Cushings in dogs is usually caused by a tumor on either the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland. The University of Tennessee college of veterinary medicine does most of the testing for Cushings when veterinarians send out blood work to determine if Canine Cushings is present. The University Department of Endocrinology is on the forefront of research in Cushing's and they have some exciting results. A report issued by Dr Jack Oliver, DVM and Head of Endocrinology said, “Melatonin in combination with Lignans may be an effective treatment for Cushing's disease.”
The report recommends this as a first treatment consideration before considering more harsh treatments like Ketoconazole, Lysodren or Trilostane, which are all expensive forms of chemo-therapy. Instead, the lignans are an all natural holistic way to treat Cushing's disease in dogs.
Lignans are found in many plant sources including flaxseed, sesame seeds, broccoli, and rye, but the plant source with the most lignan is flaxseed. The lignans are found in the hull of the flaxseed. The hulls have a substantially higher amount of lignan than whole flaxseed. Flaxseed also contains SDG lignan. There is another source of lignan that comes from Norway Spruce Pine tree knots called HMR lignan. The University of Tennessee says that the HMR lignans work equally well in reducing cortisol levels assocated with Cushings.
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The flaxseed hulls are highly concentrated with lignan and since this is a natural food product, it is safe to use and has no known side effects. The flaxseed hulls are also high in fiber, which benefits canines since many dog foods are low in fiber. Many studies show that people with high flaxseed lignan diets have better colon health.
It is the high fiber content that most likely contributes to this phenomenon. Fiber soaks up toxins in the body and increases bowel movement frequency and volume. Thus the body is able to get rid of harmful waste products more efficiently.
Dr. Jack Oliver's report says that when using melatonin and lignans, expect to see improvement of symptoms within 4 months; however, in a recent survey of pet owners who had been treating cushings with lignans, the average time was about 2 months. The minimum recommended dosage is one milligram of lignan for each pound of dog weight. I.e. a 30 lb dog would take 30 milligrams of lignan per day. It is best to stay within 1-2 mg of lignan per pound of body weight. For small dogs, Dr. Oliver recommends 3mg of melatonin every 12 hours and for large dogs, 5-6 mg of melatonin every 12 hours.
Note: for very small dogs (10 lbs or less), or for those who want to give their dogs a very small amount of melatonin, vets may recommend 1 mg every 12 hours.
At Products Development, LLC we have been selling flaxseed lignans for several years. We recently did a poll with our customers. 85% of participants said that they had positive results within 4 months. The average time in which they saw results was 2 months. Some respondents said they saw hair growing back, reduced panting, or reduced water consumption within as little as 2 weeks. Another positive outcome was improved blood test results.
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