When To Put A Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?

All dog owners eventually face the difficult decision of when to put their pets down. This decision can be even harder when a dog is suffering from a terminal illness such as Cushing’s disease.

As with other diseases, there is no one definitive answer as to when to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease. Every situation is unique and depends on the specific dog’s condition, as well as the owner’s circumstances.

Some factors that may influence the decision include how long the dog has been suffering from Cushing’s, how severe their symptoms are, whether they are in pain and whether they are still able to enjoy some of the things they enjoy.

However, sometimes Cushing’s disease can become so severe that euthanasia is necessary to relieve a dog from its pain and suffering. In these cases, owners should be as informed as possible about all of their options.

In this article, we will go over the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease, how long your pup may live with it, and treatment options for this condition.

We will also discuss when euthanasia may be the best option for a dog with Cushing’s.

What Is Cushing’s Disease?

Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disorder that affects dogs. It is caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which can be due to a tumor on the pituitary gland or the adrenal glands.

Cushing’s disease can cause a variety of symptoms, including hair loss, obesity, muscle wasting, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The disease can also lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.

There are two types: adrenal-dependent and pituitary-dependent.

1) Adrenal-dependent

Adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor on the adrenal glands, which are located near the kidney. This condition accounts for approx 20 percent of Cushing’s cases in dogs.

2) Pituitary-dependent

Pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease is much more common and occurs when there is a tumor on the pituitary gland. This type of Cushing’s disease accounts for 80 percent of cases in dogs.

How Common Is Cushing’s Disease In Dogs?

In the United States, approximately 100,000 dogs are diagnosed each year with Cushing’s Disease. Cushing’s disease is most common in dogs over 6 years old, although it can also occur in dogs younger than that.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Cushing’s Disease?

The signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease vary from dog to dog. However, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Hair loss
  • Obesity
  • Muscle wasting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Low energy

Most dogs with this disorder suffer from excessive thirst, urination, and appetite as well as increased hair loss and thinning skin.

Some dogs may also develop a pot-bellied look or thin out around their face and neck.

In more severe cases, dogs may experience seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Is Cushing’s Disease Deadly?

While Cushing’s disease can be a serious and life-threatening condition, most dogs with the disorder will live for several years after being diagnosed.

dog on a man's shoulder

However, the prognosis for each individual dog will depend on a number of factors, including how severe their symptoms are and how well they respond to treatment.

Effective treatment can make a big difference in how long a dog lives with Cushing’s disease.

Cushing’s disease is typically treated by removing the affected adrenal gland or pituitary gland, depending on which organ is producing cortisol.

In some cases, the tumor can also be removed through surgery or radiation therapy.

How Long Do Dogs With Cushing’s Disease Live?

The prognosis for a dog with Cushing’s disease varies depending on the individual dog and the cause of the disease.

Some dogs may only have mild symptoms and live for many years after being diagnosed. With regular checkups and proper medication for the symptoms of Cushing’s, most dogs will live for several years after being diagnosed with this condition.

Other dogs, however, may have a more serious condition that does not respond well to surgery or radiation therapy. These dogs will likely only survive a year or less with this disease.

What Are The Treatment Options For Dogs With Cushing’s Disease?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Cushing’s disease. However, there are a few common treatment options that may help control the symptoms of this disorder.

These include:

Medication

There are a number of medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. These medications can help control excessive thirst, urination, and appetite, as well as hair loss and muscle wasting.

  • Lysodren

This medication is typically given to dogs that have both adrenal glands affected by the disease. Lysodren works by blocking cortisol production and can be used as either a pill or an injection.

  • Vetoryl

This is another type of medication commonly used to treat Cushing’s disease. It blocks cortisol production and can also improve hair growth. This medication can be given as either a pill or an injection.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor or gland that is causing the overproduction of cortisol. It is important to note that surgery is not always successful in treating Cushing’s disease. 

This may be due to the tumor being too large or inoperable.

Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy can also be used to treat Cushing’s disease, but it is not as widely used as surgery or medication. Radiation therapy may also be used to shrink tumors in the pituitary gland or adrenal glands.

However, radiation therapy is not always successful and can cause side effects such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. Radiation may also increase the risk of cancer recurrence.

Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease

This form of Cushing’s disease requires that the steroid be stopped. To avoid complications, this must be done slowly and carefully. However, It is common for the disease to recur.

The steroid could have adverse effects on the adrenal glands. Treatment is often required to replace the hormones the adrenal gland produces normally.

There are other alternative treatments some have recommended that may be effective in the treatment of Cushing’s disease such as dietary changes.

It has been recommended that you should feed your dog more protein and eat foods high in fat and fiber. This will help to reduce symptoms. However, evidence regarding this treatment is not strong. Therefore you should speak with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

When To Put A Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?

The decision to euthanize a dog is never easy. There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when making this decision.

beagle at the vet clinic

Some of these factors include:

  • If your pet is having difficulty breathing

Animals with Cushing’s disease often have difficulty breathing due to the tumor pressing on their lungs.

  • If your pet is in pain

Cushing’s disease can be painful for dogs, and when they are in pain, euthanasia may be preferable to avoid further suffering. Nobody wants to see their pet in too much constant pain.

