Cushing Disease is a condition where the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol, a hormone related to the body's stress response. The adrenal glands produce several vital hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, immune system, blood pressure and stress management.


Cushing disease can be classified in 3 ways:


  1. Pituitary Gland Tumor - a tumor is located on the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. The tumor stimulates the gland to overproduce the ACTH hormone. Once activated, the adrenal glands release cortisol to regulate the excess ACTH. This causes a feedback loop where the body continues making ACTH and cortisol. (See image below for reference)


  1. Adrenal Gland Tumor - a tumor is located on the adrenal glands, located near the kidneys. The tumor directly stimulates the adrenal glands, forcing it to create excessive amounts of cortisol.


  1. Excessive Cortisol from Steroids - over reliance on medication (specifically steroids) triggers the body to create hormones to regulate itself. This is typically considered "Cushing Syndrome."



Signs of Cushing Disease are:

- Increased Appetite              - Panting                                - Chronic Skin Infections

- Increased Drinking        - Bloated / Pot Belly      - Chronic Bladder Issues

- Increased Urinating             - Thin Skin                                           - Dark Spots on Skin

- Lethargy                                            - Poor Coat Quality



Although it can be difficult to cure Cushing disease, it is very possible to be proactive and manage the situation. A brief overview of what we can do would be:

+ Steadily decrease the amount of steroids being taken. Speak with a veterinary professional on reducing mediation and transitioning to alternative options.

+ Surgically remove the tumor.

+ Herbal supplements to support adrenal gland function.

+ Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments to focus on healing the adrenal and pituitary glands.

+ Diet change to something that supports the immune system


Have our Doctors discuss any and all treatment options before trying anything. It can be dangerous trying any medication or treatment without proper guidance.