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Published: Feb 28, 2012

If you notice your dog has grown more lethargic, is drinking and urinating more than normal, is voraciously hungry and gaining weight, you may want to head to the animal hospital. These are all clinical signs of Cushing's disease, an illness that causes a canine's adrenal or pituitary glands to overproduce certain steroid hormones, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. The signs of Cushing's disease may also point to other medical problems, so it can be wise to seek medical attention as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that Cushing's disease typically causes the glands to produce too much of a natural steroid called cortisol, which can weaken the immune system if left untreated.

The illness may be caused by tumors of the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland, VCA reports. A veterinarian will need to perform urine samples and take blood by way of dog shots to test for the presence of Cushing's disease.

The only known cure for Cushing's disease is to remove the tumor causing the issue.  If an adrenal tumor is the problem, surgery can successfully remove the mass and cure the Cushing’s.  If a pituitary tumor is the culprit, it is difficult to approach this area surgically, therefore, several medications are available to manage the disease.  Your veterinarian will help guide you in the best treatment plan for your dog.