  • If your pet has an inoperable tumor

If the tumor is inoperable, euthanasia may be the best option for your pet. It may be your pet’s only option for avoiding further pain and suffering.

  • If your pet has a poor quality of life

If your pet is not able to enjoy life due to the disease, euthanasia may be the best decision. They may be uncomfortable or in pain, and be unable to engage in their usual activities.

  • If your pet has renal failure

Cushing’s disease can often lead to kidney failure. If your pet has renal failure and is producing excessive amounts of urine, euthanasia may be the best option. Renal failure can be very painful and difficult to treat.

  • If your pet has diabetes

Dogs with Cushing’s disease often develop diabetes. Over time, the body stops producing enough insulin, so dogs with this diagnosis must receive insulin injections throughout their lives. If your dog becomes diabetic as a result of Cushing’s disease, euthanasia may be the best decision.

  • If your pet is having seizures

Seizures are a common symptom of Cushing’s disease. If your pet is experiencing seizures, the difficult decision to euthanize your pet may be necessary. You must consider the quality of life for your pet with seizures.

  • If your pet has not responded to treatment

Cushing’s disease can be very difficult to treat, and some dogs do not respond well to the available treatments. If your dog is not responding to medication or other therapies, euthanasia could be a humane decision.

  • If your pet no longer wants to eat

If your pet stops eating as a result of the disease, euthanasia may be recommended by your veterinarian. As long as you can orally give medications to your pet, this is not an immediate concern.

However, if they are refusing food or water, this can be very dangerous and ultimately lead to their death. If you are unable to force-feed your pet, euthanasia may be the only option as otherwise, they will die slowly from starvation.

  • If your pet is losing weight

Cushing’s disease can cause a dog to lose weight quickly. This weight loss is often a sign of impending death, and euthanasia may be necessary.

Remember, there is no easy answer when it comes to deciding when to put a dog down with Cushing’s disease. Every situation is different and you should speak with your veterinarian to get their advice.

vet examining a dog using stethoscope

Your vet is there to help and make this difficult decision as easy as possible. They will take into consideration your pet’s quality of life and other factors before making the best decision for their health and well-being.

People Also Ask

What Are The Symptoms Of End Stage Cushings Disease In Dogs?

In the later stages of Cushing’s disease, a dog may experience muscle wasting, loss of energy, thinning skin, and seizures. They may also have difficulty breathing and urinating. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, euthanasia may be the best option.

How Long Can A 12 Year Old Dog Live With Cushings Disease?

There is no definitive answer to this question as each dog’s prognosis will vary depending on the severity of their case. However, some dogs with Cushing’s disease can live for several years with appropriate treatment. Approximately 10% of dogs will live past 4 years with the disease.

Are Dogs With Cushing’s In Pain?

Although not always, some dogs with Cushing’s disease may experience pain as a result of the disease. The level or severity of pain will vary from dog to dog. Some will respond better than others to treatment for pain such as medications or surgery.

Should You Treat Cushing’s In Older Dogs?

Some people may choose to treat their dog’s Cushing’s disease while others may choose to euthanize their pet. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of treatment with your veterinarian before making a decision. Treatment for Cushing’s disease can be difficult and expensive, and not all dogs will be helped by treatment.

What Causes Death In Dogs With Cushing’s?

Several factors can contribute to the death of a dog with Cushing’s disease. Difficulty breathing, heart or kidney failure, cancer, and blood clots are common causes of death in dogs with Cushing’s.

Conclusion

When it comes to Cushing’s disease, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to when to euthanize a dog. Each individual pet will have a different experience with this disease and may reach a point where euthanasia is the best decision for them.

We become so attached to our furry friends, it is so hard to make the decision to put them down. But when it comes to Cushing’s disease, sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thing we can do.

Nobody wants to see their pet in pain and slowly deteriorating before their eyes.

You must take into account your pet’s quality of life, symptoms, and overall health before making a decision.

If you are struggling with the decision to euthanize your dog, please speak with your veterinarian to get their professional advice on what is best. They will be able to help you make the best decision for your pet.

Does your dog have Cushing’s disease? How are you managing its condition? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

64 thoughts on “When To Put A Dog Down With Cushing’s Disease?”

  1. My dog was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease back in September 2021. The most prominent symptom being she was hungry and thirsty all the time. She has now having muscle weakness. mostly in the morning it is worse. she can’t even stand up. her legs won’t support her. I have to help her slowly get up and stand on shaky legs for awhile. then feed her. after 10 or 15 minutes she can walk again. It is horrible to watch her deteriorate slowly like this but she is pretty much ok after her initial weakness in the morning. she also has a hard time with wanting to eat all the time. she just stands in the kitchen barking for food whenever we are home. it is so sad. but I am not ready for euthanizing her.

    Reply
    • Hi, Lynn.

      My Gizmo had diabetes, but the ER vet was pretty certain he had Cushing’s disease. He ended up having a bad seizure and he hated his insulin shots, so I made the difficult decision to allow him be at peace. I told him you served me well and that it was ok to let go. He passed away within seconds. I miss him every single day, but am at that I made the right choice.

