Just like humans, animals, especially domesticated dogs, are prone to hormonal imbalances causing a variety of health issues that are equally troubling. The most common hormone-related disease suffered by canines is hyperadrenocorticism, which when occurring in humans is called Cushing’s Disease.
While hormonal imbalances usually occur in aging dogs, identifying the hormones causing the health issue requires a series of blood sample analysis. Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s Disease in dogs is said to be more complicated to diagnose, because the levels of the hormone glucocorticoids in dogs tend to naturally fluctuate.
Nonetheless, a research study conducted by scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna found out that an analysis of a dog’s hair can indicate if there is excessive secretion of the hormone glucocorticoids in the animal. The results of the study showed that canines suffering from Cushing’s Disease tend to accumulate large amounts of glucocorticoids in their hair or fur. In such cases, they are outwardly exhibited as noticeable changes in the distribution, thickness or consistency of hair in the dog’s coat.
Dr. Claudia Ouschan, the lead author of the study wrote that analyzing the glucocorticoid concentrations in a dog’s hair presents a less distressing method of diagnosing Cushing’s Disease in the animal.
What Exactly is Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s Disease?
Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s Disease is a condition in which the adrenal gland produces excessive amounts of the hormone, glucocorticoids. It’s an anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-derived hormone that is synthesized by the adrenal gland. Glucocorticoids are distributed in all tissues for the purpose of controlling metabolism in fat cells, muscles, liver and bone. However, excessive or low levels of glucocorticoids can affect the brain in ways that influence behavior, sleep-wakefulness cycles and mood.
What Causes Excessive Glucocorticoid Secretion?
While excessive glucocorticoids secretion in dogs is common, most cases that develop into Cushing’s Disease is a result of a tumor in the pituitary gland or the glucocorticoid-producing adrenal gland itself.
In humans, Cushing’s Disease has been linked to overeating and excessive intakes of alcoholic beverages. The most common symptoms of the disorder include: loss of hair, a pot-bellied appearance, mood swings, weak muscles, increased fat around the neck and shoulders, easy bruising and appearances of purplish stretch marks in the abdomen, breasts, under the arms and hip areas.
Treatment of Hormonal Imbalances in Animals and Humans
Veterinarians give advice that the moment you find clumps of fur lying around, while dog incessantly, scratches, licks or chews his or her coat, these are reactions to irritations caused by hormonal imbalances. As such symptoms can affect your dog’s appetite and activity level, it would be best to immediately bring your pet to an animal clinic.
While the symptoms may not always be a result of Cushing’s Disease or other types of hormonal imbalance, proper diagnosis of such symptoms is of utmost importance. That way, your pet will be administered with the appropriate treatment as early as possible.
While treatment in humans would include hormonal therapy, the physician will likewise order a patient to stop the excessive eating and drinking behaviors, as well as follow a specific nutritional diet. Most patients tend to encounter difficulty in managing the behavioral and dietary changes, but many discovered a program known as Metabolic Renewal that helped them address and manage their hormonal imbalance issues.
Metabolic renewal program is actually a 12-week plan of eating a set of metabolic meals developed to specifically and effectively address a participant’s hormonal imbalance problems as a result of unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits. The program is professionally administered by Dr. Jade Teta, a physician who specializes in natural health, body fitness and body transformation through the Naturopathic Health Clinic of North Carolina that he co-founded.