Main Points of Dr. Zimmerman’s Presentation on Atypical Cushings in Scotties
Marcia Dawson DVM
The increased liver enzyme ALP activity frequently seen in Scotties is often a type of ALP commonly associated with exposure to excess steroid hormones such as cortisol.
However, in many Scotties it appears that excess adrenal sex steroids and not the more classically seen adrenal cortisol are responsible for the formation of this special form of ALP. This is a situation described by some as being an “occult” or “atypical” form of Cushings (HAC).
The lack of involvement of cortisol is why Scotties often do not have the usual symptoms of HAC, and why the tests that your veterinarian runs are not always conclusive.
Dr. Zimmerman is following the progression of HAC in a group of Scotties to monitor the seriousness of the disorder and the change in test results over time.
He is looking closely at the complex steroid production pathways in the adrenal gland for a possible answer as to why Scotties have this disorder.
If he is able to locate the underlying defect, it might be possible for us to treat our Scotties more effectively and more safely in the future.
It might also be possible one day to screen our dogs and intervene at an earlier time.
In the meantime, you and your veterinarian may want to try milk thistle, SAM-e products, the lignans found in the flax seed, and melatonin. These products may make a difference for some dogs and for the most part are safe.
If clinical symptoms of HAC progress in your Scottie, please consult with your veterinarian for further treatment options.