      If your pup is having a hard time standing or walking for a moderate period of time, I ask to please put your dog’s quality of life first. It’s never easy to make a decision to euthansize your pet, but you said yourself “horrible” to watch the deterioration. Well it’s hard for you to watch, imagine the pain they’re going on through.

      Don’t want to come off harsh, but letting them live in pain is selfish.The best thing we can do for our pets is to end their suffering and let them cross over the rainbow It’s the humane and right thing to do.

      Take care.

      Reply
      • I agree, Dawn. I just found out my chihuahua has Cushings and an enlarged heart. I’m not going to have her treated because of age, cost, and reading up on it, no guarantee. But the minute I see her suffering or in pain, I will make the decision to give her relief. She does cough, but is on a cough pill and water pill. It’s not all the time and only lasts a short time and she’s fine after that. But if it gets worse, I’ll take that away from her too. I love her so much, and it will be hard. But letting her suffer is cruel!!

        Reply
      • my dog is 12 and in pass 3 months he has gained several pounds he started peeing right after drinking then he is always panting pot belly on him now his back legs are not as solid in morning it’s hard for him to get up and go
        took him to vet they said looks like he has diabetes and Cushing disease
        he is always looking for food and water

        Reply
    • I’m so sorry that you are watching her have to deal with this. We love our fur babies. I had to make the decision to have my Sara euthanized in 2021 when suddenly she stopped eating. She started drinking huge amounts of water and needed to urinate every 5 or 10 minutes.

      As painful as it is, it is an individual choice that we must make ~~

      Reply
    • I have a 13 year old Yorkie, Lulu, experiencing a lot of the same. She has the sores all over her body from the Cushing’s too. She has had Cushing’s for over a year, possibly longer since the first visit to a vet only said she had “acne”. After taking her back to her regular vet (much further distance after moving), further tests proved she had Cushing’s. She is on anti-anxiety medication, otherwise she pants constantly and cannot sit still. I am not ready either. Cannot imagine life without her.

      Reply
      • Let me tell you what stopped the sores my Maltese had all over her back from Cushing. I stated adding this water additive “with skin support “ that is supposed to freshen their breath. I also make sure her hair isn’t too long & brush her. No more sores!

        Reply
      • My cocker was diagnosed with IBS 3 and a half years ago. Now they tell me she has sterod-induced Cushings. She’s had cysts for two years or so. Now her hair is thinning, she’s thirsty and hungry all the time and she’s lost some eyesight and all her hearing. She’s starting to get weaker but no urination problems yet. She is the sweetest, most tolerant dog I’ve ever owned and it is difficult to even consider putting her down but I don’t want her to suffer. Wish she could talk and tell me she’s ready (or not) to go.

        Reply
    • My little chihuahua Kiki has Cushings too. She is on medication for it plus she has Sleep Apenia and when she sleeps sometimes she stops breathing and wakes up having a Seizure. I thought the seizures were from the sleep apenia until I read this article. Now I don’t know what to do. She’s only 7 and was diagnosed with Cushings last year. But her vet went back in her records and said that she most likely has had it since 2019. In the last 2 days Kiki has had 2 seizures 18 hours apart. I Love her so much but I don’t think that she is in any pain except for the seizures. I’m going to have to turn this over to God

      Reply
      • Is your Kiki on any medication for the Cushings? My Chihuahua was just diagnosed with Cushings but started having muscle loss (noticeable in her face) about 5 months ago. She was just started on Trilostane. I’m hopeful it will help.

        Reply
        • My lab mix was diagnosed with Diabetes in November 2019 and Cushings Dec. 19. She is on trilostane abd insulin. She is doing great. The trilostane really helped the Cushings.

          Reply
    • My Bella was euthanized this past Tuesday in our home. The hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. She was deaf, blind, severe muscle wasting/weakness. When she walked, she took baby steps with her front paws while her back legs could barely support her, they would tremor, and cross over each other. Sometimes she could regain control, but if not, she would fall over on her hip. I struggled for 2 months contemplating putting her down. I love her so much, that, I had to let her go. I couldn’t bare to watch this uncontrollable deterioration of her body anymore. You’ll know when it’s time.

      Reply
    • I know this is an Old Post. But I wanted to respond to you because I know how hard it is. My dog is 13 years old and he’s had cushions for a few years. Because of his age he is also blind. He’s always hungry and thirsty. Sometimes when he has to urinate he can’t even make it to the door before it starts and he will pee all over the floor in front of the door. Just like you, my heart is breaking and I don’t know when the right time is to put him down. And that’s always been a struggle for me because I don’t know how God feels about it but I also don’t want him to suffer. I hope your fur baby is still with you. My dog still gets excited and he still likes to try to go for walks. Although sometimes I have to bring him right back because it seems to be hard on him. God bless you and I hope everything has gotten better for you and your little sweetie. My name is Marie

      Reply
      • hi marie…..thank you for your post….. i have a 8 year old Yorkie
        who has a vet appointment on tuesday 3/29/22…… he has been drinking so much water and peeing all the time…..plus he lost over 1 lbs
        ( 12 lb to 11 lb)……. not sure if cushion or diabetes…..
        i don’t now which is worse…..
        i am scared…… spike is my baby and can not imagine my life
        without him.

