Carroll County Animal Hospital

July Case of the Month: Cushings Disease

Olivia White, a 12 year old female spayed west highland white terrier presented to Carroll County Animal Hospital for her annual examination and vaccinations. Her owners reported she is eating well but is drinking abnormally. She drinks an excessive amount of water daily and in return urinates excessively. Her water intake is more than 4 cups of water per day! Normal water intake for her size should be no more than 1.5 cups per day. She is on heartworm and flea protection year round. No coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea have been noted at home.

On examination, Olivia White is an ideal body weight. Her body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate are all in the normal range.

In house blood work, a complete blood count and a chemistry profile were performed.
The complete blood count revealed that Olivia White is mildly dehydrated. Kidney function, liver function, and pancreas enzymes were found to be normal. Diabetes, a condition that can cause excessive thirst was able to be ruled out with a blood sugar measurement. No other significant findngs were noted.

A cushings test was performed and sent to a diagnostic lab. Coritsol levels were found to be SEVERELY elevated in Olivia White.

Olivia White has hyperadrenocortism ( cushings disease).

Cushings Disease is a disorder caused by excessive production of cortisol by the adrenal glands in the body. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the body in response to stress. Its function includes increasing blood sugar, suppressing the immune system, and aiding in metabolism. This condition causes excessive thirst, urination, and appetite. It also causes hair loss, lethargy, muscle weakness, obesity, and increased panting.

Treatment for this condition includes Lysodren tablets, which is the drug of choice. This drug selectively destroys the glucocorticoid secreting cells of the adrenal cortex thereby decreasing overall cortisol levels in the body. Then the patients clinical signs improved dramatically!

Olivia White was begun on treatment and is responding very well!

If your pet shows any changes in thirst, urination, or appetite please let us know immediately!