Veterinarian Warns: Increased Appetite Can Be a Sign of Serious Illness

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.29 - 2023 10:25 AM CET

Increased Appetite Can Be a Sign of Serious Illness.

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Is your dog eating more than usual? This could be a sign of a serious illness that you should respond to.

Canine Cushing's syndrome may be on the rise this Christmas, as overindulgence affects both humans and dogs. A veterinarian has warned about the increased risk of a condition that dogs face during the festive season due to the excessive enjoyment that comes with it.

Overeating and Increased Appetite

Both humans and dogs tend to eat and drink more than we should over Christmas, but this disease leaves older dogs particularly at risk. For those with aging dogs, an increased appetite could be indicative of an underlying and treatable condition known as 'Cushing's syndrome', rather than just a consequence of advanced years.

According to Pensionist, a recent survey among over 1,000 British dog owners revealed a significant misunderstanding, with 77 percent attributing signs of Cushing's syndrome to old age. In light of this, veterinarians urge pet owners to be vigilant and consider the possibility of this medical condition affecting their four-legged friends.

What is Cushing's Syndrome?

Jamie Walker, Technical Service Manager at the global veterinary medicine company Dechra, explained the challenge of distinguishing symptoms of underlying health problems from normal aging. "Cushing's syndrome," he explains, "is a disorder that can significantly affect a dog's health, vitality, and appearance." Also known as "hyperadrenocorticism," it is a widespread endocrine disorder primarily affecting middle-aged and older dogs.

The syndrome involves excessive production of cortisol, a crucial hormone for metabolic regulation, leading to harmful effects on various organs and the body's self-regulation.

Certain dog breeds, including Bichon Frise, Yorkshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Dachshund, and West Highland White Terrier, are more prone to developing Cushing's Syndrome.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Fortunately, timely diagnosis and treatment through medication can restore a dog's health and alleviate owners' concerns, while improving their pets' quality of life.

Recognizing Signs

Recognizing warning signs of Cushing's syndrome is crucial. These signs include changes in appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, excessive fatigue, increased abdominal girth, muscle wasting, unusual panting, patchy hair or skin changes, recurring skin infections, and recurring urinary infections.

Walker advises dog owners to consult their veterinarians if they observe changes in their pets' behavior, as early detection and intervention can significantly improve the prognosis for dogs affected by this disease.