        Reply
  2. My beautiful Maggie yorkie cross was diagnosed with cushions a year ago she is now 11 years old
    She has done well without treatment up till now was taking medication at first but made her sick recently over past few months she is urinating a lot the home drinks a lot and now being sick more often she does not want to go out for her walks any more and her front legs shake a lot when she stands to long and pants more at night now it’s so hard to no what to do while I feel she’s not in pain she has not got a good quality of life and don’t want to have to make the decision to have her put to rest

    Reply
    • Hi Tina, I am sitting with my little Mindy right now after she had a seizure. She is a small beagle, an older girl. She was diagnosed about 5 years ago. I have given her holistic treatments. She’s done great until this past week. She was throwing up, wobbly, and now the seizure. We will keep an eye on her tonight. Hopefully, she won’t have any more seizures. Luckily, she has a very appointment tomorrow. Hope your pup is feeling better.
      Sue

      Reply
      • Hi Sue,

        My 9 year old boxer, Hannah, was recently diagnosed. I won’t proceed with traditional medicine for the cushings. What kind of holistic treatment did you do?

        Thank you!
        Melissa

        Reply
        • Milk Thistle and Prana Pets Adrenal Support package has done wonders for my Minni the last 4 years. Along with Instinct Raw minimally processed frozen dog food, and daily B-12 complex. That being said, the disease has progressed and until the last month or so she’s seemed to enjoy her little life and do the things she likes. (like protect me from the squirrels. Her muscles have wasted away. Ligament degeneration has her back leg twisted and stuck behind her and I have to gently untwist and set it right on the floor but then she’ll walk around and even trot a little. Her skin is so dry and thin, with different kinds of lesions (at least they’re dry and don’t seem to cause her irritation) are appearing under her armpits and on her back. Her fur is almost all gone. She’s developed congestive heart failure. She’s dehydrated, yet drinks all the time, she’s got a large pot belly yet is forever and always hungry. I believe she’s at a tipping point, and have made the decision to say goodbye to her this Friday, while she’s still her sweet and happy little self. While she still barks at the squirrel and loves a good body massage. It’s breaking my heart but I feel she’s starting to fall and I’m not gonna let her hit the ground. Best of luck with your doggie.

          Reply
    • Hi Tiny I’m in the excactly the same position.

      It’s so hard to let go
      cushings is so up and down. keep holding on just in hope she may improve.
      I dont want to leave it until she dies a horrible death. I just hoping she just don’t wake up. Sometimes I just think what am I holding on for. as deep down I know she is only going to get worse and worse

      Reply
      • I keep hoping the same thing Lorraine. That she will fall asleep and just doesn’t wake up. Making the decision for them is so heartbreaking.

        Reply
    • I don’t want to make the decision either. My Yorkie is in the same place. I feel your pain and sadness. She spends most of her time sedated to lessen the panting and anxiety. My heart is breaking.

      Reply
    • My dog has Cushing’s. She is followed by an internal medicine vet. Her dose of Vetoryl is 40mg in the AM and 35mg in the PM. She has levels drawn every 3-6 months. Perhaps his dose needs to be increased.

      Reply
      • Wow, that’s a high dollar dosage amount….my boxer/pit mix is 12 1/2 years old and is on vetoryl as well, 15mg in the morning and 15mg in the evening and I’m already feeling the financial strain. 30 capsules of 5mg is $50 and 30 caps of 10mg is $60.

        have you found a cheaper provider of the vetoryl?

        thanks. Pat

        Reply
  3. Hi,Thank you very much of the information was given to us who has old dog with diagnosed with cushing deseas.2021 March on yearly check up was diagnosed sickness and on top of that he has tumor on his neck and lump on his right leg.He has been using urinology and vetroly medicen 3 times a day.So he is still live he has weight loss,Hair loss and skin rushes but i see still
    Enjoy eating drinking allday sleeping when food times he is well active.So how can i do to him euthanasie i really dont know.Veterinaire told me we should let him sleep but i cant.He has been looking at me and showing his face dont do it to me look im eating ,i can drink and walk with you outside but only 10 mtr long.Do u have any thoughts that am i doing right to let him live until really end?

    Reply
    • This breaks my heart. As a fellow dog lover, I know the pain you’re going through and the struggle, the total push and pull about deciding whether to put your dog to sleep. If the vet advised you to let your dog go, there’s a reason for that (or a multitude of reasons, each one more painful). Your dog’s tumor and the natural progression of the disease tell you he only has pain and suffering to look forward to. How old is he? I was told that until the dog can no longer lift his head up to enjoy meal times, then it’s time for that sweet eternal sleep. Think of it as freeing him from his earthly sufferings, trying to eke out a painful existence with a broken body.

      It’s been 1 yr since we put our beagle Twinkie to sleep. She was only 11 but her heart failure was so bad, she had to do paracentesis (fluid draining from the abdomen) every 2 weeks. I didn’t want her to continue living like that, and you don’t want your dog to suffer the rest of his remaining time on earth either.
      Email me friend, we will give you more advice to help you decide: everycrittercounts@gmail.com
      Until then, love and cuddle that puppy. Cheers/

      Reply
    • When my Gizmo was sick, I asked him to give me a sign. The a few days before he was sleeping in another room. My other dog (same age, 13) slept by him, I believe it was her way of saying goodbye . The day of, my little man was laying on the floor when I woke up. He had sad eyes and looked so tired, it was his sign to me.

