Signs, Analysis, and Therapy –


In case your Dachshund’s veterinarian has not too long ago talked about Cushing’s Illness and also you aren’t fairly certain what it means, it may very well be scary. 

Nobody desires to be left confused and questioning a few potential well being drawback with their canine.

I’ve been learning the breed full time since 2012, and Cushing’s Illness is among the high 5 well being points I see in Dachshunds.

After I was a canine walker, one of many Dachshunds I used to spend time with had the illness, so I do know a bit of about what’s concerned within the care of a canine with Cushing’s.

Since I wish to assist educate Dachshund homeowners in regards to the illness, and I need you to be told in case your Dachshund receives the prognosis, I wrote this text for you.

Learn on to find the fundamentals of Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds, together with what warning indicators you need to be in search of, how it’s identified, and what you are able to do to assist your Dachshund handle the situation after a prognosis. 

The very first thing to know is that the 2 main causes of Cushing’s Illness have an effect on cortisol ranges in canine.

The Significance of Cortisol in Dachshunds

What’s cortisol, and why is it vital in your Dachshund? 

Cortisol is a pure steroid that’s produced by the adrenal glands. 

Often known as “the stress hormone,” cortisol helps put together the physique to deal with excessive bodily or emotional stress by triggering the pure flight-or-fight response.

However that’s not its solely operate. 

  • Cortisol can also be chargeable for the next: 
  • Suppressing irritation 
  • Serving to with wound therapeutic 
  • Regulating and controlling physique weight 
  • Controlling the sleep-wake cycle 
  • Regulating blood stress 
  • Sustaining regular blood sugar (glucose) ranges 
  • Supporting muscle and ligament well being
  • Controlling the metabolism

As vital as cortisol is in your Dachshund’s well being and well-being, an excessive amount of cortisol can result in well being issues. 

What’s Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds?

The pituitary gland, positioned on the base of the mind, produces adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). This hormone tells the adrenal gland, on high of the kidneys, to provide cortisol. 

An excessive amount of cortisol is produced when one thing goes mistaken within the pituitary or adrenal glands. 

This situation is named Hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s Syndrome, or Cushing’s Illness. 

There are two forms of Cushing’s in Dachshunds. 


That is the most typical type of Cushing’s Illness, affecting roughly 80%-85% of canine. 

It happens when a tumor triggers the overproduction of cortisol or enlargement of the pituitary gland. 


The opposite 15%-20% of instances are attributable to a tumor in a single or each adrenal glands (that sit on high of the kidneys). 

Roughly 50% of those instances will metastasize (unfold to different areas of the physique). 

A Third Sort of Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds

Whereas there are solely two naturally occurring forms of Cushing’s Illness, there’s technically a 3rd kind known as “iatrogenic” Cushing’s Illness. 

This occurs when a canine receives excessive doses of steroids over an prolonged interval. 

The excellent news for Dachshunds identified with “iatrogenic” Cushing’s Illness is that the signs will disappear when the accountable steroids are discontinued. 

But it surely’s harmful to cease any steroid too shortly. As a substitute, they need to be weaned off step by step over a number of weeks below the supervision of your vet.

Is Your Dachshund at Threat for Creating Cushing’s?

The prevalence of Cushing’s in Dachshunds made me curious what influences the event of the illness.

Moreover breed, threat components embody:

  • Age – Cushing’s often happens in canine which are middle-aged or senior. (supply)
  • Gender – Whereas I discovered some conflicting info, typically, females usually tend to develop Cushing’s illness than males.
  • Weight problems – Obese canine usually tend to develop Cushing’s illness than canine that keep a wholesome weight.
  • Steroid treatment – Canine which are on long-term steroid treatment for different circumstances are at an elevated threat of creating Cushing’s illness.
  • Different well being circumstances – Canine with sure well being circumstances, akin to diabetes and hypothyroidism, might have an elevated threat of creating Cushing’s illness.
  • Genetics – In some instances, Cushing’s illness could also be hereditary, which means that canine with a household historical past of the situation could also be extra more likely to develop it.

The truth that Cushing’s Illness is extra frequent in Dachshunds isn’t a motive to panic. 

It doesn’t imply that your Dachshund is assured to be identified or that any drastic steps should be taken to maintain them protected. 

But it surely’s vital to concentrate on residing a wholesome way of life together with your canine and to be taught the indicators of Cushing’s Illness so you may look out for them.

Indicators and Signs of Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds

Cushing’s Illness might be exhausting to identify initially because it comes on extremely slowly and the early indicators are sometimes neglected due to this. 

