For any medical condition, we are attracted to the idea of natural treatments. Natural treatments do no harm!
Supplements typically cost less.
And, home remedies generally require less effort.
However, the big question is: “Do dog Cushing’s disease natural treatments work?”
When deciding to treat your dog naturally for Cushing’s disease, the best approach centers on treating the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s, not the disease itself.
Like the typical approach of Western medicine, the symptoms are treated, not the root cause. If you want to treat the root, you must use pharmaceutical drugs like Mitotane which affect the adrenal gland directly.
The following four natural treatments can and do benefit dogs with Cushing’s:
- Milk Thistle
- Fish Oil
- Eastern Herbals
- Ophiopogon powder
- Rehmannia 11
- Rehmannia 14
Milk thistle is a European medicinal plant that contains silymarin (sylmarin, silibinin, sylibin), a flavonoid complex.
Its primary use in veterinary medicine is with liver disease because of its antioxidant activity. Milk thistle also aids the flow of bile throughout the liver.
Since dogs with Cushing’s disease frequently have elevated liver enzymes (ALP), then one can assume, rightfully so, that the liver is being impacted by Cushing’s disease.
And, it is!
Increased circulating cortisol causes steroid hepatopathy which only exacerbates the clinical signs of Cushing’s.
The recommended dosage is 10mg per pound of bodyweight per day. Milk thistle can be purchased at any local drug store.
Fish oil has been praised for helping pretty much any kind of disease.
However, in regards to Cushing’s, fish oil is beneficial because of its direct effects on the skin and increased circulating fats/lipids in the bloodstream (hyperlipidemia).
Cushing’s disease and its accompanying increased cortisol level decrease the ability of dogs to fight infections.
The decreased immune response is the very reason many Cushinoid dogs chronically battle hot spots and inflamed skin.
Fish oil is the perfect natural remedy to quiet inflamed skin.
For skin disease, dogs are usually given 60-100mg/kg twice daily.
For hyperlipidemia which is discovered on routine blood work, add fish oil at a dose of 220mg/kg of body weight (BW) once daily.
Fish oil capsules may be obtained over-the-counter.
Make sure you read the label carefully to ensure that your dog receives 220 mg/kg body weight of a combination of alpha-linolenic acid and the long chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Ophiopogon Formula is a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) herbal blend that treats Cushing’s Disease in dogs, cats, and horses.
The Western medical indications for Ophiopogon Formula are:
- Cushing’s disease
- Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
- Insulin resistance
The Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine indications are:
- Dry skin with hot ears and feet
- Excessive panting with spontaneous outbursts at night
- Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
- Polyuria (excessive passage of urine)
- Yin deficiency
- Thready, fast pulse
- Red, dry tongue
Ophiopogon Formula consists of herbs that work synergistically to relieve symptoms of Cushing’s Disease, while at the same time addressing the underlying causes of the symptoms.
The Chinese principles of treatment for Ophiopogon Formula are to nourish Yin, clear Heat, and promote body fluids.
Ophiopogon Formula is crafted from Mai Men Dong San. The main ingredients in Ophiopogon Formula are:
- Bei Sha Shen (Glehnia) – nourishes Yin
- Dan Zhu Ye (Lophatherum) – clears heat
- Ge Gen (Pueraria) – promotes body fluids
- Huang Qin (Scutellaria) – clears heat
- Lu Gen (Phragmites) – clears heat and promote body fluids
- Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon) – nourishes Yin
- Shan Zha (Crataegus) – resolves food stasis
- Shen Qu (Massa) – resolves food stasis
- Tian Hua Fen (Trichosanthes) – clears heat and promote body fluids
- Wu Mei (Mume) – astringently consolidates the Lung
- Yu Li Ren (Prunus) – moves blood
- Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena) – nourishes yin and clears heat
Ophiopogon powder is one of the most commonly prescribed Eastern herbals for Cushing’s disease.
Other commonly used Eastern herbals are Liver Happy and Rehmannia 11.