This is a disease primarily of older dogs.
In this condition the body produces excessive amounts of its own internal steroid – cortisol.
In most cases a gland in the brain, (pituitary gland), over-stimulates the adrenal glands, (located close to the kidneys), to produce this excess cortisol.
Clinical signs (or symptoms) of the condition vary, but commonly include:
• Excessive thirst and urination
• Increased appetite
• Swollen abdomen (belly)
• Liver problems
• Hair loss
• Lethargy and or weakness
Tests will be performed to confirm the condition. It can be difficult to diagnose and or define accurately. Treatment is aimed at decreasing the production of this excess cortisol or hormone. In a few cases it may involve surgery, but mostly revolves around medical management with the drug “Lysodren” (OP-DDD) to suppress (or destroy) this part of the adrenal gland function.
Treatment with this drug is carried out in 2 stages.
STAGE 1 OR INDUCTION PHASE:
Sufficient drug is administered daily until the water intake is reduced to normal (approx. 60ml/kg/day), or until routine blood tests or further blood stimulation tests yield a more normal result. This may take 7-10 days, but can take 4 weeks or more.
STAGE 2 OR MAINTENANCE PHASE:
This is the stage during which normally the drug is dosed once a week or several times weekly to maintain a level or cortisol output from the adrenal glands as near to normal as possible. We will instruct you on this after Stage 1 of treatment.
After this, periodic blood testing is often required to check that the blood levels of cortisol are staying in the normal range.
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd