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Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures

 
By Anaëlle Laurent. February 14, 2021
Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures

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Cushing Disease in cats, also called feline hyperadrenocorticism (HAF), is a serious disease in cats that is caused when the cortisol hormone is accumulated in excess in the cat's blood. With that being said, it is still a very rare condition, of which few cases have been registered and whose treatment is still under study.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Cushing's Disease in cats. We'll also include pictures, so you know what this disease looks like in a cat. Keep reading to learn more about this rare disease.

You may also be interested in: Cushing's syndrome in dogs

What is Cushing's Disease in cats?

Cushing Disease in cats, also called feline hyperadrenocorticism (HAF), is a serious but rare disease in cats that is caused when the cortisol hormone is accumulated in excess in the cat's blood. This excess can be produced by two causes: a tumor located in the adrenal glands, in which case it is called adrenal Cushing, or a tumor in the pituitary, called pituitary Cushing.

This disease in cats tends to appear more frequently when the animal is medicated with corticosteroids or when it suffers from diabetes mellitus. However, it is still a very rare condition, of which few cases have been registered and whose treatment is still under study. It occurs mainly in adult and elderly cats, with short-haired mongrels being more prone, especially females. Below, you can see a picture of a cat with Cushing Disease.

Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures - What is Cushing's Disease in cats?
Image: icatcare.org

Symptoms of Cushing's Disease in cats

Symptoms of Cushing Disease in cats vary from one feline to another and can be confused with other diseases, so a proper diagnosis carried out by a veterinarian will be necessary. However, the most common symptoms are:

  • Frequent and profuse urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Large appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal swelling
  • General weakness
  • Hair loss, especially on their body
  • Propensity for bruising
  • Thin, fragile, brittle skin
  • Gasps

If you notice any of these symptoms or any other abnormalities in your cat's behaviour or appearance, it's important for you to take them to the veterinarian to be properly diagnosed and treated.

Diagnosis of Cushing's Disease in cats

Diagnosing Cushing Disease in cats is a bit complicated and requires several studies that must be carried out gradually:

  • First, several blood and urine tests will be necessary, with a few hours in between. Because of this, the cat may need to stay in the hospital for a few days for tests.
  • Knowing the feline's medical history is essential to detect possible problems due to medications or tendencies to certain diseases.
  • Studies such as radiographs, X-rays to observe the state of the liver, MRIs, suppression tests, and ACTH stimulation tests are required to make the definitive diagnosis.

With these studies and perhaps more, your veterinarian will diagnose your cat and choose the best treatment for them and their specific condition.

Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures - Diagnosis of Cushing's Disease in cats

Treatment of Cushing's Disease in cats

Firstly, the treatment must be based on the elimination of the tumors that cause this syndrome. Both the removal of the adrenal tumor and that of the pituitary are delicate operations with a high risk index.

In order to avoid surgery, many times it is preferred to treat tumors with different drugs, such as metyrapone. However, this rare disease does not yet have a definitive treatment, and many felines do not respond satisfactorily to drugs or do not survive surgery. This is why surgery is avoided.

In the case where the cat uses medicines that contain corticosteroids, these should be suspended, but done gradually in order to combat the dependence on the substance. There is also a homeopathic treatment, which consists of using a substance that is considered a cure for the effects of cortisol.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a cure in any of these cases and many times it is not possible to obtain great improvements in the health of the cat. Despite this, we recommend that you follow your veterinarian's recommendations and do anything you can to improve your cat's condition or quality of life.

You may also find the following video of a cat with Cushing's Disease helpful:

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Cushing Disease in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures
Image: icatcare.org
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