Can Cats Really Get Cushing’s Disease?

Can cats get Cushing

Have you ever wondered if cats can develop Cushing’s disease? While it may be rare, it is indeed possible for our feline friends to be affected by this condition. In this article, we will explore the signs of Cushing’s disease in cats and discuss its causes and treatments.

Understanding Cushing’s Disease in Cats

Cushing’s disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when the adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of cortisol. There are two main causes of this condition in cats.

Iatrogenic Hyperadrenocorticism

Iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism is a form of Cushing’s disease that arises from the long-term use of cortisol-like drugs to manage allergies, inflammation, or reproductive cycling in female cats.

Naturally-Occurring Hyperadrenocorticism

Naturally-occurring hyperadrenocorticism is characterized by an overproduction of cortisol due to tumors in either the adrenal or pituitary glands. Pituitary tumors can stimulate the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone, causing the adrenals to enlarge and produce excess cortisol.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats, there are several signs that may indicate its presence. One of the most noticeable symptoms is thin and fragile skin that easily breaks and bleeds when you touch your cat. Cats with Cushing’s disease may also experience concurrent diabetes. Additional symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Weight gain
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Increased appetite

Treatment Options

The treatment for Cushing’s disease in cats depends on the underlying cause. Let’s explore the two main treatment approaches.

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Iatrogenic Hyperadrenocorticism

If your cat is diagnosed with iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism, your veterinarian will gradually reduce the use of the medications causing the disease. Alternative medications will be prescribed to manage the original health condition.

Naturally-Occurring Hyperadrenocorticism

For cats with naturally-occurring hyperadrenocorticism, various treatment options may be recommended:

  • Drug therapy: While several drugs have been used to suppress cortisol production, Trilostane appears to be the most effective and commonly prescribed medication for cats. Results may take time to manifest.
  • Surgical adrenalectomy: Surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland can be an appropriate choice if only one gland is affected.
  • Hypophysectomy: This challenging and risky surgery involves the removal of the pituitary gland and is typically reserved for extreme cases.
  • Radiation for pituitary tumors: Although availability may be limited, radiation therapy often proves to be effective in treating cats with Cushing’s disease.

Prognosis for Cats with Cushing’s Disease

When it comes to predicting the outcome of treatment for cats with Cushing’s disease, the underlying cause plays a significant role. Many cats respond well to treatment for iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism and can enjoy a comfortable life for several months or even years. However, if the disease is caused by a malignant tumor, the prognosis may be more guarded.

For more information on Cushing’s disease in cats, please visit Katten TrimSalon. Remember, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan if you suspect your cat may be affected by this condition.