SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is best known as a supplement for providing support for the liver. However, SAMe is also used... read more
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Why are Cushing’s Dogs (and Stressed out People) Especially Susceptible to Diabetes? The hallmark cause of Cushing’s disease is... read more
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There are numerous treatment options to consider for dogs that have been diagnosed with Cushings disease, also known as... read more
Milk thistle has been used by physicians and herbalists since ancient times to treat liver disorders. In modern times,... read more
If you are taking lignans and melatonin as a hormone balancer or are giving the combination to your dog,... read more
my cushings dog is going to receive trilostane. will this interact safely with the melatonin and lignans? thanks
Some vets recommend lignans and melatonin in conjunction with conventional medications; however, we can not speak to your dog’s case in particular as each Cushings case is different. It is very important to consult your veterinarian when introducing new supplements since they are familiar with your dog’s regimen.
do you need both the lignans & the melatonin?
Giving both lignans and melatonin is not necessary; however, they are more effective when used together and are often recommended in conjunction with one another. They each inhibit separate enzymes needed in the production of Cortisol, a stress hormone that is produced in excess in dogs with Cushings. Reducing this heightened cortisol can help manage Cushings symptoms. It is important to consult your veterinarian on which they recommend as each Cushing’s case is different and they are more familiar with your dog’s.
My bichon frise has been diagnosed with cushings disease, I have been using Vetoryl capsules 10mg for the last 9 months or so and would like to try a more holistic approach. How would I know what Lignans to use.
If you are considering lignans, either Flaxseed Lignans or HMR Lignans are recommended. The main difference between the two is the fiber content and sourcing; however, studies and research have reported that they both work equally well when it comes to reducing heightened Cortisol levels in Cushingoid dogs. HMR Lignans come from the Norwegian Spruce Tree and do not contain fiber. Flaxseed SDG Lignans come from Flaxseed Hulls and contain fiber. The important factor to consider is the correct dosage for your dog. It is recommended to give your dog 1-2 mg of lignan per pound of body weight (i.e. a 20 lb dog would have 20-40 mg of lignan per day). A site for lignans that we often suggest is lignans.net as they provide quality products and ample information. However, we always recommend consulting your veterinarian when changing your dog’s regimen as they are most familiar with your dog’s particular case. Good luck!
I had my dog on vetoryl which completely stopped her appetite. She would eat for days! Very stressful for me. Took her off that and started a more homeopathic approach with lug and hmr, melotonin, and CBD. It seems the HMR also curves her appetite now and I can’t get her to eat. Before I started the routine and gave her body time to adjust after removing her from vetoryl she was eating. I try adding green beans , chick broth, olive oil etc. but she won’t have it. Even wet dog food. At times she will eat fresh cooked chicken. Are the align and root of this problem?
I have a 12 year old Jack Russell and our vet has told me that she will more than likely get Cushings disease down the track. Her many blood tests seem to have confirmed this result.
My dog was taking a combination of SAME and milk thistle for 3 months before her last blood test in the hopes that her test for the liver levels would decrease but they went the other way and have increased.
At present I am still giving my dog the milk thistle.
I have been reading about lignans and all other sorts of things I can holistically give my dog and all this sounds promising.
What I really want advice on is this – should I already be giving these things to my dog even though she is not yet showing any proper symptoms of cushings?
Lignans and Melatonin can be given to dogs when Cushings is only suspected because they are mild with no known side effects, yet they have a high success rate. After administering lignans and melatonin, along with SAMe and Milk Thistle for 2-4 months, you should see liver enzymes reduce; however, we recommend sharing this information with your veterinarian as every dog is different and your dog could have other complicating factors. Lignans and melatonin don’t need a vet’s approval, but it is always recommended. We suggest talking to your vet about this regimen as a preventative measure. If you don’t see an improvement after a few months, you should talk to your vet about other options for liver support. We wish you luck in finding the best regimen.
