Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue took in a senior Boston Terrier named Gypsy who had severe mange. After some initial treatment that wasn't working and upon showing signs of Cushings disease, she was tested and found to not only have a severely weakened immune system, but she was diagnosed with Cushings.
Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is the overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands that are located in the belly near the kidneys.
Some of the more common signs of Cushing’s disease include hair loss, pot-bellied appearance, increased appetite, and increased drinking and urination called polydipsia and polyuria (PU/PD). Hair loss caused by Cushing’s disease occurs primarily on the body, sparing the head and legs. The skin is not usually itchy as it is with other skin diseases. If you pick up a fold of skin on a dog with Cushing’s disease, you may notice that the skin is thinner than normal. The pet may have fragile blood vessels and may bruise easily.
Less common signs of Cushing’s disease are weakness, panting, and an abnormal way of walking (stiff or standing or walking with the paws knuckled over). Some dogs with Cushing’s disease develop a blood clot to the lungs and show a rapid onset of difficulty breathing.
The large amount of cortisol in the body suppresses the immune system and allows the pet with Cushing’s disease to get bacterial infections. The most common location for infection is the bladder. Pets with Cushing’s disease may have a silent bladder infection meaning they don’t show signs of having the infection such as straining to urinate. A culture of the urine may be necessary to diagnose the infection.
There are two types of Cushing’s disease that are treated differently. The most common form of Cushing’s disease is caused by the overproduction of a hormone by the pituitary gland in the brain that in turn controls the amount of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This is called pituitary-dependent Cushing’s. A small percentage of dogs with Cushing’s disease have a tumor of one of the adrenal glands which is called adrenal-dependent Cushing’s.
MWBTR has quite a large bill for Gypsy and donations are needed to cover it and continue to care for her. Donations can be made to her fundraising page or directly to MWBTR on their website. Donations are tax deductible.
If you'd like to sponsor a month or more of Gypsy's meds, please e mail Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org.