What Is Cushing’s Disease In Dogs (Symptoms, Prognosis & Treatment)?

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Dog with cushing's disease on vet tableCushing’s disease is a lifelong, uncommonly cured, condition in dogs. There is treatment to help your dog live more comfortably, but it will not prolong your dog’s life. Find out how you can help your dog live contently with Cushing’s disease.

Article Overview

What Is Cushing’s Disease In Dogs?

Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when the body produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced and stored by the adrenals, which are two small glands that are above the kidneys. Cortisol helps the body during times of stress, regulates appropriate body weight, skin condition and tissue structure. However, too much cortisol can weaken the immune system.

Two Types Of Cushing’s Disease

The type of Cushing’s your dog has determines the treatment prescribed. Blood tests are used to diagnose Cushing’s to help differentiate between the 2 types. An ultrasound may also be used to detect a tumor on an adrenal gland.


80% to 85% of Cushing’s falls within the pituitary-dependent type. This means a tumor triggers it on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.

The pituitary gland produces hormones including the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The tumor causes the pituitary to overproduce ACTH which is then dispersed throughout the bloodstream to the adrenal glands causing them to produce more cortisol.


The remaining 15% to 20% of Cushing’s cases involve a tumor located in one or both adrenal glands causing them to produce excess cortisol.


  • Commonly found in middle-aged to older dogs
  • Drinking more
  • More frequent urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Decrease in activity
  • Excessive panting
  • Fragile skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infections
  • Enlarged abdomen (potbellied appearance)


Treating Cushing’s disease in dogs takes careful monitoring and regular checkups with the vet. However, dogs can live a good, happy life if you are responsible with your dog’s care.


Medication is commonly used to help manage the symptoms of both pituitary and adrenal types of Cushing’s disease. Your dog’s vet will schedule regular appointments and conduct blood tests to monitor your dog’s response to treatment. The veterinarian may adjust the dose to help improve your dog’s reaction to medication.

  • Vetoryl (trilostane) is the only drug approved by the FDA to treat both types of Cushing’s. This prescription stops the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands.
  • Anipryl (selegiline) is FDA-approved to treat uncomplicated, pituitary-dependent Cushing’s in dogs.
  • Lysodren (mitotane) is often used to treat dogs with Cushing’s. It is a chemotherapy drug for humans that destroys the layers of the adrenal gland that produce cortisol. This prescription is “off-label,” meaning vets can legally prescribe human drugs to animals and at different dosages than those listed on the label.


Many pet parents ask if CBD oil can help treat Cushing’s disease. There are many benefits of CBD oil including its ability to help ease pain, reduce chronic inflammation, anxiety and more.

If you feel that your dog is suffering from any of these things, CBD oil may help relieve some of the symptoms. You should speak with your vet about giving your dog anything with CBD to ensure it’s safe for your dog.

Once you’ve verified its safety with your vet, check out CBD oil or CBD-infused treats to see how they might help your pet.

Natural Remedies

  • Dandelion is known to normalize adrenal functions1
  • Burdock is good at cleansing unwanted substances from the body1
  • Arsenicum treats excessive thirst1
  • Hepar Sulph heals irritated skin1
  • Sulfur improves skin health1
  • Melatonin hinders 2 enzymes needed to produce cortisol, which reduces cortisol levels2
  • Lignans impede 2 enzymes (different from melatonin) required to produce cortisol, which decreases cortisol levels2

What Is The Recommended Diet For Dogs With Cushing’s?

Ask your vet about the best dog food to give your dog if they have Cushing’s disease.

Is There A Cure?

The only cure for Cushing’s disease is to remove the adrenal tumor if your dog is adrenal-dependant and the cancer hasn’t spread elsewhere. However, this can be difficult and risky, so most cases of Cushing’s disease are treated with medication. Pituitary-dependent dogs do not commonly have surgery because techniques are still under development.


Medication can control small Cushing’s tumors for many years. However, for larger tumors that affect the brain, the prognosis isn’t as good. If your dog has a malignant adrenal tumor, the prognosis is poor. The life expectancy for a dog with pituitary-dependent Cushing’s is 2 years.

What If You Don’t Treat A Dog With Cushing’s Disease?

A dog untreated for Cushing’s disease can live just as long as a dog with treatment. However, the dog without treatment will experience more symptoms; therefore, having a lower quality of life. This is something we suggest discussing with your veterinarian if you are considering treating or not treating your dog’s Cushing’s disease.

When To Put Your Dog With Cushing’s Down

First of all, we’re so sorry you have to consider this. We can’t imagine the pain you are feeling nor how difficult of a decision this is. We recommend speaking with your vet about signs to look for in your dog that may show the time may be approaching.

When the time does come, you may find this article helpful. It discusses grieving the loss of your dog.

Is your dog suffering from Cushing’s Disease? What treatment has helped? 