      So your pup is sleeping, eating and drinking a lot because their symptoms of the condition. You like to think that they’re not in pain and his eyes say he wants to be here, but it’s more than likely they’re way of trying to ease their pain.

      I agree if the vet says it’s time, it’s time. As hard as it is, take away the pain and suffering and allow the crossing over the rainbow. Trust me afterwards you will feel at peace. I still miss him one year later, but still feel his presence.

      I’ll be thinking of you. Take care.
      Dawn

      Reply
      • I want to let everyone know that your dog will be in Heaven with you. I was so distraught when I had to make the decision for my dog. I contacted the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and asked them if my dog would be in Heaven. They told me that God wants everyone in Heaven to be happy and if I needed my dogs to be there with me, then they would be there.
        Even my preacher said that animals would be in Heaven. Jesus comes back riding a white horse!

        Reply
  4. We just got this diagnosis today. Molly is a rescue and an abuse case with a missing eye. I’ve had her 2 years. Sweet lovable 11 pds poodle about 10-12 or more years old/ not sure but a senior I’ve decided not to treat this and just give her a good life for as long as possible Am I making the right decision?

    Reply
  5. Hi, my Maggie is 14 and has had cushings and liver failure for a while now. A few years. We had her on treatment for her cushings but she would get so ill on it so stopped that. She’s so weak now. Her back legs are not good she struggles to walk and to lower herself up and down from a lying position. We tend to carry her in and out for a wee. She wets a lot in the day so we are constantly changing her bed and last night she pooped in her sleep or at least she didn’t get up to poop and when we found her it had dried on her and she was in such a mess. Some days she refuses food. Today I hand fed her but Otherwise she wouldn’t eat. She is very fatigued and doesn’t wag her tail anymore. My question is, is she in pain? She never whines or squeals in pain? If she’s not in pain then I don’t want to have her put to sleep. I’m really struggling with having to make the decision as it seems so wrong to take her life. I’m just hoping she will go in her sleep. Any advice please as to whether she’s in pain. Sorry to the other owners who are at this stage with their babies xx

    Reply
    • Arh Elizabeth, my heart goes out to you and Maggie, it’s time to say goodbye sweet heart, you would be doing the kindness thing for her, honestly! I know it’s hard, but it’s all about the quality of life when they have this awful disease, my dog Daisy has had it for the past 9 month! She’s nearly 14, The vetoryl tablets are not working but I’m trying other stuff to keep her her! She’s not 100% but she’s no where near as bad as Maggie! I know you would prefer her to fall asleep to take the decision out your hands but you have to think she is probably in pain and suffering! I really would be kinder to let her cross the rainbow bridge! I really feel for you xx

      Reply
  6. My 15 1/2 year old Maltese has cushings with all the symtoms described above. I have her on Valium for the seizures and if you go to http://www.pranapets.com. I have her on adrenal support, c support, and cbd oil. I also give her the melatonin. I’m not recommending anything but it is helping my baby…espicially the CBD oil….immediate response of relaxation

    Reply
      • Hi Nan,
        My Mia has all the symptoms of Cushings. All the testing is inconclusive. I gave her 1 Vetoryl and she had a bad reaction. Stopped it immediately. We are seeing an internal medicine vet but even though she doesn’t whine or cry I believe she is suffering. She is on anti-seizure meds since she had a Gran Mal seizure about 2 years ago. I know what is coming but every time I think of losing I cry.
        Can you please tell me what you are giving your baby.
        Thank you , Jackie

        Reply
  7. My Yorker is 11 years old. He was diagnosed three months ago. So far we are dealing with low energy, hair lose, enlarged belly, constant thirst and urination. He would eat all day if allowed. He has started with weakness in his hind legs. I pray that I have a few more years with him. It would break my heart if or when I see him in pain.

    Reply
    • Linda, I’m so sorry about your baby. I have a yorkie 14rs, his name is Snickers, he has had Cushing’s since we found out in 2019, no treatment was necessary at the time, but now he urinates, eats, belly swollen, can’t jump, drinks water non-stop, etc… Had him too the doctor’s three times this past week, Doctor stated Cushing’s was expensive & hard to treat, he also has a collapsed trachea, I just cant bring myself to euthanize him, he doesn’t appear to be in pain, his stomach is tender from his liver being swollen & has a UTI, now on amoxicillin. I don’t know if I should pay thousands of dollars too try & treat him with chemotherapy ” which is what I want to do” or let nature complete its course, I just can’t bare the thought of loosing him

      Reply
      • Give Vetoryl a try. My Joey urinates normally, eats OK, has less energy.
        He still gets the occasional Zoomies!!
        He’s eleven . Diagnosed 5 months ago.
        He sometimes seems distressed, confused. He’s having a few mini seizures. Overall enjoying life!

