When To Euthanize A Dog With Cushing’s Disease

Is your dog suffering from Cushing’s disease? We know it has been a hard journey for you, but it is usually more painful for the little dog at the final stage.

In some conditions, you have to let your dog go rather than keeping it alive and letting it experience a lot of pain. We know it seems impossible to give away your dog that way, but that’s the wise plan in such situations.

Besides being one of the most challenging decisions of the dog’s life, another important thing is to get to know when to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease.

Well, you are just a dog owner, not a health professional, so unless you are regularly visiting your vet, you have to know the right time to put it down. Also, if you cannot trust your vet, we are here to make sure about these facts.

Want to know the right time to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease? You are at the right place! In this article, we are going to overview Cushing’s disease along with its final stage symptoms.

Also, we will put light on the possible treatments that can somehow create a chance to prevent this tough decision. Let’s get started!

when to euthanize a dog with cushings disease

Why is there a need to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease?

When your dog is diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, it has very few years to live, yet those years are painful. Well, at first stage your vet may prescribe medications to the dog, but that cannot cure the disease, as the medical fact about Cushing’s disease is that it is treatable.

So, mediation is the only thing that can keep it from growing faster and making your dog’s health any worse.

However, if medication is not working on your dog, and it still cries in pain, it means keeping the dog alive is doing no good to him, but just increasing its discomfort day by day.

This is the point where after consulting your vet, you should come to a decision. We know it is tough, but this is the only choice you have because being a loving dog owner, you can’t be selfish enough to let your dog suffer in severe pain for the rest of its life just to see it alive.

As it is probably the last stage of Cushing’s disease where the medications don’t work, your dog will be facing neurological failures as well. What’s good in keeping a dog with compromised senses and health? It’s better to relieve all its pain.

Also, if you decide at this stage to keep it alive, it will be no longer than a few months, so it is better to take a decision to euthanize the dog.

Can we prevent euthanizing the dog with Cushing’s disease?

Almost every dog owner is looking for an alternative to this tough decision, and that can only be possible with some certainties. Let’s have a look at them! If you observe the symptoms of the disease very soon and get it diagnosed before it advances, you are doing the best for your dog.

Diagnosing it at the right time can prevent the progression of the disease. Hence, the pain can be treated with medication however, the lifespan will be reduced, but it will be pain-free, unlike the final stage.

So, this way you don’t have to euthanize the dog but wait for its natural death which is also painful, but lesser than putting down the dog with your own hands.

Is it common to euthanize dogs with Cushing’s disease?

No, if your dog is suffering from Cushing’s disease, it is never a compulsion that you have to euthanize it at any cost. If you get your dog under the vet’s supervision before it gets late, you can save yourself from taking this step.

The situation is quite rare because most of dog owners are getting their dog treated by proper medication and that reduces the risk.

However, those who have ignored the symptoms at the right time, and waited to get the dog even in worse condition without taking good care and treatment of their dog, they have to take this step to let their dog have some peace.

As there is a very less ratio of untreated dogs with uncontrollable and advanced symptoms, this question arises less as well.

When to consult the vet?

We have always suggested you consult your vet before taking even a small decision for your dog like adding something to its diet.

Why is that so? The answer is simple! Because no matter how long you have known your dog, the vet always has more information about how to deal with its condition.

If you are thinking that it is the right time to euthanize your dog, there are chances it might not. On the other hand, there is a possibility where you think that your dog is doing fine and it can survive, whereas your dog is crying inside from chronic pain.

In both cases, you should take professional advice to make sure you are thinking the right thing. With the support of the vet, you can take this decision.

Another reason to consult your vet is that you can let him perform the procedure. Have you thought about why?

Let’s tell you! First, it will be less traumatizing for the vet than it will be for you because you will have an emotional connection with your little pooch.

Secondly, the vet is a professional and he certainly knows many painless methods to do this. It is best if your dog is euthanized without experiencing any pain. So let it be done by the safer hands.

How to accept euthanizing your loving pet?

We are not giving you any false hope, but it is the fact that most of the dogs with Cushing’s disease die with natural death, and the need of euthanizing them is rare.

But for those pet owners who have to go through this phase, we understand it is hard and can help you deal with this traumatic phase.

It is a great loss for all the pet parents to let go of their dog this way, and it can drain them emotionally and mentally.

