Canine Cushings Treatment Side Effects

by Nelson
(Hong Kong)

My dog is 10 years old and weighed 6.5kg (14 pounds) when I discovered 1 year ago that he has canine cushing's disease. For treatment, he was taking 'Vetoryl' 60mg daily for 10 months, until the symptoms improved and blood test results became normal at the 10 month mark.

However, he lost his appetite (not interested in eating anything lately) and is so sensitive to not eating, that his weight dropped quickly to around 5.5kg in a month.

Because of these side effects, we stopped the treatment and soon after found that his appetite improved and his weight stopped dropping, although it did not return to normal levels.

About 2.5 months later, we resumed the treatment with 30mg daily as our vet recommend, however we found his appetite dropped again. To build up his weight and dog energy levels, we started to feed him 2x cans of hills a/d daily plus lamb as recommend by vet, but strangely the weight still dropped to 4.2kg as of today.

Is this a common side effect of Vetoryl? Is Vetoryl equal to Lysodren? Should we stop the treatment again and try the other treatment? In fact, we consulted the vet who indicated that Vetoryl should have no side effects, however we doubted that was the case.

Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Editor Comment - Canine Cushings Treatment Side Effects

Dear Nelson,

Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about the side effects of canine cushings treatment your dog is suffering from.

Canine Cushings disease or Hyperadrenocorticism refers to the excessive secretion of cortisol. The disease has two forms:

1. “Canine Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism” (PDH), which is the most common form of cushings in dogs.
2. 'Canine Adrenal Tumor' is a second, less common form of cushings disease in dogs.

It is important to differentiate between the two forms before initiating treatment. This is accomplished with a series of laboratory tests and x-rays.

As far as specific treatment is concerned, it is essential that the canine cushings treatment approach take into consideration the condition's severity, the form of the disease and the regular monitoring of changes during treatment.

The canine cushings medication “Vetoryl” contains Trilostane, which is an anti-corticosteroidal, adrenal-suppressant drug. Vetoryl is used for treatment of the clinical signs caused by Cushing's disease. Although it is considered to be a cushings disease dog treatment, it is not a true cure for Cushing's disease in dogs. It reduces clinical symptoms and is administered over the short or
long term, depending upon the results of monitoring tests for ACTH or hormonal activity.

There are various side effects related with this product, which can be anorexia (appetite loss), lethargy, weight loss, depression and disturbed gastrointestinal activity (vomiting & diarrhea). Some or all of these side effects may be exhibited. It is always recommended that therapy should be discontinued and corticosteroids should be administered to enhance hormonal activity in the short term. But, this approach varies from dog to dog and depends upon the status of the disease.

As far as differences between “Vetoryl” and “Lysodern” are concerned, these are completely different products. Vetoryl contains Trilostane, while “Lysodern” contains “Mitotane” as the active therapeutic agent. Both have different mode of action. In simple terms, Trilostane/Vetoryl reduces the secretion of the adrenal and pituitary glands, while Mitotane/Lysodern reduces dog adrenal gland functionality by reducing activity in the upper layers/tissues of the adrenal gland, which produces corticosteroids. Vetoryl is preferred in the Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) form of Cushing's disease, while Lysodern is administered in cases of the purely adrenal gland related form of Cushing's disease, which usually is a tumor over the adrenal gland.

Both of these products have side effects, like anorexia, ataxia (muscle coordination problems), lethargy, weakness, weight loss and gastrointestinal disturbance, which should be monitored through regular check ups and ACTH tests, and then according to the dog's status, therapies should changed as needed.

Though these products have side effects, remember that these are the only products available that are effective specific products for the treatment of canine Cushing's disease. Alternates, such as Ketaconazole can be used, but, it is administered in combination with Trilostane or Mitotane, depending upon the form of the disease.

You should discuss these developments and side effects with your veterinarian, and if required change the mode of treatment, since weight loss and anorexia are major complications, which in their latter stages will surely disturb the physiology (general health) or systemic function of your dog.

For support, you can try natural remedies as well, which can help to control the adrenal and pituitary gland's excessive activity and you can also try some natural tonics for supporting your dogs body condition, which can help with weight gain and improve energy levels. The two products we suggest in these cases are Cushex Drops for controlling gland activity and Energy Tonic to improve dog energy levels.

Please keep us up to date on the canine cushings treatment and we hope your dog's condition improves soon.

