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D2006-22

Dear Daisy Dog

Our 8-year-old Scottish terrier has Cushing’s disease, for which she takes Lysodren.

She eats high quality food, yet she rips my annuals and tomato plants from their pots and consumes them.

Does her Cushing’s disease make her especially hungry? Or does she see us handling the plants and think they’re food?

Daisy Responds

Cushing’s disease, the overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal glands, may be the cause of your Scotty’s unusual appetite.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone much like prednisone, a medication that veterinarians sometimes prescribe for us dogs.

When their levels in the body are high, these steroids increase thirst and appetite.

Several years ago, when Mom treated my brother Sam with prednisone, he tried to eat everything in sight, from plants and tree branches to hardback books and record albums.

So consider yourself fortunate that your Scotty eats only plants.

To control the Cushing’s disease, your dog takes Lysodren, a medication that decreases her adrenal glands’ production of cortisol.

But if her cortisol level is still too high, it could account for her excessive appetite.

Tell your veterinarian that your Scotty has been eating plants, and request an ACTH stimulation test to evaluate cortisol production by her adrenal glands.

The test results will help your veterinarian recommend the next step in her treatment.

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