Dogs are just like family to you, and losing someone from your family is very disturbing. It is always okay to take some space and grieve over this incident. After the grieving phase, there comes acceptance.

Yes, you should think about the happiness and peace of the dog it might be in at the present time. The third step is to get yourself occupied with the routine work, so that you may forget about your loss for some time.

The last and final step is to welcome a new buddy in your home. This will not make the fact better that your beloved dog has gone, but it can make the atmosphere a little happier.

How much time can your dog survive in the last stage of Cushing’s disease?

In some of the cases, the medications work and your dog may live its normal life, but obviously, it is less than the average lifespan.

However, if it is not diagnosed at the very initial stage, your dog might have only 2 to 3 years to live. These are the figures we have estimated by observing different researches, but keep that in mind that even to keep your dog alive for 3 years requires proper care.

From monitoring your dog daily for any symptoms, to taking it to the vet for regular checkups, it is all very critical. Also, you have to keep track of the medication and make your dog take it at the right time without missing any dose.

These extra care steps might increase your dog’s lifespan, and prevent a lot of pain leading to no need of euthanizing it.

There is no other treatment than some medications for this disease hence, once your dog has reached its final stage, it is not treatable. In that situation, your dog might only survive for a few weeks or months and there is dire need to euthanize it as the vet says.

There are two types of Cushing’s disease one of which is pituitary-dependent, and the other is an adrenal tumor. Pituitary-dependent ones are dangerous and the lifespan is no more than two years.

However, proper care and medication can always relieve the pain and enhance the appetite making your dog better in health and reducing the need of euthanizing it.

Not only it increases the lifespan, but your dog lives a peaceful life even with this disease. When there will be no inflammation and no severe symptoms, the dog will be much happier and comfortable in living with it.

What are the symptoms showing it may be the right time to euthanize the dog?

All those symptoms which indicate the final stage of Cushing’s disease are the symptoms for the need of euthanizing the dogs most of the time.

The final stage symptoms of Cushing’s disease are various, but the most important thing about them is that they are very intense and pretty obvious.

In some cases, there are chances that pituitary tumors might convert into macroadenomas that are bigger than 1cm. That much is quite enough to exert pressure on the other tissues which leads to neurological disorders.

Although these tumors can be removed through surgery, whether benign or malignant, there are always risks so, it is better to not take a risk.

These situations bring the most critical possess other symptoms of the final stage, let us have a look on them.

  • Neurological disorders
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Muscle laxness
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Infections
  • Skin disorders
  • Low coat multiplication
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Very dilute urine
  • Back, abdomen, and ears are cold
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Lethargy
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Depression

What treatments can avoid the need of euthanizing the dog?

  • Surgery can be done to remove the tumor if it is benign and adrenal-dependent. In the case of pituitary-dependent cases, surgery is not recommended.
  • Adequate medication can improve the pain intensity reducing the chances of the need of euthanizing.
  • Trilostane and Mitotane are the two effective drugs that can somehow treat the condition and prevent it from getting worse
  • Do not stop your dog’s any steroid medication suddenly, but gradually reduce the dose to prevent side effects

Dog breeds prone to having the risk:

Usually, the dogs who have reached their adult life suffer from this disease which means it has been seen as lesser in puppies. The average age of the dogs having the risk of getting end-stage Cushing’s syndrome is six years or more.

However, those dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or any kind of stress have a higher risk of it. If you think that females are more susceptible to Cushing’s syndrome, you are wrong. The gender doesn’t make any difference but yes, the breed does.

Following are some of the dog breeds which have more chances to get this disease and you might need to euthanize them if proper care has not been taken.

Pituitary tumor:

The dogs which develop Cushing’s disease due to the improper functioning of the pituitary gland are:

  • Dachshunds
  • Bobtails
  • Boston Terriers
  • Poodles
  • Maltese Bichon

Adrenal Tumor:

The dogs which develop this disease due to malfunctioning of adrenal glands are:

  • German Shepherds
  • Dandie Terriers
  • Dinmonts
  • Yorkshire terriers
  • Dwarf poodles

Other dogs:

  • Boxer
  • Small Schnauzer
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever

Bottom Line:

If you want to know when to euthanize a dog with Cushing’s disease you should consider some important facts in mind.

First, get your dog diagnosed for the stage it is in to assess the condition and symptoms. Then you need to let your vet decide what’s better for the dog. If he thinks it is better to euthanize, you should go along with it and then let him do the procedure.

Leave a Comment