Having a furry companion is an experience like no other; you have someone to play and cuddle with all the time! However, while having a dog is undoubtedly fun, it comes with immense responsibility, too. You have to continually monitor your pet’s health and ensure they’re always in top shape.
One such disease that can creep up on your dog unannounced is Cushing’s disease. It occurs when your dog’s body over produces the hormone cortisol. This chemical helps your pet respond to stress, keeps its blood sugar levels in control, fights infections, and controls its weight. However, an over or underproduction of cortisol can create medical issues.
The problem with Cushing’s syndrome is how difficult it is to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to other conditions. It would be best to point out any unusual behavior to your vet, who can then take the necessary steps.
While you can opt for typical pharma treatments, these drugs may be risky. In this case, plant compounds, also known as lignans, are increasingly attracting attention because they help manage the hormonal imbalance and immune system issues caused by Cushing’s disease.
So, if you want to know how exactly lignans can help manage your dog’s Cushing’s disease, read on.
Cushing’s Disease In Dogs
As mentioned, Cushing’s disease occurs when your dog’s body overproduces Cortisol. The symptoms of Cushing’s disease often overlap with the symptoms of other conditions. However, if the symptoms below are co-occurring, consider getting your dog tested for Cushing’s.
- Increased thirst
- Increased appetite
- Increased panting
- High blood pressure
- Skin lesions
- Increased risk of nervous systems, diabetes, muscular, and cardiovascular issues
- Weakened immune system
- Hair thinning
- Coat thinning
- Loss of urine control
- Dropping stomach or pot belly
Typically, females are more likely to develop Cushing’s disease than male dogs. Additionally, dogs over five years of age are more susceptible, but the average age of a diagnosis is 10 to 12 years old. While all breeds of dogs are at risk, some are at a higher risk. These breeds are:
- Scottish Terriers
- Poodles, especially mini Poodles
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Jack Russells
- German Shepherds
What are Lignans?
Lignans are commonly categorized under polyphenols, which are a naturally occurring micronutrient found in plants. While lignans are usually found in legumes, whole grains, seeds, vegetables, tree bark, and nuts, they’re most abundant in flaxseed hulls. These compounds are part of the building blocks of plant cell walls.
Along with melatonin, lignans for dogs tend to slow the progression and ease the symptoms and pains associated with Cushing’s disease. Flax hull lignans are also recommended in treating Alopecia X, a condition common in pets with hormonal imbalances.
This treatment is a natural way to manage the symptoms associated with Cushing’s and is increasingly being recommended as more vets become aware of its benefits. Typically, vets recommend 1-2 mg of lignan for each pound of body weight.
Hormonal imbalance in dogs can typically cause the following issues:
- Weight gain
- Different kinds of cancer
- Prostrate or mammary gland issues, such as abnormal shape and swelling
- Coat and skin issues, such as itching, dryness, and dandruff
Research suggests that, when used in combination with melatonin, lignans can lower the concentrations of steroids, which is directly beneficial for dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease.
Benefits of Lignans
Due to their properties, lignans can result in significant benefits for your dog if it’s suffering from Cushing’s diseases. These benefits include:
Boosting cardiovascular health
Lignans can support your dog’s cardiovascular health in three ways: lowering triglyceride levels, decreasing blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Your dog’s cardiovascular health is essential in living a healthy life and has a holistic impact.
Improving immune system health
Cushing’s disease can affect your dog’s immune system, and, in this case, lignans can help manage the symptoms in this area. It helps prevent other conditions and control allergies. It also provides antioxidant support, which is especially helpful in restoring your dog’s coat and skin.
Reducing the risk of cancer
While research is still underway in this area, studies show that lignans’ hormone balancing effects can further reduce the probability of developing some cancers like mammary gland tumors. Flaxseed lignans have the properties to reduce the number, degree of invasiveness, and size of cancer cells.
Improves hormone balance
Cushing’s disease can cause hormonal imbalance in your dog, which can further impact other areas, such as weight, appetite, etc. Lignans can help restore hormonal balance and improve your dog’s metabolism, cognitive functioning, and musculoskeletal system.
Apart from these significant benefits, there are various other reasons you should consider using lignans, in combination with melatonin, as a treatment for Cushing’s disease in your dog. Firstly, the treatments are gentle on aging dogs, and there are no known adverse side effects of treating dogs with Cushing’s disease with lignans.
Apart from this, another good thing about lignans is that they can still be used even if you suspect your dog has Cushing’s disease. Moreover, unlike harsh chemotherapy drugs, lignans do not cause Addison’s Disease. Lastly, there’s no need to test your dog continually, which is the case with conventional treatments.
Treating a dog with Cushing’s disease can be a stressful process, but with the right guidance, you can quickly provide your dog with the care it needs. In this case, lignans are an excellent treatment option to consider once you consult with your dog’s vet and are sure it can be included in your dog’s regimen.