Symptoms Of Cushing's Disease In Dogs

Increased Water Consumption And Urination

This is a symptom that is present in about 80-85% of all dogs affected by Cushing's disease. Many dogs with Cushing's disease will drink anywhere from two to ten times the amount of water that they drink normally. As this will also result in increased urination, this may cause some dogs to lose control of their bladder functions indoors. Since this is also a condition that is common in aging dogs, many people do not see cause for alarm until their dog's water consumption becomes severely evident.

Hair Loss

This is another visible symptom of Cushing's disease that usually provokes a dog's owner to seek veterinary advice. However, hair loss is also a symptom of aging in older dogs, so it may go unnoticed as a symptom of Cushing's disease for quite some time. Usually the hair loss is evenly distributed over both sides of the dog, and does not characteristically result in "clumps" of bare skin.

Excessive Panting

This has been identified as a symptom exhibited by dogs with Cushing's disease, but again, it is not a definitive symptom for a positive diagnosis. Also, due to the nature of most dogs to pant, heavy panting may go unnoticed by dog owners.

Thinning Of The Skin

Many older dogs also experience thinning, or "papering" of the skin as they age, so this symptom of Cushing's disease may also be hard to detect. Usually, thinning of the skin is accompanied by excessive hair loss, which is a much more visible symptom.

Increase In Appetite

Many dogs with Cushing's disease seem to have an insatiable appetite, and may exhibit previously unapparent bad behavior in order to consume more food (such as eating garbage, stealing food, etc). This excessive eating also may contribute to significant weight gain.

Abdominal Enlargement

While abdominal distention is a visible symptom of Cushing's disease, it actually occurs because the muscle strength of your dog is weakening. Abdominal enlargement is also present because, in a dog with Cushing's disease, fat may be redistributed from other storage areas to the abdomen. Also, in dogs with Cushing's disease, the liver tends to become enlarged due to the excess cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands. This “potbelly” is usually very prominent in a dog with advanced Cushing's, and is a serious enough symptom so that a dog exhibiting this symptom should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately.

Weakening Of The Heart And Muscles

The weakening of a dog's muscles because of Cushing's disease may be present in behaviors such as lethargy, depression, and lack of interest in normal activities. Also, a dog with Cushing's disease may wobble while walking, or seem hardly able to carry their own weight.

Calcinosis Cutis

Calcinosis cutis is a symptom of Cushing's disease that manifests in the form of mineralized skin nodules, also called "calcified skin lumps". This symptom is not exhibited by all dogs, though it is said to be a textbook sign of Cushing's disease.