We all want our dogs to live forever.
Unfortunately, though, the canine Cushing’s Disease life expectancy varies depending on a variety of factors.
First, When in the Disease Process is the Disease Diagnosed?
Diagnosing Cushing’s disease with certainty is difficult.
If the disease is in its infancy, diagnosis is much more difficult, yet can be much more rewarding in regard to prognosis and quality of life.
Since the course of the disease is slowly progressive, the importance of being aware of the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease is vitally important.
Signs of Cushing’s in Dogs:
- Excessive drinking and urination
- Hair loss
- Agitation and panting
- Chronic skin infection
- Skin thickening
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Distended abdomen
- Increased appetite
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Lethargy and weight gain
Owners usually report observing symptoms typical of Cushing’s for 6 months to as long as 6 years before seeking veterinary attention.
Since changes made by Cushing’s disease are quite gradual in onset and are often believed to be a result of simple aging, many dogs are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced.
When the signs become intolerable to the pet parent or after alterations in behavior are severe, veterinary opinions are sought.
If a Diagnosis of Cushing’s is Confirmed, How Are You Going to Treat Your Dog?
Some owners prefer diligent treatment with pharmaceuticals, some owners prefer herbals and natural remedies, and some even prefer no treatment.
It all depends on your individual situation.
But, your choice of treatment can ultimately determine your dog’s life expectancy.
So, in answering your main question on how long will my dog live with Cushing’s, the response is dependent on two factors:
- When was the disease diagnosed?
- What is your chosen treatment?
Obviously, the earlier Cushing’s is diagnosed the better.
The second factor related to treatment is much more confusing.
Choosing how to treat a dog with Cushing’s is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly.
Treatment of Cushing’s with pharmaceutical drugs requires a huge investment of both time and money.
Frequently, owners will spend in the thousands trying to help their best friend.
Also, veterinary visits may be weekly in the initial treatment stages.
Treatment can be frustrating and the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs can be disheartening.
Knowing the realities, many owners choose the herbal route.
Eastern herbal medicine benefits many dogs with Cushing’s without the worry of side effects and expense.
In my practice, most clients choose herbal remedies because of the previously mentioned side effects and cost.
And, some owners prefer no treatment.
Blame cannot be placed on owners who prefer to leave their dogs untreated.
Sometimes, untreated dogs live longer than their treated counterparts.
Most likely, the reason lies in that individual dog’s genetic resiliency.
Some experts say dogs will live 2 years and some reports cite 6 years.
In fact, trying to predict life expectancy in dogs with Cushing’s is a true guess.
Everyone’s got an opinion!