Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s)

Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s)


This disorder is most often seen in older dogs and is typically caused by abnormal function of the pituitary gland which causes the secretion of excessive amounts of cortisol.  There is also a less common form which is usually due to an adrenal tumor.

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Symptoms: Thinning haircoat, lethargy, increased hunger and thirst, chronic bladder infections, enlarged abdomen.

Treatment Options: Veterinary prescribed medications to control excess cortisol and regular evaluations to ensure correct dosages.  In the case of an adrenal tumor, surgery may be indicated.

Known Mode of Inheritance:  Unknown.  There is evidence that this is an inherited disorder in some breeds and some candidate genetic markers have been identified, but the mode of inheritance remains unknown.

Age of onset: > 7 in most cases

Breeds affected

  • Cardigan: yes
  • Pembroke: yes
  • Other Breeds: yes, seen in most if not all dog breeds and mixes.

Incidence in Cardigans: Unknown.


  • Cardigans: yes
  • Other breeds: yes
  • Active?: yes, there is an all breed study in progress through the University of Tennessee.  They are interested in finding patients of any dog breed diagnosed with atypical cushings and living near the vicinity of the university.  See the research link below for more information. The NHGRI (National Humen Genetic Research Institute) is currently conducting a Dog Genome Project to identify markers for genetic diseases in dogs.

    Blood samples are needed and they will supply the necessary collection materials.
    Contact information:

    Erica Chapman
    50 South Drive, Bldg 50, Room 5347
    Bethesda, MD 20892-8000

Registry: no

Tests Available: no

Research links:

 Published papers and Articles:

Discussion Groups:


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