Sources: [1] Holistic Pet Info, [2] Cushing’s In Dogs, [3] Cushing’s Disease Dogs

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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My dog Rojo has Cushings. I have had fabulous results . Twice daily in his food he gets 2 drops of Adrenal Harmony by Pet Wellbeing per pound of body weight. 3 Mg melatonin twice daily. I give him a tsp of ground flax twice daily also mixed in his food. I also give him one 20mg lignan but not at the same time as the ground flax.(I have read different articles about flax use and am covering all bases). His back legs are going and I give him Advanced hip and joint for dogs from Swanson vitamins. This has made a tremendous difference. I opted out f the traditional meds when I read how bad the side effects could be. I also give him one Fido calm from Swansons at night and he sleeps like a baby.
His panting has gone away, he is happy but still drinking lots of water. No incontinence. Keep your dog calm since things that upset him will make his symptoms worse.
Kimberly Clark
Hi! I hope our Story helps bring some calm to the fear. Don’t misunderstand, we’ve had A LOT of fear and have reached acceptance. About 10 years ago a dog was dropped off in our neighborhood super friendly and he painted so hard and I didn’t know why. I ended up taking him to the vet and of course Cushing’s disease. So when we took him home gave him pain & anxiety meds as needed. About a month later he just laid in the floor and didn’t want to be petted anymore, so if we know it was just time to put them down. We didn’t have him that long, but it was heartbreaking. Fast forward 10 years we have my 10-year-old American bulldog named Brutus that we adopted when he was about 2yrs old. I started noticing him waking up at night and panting. My mind immediately went back to that stray that we named Buddy. I took Brutus to the vet and sure enough Cushing’s. After a lot of research, and help from our vet we decided to try lignans and I have to say we are extremely happy with the results. It has not stopped the panting, water intake & outtake, but it’s greatly reduced it. If I had to put a number on it I would say it’s reduced by about 60%. We been on lignins for about eight months now. We started off at the lowest possible dose, and have had to increase one time. We still have plenty of room to go up. He’s a very happy dog, and has no clue that he’s sick. So we are going to enjoy every last minute that we have with him. lignans may not be everybody’s choice, but I just wanted to put out there what’s working for us. We were introduced to Buddy at the very end of Cushing’s, but that allowed us to see the very beginning of Cushing’s in Brutus.
Love to All!
I’m concerned my 8 yr old Pomchi may have Cushings. I can tell something is wrong, we know when something isn’t right with our pets. Shes suddenly drinking tons of water so obviously going potty alot. Shes been panting alot which is how I found this website. Looking for reasons for the panting. She seems restless, she goes from my bed, to the floor to the living room etc..
She’ll be in a sound sleep and wake up suddenly and pants for a while and sometimes goes back to sleep sometimes not. Today her panting is worse as is acting restless. She doesn’t act like shes in pain at all. I’m scared now that I’ve read all this Cushings info.
She has seizures and started meds 2 weeks ago. Shes on Keppra. I don’t believe excessive thirst is a side effect of the meds but I will be asking my vet Monday.
Shes overweight which I’ve been trying hard to work on, so I assumed her increased appetite was just because I’ve cut out some treats and no more bites of my dinner but now after reading about Cushing’s I’m not so sure.
The main thing I’ve noticed is drinking tons of water and the panting and being so restless.
Is the restlessness a symptom?
It’s so hard because they can’t tell us what’s wrong!
tracy tawrosza
my dog is having the exact same symptoms. she was put on keppra 2 weeks ago but just had another seizure this morning. the dr tested her blood at the er when we took her and said the 2 markers for cushings that they look for were slightly elevated but to just monitor by blood tests in another 6 months. she obviously is not feeling good because she hasn’t acted like herself since a long seizure the first weekend in october. she has always gone behind the couch when we are not home but started doing that even when we are home and just seems much more lethargic than is normal for her. she is 13 so she she sleeps alot more at her age but there is so obviously something making her not feel well.
Yes. Kay, My beautiful Shih Tzu dog Sophie exhibited all those symptoms in Dec 2016. Cushing’s wasn’t totally confirmed for another year, and they put her on 10 mg Trilostane which made her very sick. Months later another vet realized they make 5 mg Trilostane (VETORYL) brand name and we started her on the vetoryl, eventually up to 3x a day at different intervals. She had been panting, restless, pacing, barking, demanding food all the time. After months on the low dose Vetoryl, she THRIVED, and became like a puppy. We had a great 2 years with her, The Vetoryl was a lifesaver. Right now she is very ill, GI symptoms and I don’t know what will happen, but I want you to know your dog can be treated for the Cushings and live a great life for years. (It is expensive to get the ACTH STIM test every once in a while) but your baby is worth it to you. Also use the BRAND NAME Vetoryl. GOod Luck! The Vetoryl cut down her symptoms and her fur grew back nicely. It sounds like your dog may have it, excessive thirst, demanding food, PANTING LIKE CRAZY, pacing around, pot bellied appearance, gaining weight, fat redistributed. Mine did well on the meds! Now we don’t know what is doing her in, (presented diarrhea and won’t eat) but it has been 3 years. She had a couple ultrasounds, which showed it was not adrenal, so probably a pituitary type. It all started with her drinking too much water at midnight, and pacing around looking for crumbs.
Thank you for sharing I have a 7 year old shih Tzu she has had 2 tests for ACTH has been on Vetoryl for 1st month. change in excessive water drinking which had doubled she once drank not quit 2 cups to 4 A day the vet has increased from 10 mg to 20 mg she weighs 11 pounds and yes the food is crazy. She eats very fast and is looking for food all the time. And she is sleeping all the time. We do walk but if she doesn’t want to, we’ll you know how that goes. Her hair is thinning out as well.
My dog has cushings and he paces the house and can’t sit still. I think it’s the stress hormone from the cushings.
Anne e reeve
Hi I have a pomchi shes now nine got diagnosed when she was 8, all the symptoms you’re saying and more, accidents in the house, swollen tummy, thirst hunger tired all the time shes now on vetoryl 10mg everyday shes now about 80% better than she was, but feel she needs a small increase in medication would probably make her slightly better, take your dog to the vets they do some blood tests
Lynn Orser
Have you found that seizures are associated with Cushing’s? My little Pom has been diagnosed and she’s had two seizures in the last month. We are starting Cushing’s treatment on Thursday. She has many issues including hyperthyroid (controlled with meds) a mass on her spleen, elevated liver enzymes, and coming off of Lasik as she was misdiagnosed. I have adopted her as a palliative, but we were hoping she wasn’t too palliative…then the Cushing’s came to light. Fortunately she doesn’t know…she is still joyful, bright light in her eyes, and full of life. I’m not going to tell her yet. 😉
My Shitzu started having seizures after cushings diagnosis!
Mine didn’t suffer any seizures but everything else. The life span of a dog being diagnosed with Cushings is between 30-36 months he is beyond that by like six months but now we are the end now. It is the hardest decision to make to let him go but he has been deteriorating for the last week. He also suffers from arthritis so his walking has gotten worse and he is going a lot again. The medicine is not working anymore. Spending as much time with him as possible before the end. I hate it and I can’t stop crying but I also know he is only going to get worse and start experiencing some really bad pain. I love my Ollie and I hope one day to see him again at the rainbow bridge. Heart is breaking.
Marianne Echols
I have a 6 year old Yorkie with a PMH of mild pancreatitis in 2018 after eating some cat food. Jagger has been in great health and received regular vet care. No medications. This past Sunday he didn’t seem himself. He was restless and seemed to not feel well. I took him to emergency vet. He had a slight temp (102.9), a little nauseous (anti-nausea med given), and slightly dehydrated (IVF bolus given). His XR showed slightly enlarged liver. Labs were excellent. ER vet mentioned possible Cushing and recommended US of adrenal glands. US occurred the next day-no tumor, but adrenal glands slightly enlarged. The ER vet mentioned coming back for urine test when Jagger is not stressed, approx. 10 days. If that test positive, he would undergo an all-day blood test with steroids in between. This Friday, I am taking him to his regular vet to review his notes/labs/imaging and see what her opinion is.