Minute, incremental modifications might be troublesome to note once you see your Dachshund day by day.

Recognizing the illness is made much more difficult by the truth that most signs might be defined away as a part of the pure ageing course of. 

Consuming and peeing extra steadily are often the primary signs. 

Different frequent signs embody: 

  • Potbelly/stomach swelling
  • Fats accumulation on the neck and shoulders
  • Housebroken canine might begin to have accidents
  • Bladder or kidney infections
  • Inclined to blood clots

For those who acknowledge any of those indicators, make an appointment together with your veterinarian. 

The earlier Cushing’s Illness is identified, the higher the probabilities are that it may be managed or handled successfully. 

How is Cushing’s in Dachshunds Identified?

The method of diagnosing Cushing’s Illness might be troublesome because the signs are sometimes comparatively delicate and might be attributed to a number of different well being circumstances, together with pure ageing. 

To assist your veterinarian with the method of discovering a prognosis, make any bodily modifications or new behaviors that you simply’ve seen. 

They may probably begin with blood and urine exams to verify for Cushing’s and rule out different attainable well being issues. 

Your veterinarian may do an ultrasound to verify for a tumor on the pituitary gland or the adrenal glands. 

One of the vital efficient methods to diagnose Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds is with using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to verify the adrenal glands. 

However MRI testing is dear, so it’s not at all times an choice for homeowners.

Beneath are extra particulars in regards to the methods through which your veterinarian might check your Dachshund for Cushing’s Illness. 

Urine Cortisol – Creatinine Ratio

To begin the method of diagnosing your Dachshund, your veterinarian will check their urine for the cortisol – creatinine ratio. 

If that is excessive, it’s an indication that it may very well be Cushing’s, and additional testing is required.  

Alkaline Phosphatase Stage

A check could also be achieved in your Dachshund’s blood to measure the extent of the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase. 

If that degree is excessive, that can also be an indication that additional testing must be achieved. 

Low-Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Take a look at (LDDST)

The commonest check used to diagnose Cushing’s in Dachshunds – the low-dose dexamethasone suppression check – entails measuring the physique’s response to the presence of cortisol by utilizing a man-made model known as dexamethasone. 

To start, a blood pattern is taken to measure the baseline cortisol degree. 

Dexamethasone is then injected into your Dachshund. 

In a wholesome canine, the pituitary gland will sense the upper cortisol degree and inform the adrenal gland to cease producing extra, permitting that degree to plateau and finally begin to drop once more. 

After 4 to eight hours, a second blood pattern is taken. 

This might be examined, and the cortisone ranges might be in comparison with the baseline.

If the cortisone ranges lower, that may be a signal that every thing is functioning appropriately. 

However, if the cortisone ranges stay excessive and even improve, one thing isn’t working because it ought to. 

This might imply that the pituitary gland isn’t responding accurately to the upper cortisone degree or that the adrenal gland continued to provide cortisol.  

Each conclusions are a warning that your Dachshund might have Cushing’s. 

Excessive-Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Take a look at

This check is identical because the low-dose check I simply described, besides {that a} larger dose of dexamethasone is given. 

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) Stimulation Take a look at

This check is much like the LDDST in {that a} blood pattern is taken to measure a baseline. 

However this time, the pattern is testing the extent of ACTH. 

After a shot of the hormone is given, a second blood pattern is taken. 

The 2 outcomes are in comparison with see how your Dachshund’s physique is responding to the hormone. 

Therapy for Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds

In case your Dachshund has been identified with Cushing’s Illness, I’m certain you’re questioning “What’s subsequent?”

In case your canine has iatrogenic Cushing’s, the illness was attributable to steroid use. 

Because of this remedy will contain slowly tapering down the steroids that your Dachshund takes following a withdrawal schedule set by your veterinarian. 

As they scale back and discontinue steroid use, the signs will cease. 

After all, taking your Dachshund off their steroids might imply that the unique situation you had been treating will return, so ought to have a dialog together with your vet about different choices. 

In case your Dachshund has Cushing’s Illness due to a tumor, it might be able to be handled with surgical procedure. However eradicating the tumor isn’t at all times attainable. 

It might be a sophisticated elimination that would result in different points, or it might have already unfold to different areas of the physique. 

The one drug the FDA has accepted for the remedy of each pituitary and adrenal-dependint Cushing’s Illness in canine is Vetoryl (trilostane). 

Vetoryl works by stopping the adrenal glands from producing cortisol, successfully decreasing the cortisol ranges in your Dachshund’s physique. 

However which means it’s not protected for all canine. 

