Canine Cushings Disease and Lignans for Dogs
Veterinarians and Universities suggest considering Flaxseed Hulls (SDG Lignans) or HMR Lignans when Cushings or atypical Cushings disease is present. Lignans For Life offers flaxseed lignans in capsule and in bulk powder form. We also offer HMR lignans and melatonin.
Lignans for Cushing’s in Dogs
Helps the return of normal skin and coat
Helps restore normal thirst and urination
Aids in the return of dog’s normal weight and appetite
Helps restore dog’s energy
Inhibits 3-beta HSD Enzyme, which effectively reduces Cortisol levels
What is Cushing’s Disease?
Cushing’s syndrome, aka hyperadrenocorticism, is a hormone disorder involving an increase in cortisol levels. This could be a result of tumors or of taking certain glucocorticoid drugs. In the case of tumors, surgery has been very effective in humans, but is not advisable for dogs. Cushing’s is common in humans, dogs and horses. It is a middle aged to old aged disease that affects the pituitary gland in 80% of cases. Less commonly, Cushings affects the adrenal gland. Regardless of the tumor’s location, the result is an imbalance of Cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Abnormal levels of Cortisol are implicated in the diagnosis of Cushing’s disease; Atypical Cushings Disease is slightly different. Atypical Cushings dogs still exhibit the same symptoms as dogs with regular Cushings Disease, but rather than an overproduction of Cortisol, they experience heightened levels of sex steroids (estradiol, progesterone, aldosterone, etc.). Lignans and melatonin can both inhibit aromatase enzyme, which effectively lowers estradiol, the sex steroid responsible for many atypical Cushings symptoms.
Normal Endocrine Function
In normal people or dogs, the pituitary gland produces ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal glands and instructs them to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a vital hormone in the body that affects numerous bodily functions. In Cushingoid dogs, the overproduction of Cortisol can lead to problematic symptoms.
Causes of Canine Cushings Disease. Cushings in dogs is caused by one of 3 sources.
1) Adrenal tumors: 15% of the time.
2) Pituitary tumors: 80% of the time
3) The administering of too many corticosteroids, which veterinarians usually give dogs for allergy treatments.
Canine Cushings symptoms
High blood pressure
Thinning of the hair
Excessive urination (including accidents in the house)
Increased tendency for diabetes; cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous system problems
Weakening of the immune system
Pot belly or drooping stomach. Although it may appear as if your dog has gained weight, it is usually more of a weight re-distribution as opposed to weight gain.
Canine Cushings Treatments and Remedies
Surgery. In the case of tumors, surgery has been very effective in humans, but is not advisable in dogs. With Cushings in dogs, the majority of tumors are located on the pituitary glands. Surgery is not performed on these tumors at all. Surgery is only performed on adrenal gland tumors, but even then it is rare because of the high risk and high cost.
Chemotherapy. Historical Treatments include medicine such as Lysodren and Trilostane, which can be extreme since they are chemotherapy drugs. Lysodren actually destroys the outer cortex of the adrenal glands. The goal with Lysodren is to damage the adrenal cortex just enough to slow down the production of glucocorticoid hormones. If too much is given, the adrenal gland can be permanently damaged and the drugs can quickly cause the opposite of Cushings, Addison’s Disease, in which no cortisol is produced. If Addison’s disease occurs, another set of drugs will be required for the rest of the dog’s life. Addisons only occurs in about 5% of Lysodren patients. More frequently (in about 1/3 of Lysodren patients), the dog will overreact to the Lysodren by producing extremely low levels of cortisol, causing loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness or even death. Death occurs from Lysodren in about 1% of Cushings disease cases.
Ketoconazole. is an antifungal that can treat certain symptoms of Cushings in dogs. This is deemed by many veterinarians to be a safer method of treatment than Lysodren; however, it is very expensive and has no effect at all in 20% of cases.
New Holistic Treatment for Cushings Disease. A report published by Dr. Jack Oliver DVM, PhD, from the college of veterinary medicine at a major US University recommends flaxseed lignans and melatonin for Cushings in dogs. Many veterinarians recommend starting with lignans before starting a medicinal treatment, but this UofT report says it is okay to take Flax seed lignans if your dog is already taking Trilostane or Lysodren. Flaxseed lignans are also recommended because they cannot cause Addison’s disease. Although vets often disagree on treatment programs, there can be multiple options that are effective. Some vets have recommended HMR lignans- which is short for hydroxymatairesinol -from the Norwegian Spruce tree, and other vets have recommended flaxseed lignans, which contain both HMR lignans, SDG lignans, and several other types of lignans. All lignans produce the desired effect of increasing enterolactone and enterodial in the body and ultimately reducing cortisol levels, but the flaxseed lignans have more antioxidants, as well as fiber, compared to HMR lignans. Click here to view all of Dr. Oliver’s treatment option considerations.
