"...Cushing's disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, the production of excess hormones from the adrenal glands. Cushing's disease usually strikes older dogs with a bucket-full of symptoms that can mimic other diseases. Increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, panting, high blood pressure, bulging abdomen, skin lumps and discoloring, hair loss, muscle weakness, and nervous system disorders can occur with the disease.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. The adrenals produce cortin, a complex of steroid hormones that help regulate body weight, mineral balance, the structure of connective tissue, some white blood cell production, and skin health. Adrenal glands are stimulated to produce cortin by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary gland. Cushing's disease can be triggered by a tumor of the adrenal glands or of the pituitary gland; either one can cause the adrenal glands to run amok and produce an excess of corticosteroids." http://www.canismajor.com/dog/cushings.html
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Diagnosing Cushing's Disease
04/13/2010: Mitzipars from Port Richey, Fl: "How to tell the difference in Cushing's Disease and Mange?
I do have a question. I had taken him to the Vet on Saturday (smelling an infection) and noticing these little clusters of black specks on his underside, not to mention his hair has been thinning out. I took him because when I had flea combed him (I do this every day after his 1st time out and before bed in lieu of topical flea killers that did NOT work) and noticed these when having to pry with tweezers small fleas off his "private areas" all these specks and the odor. I took some store bought fleas spray and placed it on a cotton ball and held it on this area with all the black specks. They were coming off on the cotton ball (not all). As I repeated this, more would. The odor got even worse through this process.
The Vet looked at him and immediately said he needed to be tested for Hypothyroid Disease and Cushing's Disease and those specks were blackheads. I took the prescription for antibiotics and left to stop this infection as fast as possible.
My question is how do you know if it is mites or the above Diseases?
I must say I came home and used a baby wipe to test out the blackhead theory and nothing happened. Then I repeated my process with cotton ball and flea spray liquid (that kills on contact fleas) and these specks started coming off again. This time I noticed extremely (I do mean extremely small red specks coming off as well)."
Dietary Changes, No More Vaccinations
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 08/26/2009: Cinde from St. Petersburg, Florida: "This is quite a long story, but since not much is published on the Cushing's link for Dogs, I wanted to add what happened to my Yorkie, Nikki. She is not cured and still has set backs, but initially she did a complete 360!! She was very sick and the "reg" vets wanted to put her on massive steroids, my groomer recomended a Holistic vet, on our first visit she informed me we could just about cure Nikki's Cushings with proper diet, supplements, etc. It was one of the most thorough examinations she ever had. She was also shocked at all the drugs my dog had been given throughout the first 5 years of her life. She had seen 7 specialists up to this point. Holistic vets are very expensive so maybe I can help by sharing our daily regimen and what the Dr. first did for her.
1) No more chemicals, ie: flea control products
2) No more grains or canned dog food, dogs are carnivores, period.
3) No more vaccinations, they are supposed to only be administered to healthy animals only
There is a lot more to tell you but got to take a break.Will be back to finish, will copy in my email and save so I can finish, but will go ahead and post this for now. I will be back with what she takes, what she eats and what has occurred over the last 2 years since all this. Godbless, Cinde"Replies
05/17/2010: Phyllis from High Point, North Carolina replies: "I started my cocker spaniel on supraglan which is a holistic medicine for cushings disease...and giving her anipryl 15mg (1 a day)supraglan 1 drop for every 2 lbs...sh is doing very good on these..."
09/20/2012: Gayle from San Jose, Ca Usa replies: "My dog came down with Cushings about 1 yr ago. Decided against standard treatment because of side effects, cost, and the fact that the drugs start killing off the adrenal gland. Switched to diet that is blend of EVO wet food, raw meat, raw eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, raw vegetables, raw fruit, and a supplement the vet had called Si Maio San 4 Marvels by Kan Essentials. After 4 days his symptoms completely stopped. I think the diet made the difference. Just recently the symptom of increased hunger has returned and I'm going to switch to mostly raw to see if that helps. I'm also going to add the probiotics and ACV."
