What is Cushings Disease, And how can Herbs Help?
Cushings disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is a relatively uncommon disease that is mostly found in middle aged to older dogs. It is caused by a benign or malignant tumour in the pituitary or adrenal glands. It can also be caused by prolonged use of steroids. The condition causes the adrenal glands (which sit on top of the kidneys) to produce too much cortisol. Any breed can be affected, but the most common are
- Poodles, especially miniature poodles
- Boston terriers
- Yorkshire terriers
- Staffordshire terriers
The unpleasant side effects of too much cortisol in the body are;
- Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
- Lots of peeing (polyuria), accidents at night
- Increased hunger
- Excessive panting
- Pot belly
- Obesity, with fat especially on neck and shoulders
- Hair loss
- Low Energy
- Muscle weakness, especially hind legs
- Thin or darkened skin
- Hard, white scaly patches on the skin, elbows, etc.
Cushings disease can be complicated for vets to diagnose as they will need to do a few tests to come to a definite diagnosis. Cushings Disease can be quite an expensive disease to diagnose and treat. Unfortunately this can be a barrier for people to seeking treatment.
Conventional treatment will vary due to a range of factors such as; location of the tumour, health and age of the dog, plus finances of the owners. Drugs, radiation or surgery can all be used to treat the disease. Your vet will inform you of whether these are suitable options for your dogs individual case.
So your Dogs has Cushings, What now?
The diagnosis of Cushings Disease and the mention of a 'tumour' can be terrifying and very upsetting for owners. But many dogs can and do have a good quality of life, especially if diagnosed early. Many do live years after diagnosis, with a good quality of life if treated. If you want your dog to have the best outcome, along with treatment, you may have to adjust their diet, exercise routine and add in some supplements.
Many Vets will start patients on pharmaceutical medications such as Trilostane (Vetoryl). This medication can be very effective at lowering cortisol in the body. Generally it is recommended for the rest of your dogs life. Your vet will still want to track your dogs cortisol levels regularly to make sure the medication is working effectively. This medication can have excellent outcomes for your dog.
But sometimes the medication may not agree with your dog, or the vet will not recommend it in your dogs case. It is up to you and your vet how you proceed with treatment, but there are some excellent herbs too that can help to lower cortisol in the body.
Why I decided to formulate a Cushings Kit?
I was hesitant to make this formula in my core range as I thought that it was a rare disease and that there probably wouldn't be much demand. Years later, it is my number one selling product at Natural Pet Supplements, with the most reviews. I decided to make the kit because it is a very unpleasant disease for the dog to suffer untreated.
The barrier of cost of diagnosis let alone years of treatment caused some owners to either have no means of treating their dog. Also there are a number of dogs that don't do well on the Cushings medications, I wanted their owners to have an alternative that was effective, safe and affordable. The Cushings Kit was formulated with the Adrenal and Vital Support, combined they help reduce the production of cortisol as well as increasing excretion.
How can Herbal Medicine help with Cushings Disease?
The formulas have been designed by myself a qualifed and registered Small Animal Naturopath. The herbal medicines used are human grade, Australian and tested for quality and purity, every single batch. They are in a glycetract base (sweet taste) not alcohol, and have a natural bacon flavour added to ensure they are easily taken. No lawn clipping flavour to our herbals.
Herbs unlike drugs do not alter function, instead they promote optimisation and normalisation of the pituitary and adrenal glands. Adrenal Support targets the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis to strengthen the body's internal feedback mechanisms. This action will often result in positive changes in symptoms being seen within the first two weeks.
The Vital Support works so well with the Adrenal Support because it provides potent immune, liver and anti-tumour support. The herbal blend is also very high in antioxidants which reduce free radical damage. The Liver herbs in Vital Support help to excrete excess circulating adrenal hormones.
Are there any side affects to the Cushings Kit? Can I use it with other medications?
Safety is our number one priority at Natural Pet Supplements. There is a caution on the label for use with medications used for Cushings Disease. But this is a caution. If your pet is on Trilostane (Vetoryl), it is safe to combine with the Cushings Kit, just make sure that you get regular checks with your vet to make sure that their cortisol levels are in the healthy range.
There are NO side affects with the Cushings Kit, only positive ones. But it cannot be used with blood thinning medications or when you dog has diarrhoea. Herbals in Australia are highly regulated and they are extremely safe and effective when formulated and dosed correctly. The kit dosage can be doubled for the first month for best results.
What are other steps can you take to help your Dog with Cushings?
Muscle wastage in the back legs is an ongoing problem for dogs with cushings disease, so a diet with highly digestible protein is ideal for keeping the muscles in good shape, so is regular exercise. If there is muscle wastage, long walks and swimming may be too difficult for them. But short regular walks to keep up tone are ideal. If they start to become restless at night, melatonin is a good natural way to help them rest well.
What results can you expect from the Cushings Kit?
From my reviews and speaking directly with customers, there have been a range of outcomes. The most positive results have been a complete normalisation of blood results on just the herbs and an absence of all symptoms except a small amount of muscle weakness. Worst result is no change at all except for a reduction in drinking.
Those two being on opposite ends of the spectrum there are a lot of results in between. The results can be as diverse as your pets themselves, we just highly recommend the herbs for at least 3 months to see the full benefits.
Important information on treatment Cushings Disease!
Whether you decide to treat your dog with pharmaceutical medications, herbal medication or a combination. It is important that you do treat it, if left untreated it can lead to a range of other serious health issues such as diabetes, kidney failure and heart issues.
Please remember that I am not recommending herbal treatment over pharmaceutical treatment. The best treatment is what works best for your dog and you and needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. We are just happy to have a safe and effective product available for owners to consider for Dogs with Cushings Disease.