How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Roger L. Welton, DVM Your Own Question
Roger L. Welton, DVM
Roger L. Welton, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1449
Experience:  Licensed Veterinarian, Practice Owner, and Book Author
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Roger L. Welton, DVM is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

In the last stages of Cushings Disease, will my dog die a ...

Customer Question

My dog had some symtoms( mainly frequent urination-but other than that she seemed in good health) of Cushings disease, so we took her(she is a 13 year old Field Spaniel-55 pounds)to the Vet. They tested her urine and did blood work and all they could say was she has a higher than normal amount of protein in her urine.They could do other tests which may not be conclusive, therefore we may need to keep doing more tests with no set number of tests, meaning this could go almost infinitely. Is there a specific test for Cushings disease? Also, the same day we took her to the Vet she went down hill rapidly, at this point she is not eating, not moving very much, urinating very little, drinking a little, she can't really stand up-esp. her hind legs.All she does is rest. She doesn't seem to be in pain, but I really don't know. I really don't know what to do. Is she to far gone to help? Should I let her die a natural death at home. Or should I put her down? I don't want her to suffer.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Roger L. Welton, DVM replied 8 years ago.
Cushings disease itself does not really reach an "end stage" scenario. Cushings is caused by a functional but benign (not cancerous) tumor of the pituitary gland in the brain. While the tumor does not cause cancer, it causes the pituitary gland to over secrete the hormone ACTH, which in turn over stimulates the adrenal glands to over secrete the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream.

The subsequent chronic excess of cortisol in the body, a hormone normally utilized by the body for the "fight or flight" response, is what leads to problems. Specifically, it causes chronic spikes in blood sugar that causes excess drinking and urination, and can predispose the patient to diabetes. Excess cortisol also overtaxes the heart, kidneys, and liver, as well as causing obesity and chronic skin problems.

Over time, cushings beats up on the body, predisposing to various health problems, but there really is no end stage cushings scenario. Once diagnosed, cushings responed quite favorably to treatment.

There exists a couple different specific bloodtests for cushings. However, if the patient is not showing typical signs of cushings disease (which your dog does not seem to be), and if no evidence is found on general bloodwork (the main evidence would be a significant rise in the liver enzyme ALP), then there really is no reason pursue a specific blood test for cushings.

You dog could have adissons disease, hypothyroidism, or cancer, so diagnostic imaging would be a good idea. I would start by taking x-rays of the chest and abdomen. If x-rays do not uncover any obvious lesions, then consider an ultrasound of the abdomen for more detailed imaging of the organs. If imaging does not offer any clues, then consider ruling out hypothyroidism with thyroid blood panel, as well as addissons disease with a blood test called an ACTH stimulation test.

Testing does not typically go on indefinately - most of the time, we acheive a diagnopsis, but not always. I understand that this can eventually end up getting rather costly, but testing is the only way to shed light on your dog's disease process. It is no different in human medicine. Therefore, I advise you to do the best you can within your means. If because of financial reasons or because of other more philosophical reasons, you decide to halt further diagnostics, you should not be hard on yourself, you obviously love the dog. However, I strongly advise not to let nature just take its course and die a natural death at home. This can lead to days of unnecessary suffering. If you decide against further diagnostics, then you should have the dog put to sleep humanely.

I wish you the very best!

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery