we are providing the proper nutrition for them in this new season of life.
Continue exercising: We know your pets will not be as agile as they were as babies, but it’s essential to keep them moving! If they do not receive any form of exercise in their senior years, they will begin to lose muscle tone, thus making them weaker much faster. Whether it’s a short walk a few nights a week or playing with the laser pointer for a bit each day, exercise is a significant part of keeping your pet feeling good!
Make your house “senior-friendly”: With age comes decreased mobility. Your dog may not be able to jump up on the couch anymore, or your cat may have a hard time using the litter box. Tailoring your home to fit your pet’s mobility needs will help them live more comfortably. Examples of these changes could include investing in a platform for food and water bowls, finding a litter box with a larger opening, and even buying a small ramp or stairs for climbing. If your pet suffers from arthritis – a common age-related condition – there are many arthritic treatments available, including supplements, pain, and anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, laser therapy, and even special exercise routines. If your pet’s mobility issues worsen, talk with us about the best options provided that could help alleviate their pain and discomfort. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to be on the lookout for ways to make life easier for your pet.
Aging is a natural part of life and happens, no matter what. We know how much your pet means to you – and also to us! As your trusted partner in pet health care, we wanted to share valuable information that could give you more walks around the neighborhood with your dog, and additional play sessions with your cat!
Pet Health: How To Tell If Your Dog or Cat is Too Fat.
If you’re asking ‘Is my cat too fat’ or ‘is my dog too fat’, the answer is more
likely yes than no.
In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are
overweight or clinically obese.
It’s a great time for people who think their pet may be too fat to learn about
the common causes of obesity in pets. Good information means you can act
before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, along with your
heart and your wallet. (Nobody needs extra vet bills.) So what’s the reason
behind your dog or cat gaining a few pounds? It’s usually due to three key
How Both Dogs and Cats Get Fat
● Overfeeding: This is one of the main culprits in pet obesity – but it’s not
just treat-based. Many people simply fill their pet’s bowl with food
without thinking about calories. Always use a measuring cup and follow
the recommendations you’re your veterinarian along with the
manufacturer’s guidelines for weight, age, and activity levels. Keep
treats to a minimum. Ever slip treats to a pet wanting your attention
while you’re busy with something else? Don’t fall into the trap of using
treats as a substitute for personal attention. Stop what you’re doing (if
possible) and give them a few minutes of your time and attention.
● Guilting You With Puppy and Kitty Eyes: They look so cute, so sweet,
so sad. If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior,
they’ll work it for everything they can get. Don’t give into temptation.
Or at a minimum, make them work to get their treats to try to balance
● Lack of Exercise: Make sure your dog gets walks regularly (it’s good for
you both) and that both cats and dogs get plenty of play time and
activities to keep them moving. And why limit the walks to dogs? Many
cats can be trained to walk on a leash – so why not give it a try?
If you feel your dog or cat is still gaining weight even if you’re watching their
food and exercising them regularly, reach out to your local vet for guidance.
But how can you tell if your pet is too fat? Let’s break it down!
Is My Cat Too Fat?
Here are some things to look for to tell if your cat is too fat.
● When feeling for your cat’s ribcage, the buoyancy of your cat’s skin and
fat should feel the same as the back of your hand. You can easily feel it
with just a tinge or resistance.
● Weigh your cat. Domestic cats are ideally between 7 – 12 pounds, but of
course, the size – and breed – of your cat will also affect their weight.
● Does your cat have a noticeable waist? This is important to check for. If
not, then your cat needs to drop a pound or two.
● Does your cat have a tummy pouch? A little balloon of fat? If so, maybe
it’s time to get your cat in shape.
Consult your veterinarian.
Is My Dog Too Fat?
If you’re worried if your dog is too fat, here are some things to check for:
● When feeling for your dog’s ribcage, the buoyancy of your dog’s skin
and fat should feel the same as the back of your hand. You can easily feel the ribcage with just a bit of resistance. This varies a bit by breed, so be sure to check with your vet.
● Can you easily feel your dog’s spine and hip bones? If not, your dog may
need to drop a few pounds.
● Does your dog have a noticeable waist? This is important – if not, then
your dog may need more exercise.
Consult your veterinarian.
Remember, obesity in pets is not always due to too many treats and too little
exercise. Just as in humans, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid or
adrenal disorders can also cause weight gain in animals. If your pet is gaining
weight, or already overweight or obese, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet.