Adrenal disease is a common disease in many middle aged and older dogs. Scotties are particularly predisposed to this condition, and adrenal disease often occurs with thyroid disease in affected dogs. The cause is not always determined, although an autoimmune process does occur in some pets. I’ve found that many dogs are misdiagnosed. I get many referrals from pet owners who were told that their dogs had “liver disease” when in fact adrenal disease was the cause. For some reason many veterinarians misinterpret the blood testing and often recommend unnecessary and expensive procedures such as a liver biopsy when this is the worst course of action.In my practice we diagnose adrenal disease in many normal pets on their routine biannual blood and urine profiles. We also test for TK, CRP, and Vitamin D levels to help determine if any of these factors are contributing to the pet’s problem. This testing is not available anywhere else in DFW, and is critical in order to allow us to properly treat the dog (these tests are also helpful in diagnosing early cases of cancer, a condition common in Scotties.)
Cushing’s disease is a severe manifestation of adrenal disease; additional testing is needed if Cushing’s disease is suspected. In our practice dogs with adrenal disease are treated with natural therapies and rarely develop Cushing’s disease as treatment is begun at an early stage. Liver and pancreas support is often needed, along with detoxification, in many dogs with adrenal or Cushing’s disease due to the nature of the disease. Scotties with adrenal or Cushing’s disease are at higher risk for infection resulting from dental disease. Therefore, using our safer holistic anesthesia, we regularly clean their teeth to prevent systemic infections that can result in serious illness. Regardless of the age of the pet, this holistic approach to sedation/anesthesia works well and is a major reason many older pets are referred to us for anesthetic and surgical procedures.
To prevent further insult to the body of the pet with adrenal or Cushing’s disease, our standard recommendation of “limited toxicity” is prescribed. This means minimal vaccinations (only based upon inexpensive blood titer testing,) no flea and tick chemicals, and limited use of conventional medications to reduce inflammation and aberrant immune response in our patients. Due to the common occurrence of adrenal disease in Scotties, we would encourage you to come in twice yearly for testing for this and other problems. Early diagnosis allows treatment without using harmful conventional medications and may prevent Cushing’s disease, allowing you to save your Scottie’s life and prevent treatment with chemotherapy. Please call us at 972-867-8800 ext 0 if you would like our help using a holistic approach to keep your pet healthy and treat any problems that may arise.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Paws & Claws Animal Hospital/Holistic Pet Center of North Texas
972-867-8800 ext 0