Canine Hyperadrenocorticism (HAC) or Cushing’s Disease in Dogs


Canine Hyperadrenocorticism is an endocrine related condition that mostly affects middle-aged to older dogs. It is also known as Cushing’s syndrome. This condition occurs when dogs produce an excessive quantity of the cortisol hormone. Generally, cortisol helps in weight control, stress management, maintaining blood sugar levels and preventing infections. When the body does not produce this hormone in adequate amounts, it can lead to many health issues. Canine Hyperadrenocorticism condition is also known as hypercortisolism.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease

It may be a bit difficult for your vet to diagnose Cushing’s syndrome, as its symptoms may be similar to other medical conditions. If you happen to notice anything out of the ordinary about your dog, you should let the vet know. Here are some signs that indicate Cushing’s disease.

Cushings Disease
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Visible round belly
  • Frequent urination. Well behaved dog may suddenly have accidents at home.
  • Loss of hair or the hair on their coat may seem to grow slow.
  • Tiredness and inactivity
  • Labored breathing
  • Visible skin conditions, including thinning of skin.

Types of Cushing’s Disease

Dogs usually experience two types of Cushing’s disease. A tumor of the pituitary gland or adrenal gland causes this condition.

Pituitary-dependent Hypercortisolism

The most commonly seen condition of Cushing’s disease is this type, affecting the majority of dogs. Pituitary is a small gland located at the base of brain in dogs. When a tumor develops in this gland, it causes pituitary-related Cushing’s syndrome.

Adrenal-dependent Hypercortisolism

Adrenal glands are situated on the kidneys in dogs. When a tumor develops in one of these glands, it causes adrenal-related Cushing’s syndrome. This condition is known to affect 10% to 15% of dogs.

This condition progresses slowly and can cause serious problems in the long run. Timely diagnosis and proper treatment help in lessening complications.


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