This page is created in hopes of helping those suffering with Cushing's disease and Diabetes. These diseases often go hand in hand. I learned how all too common Cushing's is when my Ruffian (above) (Destiny's 'brother') was suspect of it.  He was diagnosed with Diabetes instead- fortunately not both.
Both ailments have signs that may mislead many. What is perhaps most disturbing is, many signs of Cushing's can be misconstrued by most owners as just common signs of 'aging' which is why pets over 7 should have a CBC ideally once every 6 months if not- YEARLY!


CUSHING'S DISEASE
The following info is courtesy of Leslie Lawson's "Cushing's Disease Forum" which we recommend you visit for more in-depth info and answers regarding Cushing's.
What is Cushing's Syndrome/Disease?
Cushing's syndrome and Cushing's disease, more accurately known as hyperadrenocorticism   is the condition which occurs when the body produces too much hormone, particularly corticosteroids or cortisol.
What are the Symptoms of Cushing's?
Typical physical symptoms include:

  • Increased/excessive drinking (polydipsia or PD)
  • Increased/excessive urination (polyuria or PU)
  • Increased/excessive appetite (polyphagia)
  • enlarged, distended abdomen
  • muscle weakness (most commonly in the back legs)
  • thinning hair (alopecia--usually evenly distributed) and lack of new hair growth
  • thinning skin
  • "skull-like" appearance of head
  • hyper pigmentation of skin
  • calcified skin bumps
  • obesity
  • chronic or frequent infections (most notably pancreatitis, urinary tract infections, strep throat, and staph infections)
Behavioral symptoms include:
  • lethargy/decreased activity
  • increased panting
  • seeking out of cool sleeping surfaces (bathroom tiles, etc.)
  • disturbance of the sleep/wake pattern (increased sleeping during the day, restlessness at night)
  • decreased interaction with owners
FOR MORE INFO on Cushing's please visit the Cushing's PET FORUM. Here they provide EXTENSIVE info in a reader friendly format along with advice on diet, supplements and more as well as email support groups.
other Recommended excellent Cushing's links are:
Canine Cushing's INFO 

Pet Ed Cushing's Site and Cushing's and Canines Site

DIABETES
Diabetes  is a disorder in which the kidney is insensitive to a hormone, called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) or in which there is not sufficient quantity of this hormone available. The result is excessive drinking and urination, or polydipsia and polyuria. This is one cause of changes in urinary habits that leads to problems with urination inside the house in dogs in which "housebreaking" seemed to be satisfactory prior to the disease onset.

ADH is secreted by the body when it has a need to conserve water. It makes the kidneys work harder to conserve water, which makes the urine more concentrated. When the dog can not respond to this hormone or doesn't make enough of it, the dog can not concentrate its urine. This can lead to serious problems, including death, if the dog does not have access to large quantities of water. On the other hand, it may not cause any significant problem if there is always plenty of water available. This problem can occur for a number of reasons and for no reason at all. Examples of predisposing causes are kidney failure, hyperadrenocorticism, liver disease, pyometria and others. These things affect the kidney's ability to respond. Head trauma or brain cancer can affect the body's ability to produce ADH.

This condition is treated using desmopressin acetate (DDAVP), which is a replacement for the anti-diuretic hormone. It can be administered intra-nasally or on the conjunctiva (the inside lining of the eyes). It is pretty effective. Unfortunately, it is also somewhat expensive. Some dogs benefit from therapy with other medications, including chlorpropamide and chlorothiazide diuretics.

The prognosis for this condition varies with the underlying cause. Dogs that have diabetes insipidus due to trauma often recover in a short time and the same is true after successful treatment of pyometria. The prognosis is good for spontaneous occurrences of diabetes insipidus as well. When it occurs for other reasons the prognosis is usually less favorable.

(courtesy of Mike Richards, DVM)

Important things to note regarding supplements and diabetes:
When giving supplements containing vitamin A remember that Diabetics cannot convert Beta Carotine to Vitamin 'A' once metabolized.   This is the one instance we DO NOT recommend Omega 3 Oils as it will increase blood levels of low-density lipoproteins and cholesterol as well as blood sugar-And LDL is EXTREMELY BAD NEWS to a diabetic!! More info on this can be found at Newman Veterinary.