At this point, I’m confused by all the information online. I’ve stayed home all week to monitor Jagger, who seems improved. He is eating/drinking and active. Other than recent slight discoloration of tummy (pink to lavender) and 2.2 lb. weight gain in 1 year, he doesn’t really meet the symptoms of Cushing. He’s on Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D 1x/ day and is very active during the day (running around and playing with toys).

I’m very worried and concerned. It seems like information online approximates a 2 year life expectancy from point of diagnosis. If he doesn’t have tumor on adrenal glands, does that mean possible tumor on pituitary glands. Would that be diagnosed through head imaging? Could there be other causes for enlarged liver? Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.


Paige Harmon
Marianne my 5 yr old chihuahua was just diagnosed with cushings and it has been a long process. For the past 4 months she has gone to the vet for blood work every 2 weeks and her medication has been changed 3 times. I still don’t see any improvement in her. The doctor says she is not suffering but she looks miserable. She is severely pot bellied. We have paid almost 3 thousand dollars so far and I’m praying she gets some relief soon. Her doctor said she can live many years with cushings. I pray your baby does not have it. Good luck, Paige
Caroll Bennett
My dog has Cushing diagnosed 2 months ago and the Trilostane 20 mg was prescribed for him and it has made his symptoms worse so 2 days ago I stopped this med and started him on Prana Pets Adrenal Support. He is now like a different dog no panting no excessive thirst no excessive urination and no constant hunger. I can’t believe the difference. I give him 5 drops 3 X days as instructed. I ordered this from Amazon please share this with everyone.I was so stressed with the constant panting,thirst and urination and accidents. He is so much calmer and symptoms are gone. I hope it stays this way.
Marsha Ramos
Carroll my dog has been diagnosed w cushings, shes 10 yr old Boxer. Do u think it would help her w the treatment u gave??
Lisa Drew
I was not confident in my vet in the beginning. I took my dog to a specialist. They are expensive, but she put me on the right track. I found a vet that immediately looked at the opinions of the specialist and Cushins was diagnoised. Its important to have a vet that you trust. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’m not thinking about the life expectancy. I never give up on my pets. I’m going to see this to the end.
I brought my 8 year old Yorker to the vet for weight gain, excessive thirst and panting and only walking about 30 steps before refusing to walk any further these issues have been on going for over a year and I do not over feed my dog. X-rays showed fat around the heart. Bloodwork showed low sodium & chloride and elevated protein. Alk, globulin, cholesterol 674 & triglycerides 6399 (The results noted Numbers were verified) Urine showed Protein 2+, glucose 1+ and microalbuminuria 23.2. Thyroid disease excluded and Prelimary diagnosis of Cushing Disease. My baby is now on a low-fat diet for 5 weeks before new labs are done but looking at these labs I am really anxious waiting. Any thoughts on these lab results?
They recomend monitoring and controlling the drinking but what exactly does that mean. How often should I be giving him water
monika Sanchez
I have a Pomeranian 10 years old I broaded him for the 1st time for 10 days after I picked him up he was acting different drinking water and eating like he was starving using the bathroom often. Ever since he was a baby he slept with me now he wants to be under my bed.I took him to the Dr she ran blood test and urine analysis the urine was neg but the blood was not very good she thinks he has cushings deseaes so she wants to do some test she wants me to drop him off for a whole day..Can someone give me some advice in what to do. he is playful he is just acting wired..please help me in hear broken
marlen reyes
Hi Monika,
My doggy Lucky vet told me the same thing. But after going to three different Vet and not finding for sure if it was Cushion Disease or not . i left my doggy alone and did not take him to the vet since he gets really upset and nervous. I got my doggy 8 yrs. ago from the streets. i am guessing he was 5 o 6 years old when my sister found him and eventually i adopted him. He was my life. I just lost him on Sunday and i was heart broken to say the least. My husband and I cry for days. I am getting better now. All i did is to pray day and night to the Lord to have mercy on him and he did. He did not cry or express feeling pain. I am so grateful to God but it was a struggle. He got sick in February and gave up in September. I prayed that he did not suffered and Mercy for him everyday. he was a happy doggy which i am going to miss for ever. my had more or less 13 years . Try to find out with different doctors to see if is really cushion his belly grew big and he did not stop drinking water , eating and pee all the time. You need to have patience and realize he is you little joy. I wish you the best.
i am currently experiencing the same issue with our 7 year old sheltie. He was taken in for the all day test and we are awaiting the results. But his liver enzymes are normal in the 25-200 range but his were so high they didnt read. He is not himself lately and the drinking and peeing is so excessive and he has gained tons of weight.
Good luck with your pup .. It is hard I have no clue what to do
I have a 19 year old with cushings and he was diagnosed about 2.5 years ago. Yes, he pees more and has some other small things that have changed, but he is still happy, loves being pet and is still living a good life. Although he is a bit slower now, his tail still wags, he loves being outdoors in the sun and still enjoys being around people. Let me warn everyone though…about a year ago he started having seizures, most likely from the cushings. They seem scary to us, but he just bounces out of them. Don’t jump to conclusions and think you have a death sentence with a cushings diagnosis. I hope this helps put some minds at ease…thanks everyone for these types of forums.
Hi Sarah,
What method of treatment did you use? Just curious.
Did you use Tetoryl?
Carol Bennett
See my above comments
My 10year old dog Roxie suddenly became very lethargic, drinking more and loss of fur. After taking her to the vets he did loads of tests and diagnosed Cushing. She was put on medication but began vomiting excessively so we withdrew it. She became no better and was further diagnosed with pyometra (operated on)then pancreatitis. We didn’t hold out much hope but now have her on a low fat diet of chicken, rice, pasta and vegetables. She has improved tremendously in the space of over a week! There’s now a light at the end of the tunnel but she won’t be going back on the Cushing medication.
Amy Doverspike
