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Symptoms of Cushing’s in Dogs


If Cushing’s disease is suspected, there are several symptoms that can indicate whether or not it could be present. However, before making a diagnosis—be sure to consult a veterinary specialist to find out if the problems your dog is experiencing could be associated with Cushing’s disease.  Read on for more information about symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs.

Symptom #1: Increased Thirst/Urination

If you are constantly replacing your dog’s water bowl and it seems as if they are going to the bathroom/having more accidents than normal, it may be time to start watching out for other signs. While this is not surefire evidence that your dog has the disease, it is one of the common symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs.

Symptom #2: Weight Gain

Heightened cortisol levels can have the effect of an increased appetite in dogs with Cushings. A larger appetite, along with an increased tendency to retain fluids, can lead to unnatural weight gain and/or weight redistribution. If your dog seems to have a potbellied appearance, in addition to spindly legs (muscle shrinkage is also a common Cushing’s disease symptom), take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Though it may not be Cushing’s, it could be a disease that’s equally as severe.

Symptom #3: Sparse Hair

Though hair loss can be caused by a variety of different issues, symmetrical hair loss (i.e. hair loss on both sides of the body) is one of the key indications that your dog could have canine Cushing’s disease. It is also advisable to keep an eye out for skin sensitivity on their trunk and flanks.

Symptom #4: Low Energy Levels/Personality Changes

One of the saddest symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs is a change in personality. Dog owners often report that their pets “aren’t themselves” or that they are experiencing lower energy levels than normal. Changes in activity or a lack of interest in the things the dog used to enjoy are signs that they could have Cushings and a vet visit is highly recommended.

Symptom #5: Hind Leg Weakness

The affected dog may experience muscular atrophy in the hind legs when suffering from Cushings, thereby decreasing hind leg movement and function. In this case, a joint support may be helpful. Veterinarians may recommend glucosamine or they might suggest a glucosamine alternative with added benefits (i.e. an eggshell membrane joint support).

What your Veterinarian Is Looking For

Even if your dog has one or more of these signs, there is a small chance that your dog is only exhibiting symptoms of Cushing’s and that they do not actually have the disease. It is very important to take your dog to the vet if these signs are present so you can be certain before making a diagnosis. Here are a few things vets look for:

  • Blood Clots: One of the worrisome symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs is a penchant for blood clots that was not present before.
  • High Alkaline Phosphatase Levels: This is one of the cushings symptoms in dogs that requires testing. This often happens as a result of the increased cortisol levels. In many cases, blood sugar levels are also heightened.
  • A Combination of all listed Cushing’s Symptoms in Dogs: If a dog exhibits multiple major warning signs of Cushing’s, there is a very high chance that the dog has Canine Cushings Disease. 
  • Increased Cortisol Levels: The biggest indicator of Cushing’s in dogs symptoms is increased Cortisol levels. This is the most direct analysis and almost always proves or disproves a diagnosis.

Getting your Diagnosis

If your dog is diagnosed with Cushings disease, it is important to note that, although it is not curable, it is highly treatable. The right treatment and care can help manage the symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life. Cushings is a well documented disease with many treatment options and a great deal of research to aid in determining the best possible regimen for your dog. The first step to ensure your best friend receives proper care is noticing the early signs. Watch for these symptoms of Cushing’s in dogs, take your dog to the vet if you notice anything abnormal, and make sure you and your vet do the research and agree on the best treatment option for your dog.

Click here for information on natural, holistic treatment options for Cushings in dogs.  For information on medical treatment options, click here. This can help you to prepare and possibly help you decide which treatment is right for you and your dog. Thanks for visiting, and good luck!