Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease, Cushing’s Syndrome) is a condition resulting in excess production of adrenal gland hormones, usually glucocorticoids. It can cause a wide array of symptoms and secondary conditions.
Cushing’s Disease is most common in dogs and horses. Some dog breeds may be predisposed to Cushing’s Disease, including Terriers, Boxers, Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, Maltese, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, American Eskimos, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Australian Shepherds. While there is no cure, it can be managed under the diligent guidance of your Veterinarian.
“Treating Cushing’s is a balancing act,” says Ann Stohlman, V.M.D., a veterinarian in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “But dogs with the disease can live a good life if they are monitored closely by a veterinarian and the owner is diligent about bringing the dog in for blood work and giving the medication as directed.”
Natural support for a body suffering from the effects of Hyperadrenocorticism can be provided with herbs and special dietary considerations. Each condition and symptom resulting from Cushing’s Disease can be treated individually, and the condition itself can be supported therapeutically. For example, pets suffering from Hyperadrenocorticism may have a compromised immune system, diabetes, and excessive thirst, all of which can be addressed naturally using specific supplements.
Dietary Recommendations for Dogs & Horses with Cushing’s Disease
- Feed small amounts, more often
- Low carbohydrate
- Low fat
- Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Rich in Folic Acid
- Rich in Vitamin C
- Rich in minerals and trace elements
Natural Supplements for Dogs & Horses with Cushing’s Disease
Seaweed – Provides iodine, selenium and minerals that support adrenal function, plus antioxidants and Vitamin C. Supports the immune and digestive system. Lowers blood glucose levels. Balances hormones, metabolism and electrolytes. Reduces the effect of stress. May decrease tumor size and prevent cancer. Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasite.
Krill – Omega 3 and antioxidants. Supports the canine immune and digestive system.
Nettle Leaf – Liver & digestive system support. Replenishes potassium that may be lost with frequent urination, a typical symptom of Cushing’s Syndrome.
Dandelion – Supports the liver, digestive system and adrenal glands. Replenishes potassium. Stabilizes blood sugar. Reduces inflammation. Contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for dietary support of dogs or horses with Hyperadrenocorticism.
Burdock – Liver & digestive system support. Replenishes potassium. Maintains blood sugar levels.
Astragalus membranaceous – One of the most commonly recommended herbs for the natural treatment of Hyperadrenocorticism. It is an adaptogenic herb that buffers the adrenal response to stress. Balances the adrenal glands. Stabilizes blood sugar and blood pressure. Supports the immune system.
Siberian Ginseng – Adaptogenic herb that buffers the adrenal response to stress.
Rosehips – Supports the immune system & overall health. Contains Vitamin C.
Milk Thistle – Supports the liver and pancreas. Stabilizes red blood cells.
Psyllium seed – Supports healthy digestion and adds fiber.
Apple cider vinegar – Supports the immune system and hoof health.
Vitex agnus castus (Chaste Berry) – Dopamine stimulation. Balances hormones. Reduces irritability.
Sulphur – Regulates thirst. Conditions skin. Supports the digestive system.
Arsenicum album (homeopathic Hyperadrenocorticism remedy) – Supports the digestive system, urinary tract, and balances body fluids. Regulates hunger and thirst level.
Mercurius solubilis (homeopathic Hyperadrenocorticism remedy) – Reduces nervous tension. Regulates hunger, thirst and urination.
Probiotics – Support the digestive system in dogs or horses with Cushing’s Disease.
Colostrum Extracts – Extracts from colostrum have a balancing effect on the immune system in pets and humans suffering from a wide range of diseases, including Cushing’s Disease. The extracts are commonly referred to as “Transfer Factors”.
If you prefer prepared supplements, following are two of the most frequently recommended supplements for dogs and horses with Cushing’s Disease:
Other Natural Treatments for Canine & Equine Hyperadrenocorticism
- Keep stress at a minimum
- Regular exercise
- Limit vaccinations
- Avoid extreme weather conditions
- Keep horse hooves trimmed
Notes of Caution:
- Avoid herbs that stimulate adrenal activity, such as Borage Leaf, Goat’s Rue and Licorice.
- Cushing’s Disease should not be treated without veterinary supervision.
??? Have you used natural remedies to treat Hyperadrenocorticism in your dog or horse? Please share your tips in the comments below.
FDA Accessed June, 2013.
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Huseini HF et al. The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. 2006.
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari, RN. Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul. 2007.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Messonnier, Shawn DVM. Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements. 2001.
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✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Natural Treatment of Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) in Pets
Foods in Homemade Pet Diets That Cause Inflammation
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