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Jul 21, 2013
vetoryl symptoms

I have a 12 yr old Boxer "Gigi" who had cushings and has now been symptom free for 9 months. Ths main thing vetorylgave my boxer was the thickest coarse hair. Does anyone know if her hair will ever go back to normal?

Nov 08, 2014
Veterol side effect???
by: ionne

My 18 1/2 year old 20 lb "terrier mix" has been on Veterol for about 3 years. She seemed to respond quickly & favorably as far as the excessive thirst and rapid panting. She looks like a butterball because she now must have 3 times more hair than she ever had before. It's a lush, beautiful & thick coat but she's a little crabby about being brushed. The last year she is kind of stiff, can't get on the bed and has yet to learn to slow down when coming up the steps though still likes to show off by racing around the yard doing figure eights. The last few months she's gotten a bit untidy for the first time in her life as though she is caught off guard by the sudden urge to defecate. I know she's a senior citizen but I don't think she's realized it yet. How long can a dog take Veterol? Could the stiffness be from the Cushings, age or a side effect of the Veterol?

Nov 18, 2014
4 months since diagnosed with Cushings
by: Lisa M.

My 12 yr old shihtzu mix Jack was diagnosed 4 months ago. He has been on Veteroyl ever since and his last tests showed his levels where they wanted them to be and his symptons had went away almost completely but now for the past 3 wks they have come back, heavy panting, cant sleep very well, and now seems very jittery and has had times where he loses his balance or step and falls over. He doesn't act like he has any pain in any specific area but he whines and cries out a lot. Does this sound like normal side effects? We did not do the ultrasound to see if it was adrenal or pituitary related because of his age he wouldn't be a candidate for surgery and I was told the treatment is the same no matter which one is was. That vetoryl is used to treat both. Any help or advice I would greatly appreciate. He is not schedule for anymore testing until Jan.

Nov 01, 2017
Over therapeutic dose
by: Anonymous

60mg for a small dog? That is insane! My pet is 17 lbs and does well on 15mg a day. Whenever I renew the script I am always asked if he still weighs the same. initially the vert prescribed 30mg,and I found him lethargic. The dose cut in half is appropriate.

Mar 08, 2018
Cushings side effects
by: Wilf Loynd

Niki has had the Cushings now for almost 4 months now and was prescribed Vetoryl at 40 mg. To begin with she was fine apart from an almighty thirst, but has begun to whine a lot and is moulting much more heavily than you would expect at this time of year with the coat losing lumps or tufts of fur from a very dull looking coat. In every other respect she seems fine.

May 14, 2018
Cushings Disease
by: Anonymous

I have a 10 yr old boxer. He was diagnosed with Cushings in February 2018. He has been on Vetoryl 60 mg once daily. It has been three months since he was diagnosed and symptons are still present. He is constantly drinking always hungry and has the wetting the bed every night issue. So frustrated because his blood levels are on target. Don't know what to do

Nov 22, 2018
Dog sick from Vetoryl
by: Laurie

My little dog- 17 lb poodle/Maltese mix- is going to be 13 in January. I took her to the vet for a routine dental. Blood work indicated that her liver values were elevated. This was in September. She had a full blood panel and then returned to the vet the following week for the injection of Dexamethasone and blood draws at 4 and 8 hours. She was given the diagnosis of Cushings. She was treated with Vetoryl 30 mg.

Now the only symptoms my dog had before the medication was excessive panting and she was always hungry- and having to pee often. As soon as she started the medication, she began to drain her water bowl and started to pee all over the house, which she had never done before. Her little back legs seemed weak, like it was hard for her to come back up over the step to come in. I kept telling the vet that the dog was really off. Repeat blood work showed the drug levels were out of control in her body. Medication was stopped in October. She has lost weight, her stomach is overly sensitive, and she sometimes gets horrid diarrhea and vomiting. She sleeps a lot and looks ill. The vet blamed it on the pharmacy and said I need to get the pills from him. I will not let him give her the meds again as it will kill her. I have tried the Pet Well-being drops but she started to refuse her food so have stopped them for now. No longer panting.

How do I get her feeling better? It is as if the Vetoryl poisoned her. She was not sick before it. I feel so guilty and so sad. I just had major spinal surgery. I don’t want to lose my best buddy.

Sep 02, 2020
Cushings treatment
by: Anonymous

My dog was diagnosed with Cushings 10 years ago. My traditional vet told me the drugs Vetoryl and Lysodren were very dangerous for the dog. She recommended we see a holistic vet. We did and Peanut was treated with Si Miau San and other Chinese herbs and a raw food diet. He flourished under this protocol.

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