Hello friends, I am from Brazil and here in the country I only find linseed oil in 500mg capsules and my dog weighs 8kg, would it be a lot to give him a 500mg capsule? And these linseed oil capsules contain enough lignas or what would be my solution? Thank you
Hello, Linseed/flaxseed oil is not recommended for dogs with Cushings. The oil does not contain lignans. If you wish to go the holistic route and want to try flaxseed lignans, it is important to select products that have had the oil removed (i.e. flaxseed lignans that are hulled and put in capsule or powder form). It is usually recommended to give 1-2 mg of flaxseed lignan per pound of body weight, but we always suggest consulting a veterinarian since they are most familiar with your dog’s case.
We just found out that our Max as Crushing disease from our Vet. We’re going to try the herbal method I bought the Adrenal Harmony and it has a list of Herbs in it to help can I also give him HMR Lignan at the same time. The Aderenal Harmony does not have HMR lignans in the indigents?
You should be able to give your dog both at the same time, but we always recommend consulting your vet when trying new supplements and treatment regimens.
My mini Australian Shepard had a serious bout of acute pancreatitis last month which landed her in the doggy hospital for a week. She was diagnosed with diabetes at that time (they are not sure if she was an undiagnosed diabetic prior or if the pancreatitus caused the diabetes) Thousands of dollars later she came home on several antibiotics and Vetsulin. She remained lethargic and had a major decrease in appetite and her blood glucose levels remained high (550-750) for a few weeks. We finally got her eating and our vet switched her to Novolin nph insulin. Her blood glucose level remained high and 2 days after the switch she presented with vomiting and bloody stool. Back to the vet for more antibiotics and fluids. Now the vet is thinking she may have Cushings due to her poor response to the insulin. After being on antibiotics for a few days however her blood glucose levels are good (160-250). She eats only small amounts and is reluctant to drink water. She vomits a small amount immediately after eating (and then we fight to see if I can clean it before she eats it again). She has no pot belly and no hair loss. She is lethargic but arousal and responsive when called. I have noticed her back legs give out on her on occasion and she can’t jump up like she used to. The vet wants to do an ACTH stimulation test for a $300 charge and then start her on Vetoryl, a $100 charge for a month supply and then redo the ACTH stim. test in 10-14 days (another $300 charge) to check the effectiveness of the med. She will then have to have a repeat test once every 3-4 months at $300 a test and continue on the med for $100 a month. The vost for all of this is substantial and we have already spent a small fortune on her. And, to be honest, putting her on Vetoryl scares me. It seems the side effects are extreme. I’m thinking of trying homeopathic remedies but am wondering if I should get the ACTH stimulus test to confirm if she even has Cushings!
If you wish to try holistic options (i.e. lignans and melatonin), these can be given when Cushings is only suspected because they are natural supplements that are gentle on aging dogs. Additionally, ongoing testing is not required as it is with conventional medication (i.e. chemotherapy drugs like Vetoryl). Cushings can be difficult to diagnose at times, even with testing. However, we always recommend discussing this with your veterinarian and getting a second opinion when possible (you can also check the AHVMA website to see if you can find a holistic vet near you), as they would be more familiar with your dog’s case. Each case varies and every dog is different, plus it appears your dog has complicating factors and co-occurring disorders. While we have a great deal of experience with Cushings and contributions from veterinarians on our site, and although we feature regimens (both holistic and medical) that have been clinically proven, we are not veterinarians. Our goal is to educate and increase awareness of Cushings as best as we can while providing a forum for others with similar experiences. For further information, feel free to check out these pages on our site: Holistic Treatment Options; Vet Recommended Treatments and we recommended consulting multiple veterinarians when possible. We wish you luck in finding the best possible regimen for your dog.
My 11 Year Old Jack Russell was diagnised with Cushings this week. She can’t stop drinking water and I feel mean witholding water from her. She is peeing all over my house and if I don’t give her water she shakes and barks at me. My vet has not been very helpful with treatments. THey want be to do digital imaging and more expensive tests which I just don’t have the money for. I want to help my dog and give her the best quality of life but the excessive drinking is causing her to bloat herself and pee constnatly, I don’t know what t do?
