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Cushing's syndrome: spot the signs in your pet

Cushing's syndrome in dogs and cats. Let's unravel this condition and learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms. There have been several pets who have been groomed recently who have been diagnosed with Cushings. Groomers are often the first to spot changes to pet’s skin, coat and appearance prompting owners to take their much-loved pet to the vets.

What is Cushing's Syndrome?

Cushing's syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is a disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This overproduction can stem from various factors, leading to a range of symptoms in our beloved pets.

Recognising the signs

Spotting the signs of Cushing's syndrome in your furry friend is essential for early detection and management. Keep an eye out for these common symptoms:

Increased Thirst and Urination: Is your pet suddenly drinking more water and having accidents indoors? This could be a red flag.

Weight Gain: Despite no changes in diet or activity level, pets with Cushing's syndrome may pack on the pounds.

Pot-bellied Appearance: A swollen or distended abdomen, often likened to a "pot-belly" appearance, can indicate Cushing's.

Muscle Weakness and Loss: Noticeable muscle weakness or loss can manifest as reluctance to exercise or difficulty getting up.

Skin and Coat Changes: Look out for thinning hair, patchy hair loss, or a dull, greasy coat.


Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's crucial to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Your vet may conduct various tests, including bloodwork, urine tests, and imaging studies, to confirm the presence of Cushing's syndrome.

Once diagnosed, treatment options may include medication to manage cortisol levels, surgical removal of tumours (if applicable), or radiation therapy. Your veterinarian will work closely with you to determine the best course of action based on your pet's individual needs.

Cushing's syndrome not only impacts your pet's internal health but can also affect their external well-being and grooming requirements.

Coat and Skin Care

Pets with Cushing's syndrome may experience changes in their skin and coat, such as thinning hair, patchy bald spots, or a dull, greasy appearance. To support your pet's skin health and maintain their coat's condition:

Gentle Brushing: Use a soft-bristled brush to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Be extra gentle around sensitive areas or any bald spots to avoid discomfort.

Regular Baths: Gentle shampoos such as hypoallergenic may be used to gently cleanse skin and soothe irritation.

Adapting the groom: As Cushings causes skin and coat changes, such as thinning areas and sensitive skin, it may be necessary to adapt your pet’s groom to meet the needs of their skin & coat. Pets will benefit from comfort breaks to have a drink & toilet break due to increased thirst.

Cushing's syndrome can be a challenging condition to manage, but with early detection, proper treatment, and lots of love, pets can lead happy and fulfilling lives. Speak to your groomer about how they can adapt your pet’s groom to keep them & their coat happy.



For more information on Cushings


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