Dietary Changes, Remedies
[YEA] 11/15/2009: Maren from Minneapolis, Mn: "My dog with cushing disease went from almost being put to sleep to almost normal again. He had cough every 15 mins, skin rashes, over drinking water, over eating, blood nose, siezures and started to go to the bathroom on the carpet. The first thing is no rice, grain, barley or canned food. Too much toxin effect the cortisol causing the cushing disease. Had to invest some time into what may work. I went to all organic sweet potatoes and fish by Wellness, mixed with pumpkin, baby carrot organic, milk thistle(liver clease) apple cider vingar organic only, cap full to each meal, enzyme for digestion (very important) and probotic (acidollius)( very important), little olive oil (1/2 tsps to a meal) and dog vitamin pill. I found that getting all the ingredients together and mix in a blender, and refrigerate. Making up the foods ahead is how to win the battle of time to make each meal. I make enough for about 5 days, this is make sure it does not get stale. Use canned pumkin with the ingredient just pumkin or sqaush. Carefully not to give too much of this will spike the blood sugar level in the body. I use natural product to it is 1 drop per 2 lb of weight of dog. His eyes were no long blue in the waters. His tumor in the nose stop bleeding, he seen to breath better. I first did the transition for the dry food, to wet dog food, to a mixture, now all organic. This the key toxin in the dog as they get older cannot not keep up. Your dog and yourself do not have to suffer anymore. It is less expensive in the long run and a better for ourselves. Do not give up on your dog until organix.
Thank you, owner myself with dog with cushing disease."Replies
04/08/2013: Erica from Goodlettsville, Tn, Usa replies: "My dog has high liver enzymes ALT and ALP. The enzymes are elevating each month. I have had pleanty of blood work done and have put her on the diet the vet reccommended and she is taking a daily supplement with milk thistle in it. Can you recommend a more natural diet? I have read articles and just am worried sick about my dog. he is 16 and I dont want to do surgeries or anything where she has to be put to sleep anymore. Can you help me? Thank you. Erica"
04/09/2013: Meeasm from S. Ontario, Canada replies: "Suggest seriously perusing info on Mary Strauss' website at WWW.DOGAWARE.COM
and/or joining Lew Olsen's K9Nutrition list on yahoo. com at K9Nutrition group pets.groups.yahoo.com
Wishing you the very best of luck and am sending zen, healing thoughts and prayer to you both!"
04/14/2013: Clondon from Lakewood, Ca replies: "I would switch to raw feeding you can buy pre made raw if you don't want to do it yourself!"
[YEA] 09/27/2009: Jan from W. Ma, USA: "My 10-year-old Tibetan Spaniel developed Cushings. I looked into holistic treatments and found Cushex drops containing: Taraxacum officinale, Arctium lappa, Astragalus membranaceous, Arsenicum (30C), Hepar. sulph. (30C), Mercurius (30C), and sulphur (30C). I use 3-4 drops on his food, which also includes raw frozen chicken or beef, home-made plain yogurt and canned pumpkin. Within two weeks his appetite was level, he greatly reduced his constant gulping of water, his coat grew back and his energy level and mood are fantastic.
Now that he's been on the drops for a while, I cut back to every-other-day for the drops for maintenance."
Melatonin and Flaxseed
[YEA] 02/12/2013: Loraine from Paramus, New Jersey: "Hi. My beagle mix has cushing's disease. She's had problems with her skin, including rashes, skin turning black and terrible odor, and her fur falling out. Also excessive drinking. I had her on Vetoryl for a while, which initially helped, but then the skin problems returned, even while her cortisol levels dropped so she was headed towards Addison crisis. Not to mention the cost of the vet bills.
I took her off the Vetoryl and instead put her on melatonin tablets and flaxseed lignans. She weighs 45 lbs, and even though the recommendation is to give 6mg melatonin twice a day for dogs weighing over 30 pounds, this seemed too much for her (I could literally feel her head pounding, like she had a terrible headache). I dropped her down to 3 mg in the morning and 5mg at night with no adverse effects and ALL her skin conditions improved! No more odor, either.