My little shihtzu has,Cushing’s and is now almost blind, I myself have had mixed feelings about putting her on all those meds for the same reason and because of the cost. I would love to here any suggestions for food or anything you’ve found helpful
Hi Amy, my dog with cushings is also blind. He is 19 and is on medication for heart failure and cushings. He has been on cushings medication for probably 2 years. About 5 months ago I took him off his medication for cushings. His appetite has improved since I did that which I am so happy about. The cushings medication doesn’t treat the problem, it just helps with the symptoms. The excessive peeing was the biggest one, so now he wears a doggy diaper for little accidents. He is happy and doing just fine without the meds.
There is no cure for Cushings other then surgery and even then it’s not a guarantee! Mine has done very well on his meds. But once diagnosed with Cushings the life span is between 30-36 months. Mine is now blind, deaf, his skin is thinning and bleeding very easily which is the result of the organs starting to shut down. He struggles sometimes with his breathing. He has made it past the 36 months but has declined rapidly this last week and have made the decision to let him go. My Ollie is almost 15 years old but it still doesn’t make it any easier. He helped me get through a really tough time and I can’t seem to stop crying but I don’t want him to suffer or be in pain anymore. I know he will be waiting for me at the rainbow bridge when it is my time.
Maureen Bieder
Hi Amy, I have three old poodles. About two or three years ago I was at the Vets and he told me Toby had the beginning of Liver disease. His fur is thin, but other than that, he is normal at 14 1/2 years. His mum, Possum is nearly 16 and suffers some blindness and deafness along with a little dementia, but otherwise is fine. Little Lucy will be 15 in three weeks. None of my dogs has any drugs whatsoever, nor do they have any monthly treatments either. I am convinced my diet has been the answer why all my dogs have lived such long lives. I chose to put my 16 year old little Coco down a year ago as he was a bit deaf, half blind also and it was time.
I feed all dogs steamed zucchini and carrot 365 days a year. Now to this I add about a dessertspoon Coconut Oil. This melts into the veggies. To this I add either fresh mince beef, chicken, sardines or tuna, plus a little handful of grain free kibble (made in Sydney). Then I add Rose Hip Vital Canine powder to each bowl, plus now I add Hemp Oil as they are all so old. They lap it up! No rubbish food goes into their guts period! They eat, drink, pee, poop normal and have a two kilometre walk seven days a week. They can run fast as well.
I hope this may help anyone looking for a good healthy diet for their dogs! I also mind other poodles and they scoff down my food as well!
My dog ended up on the very small dose Vetoryl 5mg because the 10mg does (and up) they like to start with, made her throw up and be lethargic. SO , like you, I said we are not going to medicate this dog for Cushing’s. A new vet a year later scolded me for not trying to treat her, and then we found they made the smaller 5mg dose. A lot of vets don’t know about the small dose pill. It gave her 2 more great years, now she is not doing well. Please see about the 5 mg brand name Vetoryl dose.
Yes! My dog tried the higher doses of Vetoryl, and we discovered the 5 mg dose. This dose has helped for about 4 months now.
janet patzwald
I have a14yr old toypoodle almost blind and with typical cushings symptoms started peeing blood and black stools drinking heaps peeing heaps and sometimes no appetite so every day he has 2drops hemp oil and a mix of colloidal silver. pregnasone 5g (spelling a ??) and I senna and 1probiotic the tablets dissolve into the silver and I give about 3ml daily he is stable now , But I did check 1treat I used to buy and found it was ad in Asian country so stopped that and now buy an Australian one he has stopped scratching all the time
My 14 year old chihuahua, Peppy, has had issues with balance and joint pain for 2+ years now. 4 months ago really began to struggle, could no longer do his daily walks, knees would buckle and he’d fall. Stopped trying. All the issues I see here, heavy weight gain, lots of water that is in and immediately out, peepee pads everywhere. He does not wet at night which amazes me. But up most mornings immediately peeing about 5-5;30. Today we saw the vet, and he is nearly certain Cushing’s and did first blood test to diagnose it. I am heartsick. So glad to find this sight and plan to keep in touch . He is my baby, my only companion, but watching him suffer is horrible! Rough decisions ahead , hoping to find help and support here
This is an update on my 14+year old chihuahua, Peppy. The blood test is done, positive for Cushings, adrenal tumor, huge, filling whole abdomen. He is very sick. As of yesterday eating teaspoon or two of food a day. When testing was done was still eating fairly well, but everyday since, a bit worse. Vet would like to try Trilostane, 20mg per day. Have done 3 days, now and he is only sicker. As you probably know, there is no hope for adrenal tumor Cushings except surgery and with a tumor this large and little dog this old to risky. Out of my league financially anyway. He feels the med may control symptoms and give him a few comfortable, symptom free weeks, possibly months before the end.
I can’t follow this reasoning with this huge tumor, how can he have any comfort. Not sure I can get next dose in him as he refusing food. So, considering following this treatment versus putting him down. He has many symptoms and can barely walk. Hoping I make right choice for Peppy.
It is Carol again with an update and question about 14+ year old chihuahua diagnosed with adrenal Cushings disease, with a very large tumor filling abdomen and swelling in lymph nodes of the neck. Despite all this Peppy is still eating and drinking adequately. Vet suggested that, though Peppy only has few months at very top best, we try him on Trilostane, 20mg,for increased quality of life for whatever time he does have. He took it for 3 days and we saw less peeing, better walking. Suddenly, can’t get meds in him for 2 days now. Have tried crushing to powder and mixing with breakfast, with dinner, both crushed and whole, put in chicken and peanut butter pill pockets , both. Holding his mouth open is not doable for me. I am looking for any suggestions. Just hate to give up on this therapy though I realize it will not prolong his life. Any ideas?
Try dissolving in small amount of ice cream. 2nd choice crush and put in peanut butter (small amount) and stick it on front of roff of mouth.
This pill will not dissolve, vet even tried and failed, but can make to powder but has strong smell so it is hopeless. I don’t think I could accomplish peanut butter method. Thank you for caring, I really appreciate it.
