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Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Canine Cushing's Syndrome/Disease

Cushing's Syndrome occurs when the adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) overproduce hormones. The adrenal glands normally produce several hormones to regulate body function, including:

Cushing's Syndrome (an overproduction of these two hormones) is the opposite of Addison's Disease when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.

Excess adrenal hormones affect many systems and can cause:

Cushing's syndrome is one of the most common hormonal disorders in middle-aged to older dogs.


There are three possible causes of Cushing's Syndrome, each with different treatment and prognosis:

  1. Pituitary Tumor (most common): a benign tumor grows on the pituitary gland in the brain, which over-stimulates the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisol
  2. Adrenal Tumor: a benign or cancerous tumor grows on the actual adrenal glands, causing them to produce excess cortisol
  3. Iatrogenic Cushing's Disease: Prolonged use of any drug containing cortisone



Your veterinarian may perform 2 types of blood tests, which will usually be enough to make a diagnosis:

Other tests may include:

It is necessary to determine if Cushing's syndrome was caused by a growth on the pituitary gland or on the adrenal gland because the treatments and prognoses differ.


Treatment depends on the cause:


Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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