Adrenocorticotropic hormone. A hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce hormones including cortisol.
ACTH stimulation test
This is a test which may be used by your vet to diagnose Cushing’s. The test shows if your dog is overproducing cortisol by testing the response of the adrenal glands to stimulation by the hormone ACTH.
As ACTH naturally stimulates the production of cortisol, the cortisol levels after injection will increase beyond ‘normal’ levels in dogs without Cushing’s.
However when a dog has Cushing’s, the adrenal glands are overproducing cortisol, so when stimulated by ACTH, cortisol levels should increase much more significantly.
Adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (ADH)
This is a form of Cushing’s resulting from a tumour in the adrenal glands. More information on this can be found here.
Two small glands located next to each of the kidneys responsible for producing hormones that help control metabolism, blood pressure and fluid balance. Cortisol is one of these hormones.
A hormone produced by the adrenal gland, which helps to fight stress and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Cushing’s syndrome / Cushing’s disease
Cushing’s syndrome is the name given to the group of clinical signs which develop when the body produces too much cortisol hormone. The condition is named after Harvey William Cushing (1869 – 1939), a pioneering neurosurgeon who described the first human patients with the condition.
In the strictest of terms, if the source of Cushing’s is the pituitary gland, then the correct name is Cushing’s disease. This is the most common form we encounter in dogs. If the source of the condition is elsewhere in the body, the correct name is Cushing’s syndrome.
This condition may also be referred to scientifically as hyperadrenocorticism or hypercortisolism.
Throughout the website, we use the term Cushing’s to describe the condition.
The collective name of glands in the body that release hormones directly into the bloodstream.
Also known as steroids, glucocorticoids are a group of hormones released from adrenal glands that affect the body’s metabolism. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid.
Hormones act as chemical messengers to body organs, regulating certain body processes.
This is the scientific name for Cushing’s, and a term your vet may use when discussing the condition with colleagues. It is often abbreviated to HAC.
Low-dose dexamethasone suppression test
This is a test which may be used by your vet to diagnose Cushing’s. The test determines how your dog responds to injection of dexamethasone - a synthetic drug which acts in a similar way to cortisol.
In dogs which do not have Cushing’s, cortisol levels after injection of dexamethasone should be low when compared to ‘normal’ levels. In dogs with Cushing’s, the cortisol levels after injection of dexamethasone will remain elevated.
The physical and chemical processes by which the body builds and maintains itself and by which it breaks down food and nutrients to produce energy.
A gland situated at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland releases ACTH which in turn stimulates the production and release of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH)
This is a form of Cushing’s syndrome resulting from a tumour in the pituitary gland. More information on this can be found here.
The active ingredient in Vetoryl that is known to block the production of cortisol.
A medicine containing the active ingredient trilostane developed by Dechra Veterinary Products to treat Cushing’s in the dog.