        Reply
  8. My dog had ultrasounds a year or two ago to check for Cushing’s when he was experiencing hair loss and high liver numbers. I thought his hair issues were due to his allergies. Now he has a pot belly but most days he doesn’t eat much food (but he tries to get people food over dog food!) and is not drinking any more than usual. He is sleeping more often and is less active, so we’re going to do the blood tests here to try to confirm the diagnosis and get him on some meds. He is 13 and still acts like a puppy many days. He has a bit of arthritis in the morning but went for a 2.5 mile walk with me last weekend and didn’t want to stop. I haven’t noticed increased thirst or urination out of the ordinary and I use puppy pads so I would know.

    I just know how much he loves to play tug of war and run outside and get up on the couch, so I am going to do what it takes to have the best quality of life until he cannot live the life he loves. Breaks my heart to even type this but I do not want to see him suffer — he is much too good of a dog for that.

    Reply
  9. I have a 13-15 year old corgi. She was diagnosed with Cushings a year ago after being initially diagnosed with diabetes insipidus. She’s on vetoryl, Proin, Gabapentin, and Cerenia. Nothing has really helped with the peeing. She is now vocalizing a lot. She was at the vet/kennel for the weekend. They keep telling me as long as she is still eating she is ok. We make her chicken & rice which she loves. She can barely walk. Have a pee pad set up for her which she still misses half the time. I just worry we are watching her die a very slow death. I hate to see her in misery but the vet says she is ok.

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  10. My dog Earl had Cushing we put him down about a year after he was diagnosed. Now my sweet Snickers has it. She has to be with me all the time. It’s so hard to put them down, but I can’t stand to see them hurt. I am struggling right now with Snickers. I think it’s time, but I’m not ready. All of my dogs are rescues I hope I have given them a better life then they ever had before. Good luck to all of you it’s not easy.

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    • Best of everything to you too Teesh. Having a sick fur baby is not easy. Lulu seems a little worse every day. The sores are now on all areas of her body. I give her soothing, medicated baths regularly. Her sister, Chewy, also had Cushing’s and I had to let her go in 2013 at the age of 13. Lulu is now 13 and has had Cushing’s for over a year. It breaks my heart.

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  11. My 15 year old Scottish Terrier named Ramsay has diabetes, thyroid, dry eye and Cushings. He has survived all of the above for about 4 years. He wears a Lifestyle Libre sensor and receives insulin twice a day. He has been on 40 units of Vetoryl for the Cushings, Synthroid for the thyroid plus Tacrolimus and Opticare for his eyes. He has an incredible appetite which helps with the Diabetes. He has arthritis in back right knee which he has been on Flexadin advanced and recently started Meloxicam and Gabapentin 2x a day. This has not helped and wonder if CBD oil will? Does anyone have a recommendation? He has been very lively until recently. He seems to be losing strength in his back legs and has tail tremors. I am going to take him to the vet tomorrow for observation. I have read all these comments and am in tears. He still follows me everywhere, loves company and visits every day by his cousins. He used to love long walks but they getting shorter and shorter. He needs the exercise for his diabetes but at least short walks are consistent. He still hops out of wet grass and over the front entry stoop. He has not had a problem with the over drinking since I have been able to keep his glucose in a better range. I think the Cushings is causing the new symptoms of loss of strength in back legs and tail tremors. I am just wondering if he needs another ten units of Vetoryl.
    I appreciate your comments, hoping for a miracle but preparing for whatever his needs are in the future.
    He is nowhere near cases I have read about. He has no gray hair, beautiful coat, still loves car rides, swimming in the pool and playing with his bunny brother & sister. I am just that I have a little more time with him. He has been a saint since he was a puppy.
    I have had to put other pets down.
    I had a previous Scotty mix that lived to be 23. No medical issues but I got the ‘look’ and knew she was ready for Rainbow Bridge. That was so much easier!

    I appreciate any suggestions or advice.
    Good luck to all of you!

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  12. I need some advise. we have a dog that was diagnosed with cushings a year ago (the tests never came back 100% cushings) but the vet decided to treat with a small dosage of Vetoryl. His numbers were very good in January . Max has had a little vomiting on and off for 1 week, the vet did blood work today and his liver counts were over 2000. my question: does the Vetoryl cause liver damage or are the liver counts unrelated? We are having a ultrasound tomorrow to see if he has Gall Stones… He is also on a low fat diet, I am reading that he should be a high protein higher fat diet , I am so confused. Any advise would be greatly appreciated,

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  13. I JUST PUT MY BOSTON TERRIER DOWN. IT WAS VERY HARD TO MAKE A DECSION TO DO THIS. NOW I FEEL BETTER ABOUT WHAT I DID BECAUSE I REALLY HELPED HER.