It is likely that the heightened cortisol levels are causing the excessive thirst and urination. If you aren’t looking to pay for expensive testing or costly chemotherapy drugs, you can always try natural options (i.e. lignans and melatonin, which can naturally lower cortisol), as they are more cost effective. We also recommend getting another opinion if possible, or perhaps seeking the aid of a holistic veterinarian. Feel free to check out our holistic page to read about less costly options: Holistic Treatment Options
One of the benefits of going holistic is that ongoing testing is not required. We wish you luck in finding the best regimen for your dog and finding a way to help manage the symptoms. Don’t forget we always recommend consulting a veterinarian when trying any new regimen as every case is different.
I really appreciate the information on this site for alternative treatments of Cushing’s symptoms. Most veterinarians are wonderful at keeping our pets healthy, but I have become aware that Cushing’s is not well managed with traditional medicine. The symptoms of most cases of Cushing’s are fairly obvious just by examination; that’s how traditional vets pick up on it. But then the outrageously expensive path to a scientific diagnosis is traumatic for a dog who’s already over producing stress hormones, as well as the trauma to the typical household/pet owner budget. Veterinarians of traditional medicine are basically chemists, just like our typical medical doctors. Excessive testing, chemical treatments, and more testing only seems to make clinics healthier financially. YOU have to decide how much you want to put your already stressed dog through. Typical vets will naturally lead you to what they know, very rarely informing you there are alternatives that don’t necessarily involve all that frightening testing (my dog totally freaks out at the vet anyway), while eventually making the dog much more comfortable in it’s own environment. It takes patience on your part! Keep in mind there is no cure for Cushing’s even after the traditional, repetitive testing and medicinal adjustments because it’s all very trial and error. In my opinion, that is an awful lot of suffering to add to my dog’s already overproduction of stress hormone, which is what Cushing’s is! I have yet to find a traditional vet who will even hint at a natural, un-invasive approach. Nothing against traditional veterinarians! They do what they know best, but they don’t usually recommend other alternatives because that is not their knowledge base or practice. The problem I personally have with the medical approach is that the dog comes out with a condition that is not going to heal either way, so the best you can hope for is to get the dog as comfortable as possible without adding all the additional stress of the testing, retesting, and guesswork since testing more than likely puts poor Fido through hell. I’ve been through this and I felt like I was compounding my poor dog’s suffering, and in reality I was! The only way I would ever put a dog through that again was if I had a young one with the type of tumor where a veterinarian gave me an 80% success rate of recovery from surgically removing that tumor. To my understanding even that has risks, not to mention without really good pet insurance you will be transferring hefty funds towards that whole process. That is the only approach that claims curing a particular type of Cushing’s and if it’s a breed genetically prone, the dog can always develop another tumor. I’m only suggesting you fully look at both approaches, before you decide which makes the most sense to you. My medical doctor laughs at me when I tell him I feel better on vitamins. He is a chemist and treats symptoms with chemicals. Most times that approach works, but they never acknowledge there are potentially natural alternatives that yes, take longer, but can be just as successful and less chemically invasive. Your vet will most likely pickup on Cushing’s symptoms unless you are tuned into your dog enough to see the excessive drinking of water with excessive peeing, a flabby pot belly, decrease in interest in activities, or muscle loss. What you won’t see is that the dog feels like it’s starving from another typical symptom of excess cortisol production , just like humans do when on Prednisone. You may think your dog is a glutton, constantly begging for treats or always hungry, never satisfied. If you give in to all that begging, you will end up with an overweight pooch who is already too weak to carry those extra pounds. If you are confused, you get the picture. This time I am taking the natural approach and doing the flaxseed lignans and melatonin, and giving those time to help tamp down some of that overproduction of cortisol. That has proven to be more successful with zero invasive treatment than all the testing and medication experimentation. I won’t put her through all the rigors of what is called holistic either. That can get too involved for my girl and she won’t tolerate it anyway. The lignans and melatonin are certainly a part of the holistic approach but I’m taking a middle line approach knowing what my girl can handle at age 15. She still has a love of life and I want the time she has