You say Peppy only has a few months at best. Have you considered that his inability or difficulty taking meds are signs that it is time to simply keep him comfortable and allow him to go through his end of life in as much comfort and peace? The pain of loss we feel when our dogs move to doggy heaven is the price we pay for loving. At age 76, I have been through this process numerous times and do understand the grief you will go through when your precious Peppy is no longer here. I hope this is helpful.
Thank you, Lynda. Yes I am starting to think your way. My vet, who I really like, really wanted to try this, but just about ready to give up on the meds and just keep him as happy as possible until it is time, which I don’t think will be very long at all. Thanks for the kind, encouraging words.
I have taken very small pieces of cooked steak meat added a few drops of water and put on a plate with the 10 mg Vetoryl pills my dog refused to take . She now eats the small Amt of steak wrapped and mixed with the tiny pills no problem and then eats the rest of her meal of (steak meat cooked , 1/2-3/4 cup dry grain free organic beef sweet potato premium kibble, sweet potato baked, Flax seed & Hemp) (CBC oil 1000 mg bottle takes 25 mg of drops in her mouth). No improvement in bloating yet but panting improves very active but restless only will sleep in hard floor no rug or bed jumps off my bed for the floor in a cool spot. She has bumps all over her skin with wart like growths the vet said he will remove when her symptoms decrease. Blood tests twice monthly expensive . I buy the Veteryl at Walmart drugs for $23-10mg 30 tab online. Thanks for this article . Jerri 949-444-9067 if you have any ideas that would help .
TyLea Vrtiska
what can you help with the panting and will CBD oil or dog treats help any of the symptoms
Kelly Pompeo
I have a 13 year old beagle who has had symptoms of Cushings for a couple years now. My first vet did not diagnose it, just told me she is fat and panting due to pain. They competely ignored the high liver enzymes but I switched vets and immediately they said she most likely has Cushings. Since I couldn’t afford the testing I opted to treat the symptoms. I started her on CBD oil a year ago and noticed a huge improvement. She stopped panting and her abdominal swelling went down. After a year she had a pancreatitis attack. That was a few months ago, so I put her on a low fat dry food and she was doing good until 2 weeks ago. She all the sudden is terrified constantly, trying to climb over gates to hide, climbing in the bathtub, trying to break out the window, hiding in the closet or under covers. The CBD oil helps for a little bit but I had to start her on Prozac yesterday. Hopefully that will help. The vet is researching if there is a link between Cushings and severe sudden anxiety, have any of you experienced this?
Maybe CBD oil makes him paranoid, as Cannabis does to humans?
TyLea Vrtiska
what’s the best brand of dog food for Cushing disease
Help. More info needed
Lisa Jenkins
To all the Fur-mommas! My Annie has had cushings for 3 years. She is 11.5 yrs. Starting with excessive drinking, emptying gallon bowl in couple hours. And what goes in does come out. Why I don’t have carpet anymore. She is also a “Spe-gal” half beagle, half cocker spaniel. She was started on Trilostane 60mg a day. Being the only FDA approved it can be pricey. I have worked out with my vet a price. Average cost is 50.00 a month. At the beginning there were times we couldn’t get her meds. And I would watch her to see when systems started again. The longest was 2 months. But over time it is about 5 to 7 days now. Now I want to check into CBD oil. There hasn’t been alot of feedback to know if it helps with cushings, but wont know if dont try. Last night she started peeing blood. So of course I am trying not to freak out. Being a Sunday cant do emergency. But I have a awesome vet. They are on call and phone call away till tomorrow morning. Just need to regulate her water intake. Don’t give up on them. Plan on having her for a lil while longer.
Barbara Braim
I’m taking my Bichon to the Vet this week. She has all the Symptoms of Cushing’s. Pot belly, vomiting, always thirsty, hungry all the time, grumpy, having lots of accidents, diabetes, lost of hair, panting a lot, no energy, and now her normally pink skin is turning black. She has every symptom, of Cushings. I have told her vet that I suspected cushings for the last few years, but he has ignored me on this. And when she was Diagnosed with diabetes, I thought that was what was causing her symptoms. When her skin started turning black, this week, I was afraid she might have cancer. I looked it up and again it was a sign of Cushings! Sophie is 12 going on 13. I’m thinking I’m not going to treat her. I love her like she is my child, but from what I’ve read, she will have the same life span that she would if she was on medicine. I’ve also read that the medicines can have very adverse reactions. The thought of losing her is unbearable.
Brenda Nigrelli
My Dixie is showing signs of cushing disease. She had a very increased appetite and water. Until today she lost interest in her food. Extremely week in her hind quarters. Has one more test in 2 wks. Hoping she won’t be to week. We hsve no proper diagnosis. Her liver enzymes are high. Liver is large no mass in liver. Her adreanal glands are on the large side of the scale. But not esscessively large
I just got back from the vet and they are thinking that it could be cushings disease. I am going to call tomorrow to make the appointment for the 8 hour blood test. She has always had a big belly just thought she was a big girl. Had one accident in the house which she never does and the last 4 days drinking excessively so I thought it was diabetes and had her tested for that. She is only 7 years old and I’m freaking out a bit. They are talking about an ultrasound depending on the blood work. I guess I just have to wait for all these tests to be completed. She is a dalmation/boxer mix and I see that boxers are prone to this disease! Ugh
Because of vomiting, bloody diarrhea…I had tests done for my almost 14 year old goldendoodle. Blood work and xrays which revealed that normal count was 200 and my dog was 1600. A symptom for Cushings disase. No tumors revealed. Vet felt further tests would be required but I declined due to expense. I said I would try the antibiotics first… which worked. My only concern was if my dog was in pain. Vet unsure said cushings is not like cancer. dogs can live with it and many times it is not diagnosed. I did change his diet to salmon, rice and chicken. Salmon for DHA.. Give him probiotics and melatonin and glucosamine for joints. This has helped his digestive issues. No accidents in house since. He does not have a bloated belly. He does drink a lot and needs to go out frequently. He has a very poor appetite. Hard to tell what’s just old age related and Cushings related. He seems relatively content. I spoke to vet about WHEN should I consider putting him down. Her prognosis was maybe a 8 months to a year…. So I will do my best to see that he is well taken care of. Ive only had 2 dogs in my adult life, both living over 14 years….Decision to put down my previous dog for a large inoperable tumor was heartbreaking but pumping my dog full of painkillers and antibiotics was just too selfish and his prognosis was only 3 months with a mediocre quality of life. I cried for 2 days but knew I did what was best for Max, will do the same for Champ when time comes. Love your dog but be merciful and unselfish….
