Over 80% of the dogs diagnosed with Cushing’s have developed a tumor on the pituitary gland, located at the base of their brains. Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) is usually benign. A smaller number of dogs, about 15%, develop a tumor on the adrenal glands just in front of the kidneys. Adrenal tumor hypercortisolism produces tumors. Research shows that about half of these tumors are malignant, while the other half are benign. Vets describe the third type as iatrogenic Cushing’s disease. If a dog receives long-term, cortisol-like steroids as a treatment for a legitimate medical condition, they are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Steroids can lead to an excess of cortisol and cause the same symptoms as the naturally occurring Cushing's disease.
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