What is Acromegaly In Dogs?
Acromegaly (also referred to as hypersomatotropism) is an endocrine disorder. This relatively rare hormonal condition triggers pituitary gland to overproduce a growth hormone (GH) called somatotropin. This over secretion of somatotropin causes the unproportioned growth of bone, internal organs and soft tissue mass. Hyperplastic mammary glands increase in secretion of somatotropin and may also cause acromegaly in dogs.
Often it is the vet who notices the change in a dog’s appearance as the symptoms of acromegaly can be difficult to detect and they usually develop over a period of time. It is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible for an effective treatment.
Symptoms of Acromegaly In Dogs
Symptoms may include:
- Swollen bones in the face, feet, and hands
- Polyphagia - excessive hunger
- Swollen mammary glands
- Polydipsia - excessive thirst
- Weight gain
- Urinary incontinence
- Stridor – noisy breathing
- Rigidity/ stiffness
- Excessive panting
- Prominent skin folds
- Macroglossia-enlarged tongue
- Gap in teeth due to the jawbone continuing to grow
- Pale and enlarged gums
- Hair loss
- Swollen and painful joints that limit movement
- Arthritis (inflammation of the joints)
Treatment Options For Acromegaly In Dogs
Vets may suggest thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH) and an ACTH (hormone produced in the pituitary gland) stimulation test, luteinizing blood test (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Progesterone medications or drugs that have progesterone will be stopped.
Intact females may need an ovariohysterectomy, commonly called a spay (surgical removal of the ovaries).
Vets may prescribe somatostatin, a GH inhibiting hormone.
For Canines with pituitary tumors or mammary tumors, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be suggested.
Radiation therapy is given in small amounts over 2 to 5 weeks. Surgery may also be suggested.
Home Remedies For Acromegaly In Dogs
Home-prepared diets is good for acromegalic dogs than dry and canned dog foods.
Pasture-raised, organically produced ingredients ensure that your dog will not consume drug residues and pesticides.
Avoid using chemicals, Topical Pesticides and possible carcinogens in areas accessible to pets.
Ensure your dog is getting enough exercise.
Prevention Of Acromegaly In Dogs
Pay attention to sudden changes in appetite and weight.
Avoid exposure to carcinogens.
Never skip check-ups.
Consider Spaying or Neutering your pet.
Feed a home-prepared diet of organically produced ingredients.
Affected Dog Breeds Of Acromegaly
Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard. Most commonly seen in unsprayed females
Additional Facts For Acromegaly In Dogs
- Acromegaly - the prefix “acro” means extremities of the body and “megaly” means uneven enlargement.
- Tumor in Pituitary gland, Hyperplastic mammary glands and Long term use of progesterone are the main causes of acromegaly in dogs.
- The Saint Bernard breed is alleged to have predisposed genetic abnormalities and acromegaly is more common in the breed.
When To See A Vet For Acromegaly?
For a condition like Acromegaly, don’t skip wellness examination, your dog’s yearly veterinary check up is not something to be missed.
Try to get your pup to vet monthly to monitor their growth.
Food Suggestions For Acromegaly In Dogs
Highly Digestible Protein foods.
Muscle meats (chicken, beef, lamb).
Sweet potato, Broccoli.
Avoid table scraps.
Adequate source of potable water.
The recovery prognosis for Treatment of progesterone medication triggered acromegaly in dogs is good. Acromegalic Dogs due to mammary gland tumors or pituitary tumors have a more cautious prognosis.