My 14 year old border collie mix; Roxy started having diarrhea and vomiting after leaving her a weekend with a pet sitter. Having loose stools after leaving her has happened before but she was never this sick. I took her to the vet yesterday and she was given medicine,special food to take home, an injection, fluids in her back, fecal test, blood test and me a hefty bill. The only thing that showed up was the likelihood of cushings disease but would need to do more blood work to know for sure. She started doing better last night. After reading about the symptoms I’m certain that is whats wrong with her and I think she has had it at least a year. After reading the pro’s and con’s about treatment I don’t think treating it is the option for me. She has had a good life and I think I will know when the time comes to let her go. Thank you all for sharing your experience.
margaret thompson
My ten year old rescue dog Charley is going to be tested for cushings disease, he has all the classic symptoms, insatiable thirst, and all that entails, ravenous appetite a pot belly and he’s lost most of his coat.He also barks a lot and I can’t leave him for any length of time because he becomes very distressed. He has also lost one of his hind legs after being attacked by another dog. In fact he hasn’t had a lot of luck, but despite all this, he still has a good quality of life, he’s very sociable and loves his walks. But I don’t want him to suffer unnecessarily, what are the chances of him leading a comfortable life and will he get his coat back? This isn’t for vanity reasons but to protect him from the sun and cold.
Ann Elsabee
Lucy was the same we got diagnosed in April started on 30mg of vetoryl a day She is 13 almost 14 and the difference in her is amazing her coat has grown back she is enjoying her walks appetite and drinking are normal.i know because of her age I will have to say goodbye sooner rather than later but she is my baby girl and we are enjoying every day we have good luck with your baby.xxx
Hello Ann. Can you tell me when your Lucy showed signs of improving on Vetoryl. My dog has been on them nearly a month and only a little improv ement.
My dog was on a small 5 mg dose of Vetoryl 3x a day for several months and she began to look great. No more pot belly or rolls of fat on her back, energetic, not as much panting.. give it time, if she is doing well on it.
Monica Salem
My 8 1/2 year old yorkie looks like he has cushings disease. I took him to the vet yesterday because he had a pot belly and wanted to make sure he didn’t have a tumor. They are going to do a test on him next week to diagnose for sure. He is such a good pup and hoping that medicine will help him live a lot longer and continue to have a good quality of life.
Lorraine Cook
Hi I have a 13.5 year old staffie who has been suffering from increased appetite, always drinking, bloated belly and behaviour change of constant barking , being woken up twice during the night to be let out but then still barking when indoors. Vet did various test for cushings including a scan on liver has readings were high
The blood test came back very high for liver and the scan showed a very unusual liver. Our dog is still eating and drinking but is very lethargic. Vet says this could still be cushings therefore a big test will.now be needed. Any ideas.on this please lorraine
vicki slawich
my 14 yr old beagle was diagnosed with Cushings…it is a very expensive disease to treat..my Molly hasn’t responded well to treatment, so the vet said I didn’t have to treat her anymore. she is drinking more and is hungry all the time, but she always did have a ravenous appetite. she actually seems better since I stopped treatment…quality of life is what I’m shooting for now…good luck and be wary of addisons crisis when treating with Vetoryl…
This is what my vet just recommended for my going on 15 Jack Russell….no treatment. You’re right it is expensive with all of the blood tests etc. I’m hoping she will be ok without any treatment. Even though I want her to live forever, I don’t want her to be constantly sick from meds. How long has your beagle gone without treatment?
Thank you for the heads up
Did they check him for pancreatitis
Our vet didn’t feel the meds were a good choice for our dog because of the adverse effects. He’s a 12 year old pappillon mix. We went with lignans and melatonin for almost 6 months and it helped a lot with the frequent urinating. But now he is declining. He was sleeping a lot with the melatonin but has recently started choking and severe coughing on and off. We were prescribed antihistamines and cough suppressants but they haven’t helped. No one in the house is sleeping, including the dog as it’s on and off all day and night. He was still having intermittent good days where he seems spunky, but those are getting less and less. I do not want him to suffer. We are struggling with the decision if it’s time to let him go.
Corlis Vernon
I have two Bichons (12yrs & 11yrs) that have been diagnoised with Cushings,they are both taking Vetoryl, different dosages. Their ALT levels(liver values) are 900 to 1300, they are also taking Ursadiol, for the increased ALT levels. Its sad for us to see them sleeping all the time. We also have another Bichon(14yrs) that has Copper Loading disease, which is bad in itself, ALT is 1700, on multiple meds and more meds to take those meds. We are seeing specialists to manage this, but who helps manage us?
My dog, a Jack Russell, turning 15 this year was diagnosed a few months ago (pituitary). I have tried Vetoryl, but my dog was having adverse reaction to the medication. My dog has a pot belly, excessive thirst, and a huge appetite. Her liver levels are also in the 600 range (she is taking Denamarin for this and it is helping). We are now testing Anipryl 5 mg on her. I have not noticed any difference with one month of treatment. Hopefully, with two months treatment we will notice a difference. Other problems she currently has are a dry nose and a sebaceous growth by her ear.
I was wondering what other treatments has anyone tried that they have seen yield positive results with minor side effects? Has anyone else used Anipryl? I have found the Anipryl to not have any side effects so far, and has actually increased alertness in my dog. She now is back to being at the door when I come home!