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  14. I am hoping that this will give me some peace of mind. I put our “Muffin” down several years ago. He was 9 and had Cushings disease, an enlarged heart, a murmer, Pain upon trying to pick him up and skin tags from his anus down his hind legs. He was a Lhasa Poo so when he had a bowel movement it was the diarrhea, which was bloody and yellow, it would hurt him for me to clean him. His long thick hair could not be cut in that area since he would bite anyone that tried. He was urine incontinent and with the diarrhea was very hard to deal with. The bloody stool, his aweful cough, lethargy, and refusal to take any medication that I’d crush into his food made it hard to know if he was refusing to eat or because of the medication. He was such a beautiful dog. His eyes were so human-like that we felt he was like a son. Now, he had long nails that he would not let anyone cut and would have to be put to sleep at the Vet’s to cut them and he wouldn’t let anyone clean him because of his pain and if the Vet or a groomer tried to cut the hair on his hind he would end up with cuts from the skin tags and be in more pain. He also had pain under his body as he would not let us pick him up without trying to bite us. He became mean to all children and then to us. I kept taking him to the doctor but the Vet said we’d know when it was time. The bloody stool with yellow in it was the last straw with the Doctor. I felt as though he was not giving me good information by saying he will be alright. This went on for over 2 months. We knew that Muffin had cushings for about 5 years and slowly changed to the point where couldn’t take walks that he used to love. He’d lay right down on the pavement after taking a few steps and pant. He had a murmur deep within his chest and it was hard to hear but a student veterinarian that was filling in for our vet heard it and sent us to the hospital with him. After an ultra sound we found out that Muffin had an enlarged heart and murmer. After having hormone testing and overnight stays at the Vets he was put on medication for Cushings. He simply would not take the pills even though I’d wrap them in a slice of cheese or hide it in his food. He wasn’t eating the food either. I started crushing the medications and putting them into his food. He wasn’t eating. He did drink a lot of water and he would eat treats but not his food. He was having these bloody and yellow diarrhea stools without control and would scoot on my rugs. Poor Muffin would look up at me with those beautiful eyes as if to say I’m so sorry for soiling the rug. He would barely stand to urinate with all four paws on the ground. I thought it was time, even though his beautiful eyes followed me around and he would just lay there before another cough (sounded like kennel cough but was not, it was a horrible noise).
    My husband was animate about not putting him down because the doctor kept saying you will know when it’s time.
    This is the worst part and I feel so terrible about it. My husband was going on a golf weekend and had said his good byes to Muffin “just in case” he passed before he got home. At this point Muffin was not eating, walking, was coughing and laying lethargicly near the door. He was incontinent and had bloody diarrea. He had pain if I tried to clean him after diarrhea or if I tried to pick him up (I would have loved to just be able to hold him).
    While my husband was away I took Muffin to be put down. I didn’t tell any of our family.
    There wasn’t anyone that would be able to understand what I saw every day with Muffin’s because anyone that saw him would just see him laying there as beautiful as ever but I saw the absence of eating, refusal of medication, trying to bite me if I tried to force feed him or clean his long fur on the back of his legs and anus. No one saw the eyes that told me “I’m so sorry” for soiling the rug. No one saw that he would barely take a few steps without laying back down. No one saw the pain he had if I tried to pick him up. He still wagged his tail when he saw my husband and I but he just laid there.
    I couldn’t take it anymore, my husband wouldn’t accept the fact that our Muffin’s quality of life was no longer there because of those beautiful eyes and a quick wag of the tail. I truely felt that if I had waited until my husband returned he would have kept Muffin alive and I would have continued to see the bloody yellow diarrhea and hear that aweful cough sound like he couldn’t breathe.
    My husband was very angry at me for taking Muffin to be put down when he was away but I really thought it was the right thing to do for Muffin.
    It’s been 10 years now that Muffin is gone and some days I struggle because I would have wanted him to be ok too but he wasn’t. I struggle because I took him to be put down without my husband or family knowing but I know I prevented Muffin from continuing to suffer.
    Today, I am having a greiving day because we will be fur-baby sitting for our 2 grand-fur babies. They are so cute and full of life. Muffin was once full of life but I have to struggle once in a while thinking about the time I put him down without telling my husband or family. Maybe if I say I’m sorry in this comment section it will give me some peace when the guilt comes up. I’m sorry, I wish I could have waited and I wish my husband would have agreed with me and understood why our Muffin needed to be at peace.

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  15. Hi everyone. My dog Charlie went to the vet to have his teeth cleaned one afternoon and, to my surprise, the vet called to let me know that his blood work had uncovered alarming results. She went on to tell me that she thought it was a sign of Cushing’s. I had no idea what that was, but I didn’t think it was too serious until I started reading about it. His symptoms are always hungry, drinks a lot of water, and at night, pants constantly at night no matter how cool I keep the house. I found that the only thing that helps him is when I play soft classical or spa music. It really seems to comfort him. So, I wanted to throw that out there for others to try. Hopefully it will bring your pup comfort like it did my Charlie. I have a vet appointment this Friday to get a proper diagnosis, but all signs are there. I don’t know what I will do once I get the diagnosis confirmed. He is my best friend.

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    • I also played classical music and it helped some. At night I had to give gabapentin after awhile- basically knock her out.

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  16. I have read every single one of your stories. It makes me sad for your losses and also because I am going through the same with my adorable Lolita.
    She is 10 years old Boston Terrier, over a year maybe two she started been lethargic and not wanting to do much. I thought its was age. Since last month she has been deteriorating sleeping a lot, sometimes she whines I am not sure if she wants to be we me all the time. It is hard to tell if she is in pain. She its very well. Drink a lot of water mostly at night, has a distended belly. Skin is ok except some skin tags. The other day coming from work, she was sleeping in the living room, I noticed some blood in the carpet. Later at night I realized she was leaking her paws a lot. I wonder. Tomorrow she goes for testing and diagnosed. I am scared to know I dont want her to suffer, if she does I will put her down. We love our fur babies and it is so hard to make such a difficult decision.