left to be comfortable, getting that cortisol down as much as possible, watching her diet (meat, vegetables with a little oatmeal), a heart support vitamin, melatonin and flaxseed lignans. I hope I see results, but I believe this approach is all she needs to be faced with for now. I will not put her through the rigors of testing, experimentation with meds, drugs for the rest of her life and end up with no guarantee of better results. Never take their water away! Their body demands it and to have it taken away creates even more stress. They feel thirsty beyond your imagination and we humans know how it feels to be very thirsty and not have water! Avoid giving in to the begging for extra food and treats as that compounds things. I give my girl dried turkey tendons and the chewing and low fat turkey satisfies her. I give her bits of chicken jerky to satisfy some of her driving appetite. I feed her half of her day’s food in the morning and the other half for dinner. She gets as much water as she wants and I have pee pads down just in case I can’t get her outside every time she needs to go. She gets me up 2 to 3 times a night to go outside because she won’t pee in the house because she was trained not to. My huge advantage is that I am retired, which admittedly makes it much, much more manageable for me. I truly feel for those of you who work and have little ones at home to care for on top of dealing with a dog with Cushing’s! I hate this disease and wish there was an affordable, less intrusive medical cure, but there simply isn’t. It’s a common problem in older dogs and they have to live with it a rather long time being uncomfortable and feeling like crap. So my approach makes the most sense to me. Put a lot of thought into which path you take your dog down, do not expect miracles, but give your dog all the love you can, knowing she hasn’t become a water guzzling, food scarfing, peeing machine without a reason totally beyond control. She hasn’t become disobedient, no longer caring where she pees. When nature calls so fast and so strong, she is helpless to hold it too long. Please, I beg you not to add to her stress by punishing her! Figure out what you can live with for her or his sake. We owe that to them for the unconditional love they have always given us.
Just want to say how lovely your post is. Very informative. My Alfie is 15yrs old with suspected Cushions. He has every symptom. Haven’t had the test done which the vet advised to do as his separation anxiety would raise his cortisol levels anyway so I don’t know or trust how a true reading could be taken. I have him on cbd oil and cushex s drops both 3x daily and have just ordered my hmr lignans ( expensive as we cant get it in UK) his melatonin arrived today. I have been feeling immense pressure to go vet route as he’s certainly not improved with what I’m giving him, hopefully lignans and melatonin will help somewhat. I hate, for him, how thirsty he is, drinking from every puddle when we’re out and at least 9 pints a day from his bowl. Such thirst must be horrendous, my poor boy 🙁
Your post has encouraged me to keep going on this route and avoid the vets.
I hope your girl is comfortable and still enjoying life. Many thanks
I totally agree with what Kate wrote. I couldn’t have written my thoughts any better. My 11 year old yorkie, maltese, poodle mix dog was diagnosed with diabetes and Cushings last July. I did my own research until my head hurt and decided to treat the diabetes with insulin and Glycobalance food. I opted to do the holistic approach for the Cushings, much against my vet’s advice, with Melatonin and Flaxseed. I refused to treat with chemo medicine-factoring in the ongoing expense and side effects which would be a balancing act with a dog with diabetes. I chose not to put her through any more stress then I had to and I wanted to keep her comfortable with a decent quality of life that didn’t involve being at the vet every couple weeks. I buy a size 3 Pampers Dry Fit, cut a hole in them for her tail to go through and put a onesie on her to keep her diaper in place on the days that she has excessive thirst and urination due to both conditions. She eats her measured food at 6 am and 6 pm after which I inject her with her Vetsulin. Her glucose curve is ranging from the high 100’s to the 400’s, depending on her cortisol level, stress level or if she has a UTI-common in diabetic dogs. You are correct in saying you need to do your own research and do what you feel is right for you and your pet. Keeping the stress level down in your life will also help your pet keep his/hers down.
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Wow that’s so comforting to read , so loving for your dog ,I’m just waiting blood n urine results so could be our start of the battle, will try my very best!
Why do you not recommend ground flaxseed for cushing’s? You say it doesn’t have enough lignans in it, but I have read it has 85 mg of lignans per 1 oz. which is a lot. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/lignans
CBD for the win!
Sharing this with my friends.
Good on you for sharing.
Yes, the recommended dosage of flax lignans is 1-2 mg per pound of body weight. We recommend http://www.lignans.net for lignan products.