New Test For Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
There’s good news on the horizon for dogs suspected of having Cushing’s Disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism. Cushing’s Disease affects the endocrine system, causing the adrenal glands to produce excessive levels of steroid hormones.
The current method of diagnosis is a blood test, which is not only painful for dogs, but also quite costly. Blood test results can also be skewed since they only capture hormone levels present at the time the blood is drawn. An article in the April 2014 issue of Dog Fancy reports that an Austrian veterinarian, with the help of a research team has identified a noninvasive test using hair analysis to diagnose Cushing’s Disease in dogs.
The hormones associated with Cushing’s Disease accumulate in human hair, and the research team came to the conclusion the same might very well hold true for dogs. Researchers tested the hair of 12 dogs with Cushing’s and 10 healthy dogs. After reviewing the test results, the team found clearly elevated hormone levels in the Cushing’s dogs versus the 10 healthy dogs.
Research is continuing on the hair analysis testing, and the hope is that the test will be available to veterinarians in the near future. Once the hair analysis confirms elevated hormone levels, other tests would be used as a follow-up to confirm the diagnosis. This will be a great help in quicker diagnosis, with the added benefit of not being as stressful and painful to dogs.