Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease is a disorder resulting from overactive adrenal tissue, which produces excessive amounts of cortisone. Cortisone and related substances are essential hormones of the body, but when produced in excessive amounts these substances may cause systemic illness.

In most pets, the cause of the disease is a tumor of the pituitary gland. The tumor produces a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to grow larger and produce excess amounts of cortisone. In other pets, the cause is a tumor of the adrenal gland itself.

Cushing’s disease usually occurs in middle-aged to older dogs with most affected dogs being over 9 years of age. Both males and females are affected. The most commonly affected breeds include poodles, dachshunds, miniature schnauzers, and German shepherds. Boxers and Boston terriers are prone to development of Cushing’s disease caused by pituitary tumors.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Cushing’s disease is generally diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination, bloodwork and tests of the adrenal hormones (stimulation or suppression tests). X-rays of the chest and abdomen, urinalysis, and abdominal ultrasound may be recommended.  In some situations, a CT or MRI may be of benefit to differentiate a pituitary tumor from an adrenal tumor.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with Cushing’s disease due to a pituitary tumor are treated with medical therapy such as mitotane or ketoconazole. Dogs with Cushing’s disease due to an adrenal tumor may be treated with surgical removal of the adrenal tumor or treated medically with mitotane or ketoconazole.  Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Increased drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Abdominal distention (pot-bellied appearance)
  • Hair loss

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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