Here are excerpts from his report. “Lignan has phytoestrogenic activity, and competes with estradiol for tissue estrogen receptors, with less biological effect. Lignan also inhibits aromatase enzyme (lowers estradiol) and 3- beta HSD enzyme (lowers cortisol). Use either FLAX HULL (SDG) lignan, or HMR lignan. DO NOT USE flax seed oil as the lignan content is very low, and the flax oil can increase triglycerides. Lignans are safe, so doses don’t have to be exact. Suggested Doses: SDG lignan; one milligram/lb B. Wt./day. HMR lignan; 10-40 mg/day for small to large dogs.” Dr. Jack Oliver also included other references in his report, “Melatonin plus phytoestrogens (such as those from Flax seed lignans) are known to inhibit 3-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Lignans and genistein are also known to decrease the activity of aromatase enzyme in MCF-7 cells in vitro.** Therefore, combinations of melatonin and phytoestrogens may have efficacy in treating hyperestrinism conditions.” The phytoestrogens are prevalent in Lignans. Click here for the complete study
Other reasons to consider lignans and melatonin for dogs with Cushing’s Disease
They are gentle on aging dogs
They can be used if Cushing’s is only suspected
There are no negative side effects
Unlike harsh chemotherapy drugs, they cannot cause Addison’s Disease
They are effective in reducing heightened Cortisol levels in Cushingoid Dogs
No ongoing testing of the dog is required as with conventional treatments
What type of lignan should I choose and how much lignan should I give my dog?
Dr. Jack Oliver DVM and former head of endocrinology at the U of T reports that both HMR lignans (from Norwegian spruce trees) and SDG lignans (from flaxseed hulls) work equally well. The main decision is finding the lignan dosage that is best for your dog. A second consideration is whether you want fiber or not. The flaxseed hulls are high fiber; the HMR lignans do not have fiber. Our surveys concur with Dr. Jack Oliver’s findings and show that both the HMR lignans and flaxseed lignans work equally well. Only in about 1% of cases is there a need to switch from flaxseed lignan to HMR lignan, or vice versa. Find the lignan dosage that is closest to your dog’s weight and give 1-2 mg of lignan per day for each pound of body weight. For example, a 30 lb dog would take 30-60 mg of lignan per day. Click the following link for more detailed info on Lignans Dosage for Dogs. There are no side effects to lignans, but you should keep it in the range of 1-2 mg of lignans per day for each pound of your dog’s weight. Flaxseed lignans in excess can cause a loosening of the stool. Lignans for Life offers lignans in dosages of 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg, 35 mg, and 80 mg.
For melatonin, give 3 mg of melatonin every 12 hours for dogs under 30 lbs. For dogs over 30 lbs, give a 6 mg melatonin every 12 hours. For very small dogs (10 lbs or less) or for those who want to give their dog a very small dosage of melatonin, vets may recommend 1 mg melatonin every 12 hours. Make sure you do not use a rapid release or a timed release melatonin; use regular melatonin. All of our melatonin under our Lignans for Life, K9 Select, and K9 Choice brands fit these criteria. We carry melatonin in dosages of 1 mg, 3 mg, 5 mg, and 6 mg.
What types of dogs are most susceptible to Cushing’s disease?
Females may be slightly more susceptible than males and dogs over 5 years old are more prone, but the average age of Cushing’s diagnosis is 10-12 years old. Even though all breeds are susceptible, the dog breeds at higher risk are Yorkshire, Boston, Bull, Scottish and Silky Terriers, Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Staffordshires, Jack Russels, and Beagles.
Atypical Cushings Disease
What’s the difference between Cushings disease and atypical Cushings disease? Atypical Cushings disease is caused by an adrenal gland tumor (as with normal Cushings), but with atypical Cushings disease, there is no overproduction of cortisol. Instead, dogs with atypical Cushings have heightened levels of sex steroids – like estradiol – which causes most of the symptoms. A dog with atypical Cushings will still demonstrate normal Cushings syndrome symptoms, but the goal in managing these symptoms is to reduce estradiol. In cases of atypical Cushings disease, an effective treatment is a flaxseed lignan and melatonin combination, as both supplements can inhibit aromotase enzyme, thus effectively lowering estradiol and controlling atypical Cushings symptoms.
Lignans for Dogs
Lignans, along with melatonin, have been reported to slow the progress of and help ease the pain and symptoms of canine Cushing’s disease, atypical Cushing’s disease and diabetes in canines. Vets also recommend flax hull lignans for canine Alopecia X. Alopecia X is baldness and is common in pets with hormone imbalances, such as those found in dogs with Cushing’s disease.
