My Toy Rat Terrier has Cushing's Disease. I'm writing all about the disease and what has helped her get through it.
About Cushing's Disease in Toy Dog Breeds
This disorder is a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. The glands are over-producing corticosteroids. What we want is “just enough and not too much,” so this over-production can be a real problem.
Why does this happen? It’s not really understood very well, but we do know that many of the dogs and cats develop Cushing’s because the pituitary gland is pushing the adrenal glands to do so. This accounts for about 85 to 90 percent of cases. The situation is further complicated because the pituitary gland is influenced, by the brain, and it’s entirely possible that the whole cascade of problems occurs because of psychological or physical stress; at least as contributing factors. Chances are that if your pet has this diagnosis, it is a dysfunction of the pituitary (and then adrenal) gland that is the problem. The remaining 10 to 15 percent have tumors in the adrenal glands themselves, which causes the excessive production (the pituitary gland not involved). These tumors are often benign (not malignant), though not in every case. What happens as a result of this condition? The usual and most common symptoms are excessive drinking and urinating; enlargement of the abdomen, production of excessive abdominal fat and enlargement of the liver; loss of body hair (on both sides equally), which comes out very easily. Though these symptoms are common, there are many other changes that can occur— changes in reproductive cycles, symptoms of diabetes, excessive weight gain and so on. It is a very complicated condition and mimics many other disorders, so it takes considerable skill to determine that this is the problem. My dog's skin also had little raised bumps down her head, neck and back. I also knew something was wrong when her potty habits were misplaced a few times.
A further complication is that Cushing’s Disease may occur along with other chronic problems, almost as if it’s a further deterioration of health in a pattern of decline. For example, your dog may have had years of skin allergies, arthritis due to hip dysplasia or cruciate ligament breakdown (knee joint deterioration), and now Cushing’s Disease pops up. It seems to be a breakdown in the body’s ability to regulate inflammation and repair of the tissues (in which the adrenal glands are involved).
What to do if you think your Toy Dog has Cushing's Disease
Recognizing this problem and treatment of it requires the skill of a veterinarian. There are blood tests of various types that can be done; both for testing hormone levels and for testing the functions of the adrenal glands. I prefer to use homeopathy and nutrition as my first tools in resolving anything for my dogs. Because there can be multiple problems, how to treat this is very individual. So I recommend you do your own research and decide what works best for your fur baby. I also suggest you work with a homeopathically trained veterinarian who can set up a treatment schedule to address all the problems your toy dog has. As you might anticipate, excellent nutrition and reduction of stress are necessary for this disease. This is where the Melatonin, Colostrum and raw or homemade food comes in.
What I am doing to help my Toy Ratty
First of all, I no longer believe in commercial kibble and dog food, vaccinations, flea meds, etc. They are poisons to our beloved pets. I feel these things contributed to her Cushing's and skin allergies, etc...she is actually very healthy now without these poisons in her life and with the help of good nutrition and supplements. I only wish I had known about this when she was a baby and for my other dogs that have passed due to these toxic chemicals. I could go on and on about this, but will save that for another time. Reach out to me below in the comments section for resources and recommendations.
So after tons of research, this is what I did for her to get her back on the road to being the energetic, healthy, fun-loving Toy Rat Terrier that she should be:
Give her Colostrum 2x's daily (20+ minutes before breakfast and right before bed, at least 2 hours after dinner)
Give her 1mg of Melatonin 2x's daily (usually mixed in with the colostrum or AM/PM)
How this works for her
Raw food contains more vitamins and minerals than cooked food, because cooking destroys many nutrients. Most of the foods available commercially are very thoroughly cooked, and none of these are nutritionally equivalent to raw food. You need to feed uncooked food as much as possible. The difference in many animals given a raw food diet, after eating processed foods most of their lives, is nothing short of amazing! Since I'm not a great cook and short on time, I feed my Toy Ratty freeze-dried raw food. It's super convenient and great for traveling. To hydrate it, I use a little beef bone broth which is a mineral-rich source of nourishment.
A lot of our dog's health issues (and ours) comes from a bad gastrointestinal tract or leaky gut. Mostly from commercial dog food and other toxins. The Colostrum repairs leaky gut and boosts the immune system. This particular brand of Colostrum is the best out there and I also use it myself when things are "off".
This is great for stressed out dogs, but works really well for Cushing's Disease in the early stages. It's inexpensive, non-toxic and without side effects. Melatonin aids in the reduction of both cortisol and estrogen levels in the bloodstream. It also helps with Alopecia (hair loss), which is a symptom of Cushing's and my toy rat terrier experienced. Her hair is growing back slowly, but surely. You need to give this 3-6 months to show improvement, possibly more. Don't worry about making your pup tired with this supplement. After about 2 weeks, they will be their old selves again; plus, this will help to lower the stress they are feeling so they can start to heal.
I hope you find all of this information helpful for your Toy Breed Dog. Please leave any questions or comments below and I will get back to you. Thank you for reading!