General information on Cushing’s Disease
Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, is a condition in which too much cortisol hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a type of glucocorticoid hormone, which are essential to bodily functions. The cause of the extra production of cortisol is cancer. In the majority of cases, the excessive production of cortisol is caused by cancer in the pituitary gland. In the remaining cases, the cancer is somewhere in the adrenal gland itself. Most cats with Cushing’s disease are middle-aged or older cats and are mostly female. However, Cushing’s disease is rare in cats and in the vast majority of cats with Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus is also present.
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease
Some of the symptoms of Cushing’s disease may be increased appetite, increased urination, and dehydration. Some symptoms that are seen less often may be lethargy, hair loss, fluctuation in weight, ungroomed appearance, easily bruised or cut skin, and a pot-bellied appearance.
Treatments for Cushing’s Disease
The treatment for Cushing’s disease can be surgical or non-surgical. The surgical treatment is to remove the tumor. Should both the adrenal glands be removed, the cat will need to take hormone supplements for the rest of its life. The non-surgical treatment is medications that control the amount of cortisol that is produced by the body. Trilostane is one medication that is commonly used for this purpose.
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