Her drinking improved for a while with the melatonin regimen, but then increased again. Then recently, believe it or not, I started giving her two tablespoons canned pumpkin (pumpkin the only ingredient)with her food daily, and her excessive drinking is noticeably improved! I've read that too much pumpkin can spike the sugar level, but I believe the fiber slows digestion and I don't know how, but it really has helped. She still drinks more than my other dog, but she is much improved and in no distress! Hope this helps."Replies
02/15/2013: C from Burke, Virginia replies: "Thank you for posting... Where would I purchase the Melatonin & Flaxseed for dogs? I hated the side effects of Vectory for my dog. Any other treatments? Cate"
02/20/2013: Oceanlife from Vero Beach, Fl replies: "Melatonin. ?.. You can get it at any drug store. Be sure its a low dose. My dog is 15 I bs and he is on 1.5 to 3 mil. I use it to go to sleep. My dog is on it to treat cushing disease. My poor maltese is taking lysogrine for 9 months and now some other hormone is way higher than it should be but was normal before the lyso. Now there specialist wants to do a boost of it for 5 days. I am so tired, emotionally and financially! It is 500 for 2 blood work. I have decided to seek a holistic vet. Can anyone tell me if there is proven treatment Long Term? I don't mean if it helps the symptoms. I mean, does it Extend the life of my baby? That's the bottom line. He is only 8. He is our only "child". We have so many health issues, he is the reason I get out of bed. I love I this little guy. I'd appreciate any info, experiences you could share with me. Thank you."
03/09/2013: Loraine from Paramus, Nj replies: "This site appears not to allow the mention of specific websites. Therefore, to purchase melatonin and flaxseed lignans formulated for dogs, do a search on your computer with the keywords "melatonin" and "lignans" and you will find a site linked to the University of Tennessee that did a study on melatonin and lignans for dogs with cushings disease, and there you can find what you need. I prefer the melatonin from this site versus your local supermarket because it is formulated specifically for dogs - has no dicalcium phosphate, which I believe can be hard on the kidneys. I am also finding that fish oil capsules which are antiinflammatory, are helpful to my dog. Hope this helps."
03/24/2013: Dm from North Babylon, Ny replies: "Hi Loraine, Thanks for your help!! How do you give the dog "lignans". My girl is on an immuno suppresant and it is not giving her any relief. She has the re-occuring black skin all over her stomach. I am going to try the melatonin, fish oil and pumpkin (someone else recommended). Please get back re: the lignans as I am desperate.. My poor baby licks, cries and scratches. Thanks again!!!"
[YEA] 12/23/2012: Kally Goschke from Captain Cook, Hawaii: "My incredible vet has treated my 14 year old dog for Cushings with Rhemannia and Liver Happy chinese herbs. She has lived for 2 years with cushings and a large liver and is still going strong with ZERO side effects. I am so happy with these herbs and my dog has a very good quality of life. She can still jump in and out of car, go on hikes where it is cool, amazing. I am so glad I didn't have to give her toxic meds I want to spread the word they are not needed in the least!!"
12/16/2008: Jean from Lindsay, Ontario, Canada: "I have a minature poodle who has Cushing's Disease. Dr did a blood test. Anipryl does not agree with her. Her skin got pimples all over. So I have bathed her twice with Ted's Remedy. I have put her on a raw meat diet. I also give her some ACV and yogurt. Ted do you have any more ideas I could do. Is there anyone else out there with a dog with this dease. She had blood work early Nov/08. She is starting to smell better and pimples are going away. Thank you."Replies
12/22/2008: Jean from Cerritos, CA replies: "Our 3 year old Maltipoo named Mr. Bear (Maltise/poodle) was diagnosed with Cushings Disease. His skin was a bright pink, loosing control of his urination, muscle weakness with one leg, etc.
I'm in the process of using several natural things and there has been a great improvement, but not sure if I can say cured.
