A Sagging Belly and Cushing’s Disease

Are you concerned about your dog’s pot belly?   If so, you should be.  A pot sagging or pot belly is a common sign of Cushing’s disease.  You should not only be very aware of behavioral changes in your dog but physical changes as well.  Some of the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease are often mistaken for simply old age.  However, that false assumption is quite dangerous and could potentially delay the diagnosis and proper necessary treatment in your dog.

So, what exactly is Cushing’s disease?

Courtesy of Vet Depot

Courtesy of Vet Depot

Simply put, Cushing’s disease presents itself when the adrenal glands in your dog produce too many hormones. The adrenal glands serve the very important function of producing a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol produced by the adrenal glands is released into your dog’s blood stream during times of stress. When this happens, the liver is prompted to release amounts of glucose that will provide energy to the muscles.  This energy helps your dog survive by giving him the energy to fight or flee!  Once the danger or stress has subsided, the levels of cortisol go back to normal.  In a dog with Cushing’s disease, the levels of cortisol in his bloodstream are very high for long periods of time.  These abnormally high levels can dangerously impact your dog’s entire body, including his organs and metabolic system.

What are some of the other signs of Cushing’s disease in dogs?

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive Panting
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of muscle tone

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, please seek immediate medical attention.  Yes, some of these symptoms do mirror the natural aging process in dogs but it’s best to be safe than sorry.  A delay in properly diagnosis and treatment can lead to many other diseases in your dog including but not limited to: kidney failure, diabetes, liver disease and congestive heart failure.  Take steps to keep your dog in the best of health no matter what stage of life he is in.