Also-
NEVER give supplements containing GLUCOSAMINE as this nutrient must be avoided by diabetics because Glucosamine blocks the formation of insulin. Also DO NOT feed your a diabetic pet any pet foods containing GLUCOSAMINE. Many 'Senior Foods' have this added now to help aging pets with arthritis and joint mobility. It is a good thing for arthritic and older dogs but NOT if they are diabetic! In March 2001 issue of PREVENTION Magazine tells more of the dangers for diabetics and this supplement both in HUMANS AND ALL ANIMALS. It is shown taking Glucosamine if you are Diabetic can trigger INSULIN RESISTANCE. This means that the body stops recognizing insulin and, as a result sugar in the blood can build up to a dangerous level. Another online article on this is found here at Nutrition Science News

Good things to feed a diabetic dog include  Barley and fresh or frozen (not canned) Green Beans. Also not to avoid all starch based foods including rice. It used to be thought of as OK to feed rice, but now it is thought of as just about the worst thing you can feed your diabetic dog as it is too easily converted to glucose. Also discuss with your vet if you should discontinue yearly inoculations. It is generally recommended older dog who are diabetic NOT get most of them). To get more great tips visit the:                                       

Pets with Diabetes bulletin board

another good but brief article appears on the MATURE PET PAGE

TOP LINKS for DIABETES are: Pets with DiabetesPet Diabetes the Muffin Group , VetMed Canine Diabetes Page and the Canine Diabetes Home Page . These 2 links can provide EXTENSIVE info in a reader friendly format along with advice on diet, supplements and more as well as email support groups. For blind /sight impaired dogs with Diabetes visit: BLIND DOGS BULLETIN BOARD and for information and links visit BlindDogs.com

For special needs of those with CANCER and DIABETES visit
Pets with Diabetes Cancer page

Diet information and more- for Diabetic pets: (courtesy of HELEN ADAMS and her dog Missie)

Some recommendations 
1. Always pulp the vegetables when adding them to dog's food.
2. When mixing the insulin, roll it VERY gently between the palms of your hands to mix it.  You can break down the insulin by too vigorous a mixing. A really good tip is -- store the insulin (in its box) on its side.  The the insulin requires about 80% less mixing.
3. Warm the insulin before injecting -- do not run the syringe under hot/warm water.  A good way to warm the syringe is to stick it under your arm pit or roll gently between the palms of your hands.  I use the arm pit method.
4. I don't know if its' only Missie but you might mention to your readers that when switching to a high fiber, low fat and protein dog food (dog food made for a diabetic dog) once the dog has reached its target weight they may need to feed more.  When I put Missie on WD she really lost weight.  I measured her food and was giving her the same amount of the high fiber food as I had given her when feeding a senior dog food.  She needed a larger portion of the WD than of the Avoderm Light.

Cauliflower and Broccoli are great to give your dogs – as long as you pulp the vegetables. Your dogs need them pulped in order to digest and get the most out of the vegetables. Have you ever noticed how your dog processes corn?
The vegetables I feed Missie the most are: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and string beans. These vegetables can be given raw. I have a small (1 or 2) cup Cuisinart that I pulp them in. Once in a while I add a few carrot slices.
A kind of a rule of thumb --- remember that the insulin you give your dog is to cover the meal – the amount of carbohydrates in that meal. I am sure that your dog has not been regulated to a high carbohydrate diet so when you add fruit or a higher carb. food do so very sparingly – you don’t want to upset that insulin to carbohydrate balance.
Protein and fiber help slow down carbohydrates effects on blood glucose. A human diabetic is told to eat at least 8 grams of protein with each meal and/or snack. So if you feed a dog a piece of melon as a snack where is the protein? For the most part protein is found in dairy products and meat. Too much protein is not good for either the human or dog diabetic as protein is hard on the kidneys as is diabetes. I would like to give Missie tofu but have not even asked my vet because of its high protein content.
For a diabetic fiber is just about a wonder food – but use the low carbohydrate vegetables.
If you look at the wd the fiber content is composed of peanut shells. Another brand uses beet pulp. Now which do you think has a better quality fiber (and is more nutritious)? Those processed dog foods with beet pulp and peanut shell pulp. Or those store bought /vet bought foods that you have added broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, zucchini to?
One day while I was preparing my lunch, at the time I was weighing all of my food, I found that for lunch I could have either an apple or a Lean Cuisine and 1 1/2 cups of raw low carb veggies --- besides not getting me through the day the apple would have been a bad choice because it left no room for protein – a few bites of chicken and the apple did not sound very appetizing and I had used my carb. allowance so I could not have any yogurt.
Cottage cheese would count as a protein – it’s a little on the high side but I give it to Missie as a treat and to put a little weight on her. I have been giving her low-fat cottage cheese but am going to switch to non-fat because she appears to be gaining weight. She is also being fed 50% more wd a day and no change in BG. (Urine strips) She went from 1 cup a day of food to 1 1/2 cups of wd a day. Missie gets about a teaspoon (14 lbdog) in each of her 2 meals. Cottage cheese is really not beneficial, to a diabetic it is a treat.
The following vegetables contain 5 grams of carbohydrate per 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked ---low carb. list. asparagus beans (green, wax, Italian) beets broccoli cabbage cauliflower eggplant greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip) kohlrabi okra pea pods salad greens (spinach, romaine) summer squash like yellow crookneck zucchini