He is being treated by a lady who muscle tests to see what is needed for nutrition He is also taking Cat's Claw in liquid form to reduce tumors. On the Internet I found nativeremedies.com and they suggested, Cushex drops (for Cushings) and Thyro-Pet.
Wishing you well in your efforts. Jean"
12/23/2008: Ellen from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada replies: "Try giving your pup virgin coconut oil. You could also apply it to any lesions your pup has as it's very healing. Also I would recommend giving your pup Moducare. It is wonderful for regulating the immune system in both directions...overactive and underactive. Also make sure your dog is on a holistic diet. No sense in doing a bunch of holistic things when the diet is bad.
Good luck...I hope your pup is feeling better real soon."
12/28/2008: Jean from Lindsay, On Can replies: "Jean from Cerritos, could you tell me how much Cats Claw liquid you are using and also what other herbs you are using for the cushing disease?"
12/28/2008: Jean from Cerritos, CA replies: "Jean I hope this helps. Equal amounts a.m. and p.m. Cat's Claw 1/8 teaspoon. Other products are from Standard Processing is what the health professional uses. You might be able to get similar nutrition with other brands as the purpose is to give the body what it needs to heal itself. The products are the same every week as of now. Our dog is 15#. One tablet of the following a.m./p.m. Thymex, Immuplex, Adrenal Desiccated, Drenatrophin PMG,Caine Hepatic Support, Betacol, Ultimate Floramax. Last week she gave me a mineral to try and I don't have the name of that. I apologize as I don't know how these products work with the healing of the body.
I was not aware of the disease approaching and just thought he was fat because of eating too much, so it got a good head start with us. Since being on this prodocol the weak bladder and pink skin have diminished completely. I can't say for sure that he is healed yet, but I feel we are on our way with the body healing itself and not relying on medications.
Maybe Ted might have a different approach that might be easier. Jean"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 02/13/2009: Jean from Lindsay, Ontario replies: "To Jean from Cerritos, CA -- I am using a Liquid from Aomege Alpha, Healthy Pet Liver Tone and also using Sashas Blend for our 13yr old poodle. Her skin is not as pink, she is sleeping through the night. She still gets the odd skin sore. She is not in as much pain as she used to be. How is your dog doing?"
02/13/2009: Jean from Cerritos, CA replies: "I'm glad that your dog is getting some help. This seems to be a hard disease to overcome. A friend is taking her dog to the Vet regularly for blood panels, etc. Our dog Mr. Bear, is on the same nutritional plan and holding his own. A lot of the original symptoms have disappeared. Only thing is his weight has stayed the same. I can recommend a MMS website called 'Welcome to MMS Answers' and under the Category and Topics for pets it tells how to use it for Cushings. I did use it for Mr. Bear and the 4pound Yorkie Gigi with no ill effects. During the holidays for some reason I got behind and today I started them back again. MMS comes highly recommended by my friend in the nutritional/medical field and a few know Jim personally. I feel it won't hurt to try. Even I was using it. Thanks for writing. I hope this helps. Thank God for this site, what would we do without it??? Blessings. Jean"
02/15/2009: Kelly from Nashville, TN replies: "I went to the MMS Answers site but it only had two pages and I couldn't find any links at all on either page. Help? Thanks."
02/16/2009: Jean from Cerritos, CA replies: "Kelly I am probably the most uneducated person you know who uses a computer. I have no clue as to how I originally found that particular site, but I did bookmark it. I was able to forward it to my email. I can forward to the administrator of this site, or you if you want. I apologize for any inconveniences to anyone. Ths site must list around 100 different health issues to treat with MMS. I started my dogs back on it 2 days ago and can see a slight difference. Information for Cushings disease has been hard for me to locate, maybe others could obtain more. Let me know if I can help you. Jean"
02/16/2009: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "To Kelly from Nashville, Tn. wanting help with finding information on MMS: Hi Kelly, Go back to the top of home base on EC to find a search window. Type in Miracle Mineral Supplement click on web and hit go or search. It will give you a bunch of references. For a quick rundown on what to expect from it pull up the one that says: No miracle, just good chemistry for a fast read. I think Jim Humble still has his site where the first half of his book is free download and you pay for the 2nd half download. By the time you figure in your time, paper, and that expensive ink; it might be cheaper to go ahead and spring for one of those $l9.95 books you will find advertised in a lot of those references you'll get."
