As our dogs age, like people, they experience changes in their bodies and become more susceptible to disease and infection. Your dog growing a portly pot belly and experiencing hair loss may seem like a common sign of aging, however, when combined with an insatiable thirst and appetite, meanwhile having low energy levels, it can actually be a telling symptom of hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease.
Cushing’s disease is a hormonal imbalance, usually in senior dogs. This occurs when your dog’s body generates too much cortisol. Cortisol functions as the body’s natural steroid, but too much of it can make your dog susceptible to infection. This is usually the result of a tumor near the glands that induces overproduction of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which then prompts the overproduction of cortisol.
If you are unable to seek immediate treatment for your dog, it will lead to a poor immune system vulnerable to health issues, making the last years of your dog’s life more uncomfortable than they should be.
Diagnosing and treating Cushing's disease
Cushing’s disease may be hard to diagnose because the symptoms can be masked by the regular indications of aging. That’s why it is always advisable to schedule routine check-ups for your pets. A look into your dog’s blood work will allow you to nip the disease in its early stages.
A diagnosis will necessitate a brutal round of medicines, sometimes surgery which may cause multiple side-effects when combined with drugs used for other underlying medical conditions. Fortunately, pet owners have found success through the help of their veterinarian by opting for a dog cushings disease natural treatment and changing their dog’s diet, or using alternative methods such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and a remedy of herbs and supplements.
To help, we have listed below the top natural treatments for dogs with Cushing’s.
The pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine was conceived by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. Remedies prepared by homeopaths believe that a substance that leads to symptoms of a disease in a healthy individual will cure similar symptoms in the sick. The system has been applied to dogs, wherein a homeopath will evaluate your dog’s health concerns and prescribe a suitable remedy.
Consider using quercus robur (extracted from acorns), that aids in dealing with excessive bloating and abdominal swelling, adrenalinum, which helps to balance the adrenal glands, and lastly, arsenicum album to quench thirst, and relieve stomach and skin issues.
Dietary supplements can contain a combination of minerals, vitamins, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, herbs, and other ingredients to help strengthen your dog’s immune system and fight off infections. Natural alternative medicine or supplements should be dependent on the consultation of your veterinarian or holistic practitioner.
Glandular meat supplements combined with fish oil for example can help aid your dog’s adrenal function and improve their skin or coat. Melatonin, on the other hand, does not only promote relaxation and sleep but serves as an antioxidant to regulate your dog’s hormones.
A change in the nutrition plan
Changing your pet’s diet can do wonders. Giving your dog kibble which is high on carbohydrates can make it more prone to becoming obese and weak to fend off infections. Switching to a grain-free kibble may bring success. Substituting the diet with potatoes, peas, or beans mixed with cooked or raw meat is known to give the best results.
Older dogs, like people, need to watch their sodium intake, and saturated fats. Provide plenty of water, and a well-balanced diet with protein, like meat organs, fiber, and vitamins from fruit and vegetables to get your dog feeling better in no time.
The art of acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment that involves the insertion of very thin needles through a person’s skin at precise points, in various extents throughout the body. This ancient practice has been proven to effectively work on animals too.
Dogs can benefit from acupuncture because it helps reduce inflammation, pain, and regulates the endocrine system. It is an efficient way to cure the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Older dogs with hip dysplasia arthritis and joint inflammation also use acupuncture to provide relief. Dogs that have difficulty sitting still and remaining calm can opt for lasers instead of needles due to the advancement in technology.
Western and Eastern herbal remedies
Be it Chinese herbal medicine or Western herbs, going the organic or natural way is known to yield fewer side effects as compared to the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Consult first with your veterinarian and an expert herbalist who can recommend a formula that can help control the symptoms of Cushing’s.
Chinese herbs such as Ginkgo Biloba, Long Dan Xie Gan, and Ophiopogon root are known to reduce cortisol levels, while kelp, dandelion root, garlic, nettle, burdock root, and Siberian ginseng are the favored Western herbal remedies to support body organs put under pressure due to the hormonal imbalance and high levels of cortisol.
The symptoms of Cushing’s disease can be misleading and appear like the common signs of aging in a senior dog. We must be diligent and keep regularly scheduled veterinarian visits to be able to acquire an early diagnosis. An early-stage examination means a higher chance of recovery. The medications involved can be strong and can interfere with an older dog’s organs leading to unwanted side-effects to their system, so it is understandable to seek a more holistic and natural way of treating Cushing’s.
Seek the advice of the veterinarian before choosing a natural treatment path, so you may be able to find a remedy and a clearer idea of how to approach the disease. Dogs are part of the family and are strong symbols of loyalty and faithfulness, so it is difficult to see them suffer in their old age. In their twilight years, our home should provide the unconditional love and comfort that they deserve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sherryn is living in the beautiful city of Cape Town. She works with animal shelters to provide better living conditions and possible future homes for pets. It gives her great pleasure to assist with content generation, as well as in conceptualized events focused on pets and animal-related niche to provide in-depth information for the right audience. She has extensive experience in writing and uses a lot of her practical experience to create useful content in the pet world.