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Cushing's Syndrome is the result of a group of symptoms observed when the body is exposed to excess cortisone ("Cortisol") or related hormones over an extended period of time. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands (which are located atop the kidneys). Cortisol is stored in the adrenal gland and released under stressful conditions, where it helps the body prepare for threatening encounters. There are several mechanisms, adrenal and pituitary, which can lead to Cushing's Syndrome and it is imperative to determine which one is causing the condition because each cause is treated differently.

There are quite a few symptoms associated with Cushing's Syndrome (also known as "hyperadrenocorticism". This disorder affects both cats and dogs and the symptoms are very similar for both species. These symptoms appear very gradually and it is very easy to think they are part of the normal aging process! Listed below is a list of common symptoms:

It is very interesting to note that 80% of cats with Cushing's Syndrome develop diabetes mellitus. Diabetes in a cat with Cushing's is very hard to treat unless the Cushing's is under controlled.

When a cat is brought to the veterinarian for a health problem, the veterinarian will first put together a health profile of your pet, usually in the form of a blood workup and urinalysis/culture. The results of the blood workup and urinalysis will be noted and added to the list of observed symptoms. If Cushing's is suspected, your veterinarian will be looking for the following:

Listed below are some of the tests necessary to diagnose/confirm the presence of Cushing's Syndrome:

  • The Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test

  • The ACTH Stim Test

  • The Urine Cortisol/Creatinine Ratio

[ Diseases & Disorders Index ] [ Feline Hip Dysplasia ] [ Diabetes ]
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