I was quite disturbed by a column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about a dog with Cushing's disease. The writer's vet suggested chemotherapy, and you suggested vitamins and some antioxidants. Our dog has Cushing's disease and does very well by taking Vetoryl. She has no side effects, and her symptoms have all but vanished. Abby has been on this treatment for about a year. Those poor owners were thinking about putting their dog down! They need to know all the options that will enable them to enjoy their dog longer, perhaps years longer.
C.W., Ballwin, Mo Jan 10, 2012
Cushing's disease, a disorder of the adrenal glands resulting in the production of harmfully high levels of steroid hormones like cortisol, is one of the most common endocrine diseases in dogs. Clinical signs include poor heat tolerance, panting, muscular weakness, a potbelly, loss of hair, darkening of the skin and excessive drinking and urination. As the disease progresses, more serious conditions develop, including increased susceptibility to infections, congestive heart failure and blindness. Most often, the disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland and, less frequently, by an adrenal gland tumor. Finding the root cause is a diagnostic challenge for veterinarians. Depending on this diagnostic outcome, medical, surgical and radiation therapies have all been used with some success. The chemotherapeutic drug mitotane (which suppresses cortisol production) has been widely used but must be carefully monitored because there is a risk of it causing Addison's disease. The FDA has only recently approved Vetoryl, the drug that worked so well on your dog. It is an effective steroid inhibitor with minimal side effects. Dogs being given prednisone and other steroid drugs for various inflammatory, allergic and autoimmune conditions on a long-term basis are at risk of developing Cushing's disease.
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