If left untreated, how long can a dog live with Cushing Disease?

Tuesday, December 5th 2017. | Dog treatment

About “If left untreated, how long can a dog live with Cushing Disease?” question, as a pet owner, nothing is more difficult than having to see our dog struggle with their deteriorating health. It’s very hard to see the extreme changes of our beloved furry companion. A dog which was once an energetic and bubbly little being is now spending majority of its time in bed. Refusing to eat, and visibly in either pain or discomfort.

If left untreated, how long can a dog live with Cushing Disease

The bodies of animals are indeed a marvel and an elaborate interaction between systems and organs. Both of the aforementioned factors are kept in proper balance by enzymes. This continuous enzyme production is imperative as they are needed to aid hormone regulation and metabolic processes. When this balance is thrown off by an injury, illness, and even old age, the whole system will go awry.

It typically starts with a loss of appetites and change in water consumption, which later advances to malfunctioning organs. Owners who put their dogs on a prescribed medication may also have to deal with risks of side effects. But what if we decided to not give them medication for ethical reasons? Can Cushing disease resolve on its own? If left untreated, how long can a dog live with Cushing Disease?

Understanding Cushing disease

Also widely known scientifically as Hyperadrenocroticism, this condition appears when our dog’s adrenal glands produce too much Cortisol hormone. Adrenal glands, located right above the kidneys, are producing complex steroid hormones including cortisol and cortisone. These particular hormones have the ability to regulate mineral balance, body weight, white blood cell production, and connective tissues structure.

This excess production of Cortisol is typically found in older dogs. More specifically older dogs that already shows various symptoms which are often found in other diseases. The typical symptoms can be seen in the following list:

  • Increased thirst that leads to excessive drinking, and uncontrolled urination
  • Increased appetite, and bulging abdomen
  • Panting, and blood pressure is abnormally high
  • Discoloring, lumps, and loss of hair
  • Myasthenia and disorders of the nervous system

The symptoms may appear despite the dog not showing signs of critical disease. Yes, symptoms are very often lost on the owners as they seem connected to the dog’s old age. As result, owners are unable to catch the onset of Cushing disease until symptoms become even more apparent.

Understanding the treatment and what to expect

When looking for veterinarian advice for the condition, blood tests will be required. Upon confirmation of the condition, your dog will have to be put on strict medication. The typical medication for Cushing disease is ketoconazole, mitotane, L-depreny hydrochloride, and trilostane. While all of these medications have such a huge chance of working, they come with dangerous side effects.

These side effects are exactly the reason many dog owners had to make a difficult decision of opting out medication. However, if left untreated, the health of your dog may deteriorate quickly. It also leads to life-threatening consequences such as liver and heart disease. Life expectancy for dogs with Cushing disease in which the pituary gland is the cause is 2-years. Whereas the adrenal glands are 3-years, to answer your “If left untreated, how long can a dog live with Cushing Disease?” question.