Cushing's Disease in Dogs

Canine Cushings Disease and Lignans for Dogs

Veterinarians and Universities suggest considering Flaxseed Hulls (SDG Lignans) or HMR Lignans when Cushings or Atypical Cushings disease is present. Lignans For Life offers flaxseed lignans in capsule and bulk and we also offer HMR lignans and melatonin. See all of our dog products here ALL DOG PRODUCTS or click here to see recommended lignan dosage for your dog.

Lignans for Cushing's in Dogs

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What is Cushing's Disease?

Cushing's syndrome aka hyperadrenocorticism is a hormone disorder which involves an increase in cortisol levels. Cushing's is common, in humans, dogs and horses. It is a middle aged to old aged disease.

Normal Endocrine Function. In a normal person or dog the pituitary gland produces ACTH which stimulates the adrenal glands telling them to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a vital hormone in the body which affects numerous bodily functions.

Causes of Canine Cushings Disease. Cushings in dogs is caused by one of 3 sources. 1) Adrenal tumors 15% of the time. 2) Pituitary tumors 80% of the time or 3) by your vet administering too many corticosteroids which are usually given for allergy treatments.

Canine Cushings Symptoms include increased appetite, high blood pressure, increased thirst, thinning of the hair, excessive urination and even accidents in the house, thinner skin, increased panting, lethargy, increased tendency for diabetes, cardiovascular, muscular and nervous system problems, and a weakening of the immune system. Another symptom can be a pot belly or drooping stomach and even though it may appear as if your dog has gained weight, there is usually not a weight gain. It is more of a weight re-distribution.

Canine Cushings Treatments and Remedy

Surgery. In the case of tumors, surgery has been very effective in humans but not advisable in dogs. With Cushings in dogs, the majority of tumors are located on the pituitary glands and surgery is not performed on these tumors at all. Surgery is only performed on adrenal gland tumors but even that is rare because of the high risk.

Chemotherapy. Historical Treatments include medicine such as Lysodren and Trilostane which can be extreme since these are chemotherapy drugs. Lysodren actually destroys the outer cortex of the adrenal glands. If too much is given the adrenal gland can be permanently damaged and the drugs can quickly cause the opposite of Cushings which is called Addison's Disease in which no cortisol is produced. The goal with Lysodren is to damage the adrenal cortex just enough to slow down the production of glucocorticoid hormones. If Addison's disease occurs another set of drugs will be required for the rest of your dogs life. Addisons only occurs in about 5% of Lysodren patients but more frequently, in about 1/3 of Lysodren patients, the dog will overreact to the Lysodren by producing extremely low levels of cortisol causing loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness or even death. Death occurs from Lysodren in about 1% of Cushings disease cases.

Ketoconazole is an antifungal and can treat certain symptoms of Cushings in dogs. This is deemed to be a safer method of treatment than Lysodren however it is very expensive and has no effect at all in 20% of cases.

New Holistic Treatment for Cushings Disease. A recent report published Dr Jack Oliver DVM, PhD from the college of veterinary medicine at a major US University now recommends flaxseed lignans and melatonin for Cushings in dogs. Many veterinarians recommend starting with lignans before starting a medicinal treatment. But this UofT report says it is OK to take Flax seed lignans if your dog is already taking Trilostane or Lysodren. Also, flaxseed lignans cannot cause Addison's Disease. Although Vets often disagree on treatment programs there can be multiple options that are effective. Some vets have recommended HMR lignans which is short for Hydroxymatairesinol, but most vets recommend Flaxseed Lignans which have both HMR lignans and SDG lignans and several other types of lignans. All lignans produce the desired effect of increasing enterolactone and enterodial in the body and ultimately reducing cortisol levels. The flaxseed lignans have more antioxidants as well as fiber. Click here to view all of Dr Olivers treatment option considerations. Here are excerpts from his report. "Lignan has phytoestrogenic activity, and competes with estradiol for tissue estrogen receptors, with less biological effect. Lignan also inhibits aromatase enzyme (lowers estradiol) and 3- beta HSD enzyme (lowers cortisol). Use either FLAX HULL (SDG) lignan, or HMR lignan. DO NOT USE flax seed oil as the lignan content is very low, and the flax oil can increase triglycerides. Lignans are safe, so doses don’t have to be exact. Suggested Doses: SDG lignan; one milligram/lb B. Wt./day. HMR lignan; 10-40 mg/day for small to large dogs." Dr Jack Oliver also included other references in his report, "Melatonin plus phytoestrogens. (Such as those from Flax seed lignans) are known to inhibit 3-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Lignans and genistein are also known to decrease the activity of aromatase enzyme in MCF-7 cells in vitro.** So, combinations of melatonin and phytoestrogens may have efficacy in treating hyperestrinism conditions." The phytoestrogens are prevalent in Lignans. Click here for the complete study. complete study

