by Ronald Koh, DVM, MS, CVA, CCRP, CVCH, CVFT
Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s disease, is a condition where the adrenal glands produce excessive glucocorticoid hormones and results in clinical signs such as a increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, pendulous abdomen, enlarged liver, hair loss, lethargy, muscle weakness, obesity, increased panting, skin changes, and immunosuppression. Cushing's Disease can be subdivided into pituitary dependent (85% of all cases) and adrenal dependent (15% of all cases). Currently, two medications that are commonly used to treat pituitary dependent Cushing's disease are mitotane and trilostane. Both of these medications have their respective benefits and side effects. Side effects such as weakness, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, and ataxia occur in dogs receiving mitotane or trilostane. If not treated, Cushing’s disease is usually progressive in nature with a poor prognosis for quality.