Avoid Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Rhubarb: While these are not toxic, they
are high in oxalic acid, a compound that interferes with calcium absorption, so don't feed these.

Carbohydrate foods that produce only slow rises in blood glucose are best. This depends on the type of starch or sugars in the food, whether it also contains fiber or fat, and the way it has been cooked or processed.

The rate at which the carbohydrate is broken down to form blood glucose is called the glycaemic index of the food. In general, low fat foods with a low glycaemic index are best for people with diabetes. With a sudden need for extra energy which may occur during sports, a food with a higher glycaemic index is better. Legumes, oats, barley pasta and most fruits have a low glycaemic index and are broken down slowly. Other healthy low glycaemic choices include low-fat milk, yogurt, nuts (in moderation), oat or barley bran cereals and vegetables such as peas, sweet corn and sweet potato. Multi-grain, kibbled barley oat bread or fruit loaves have the lowest glycaemic index for breads.

Foods with a high glycaemic index include glucose itself, honey white rice (except Basmati) and some low-fiber breakfast cereals.
High carb list includes : Starch veggies 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving: Baked beans 1/3 cup Corn 1/2 cup Peas 1/2 cup Potato, mashed 1/2 cup Acorn squash 1/2 cup Butternut squash - about 3/4 cup Carrots sort of fit in between 2.8 oz = 7.3 grams

Foods to always AVOID

Food items dangerous to pets include onions, onion powder, chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk, dark), alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans, tea (caffeine), grapes, raisins, salt, macadamia nuts, hops (used in home beer brewing), tomato leaves and stems (green parts), tomato leaves and stems (green parts), rhubarb leaves, avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats), cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, moldy or spoiled foods.

Details on why to avoid the above- click HERE FOR MORE

Please note for Diabetic dogs:

When giving supplements containing vitamin A, remember that Diabetics cannot convert Beta Carotine to Vitamin A once metabolized. This is the one instance we DO NOT recommend Omega 3 Oils as it will increase blood levels of low-density lipoproteins and cholesterol as well as blood sugar-And LDL is EXTREMELY BAD NEWS to a diabetic!
More info on this can be found at Newman Veterinary.
Also- NEVER give supplements containing GLUCOSAMINE as this nutrient must be avoided by diabetics because Glucosamine blocks the formation of insulin. Also DO NOT feed your a diabetic pet any pet foods containing GLUCOSAMINE.
Many 'Senior Foods'  (have this added now to help aging pets with arthritis and joint mobility. It is a good thing for arthritic and older dogs but NOT if they are DIABETIC!
In March 2001 issue of PREVENTION Magazine tells more of the dangers for diabetics and this supplement both in HUMANS AND ALL ANIMALS. It is shown taking Glucosamine if you are Diabetic can trigger INSULIN RESISTANCE. This means that the body stops recognizing insulin and, as a result sugar in the blood can build up to a dangerous level. Another online article on this is found here at Nutrition Science News


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