02/17/2009: Kelly from Nashville, TN replies: "Thanks! You can send it to my email address. The site I was on only had 2 links. One was the "home" page and I can't remember what the other was called. When I clicked on the "other" page there was nothing but some advertisements - pretty much the same as the home page."
03/28/2010: Jean from Cerritos, Ca replies: "A few weeks ago I was able to attend the National Natural Health Show in Anaheim, CA, and this event is by invitation only. I went to the Pet section and was unable to find anyone who knew about Cushings Disease for Mr.Bear, our dog. In another booth Dr. Cass Ingram (who has written 30 books) was kind enough to answer my question re: Cushings and gave me items to purchase from North American Herb and Spice. Hours later I asked Dr. Ingram to write the amounts to take, and I forgot to mention, as he had talked to many people by then that I was talking about a 15 pound dog and his reply to me was for adults.
This weekend I went to the Long Beach Health Freedom EXPO and the same company was there and gave me the breakdown for measurements for Mr. Bear.
At Dr. Joseph Mercola's presentation yesterday he had a slide of one of his last patients before he quit his practice 5 years ago and it was a man with Cushings. Dr. Mercola said he was speaking to 3,000 Dr. and asked how many new about Cushings and only a few replied.
I will list the ingredients Dr. Cass Ingram gave me and you can list if you choose as this products is useful for humans and animals. The company is North American Herb and Spice and what was recommended for humans.
Chag-0-power - 20 drops
Royal Oil - one half teaspoon
Purely-B - one Tablespoon
Green Flush - 20-40 drops
Oil of Oregano - 2-3 drops
For animals it would depend on the size and I am presently working with small increments.
I pray this helps as Cushings is a hard one to treat. Sincerely, Jean"
Over the Counter, Diet, Supplements
08/22/2011: Pat from Elkton, Va.: "I want to tell eveyone with a dog with Cushings disease to try a product called Supraglan. My maltese was diagnosed with Cushings and was drinking water constantly and urinating uncontrollably. I tried the Cushex drops but Supraglan works much better. I could not believe the results. She rarely has an accident now. Its a little expensive but goes a long way. And the Petwellbeing co. gives a return customer discount. I also give her vitamens and suppliments and all natural dog food. She is now almost 13 and still doing great."
09/14/2012: Louise from Laporte, Indiana: "My chihuahua/papillion, Raphael 13yrs, was diagnosed with cushings approxiamately 3-4 yrs ago. He was put on Trilostane but was not good about taking the pills. I am looking for a less "offensive" way to treat him. He weighs about 9# ang if he even smells meds he won't have anything to do with them. The only real symptom he has is thirst. He also has a prolapsed trachia that occassionally acts up. Makes it hard to give him meds. Any suggestions please?!"Replies
10/24/2012: Laura from Anaheim, California replies: "My chi won't ever take a pill by itself. Our vet reccomended feeding a piece of a hot dog or some chicken/ beef and placing the pill inside of it. She takes her pills all the time now."
02/27/2011: Anna from Mechanic Falls, Maine: "THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS
QUESTION: WHEN CHANGING HIS DIET TO RAW MEAT, WHICH MEAT IN PARTICULAR SHOULD I USE, HAMBURGER, STEAK, SHOULD IT BE ORGANIC OR WHAT, ALSO WHAT VITAMENS SHOULD I GIVE MY DOG, WOULD APPRIECATE YOUR HELP, THANK YOU"
05/10/2011: Gale3684@aol.com from Orlando, Florida replies: "My pet has the same symptoms, please tell me what you did and the outcome. Over 2k later my dog is worse."