It shouldn’t be given to Dachshunds which are pregnant, have kidney or liver illness, or take sure medicines for coronary heart illness that would have a destructive interplay. 

  • Based on the package deal insert, attainable uncomfortable side effects of Vetoryl use in canine embody: 
  • Poor or diminished urge for food 
  • Diarrhea (typically bloody)
  • Sodium/potassium imbalance
  • Elevated liver enzymes or kidney exams 

In uncommon instances, using Vetoryl can have deadly penalties. 

There may be one different drug that has FDA approval, however it is just accepted for the remedy of pituitary-dependent Cushing’s illness and solely in simple, uncomplicated instances. 

That’s Anipryl (selegiline). 

Lastly, some vets will use the human chemotherapy drug Lysodren (mitotane) “off-label.” 

The tern “off label” signifies that they’ll legally use it however aren’t utilizing it for the intention listed on the drug’s label. 

This drug works within the remedy of Cushing’s in Dachshunds by eroding layers of the adrenal gland, stopping it from having the ability to produce cortisol. 

However it’s best to remember the fact that this drug was created to be used in people as a part of chemotherapy remedy. 

Because of this your Dachshund might expertise unpredicted uncomfortable side effects or reactions. 

Pure Treatments for Cushing’s Illness in Dachshunds

For those who aren’t comfy with these medical remedy choices, you could be fascinated about exploring pure or various remedy choices. 

However these remedies ought to nonetheless be achieved below veterinary supervision. 

This implies both working together with your present veterinarian, if they’re open to various medication, or connecting with a holistic vet.

The 2 commonest pure treatments for Cushing’s in canine are melatonin and HMR lignans/flaxseed lignans. 

These remedies are decrease price than typical medicines. 

They’re additionally gentler in your Dachshund. 

This makes pure treatments a well-liked selection for seniors or ageing canine and canine that usually expertise severe uncomfortable side effects or issues with medicines. 

Pure treatments gained’t work to make a tumor disappear, however they will help to handle the signs, thus bettering your Dachshund’s high quality of life. 


A pure hormone that’s produced within the physique, Melatonin performs an important position within the sleep-wake cycle and is commonly used to assist with sleep-related issues. 

It has additionally been discovered to suppress two enzymes which are essential to provide cortisol, slowing manufacturing. 

For remedy to be efficient, the extent of melatonin in your Dachshund’s system should be saved constant via common doses. 

HMR Lignans/Flaxseed Lignans

Lignans additionally suppress two enzymes wanted for cortisol manufacturing. 

Additionally they assist to revive your canine’s vitality ranges, encourage a wholesome weight and urge for food, and enhance wholesome hair progress. 

HMR lignans are derived from the Norway spruce tree, whereas flaxseed lignans come from the exhausting outer hull of flaxseeds. 

What’s the Prognosis for Dachshunds with Cushing’s Illness?

The prognosis for Dachshunds with Cushing’s Illness will rely on a number of components. 

Some canine will reply very properly to remedy. 

This, coupled with being wholesome in any other case, might enable your Dachshund to dwell an extended, completely satisfied life. 

However there’s additionally a threat that your Dachshund might have a extra difficult case or that the tumor chargeable for the situation has unfold, resulting in different well being points. 

I like to recommend having a dialog together with your veterinarian. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure you absolutely perceive the potential outcomes.

Reside with a Dachshund that has Cushing’s Illness

A very powerful factor you are able to do in your Dachshund if they’ve been identified with Cushing’s Illness is to comply with the remedy plan laid out by your veterinarian. 

This may occasionally embody medicines, dietary modifications, or changes to your way of life. 

Attempt to present a cushty, quiet, and low-stress dwelling setting. 

Ensure to remain on high of standard appointments together with your vet.

This may enable them to maintain tabs in your Dachshund’s progress and alter the remedy plan if wanted. 

Take note of any indicators that the present remedy plan isn’t working, like worsening signs. 

You also needs to be careful for antagonistic reactions to your Dachshund’s medicines, together with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of urge for food or lethargy. 

Remaining Ideas

Whereas I can’t say whether or not the frequency is on par with different canine breeds since I’m solely targeted on Dachshunds, I can say that Cushing’s Illness is a typical well being difficulty amongst doxies.

Look ahead to the indicators of Cushing’s in your canine, particularly as they grow old, however know that most of the indicators and signs might additionally point out one thing else is mistaken.

They can be refined and sluggish – so sluggish that they might be troublesome to detect.

However you probably have any considerations in any respect, contact your vet and focus on Cushing’s with them.

Catching the illness early will give your Dachshund the most effective likelihood at having fun with an extended, wholesome life.


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