Pituitary Gland Disorders in Dogs | Petlebi

Dog Health

The pituitary gland is an organ in the brain that is smaller than a pea. It is located in the lower middle part of the brain. The pituitary gland is responsible for producing hormones that are used in many other organs in the body. These hormones regulate the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing stress hormones, the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing thyroid hormone, and the parathyroid glands, which regulate calcium in the body. The pituitary gland also affects the pancreas and other tissues. It is considered as the main gland because it regulates all the other glands and organs that make up the hormone system in the body. Since it affects many organs of the body, it can cause different ailments. Some of the pituitary gland disorders in dogs are rarely seen. Some conditions can cause serious problems. In this article, we will discuss the problems that occur due to pituitary gland disorders in dogs.

gray curly fluffy dog ​​lying down

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when there is too much cortisol in the body. Cushing’s syndrome is most common in dogs. It is especially at risk of being seen in Toy Poodle, Dachshund, Boxer, Boston Terrier and hunting dogs. A common cause of the syndrome in dogs with Cushing’s syndrome is a pituitary gland tumor in 85 to 90% of cases. In the remaining 10-15%, tumors occurring in the adrenal glands are seen as the cause. This ailment is usually seen in middle-aged and older dogs. The most common symptoms include excessive drinking, frequent urination, increased appetite, fatigue, weight gain, obesity, thinning of the skin and hair loss. Rarely, calcinosis cutis occurs. Calcinosis cutis is a condition that causes the formation of small and hard spots on the skin with the deposition of minerals in the abdomen.

It is very difficult to diagnose Cushing’s syndrome. Because laboratory tests can give inconclusive or false positive results. For this reason, Cushing’s syndrome is a challenging disorder for the dog. Other disorders in dogs can cause the Cushing’s syndrome test to be positive. For this reason, veterinarians perform routine blood and urine tests when they suspect Cushing’s syndrome in dogs. In case the tests are inconclusive or the symptoms disappear all of a sudden, these tests can be done repeatedly for 3-6 months. When the disease is diagnosed, it is usually investigated whether the tumor in the pituitary gland or the tumor in the adrenal glands is the cause of the disease. For this, advanced imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography or MR are used.

Cushing’s syndrome is treated with mitotane. This drug lowers the amount of cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands. During this period, the dog should be checked regularly. When cortisol levels fall too low, symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea occur. A blood test to check cortisol levels is usually done every 3 to 4 months during mitotane therapy. The disease is controlled by gradually decreasing the dose of mitotane. Side effects of mitotane include vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, weakness, seizures, and low blood sugar. Some of these side effects disappear when the daily dose is given in two portions at 8-12 hour intervals. Pituitary gland tumors in dogs do not always cause Cushing’s syndrome. In Cushing’s syndrome, which is caused by a tumor in the adrenal glands, drug therapy is not effective. In this case, surgical intervention is usually required.

short-haired dog lying down

Adult Onset Panhypopituitarism

Panhypopituitarism occurs when tissues such as the pituitary gland and surrounding hypothalamus are compressed or damaged. As a result of this damage, a significant part of the anterior pituitary hormones is secreted insufficiently or not at all. For this reason, other glands that produce hormones also deteriorate, leading to the appearance of various symptoms.

Inactive pituitary gland tumors are usually seen in older dogs. In addition, all dog breeds are affected by this problem at the same rate. Other conditions that cause inflammation or injury to the pituitary tissue are also considered panhypopituitarism.

Dogs with panhypopituitarism often fall into a more depressed mood. In addition, loss of coordination, excessive fatigue during exercise and weight loss are among the symptoms seen. Rarely, changes in behavior occur. Behavioral changes seen in dogs appear in the form of not responding to people and needing to hide. When the disease is chronic, blindness may develop due to the pressure of the growing pituitary gland tumor on the optic nerves. Dogs with panhypopituitarism begin to drink more water, but they can still become dehydrated. They also urinate very often due to the consumption of a lot of water.

Passive pituitary tumors can grow significantly before they cause symptoms or death. The entire hypothalamus may be under the tumor. It can also spread to the thyroid, adrenal glands or ovaries, although the tests are normal. Radiation therapy is an effective treatment for dogs with large pituitary tumors. In this way, shrinkage of the tumor can be achieved. However, in dogs where the tumor has grown excessively and the symptoms are severe, the chances of cure are low.

dwarf german shepherd

Puberty Onset Panhypopituitarism

Panhypopituitarism that occurs during puberty is also known as growth hormone deficiency. The anterior part of the pituitary gland is not sufficiently developed due to the tumor. This causes other glands that produce hormones to be affected, and some symptoms occur as a result. Dwarfism, which occurs due to insufficient growth hormone during puberty, is one of them. Dwarfism caused by a pituitary gland tumor in dogs is common in German shepherd dogs. However, dwarfism is also common in Spitz, Miniature Pinscher and Karelian Bear dogs.

Dwarf pups are the same size as their siblings until they are about 2 months old. But then their growth slows down. In addition, the baby hairs remain. The protective top coat of hair found in adult dogs does not develop in dwarf puppies. Over time, hair loss begins on both sides of the body. Generally, the hairs in all areas except the head and legs are shed. Similarly, adult teeth do not erupt or erupt too late. In male dogs, the testicles and penis remain very small. In female dogs, heat periods are irregular or absent. Since the pituitary gland also affects other organs in the body’s hormone system, thyroid hormone and cortisol levels in the body are low. In addition, shrinkage occurs in the thyroid and adrenal glands over time. Dogs with panhypopituitarism have a shorter lifespan.

brown fluffy blue eyed dog lying on the ground

Sugar Free Diabetes

Diabetes without diabetes is unrelated to known diabetes mellitus and is not related to insulin or sugar metabolism. Diabetes insipidus, called diabetes insipidus, results from problems with the pituitary gland hormone vasopressin, which controls fluid levels in the body. In this condition, the pituitary gland does not produce enough central diabetes insipidus or the kidneys do not respond normally to the hormone nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Dogs with diabetes mellitus without sugar consume excessive amounts of water and therefore again urinate excessively. Even if the dog is extremely dehydrated, his urine is very infrequent. Normally, the urine of dehydrated animals is more concentrated. In the absence of excessive thirst or kidney disease, the water deprivation test should be done very carefully. A second test is then performed to determine whether the center of the disease is from diabetes insipidus or from nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Desmopressin acetate, which acts as an antidiuretic hormone, is generally used in the treatment. Since the dog urinates frequently, it should never be kept away from water. Diabetes without sugar is not fatal and therefore does not affect the lifespan of dogs who are afflicted.

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