Lignans are found in the hulls of flaxseed and the knots of spruce pine trees. Lignans are an all natural way to treat Cushings in dogs and are being recommended by more and more vets as knowledge of their effectiveness spreads. Lignans are also a popular choice because they are cost effective and there is no chance of getting Addison’s with Lignans. The flaxseed lignans are an all natural food product safe for canine Cushings with no known side effects. In another study, lignans have been shown to actually shrink tumors.
Diabetes and Canine Cushings
One of the natural functions of cortisol is to raise blood sugar. The overproduction of cortisol creates a continuous overproduction of blood sugar levels and thus, diabetes and Cushings often go hand in hand. Chronic canine Cushings can even cause permanent diabetes.
Lignans Dosages for Dogs
For people or pets, take 1-2 mg of lignan for each pound of body weight.
Click the following link for more detailed info on Lignans Dosage for Dogs
Vets Recommending Us and Customer Testimonials:
Our company, Lignans for Life LLC (formerly Products Development, LLC) has exhibited our K9 Choice and Lignans For Life products at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas and the CVC Vet show in San Diego. Hundreds of Veterinarians visited our booth, many of whom already carried our products, and many of whom started carrying our flaxseed and HMR lignans- as well as our K9 Choice brand melatonin- after the show. Most of the other vets were excited to learn about alternative treatment options; especially a low cost treatment that promotes general health. Veterinarians worldwide use us as a source for lignans and melatonin.
Cathy from Ohio wrote to us saying, “I am very impressed with the Lignans For Life Products…the dog that I bought them for is a 15 year old Akita/Siberian Husky mix female with atypical Cushings disease. Most of her symptoms have become more manageable (heavy breathing, excessive drinking and urination, skin lesions, stiffness in her back legs, sleeplessness at night, etc) and she is more comfortable. She has a pep in her step that she hasn’t had for years and she is now a therapy dog at a local retirement center here in Akron, OH. The products were securely packaged and the order shipped promptly.”
Hal M from Scottsdale, AZ reports, “My Maltese was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and has been taking Trilostane for 3 years. She lost her hair and our vet suggested we start her on the Lignans. Within 2 months of giving her the flaxseed lignans, she started growing her hair back. We just sprinkle the flaxseed lignans on her food and she eats it with no problems.”
Michael D from California wrote “My dog was diagnosed with Cushing’s in June 2010; we have a great Vet who recommended the lignans. We found improvement in his energy and his weight after taking your Lignans For Life lignans. They are working so well for him that I am going to take it too.” Click here for more testimonials
We recently sent out a survey to our customers to obtain more statistics on the success of using HMR and Flaxseed SDG Lignans. We sent out a request to 100 of our customers, some gave their dogs HMR lignan and some gave their dog Flax lignans. 85% of participants said they saw positive results in an average of 2 months of taking the lignans. Most used melatonin in conjunction with the lignans. Some saw results in as little as 2 weeks and some said it was 4 months before they saw results, but an average of participants saw symptoms lessen in 60 days. Improvements included outward symptoms and blood results. Others showed improved visible symptoms, but blood work stayed the same.
Lee G writes, “She is not as hungry and she sleeps through the night. She hasn’t had any more UTI’s and the excessive thirst is gone, as well as the panting. It was a little over a month when I saw results.”
Angell B writes, “Excessive thirst has improved but what I really noticed is that her hair filled in. Her pot belly shrank too.”
Stacy M writes, “clinical signs have improved, especially less drinking and urination. I saw results in a few weeks.”
Walter L writes, “His drinking has curbed a bit. Remarkable improvement in his activity and quality of life. He runs/hops and is happy like a young dog. He has a bad back, but doesn’t appear to anymore. Remarkable in a word. We saw results in 10 days.”
Here at Lignans for Life, we get dozens of phone calls each week from customers that tell us their veterinarians have recommended our web site and the use of lignans, along with melatonin, for their dogs. Most vets recommend 1-2 mg per lb of animal weight. A general rule of thumb is to give one capsule for each 30 lbs of body weight. The capsules can be easily separated and the milled flax seed hulls can be poured onto the pet’s food. Since flax seed is a natural grain, precise dosages are not required.
Lignans for Life offers pure flax seed hulls. The hulls are separated from the flax seed via mechanical means (no chemicals are used). We offer multiple dosages and each capsule contains 15, 25, 30, or 35 mg of SDG lignans. If less is desired, the capsules come apart easily and- since the lignans are ground into a powder- the desired amount can simply be poured onto the dog’s food. However, vets agree that lignans are an all natural grain product and giving “too much” is not a major concern. It is more important to ensure the dog is taking the minimum amount of lignan required (1 mg of lignan per pound of body weight). It is best to stick within the recommended dosage of 1-2 mg per pound of body weight.
Most of our customers tell us they see results and the symptoms of canine Cushings disease diminish within an average of 2 months. Some say they see the symptoms of Cushings diminish within as little as 2 weeks.