Any feedback someone has would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

My dog a 14 year old 20 lb dachshund was just diagnosed Feb 19, 2019. He too had an adverse reaction to the Vetoryl- he quit eating and he became weak and very lethargic. We stopped the meds. (30mg) for a few days to clear his system and started him back but on the 10 mg. capsule. He got this once a day for two weeks and now we have been giving him it twice a day for a couple of weeks and he is doing awesome! So 20mg per day is apparently what he needed. One 10 mg capsule with breakfast and one 10 mg capsule with dinner. Even his one oozing lumpy growth on his back has stopped oozing! You may want to try lowering the dose :).
Thank you for the reply Norma. We did try to lower the Vetoryl to the 10mg dose. She still had a bad reaction. Unfortunately, after 90 days on Anipryl she started to have side effects: wobbly legs, lethargic, anorexia, and vomiting. We are now going to try no treatment and see how it goes. I really thought the Anipryl was going to help! Thanks again for your response!
Update! My dog now takes the Vetoryl 5 mg, and it has been helping! This has been a roller coaster ride, but I am happy that she is tolerant to the 5 mg dose . Thank you for the support and feedback about this terrible disease!
DeeDee Lazik
What is the adverse reaction?
Lethargic, wobbly legs, anorexia, vomiting. I thought she was going to die!
Mary Nelson
My Ben is 13 and he has Cushing.hes on vetorol they seem to help Ben.. he seems very good as past few months.he has it a year now.
Have you tried a holistic vet? We did. Makes a difference. I don’t want to get too positive because I am superstitious and am afraid I will jinx her, but I feel good that we are using a good vet who does both holistic and regular veterinary medicine. We chose a holistic path.
What do you feed your dog for cushings ? 949-444-9067 Jerri thanks
My little girl is 13 now and was diagnosed in 2017. She’s no eating much at all not drinking much water. I’m bside myself what to do. She did eat from My hand some dinner chicken we had today. I willContinue to try to feed her. Vet said chicken broth. So I’ll Try again
I had a dog that was a Dachshund Jack Russell since she was a puppy. I just lost her to this disease and she was only 16 of my God I cried for days says I don’t want to let her go but we had to because she was in dippers and couldn’t control her bladder anymore.she was in condeient
So so sorry
How long did she live after she was diagnosed? My Pomeranian was diagnosed 3 years ago and still handling her disease well. She also has a heart murmur. 🙁
Catherine Schure
Are you treating your dog for Cushing s?
Dail Davis
I have a 6yr Old Maltipoo since she was 9 months. She does drink a lot of water and can’t seem to get enough to eat. Her weight is 22# we’ve already spent over 5000$ on her knees years ago. The vet mentioned Cushioning disease. My husband wants me to put her down because now she has torn meniscus and another 2500$ surgery. I don’t know what to do. Need advice
Sorry you are going through this. I bet someone would take her before you put her down….
What have you decided I would try every Avenue I could if possible based on age though and how long the recovery time is. Quality of life.
Connie Paine
I have 13 year old pom. He has had pot belly for a bit. Elevated labs. They are pushing us to get ultrasound to diagnose Cushing. I am thinking why? I just don’t know??? They already put him on K/D food. Was eating, now isn’t. Worried about his weight gain. I’m worried he’s not eating not that he has gained. And treatments just sound so maybe this maybe that. I want him happy
Andrea Jackson
I’m taking my 14yr old yorkie to have bloods done he has to be there all day they are checking for Cushing disease, and pancreatitis, from what I’ve been reading I fear he has cushings he has alot of the symptoms.
Hi Alice my Pomeranian is nearly 14 she has been on medication for five years for congested heart failure, she was diagnosed with Cushing two months ago, she takes 15 mg a day? Is that dosage level similar to your Pom?
Where did you get your dog nappy’s from to fit a Cushings dog with distended belly?
Amy Bakay
She said her dog was half jack Russell half dachshund. Those are both fairly small types of dog. So, she could have easily gone up a size to fit her dog.
Dail Davis
I have a Maltipoo age 6. She’s always drank a lot of water. But she’s not really pot bellied. After she eats she wants more food. She weighs 22# as of this morning. We’ve spent approximately 2500$ each knee years ago. Now she has a torn meniscus left rear leg and that means another 2500$. I can’t afford the test or the meds if positive for Cushings. He surgery is scheduled for April 3rd. My husband wants me to have her put down. I’m at a lost. She was given to me because of a bad injury I received at work and come near death. An 8 yr old boy told me God told him I needed this dog to help me and it did. Mia is only 6. Am I jumping the gun to even think of putting her down. She has been in continent one time but she could have been dreaming. Need words of encouragement
Hi, my mom has a dachshund that is 13 and would not be able to go through the tests it takes to positively test for it. I have been buying Lignans from Amazon for 6 months and they are working great!! You can also get food grade dandelion. He didn’t do well on the melatonin but yours may. Try other things first. Then, know more water more times outside.
I heard that you have to give dogs with Cushing’s all the water they want. I have pee pads all over my house because of my dog has Cushings. He has had it for 8 1/2 years! He is starting to not eat or drink so im getting very worried. I took him to the vet and she said he has a UTI and gave him a shot that is supposed to stay in his system for 2 weeks. She said in 2 weeks he may go back to not eating or drinking and that is probably when im going to have to make a decision. Ive never had to put a dog down before and he is my baby! Hes been on Vetoryl for 7 years. I love him so much! I am besides myself on this!
If he doesn’t seem like he is in pain or suffering than maybe try some of the home remedies or take your baby to another vet. Follow your heart..
Wendy Kaye McAttee
Mickey has gone back to 60 mg of Vetoryl and was doing great until now. He cant hardly walk and he is crying all the time. Its like his back is humped up and he can’t lay his head down.
Wendy , I feel your pain my baby girl just got diagnosed with Cushing that is why I am on this site I myself a struggling with this my baby is 12 years old but when it gets to the point of her not eating and starving and crying we have to think of them instead of our
Selves and believe me I will be heartbroken also , I truly am sorry for your Mickey ,
Hi all I have just had to make the heartbreaking decision to put my yorkie jasper to sleep monday evening he was 18 1/2years old he was diagnosed with Cushing’s and epilepsy so we did not have the choose to to treat it as couldn’t take both medications together, he became very frail lost all his hair I’m struggling with out him as had the most amazing bond with him just love them and hold them tight he was ready to go but my heart wasnt..
My Molly, Cockapoo, 11 yrs old. Just had diagnosis of Cushings. So far she also has had only one night time …pee pee incident. Today I bought diapers and pads for night time mattress protection. I am playing it by ear. It is difficult to think ,of but from the discussions I read here I am not alone. We all will have to face a final decision one day…. and it will be the right choice when we make that decision.
Pee is cosmetic. Keep them clean and loved.
How is she doing is she still with us? It doesn’t matter if she pees that’s cosmetic just keep her clean