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  17. My Gidget passed away on May 6, 2022. In August 21 she went blind very suddenly. In October, she was diagnosed with Cushing’s. We had been treating with trilostane. She was doing well on the medication per her medical test results.

    She became obese- combination of eating more (always hungry) and moving less. Over time, it was hard to motivate her to walk. She’s was fine once we got going.

    In last month, she began panting more and drooling. The last weak, she would become agitated when it was time to sleep. Constant whining and pacing. In last month, she also experienced more weakness, difficult for her to get on her feet in the morning. And also if we needed her to go out, she didn’t want to rise to her feet.

    Last Friday, I left her with a neighbor while I went out. When I came back, I found out she had died. She just collapsed and that was it.

    It’s hard going on without my baby. She is terribly missed.

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  18. Our 16 year old doxie was just diagnosed with Cushing. She has been peeing everywhere in the house – in the past she never did this. They found she had a severe uti. 2 weeks antibiotics and she’s no better. They are doing a culture now to see what will work and in the meantime decided she had cushings.
    Can a 16 year old blind and deaf dog recover from this?

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  19. I believe now in retrospect my 13yr old dog “Kobe” may have had cushings a few years before it was officially diagnosed this year in March. Thinking back about it he wasn’t 100%, he had gained alot of weight and had some hind leg weakness but that was about it. I figured my mom was overfeeding him and the muscle weakness was from when a vet told us he may have had a stroke a couple years earlier. Fast forward 2021 he started deteriorating fast. I became alarmed at first when I noticed his excessive thirst and hunger, then there was the urinary and bowel incontinence. All of a sudden Kobe couldn’t really walk well, his back legs constantly shake and he has a hard time holding his own weight. The constant urination ended up being a urinary tract infection which had to be treated twice because the first antibiotic was too weak. I thought that was the end of that but then he started to have copious amounts of blood in his urine, like thick mucus, even clotted sometime. Did another urine test and they told me he had no infection and eventually he was diagnosed with cushings. They gave him a medication which I don’t think makes a difference to be honest. Kobe is just getting worse now. His skin is turning black, he is losing so much hair, I swear he doesn’t even have his whiskers anymore. He wears diapers all day , we change them but he still gets bad sores. He just cries all day on and off mostly even when he has all of his basic needs met (food, water, dry diapers, treats, attention). I have been using CBD and delta 10 supplements to see if it helps with his behavior or discomfort . It seems to at least relax him and he takes a nap or kind of just chills out. Trying to get him on a steady prescription of tramadol to keep him comfortable or maybe just find a CBD company for pets. The vet suggested euthanasia when I am ready but I don’t know how to make that decision. He has good and bad days , one day he may barely move all day and the next day he’s up following me around room to room being relatively normal wanting attention, playtime or maybe just begging for food but either way how do you make the choice when they show you signs like that? Don’t want him to suffer but I also can’t help but think maybe he wants to live and he’s not ready to go, he still eats and drinks ravenously but we know that’s the Cushing’s. I don’t know what to do. Thank you all for taking the time to post your comments and stories , they are all helpful and I’m sorry for your losses and for everyone still dealing with this

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  20. My little girl Bailey was diagnosed with Cushing disease 1 1/2 years ago, also has collapsed trachea. She’s on mitotane,theophylline, cough tab & cough syrup & gabapentin. So much medication.. the past 2 days she has refused to eat no matter what we try .. also drinking more water than before..& sleeps a lot .more. A Bichon mix, a rescue, she’s my everything.. 15 years old.. I feel it’s not fair to her to keep her alive for me just so unsure what to do.

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  21. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It is helping me come more to terms with what I think may be the last days/weeks with my 16 year old rescued miniature poodle mix Audrey.

    It really hit us today when we got our wedding pictures back (from April) and the stark difference in her appearance. All her bones are so prominent now not like the round fluff in the photo. She’s lost so much weight and muscle definition and hardly has any hair on her body.

    She is my first pup so I’ve been reading and doing everything I can to give her a good life with Cushings. We’ve gone through several prescriptions, specialty dog foods, all natural supplements, even boiled chicken, pumpkin etc. We give her subcutaneous fluids every other day and stretch her legs.

    A few days ago she started having accidents with diarrhea in the house overnight. As of yesterday her appetite has drastically reduced so I’m making sure to give her Nutri-cal. Her normal vet is out of town so will be calling a different vet in the morning to help make a decision.

    I was really hoping she would make it to her 17th birthday in a few weeks but now I’m not so sure. We may have to make other arrangements because I don’t want her suffering and she is so bad at telling us. She has always been so sweet and calm, even when her back paw got severely hurt I didn’t know until I saw blood. She still is excited to see us and her temperament is the same which makes this even harder.

    I really wish she could speak to let me know what she needs. I love her so much and am so heartbroken. I’m trying to reframe it in my mind that if we decide on a date I can spoil her with a walk in a stroller, try to give her an amazing meal of human food and have her take a forever nap in peace.

    Please send me any thoughts, prayers, words of wisdom. It was hard enough coming to terms that dogs don’t live forever.

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