So what type of lignan and how much lignan should I give my dog?

Dr Jack Oliver DVM and former head of endocrinology at the U of T says in his report that both HMR lignans (from Norway Spruce Trees) and SDG Lignans (From flaxseed Hulls) work equally well. The main decision is getting the lignan dosage that is best for your dog. A second consideration is whether you want fiber or not. The flaxseed hulls are high fiber, the HMR lignans do not have fiber. Our surveys concur with Dr Jack Oliver's findings and show that both the HMR lignans and flaxseed lignans work equally well. Only in about 1% of the cases does someone need to switch from flaxseed lignan to HMR lignan or vice versa. So find the lignan dosage that is closest to your dog's weight, and give 1-2 mg of lignan per day for each pound of body weight. i.e. a 30 lb dog would take 30-60 mg of lignan per day. There are no side effects to lignans but you should keep it in the range of 1-2 mg of lignans per day for each pound of your dog's weight. Flaxseed lignans in excess can cause a loosening of the stool. For melatonin give a 3mg melatonin every 12 hours for dogs under 30 lbs and for dogs over 30 lbs give a 6 mg melatonin every 12 hours. Make sure you do not use a rapid release or a timed release melatonin. The 3mg and 6 mg melatonin that we carry are perfect for your dog.

What types of dogs are most susceptible to Cushing's Disease?

Females may be slightly more susceptible than males and dogs over 5 years old are more prone but the average age of Cushing's diagnosis is 10-12 years old. Even though all breeds are susceptible, the dog breeds at higher risk are Yorkshire, Boston, Bull, Scottish and Silky Terriers, Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Staffordshires, Jack Russels, and Beagles.

Atypical Cushings Disease. The difference between Cushings disease and atypical cushings disease is that atypical cushings disease is caused by an adrenal gland tumor (same as normal Cushings) but in atypical cushings there is NO overproduction of cortisol. The dog will still demonstrate normal Cushings syndrome symptoms but will not have the excess cortisol. Treatment is almost always by flaxseed lignans in the cases of atypical cushings.

Lignans for Dogs

Lignans along with Melatonin have been found to slow the progress of and to help ease the pain and symptoms of Canine Cushing's Disease, Atypical Cushing's Disease and Diabetes in Canines. Also vets are recommending Flax hull lignans for canine Alopecia X. Lignans are found in the hulls of flaxseed and the knots of spruce pine trees. Lignans are an all natural way to treat Cushings in dogs and are being recommended by more and more vets as knowledge of their effectiveness spreads and there is no chance of getting Addison's with Lignans. The flaxseed lignans are an all natural food product safe for Canine Cushings with no known side effects. In another study, lignans have been shown to actually shrink tumors.

Diabetes and Canine Cushings. One of the natural functions of cortisol is to raise blood sugar and the overproduction of cortisol creates a continuous overproduction of blood sugar levels and thus diabetes and Cushings often go hand in hand. Chronic Canine Cushings can even cause permanent diabetes.

Vets Recommending Us and Customer Testimonials:

Our company, Products Development, LLC has exhibited our K9 Choice and Lignans For Life products at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in February 2012 and the CVC vet show in San Diego. Hundreds of Veterinarians visited our booth. Many were already carrying our products. Many new vets started carrying our flaxseed and HMR lignans and K9 Choice brand melatonin. Several vets said they were looking for a source for the lignans and were glad they found us. Most of the other vets were excited to learn about alternative treatment options; especially a treatment that promotes general health in addition to the low cost treatment.

Cathy wrote to us saying, "I am very impressed with the Lignans For Life Products...the dog that I bought them for is a 15 year old Akita/Siberian Husky mix female with Atypical Cushings disease. Most of her symptoms have become more manageable (heavy breathing, excessive drinking and urination, skin lesions, stiffness in her back legs, sleeplessness at night, etc) and she is more comfortable. She has pep in her step that she hasn't had for years and she is now a therapy dog at a local retirement center here in Akron, OH. The products were securely packaged and the order shipped promptly.”

Hal M from Scottsdale, AZ reports, "My Maltese was diagnosed with Cushing's disease and has been taking Trilostane for 3 years. She lost her hair and our vet said to put her on the Lignans. Within 2 months of putting her on the flaxseed lignans she started growing her hair back. We have not tried her on the melatonin. We just sprinkle the flaxseed lignans on her food and she eats it with no problems." March 2012.

Michael D from California wrote to us saying, "My dog was found with Cushing's in June 2010, we have a great Vet who recommended lignans, we found improvement in his energy and his weight (after taking your Lignans For Life Lignans), it is working so good for him I am going to take it too." more testimonials

We recently sent out a survey to our customers to get more statistics relating to the success of using HMR and SDG Lignans. We sent out a request to 100 of our customers, some whom gave their dogs HMR lignan and some whom gave their dog Flax lignans, and 85% of those that responded said they had positive results in an average of 2 months after starting with taking the Lignans. Most used melatonin in conjunction with the Lignans. Some said they saw results in as little as 2 weeks and some said it was 4 months before they saw results but the average was 2 months. Some saw outward symptoms improve, some had blood tested and blood results were improved. Others showed improved visible symptoms but blood work stayed the same. Lee G writes, "She is not as hungry, sleeps through the night, no more UTI's, excessive thirst is gone as well as the panting. It was a little over a month when I saw results." Angell B. writes, "Excessive thirst has improved but what I really noticed is her hair filled in. Her pot belly has shrunk." Stacy M writes, "clinical signs have improved, especially less drinking and urination. I saw results in a few weeks." Walter L writes, "His drinking has curbed a bit. Remarkable improvement in his activity and quality of life. He runs-hops and is happy like a young dog and he has a bad back but doesn't appear to be bad anymore. Remarkable in a word. We saw results in 10 days." See more survey results

Here at Lignans for Life we get dozens of phone calls each week from customers telling us that their veterinarians have recommended our web site and the use of lignans along with melatonin for their dogs. Most Vets are recommending 1-2 mg per lb of animal weight. A general rule of thiumb is to give one capsule for each 30 lbs of body weight. The capsules can be easily separated pouring the milled flax seed hulls onto the pet's food. Since flax seed is a natural grain, precise dosages are not required.Alopecia X is baldness and is common in pets with hormone imbalances such as those found in Cushing’s disease.

Lignans for Life offers pure flax seed hulls. The hulls are separated from the flax seed via mechanical means (no chemicals are used). Each capsule contains 26 mg of SDG lignans. The capsules come apart easily and since the lignans are ground into a powder they are easy to pour out the desired amount onto the dogs’ food. If you desire less than this you can easily separate the capsule and portion out the powder. However vets agree that Lignans are an all natural grain product and as long as your pet is getting the minimum required there is no need to worry about getting too much.

Most of our customers are telling us they are seeing results and the symptoms of dog Cushings disease diminish within an average of 2 months. Some say they are seeing the symptoms of Cushings diminish within as little as 2 weeks.