02/21/2011: Anna from Mechanic Falls, Maine: "I HAVE BEEN READING ALL OF THE FEEDBACK, I HAVE A MINITURE DACHSHUND, WEENIE, HE HAS CUSHINGS DISEASE, I AM NOW UP TO 40 MG OF VETROYL, IT'S NOT WORKING ON HIM, HE HAS LOST ALOT OF MUSCLE, SHORTNESS OF BREATH, PANTS, SWELLING BELLY, CAN'T CLIMB STAIRS ANYMORE, DOES NOTHING BUT LAY DOWN, HE HAS NO ENERGY, HAS SORES, HAIR THINNING, GETS UP TWO THREE TIMES A NIGHT, WHAT NATURAL REMEDY DO YOU SUGGEST FOR HIM, HE'S NOT LOOKING AT ALL HEALTHY, AT MY WITS END, THANK YOU"Replies
04/18/2011: Debbie from Cheshire, England replies: "HI, I have a boxer that has cushings disease, he did not do well on vetoryl, infact he got worse since having been on the treatment, he has a pituitary tumor of 1.7 cm in size. I have since found a paper on homeopathic treatment for cushings disease and this is what I am going to try for my dog, because the conventional medicines are having major adverse effects on him. I have posted the link here http://www.bahvs.com/CushingsArticle.pdf
Have a read its very interesting."
05/27/2009: Horsecrazy from Savannah, Ga: "Question: I have a donkey who has had cushings for atleast 5 years. He has responded extremely well to a cushings formula I found at herbnhorse.com. I only named it because I do not know the amounts of items in the formula and if they are safe for dogs but it thought it would be worth looking into. Contains: ginko, nettle, peppermint, wormwood. Have also seen chaste berries included in may holistic forumaltion, again I don't know the safety with dogs. Wondered if these would help cushings dogs?"
Supplements, Diet, Exercise
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 01/26/2010: Peggy from Manhattan, Illinois: "Help for Dog's cushings
My now 16 year old Samoyed mix was diagnosed with cushings three years ago. I have been giving her a suppliment called Dogtorrx Humanofort. This product has made a huge improvement with her symptoms. I have also consulted with a holistic veterinarian that does classical homeopathy. These remedies have also helped relieve the symptoms. This vet's practice is 98% classical homeopathy and has many years of experience.
I have also found that high levels of toxins especially from pesticides,(what they spray for mosquetoes in our area) and fertilizers seem to be a trigger for cushings. Products that remove these type of toxins are also very helpful. I have fed her a raw diet most of her life. She still has her eye sight. We continue to walk one to two miles a day. Another product you might look into is a pure oxygen product. I use Cellfood and find it to keep her mentally stable. She is presently in the very late stages of cushings and I continue to research products that may keep her quality of life that she is used to."Replies
07/01/2012: Sarabelle from South Bend, In, USA replies: "I've noticed a lot of dogs BEFORE getting Cushing's Disease have been over-medicated. A lot of vets are so quick to want to put our dogs on heart medicine "just in case", as well as steroids and other ridiculous drugs. I believe this causes the disease, among other illnesses, in our furry friends.
My grandparents' Sheltie used to be a vibrant, beautiful dog, then the vet wanted to put him on all sorts of medicines for minor things! Two years later, he is in pitiful shape with Cushing's Disease.
Now, our Standard Poodle and my parents' own Sheltie have NEVER been medicated outside of the typical rabies, etc. , vaccines, and they are both healthy and beautiful. Just like people, we don't need to be so quick to medicate our dogs.
Another thing I have learned: My father's friend had a small dog with this disease when someone finally said, "Get that dog off of all medication and the steroids NOW. " Instead, she gave him raw chicken mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt. She said her dog became more energetic and the disease started clearing up."
02/11/2013: Lou from Tyler, Tx replies: "If you read the Wikipedia description about the disease, toward the bottom it talks about the disease being doctor induced - via steriods and I think I read antibiotics somewhere else."