Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s Syndrome Hyperadrenocorticism in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Bulldog Cushings is an endocrine disease that leads to abnormally elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisone (Glucocorticoids)

Bulldog Cortisol / LOW & HIGH 

Glucocorticoids are naturally produced in the adrenal glands. The adrenal gland’s location is adjacent to your bulldog kidneys.
Glucocorticoids are often described as the “stress hormones” and are steroidal in nature.

The “stress hormones” are critical for life.

LOW CORTISOLE: A reduced endogenous adrenal cortisol production will cause serious illness and must be substituted with oral or injectable exogenous steroids.

HIGH CORTISOLE: The more common adrenal disease is Cushing’s, which is an excessive endogenous adrenal cortisol production. Just abnormally low cortisone production, excessive cortisol is also a serious medical condition that must be managed medically or at times surgically.

Cushing’s Syndrome in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs / CAUSE

Bulldog Cushings / PITUITARY TUMOR:

The pituitary is a gland in the brain that releases an adrenal-stimulating hormone (ACTH).

A tumor of the pituitary is usually benign but leads to an abnormally large amount of the stimulating adrenal hormone ACTH which then leads to excessive uncontrolled adrenal cortisol production.

This type is called pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism.

The pituitary tumor is the most common cause of bulldog Cushing’s counting for ~85% of the cases.

Bulldog Cushings / ADRENAL TUMOR:

Adrenal tumors are uncommon and most of those diagnosed are found in older dogs.
50% are malignant and can metastasize. Like the pituitary tumor, the adrenal one will also affect endogenous cortisol production leading to abnormally high cortisol.

This type of Cushing is called adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism.

Adrenal tumor is rare counting for only 15% of bulldog Cushing’s

Cushing’s Syndrome in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs / PRESENTATION

  • Pot Belly: distended belly
  • PU/PD: Excessive drinking, & Excessive urination
  • PP: Excessive eating & weight gain
  • Thin Skin: Abnormally thin skin
  • Hair Loss: baldness usually top back trunk area
  • Panting
  • Muscle wasting
  • Urine: Clear water-like urine
  • UTI: Persistent urinary tract infection
  • Calcinosis Cutis: Calcium black scabby deposit on the skin

calcinosis cutis bulldog Cushing's syndrome


Cushing’s Syndrome in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs / DIAGNOSIS

  1. BLOOD:
    • High liver enzymes (Alk Phos)
    • Stress Leukogram (abnormal white blood cell reading consistent w stress)
  2. URINE CULTURE:  to help rule out UTI
  3. URINEANLYSIS:   Diluted urine (very low urine specific gravity)
  4. BLOOD PRESSURE: Help rule out hypertension
  5. ULTRASOUND: check for abnormal adrenal glands and metastatic disease
  6. CYTOLOGY:  Skin Cytology or/and Biopsy for Calcinosis Cutis
    • Dexamethasone suppression
    • ACTH Stimulation test

Cushing’s Syndrome in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs /PREVENT & TREAT

Avoid high doses and long-term use of steroid medication such as prednisone, depo-medrol, and dexamethasone. It can lead to iatrogenic Cushing’s.

Bulldog Cushings / Therapeutic Supplements & Topicals

Gut Dysbiotic & Leaky Bowl

Excessive cortisol or steroids damages the natural healthy gut microbiome, causing gut dysbiosis which is a loss of the healthy gut bacteria and an overgrowth of the bad one. This can damage the gut lining causing toxic leakage (“leaky bowl”) and systemic disease.

Immune Suppression & UTI

Excessive cortisol also suppresses the immune system predisposing your bulldog to infection, a common one will be a persistent UTI and skin infection

Steroid Hematopathy

Excessive cortisol can damage the liver

Therefore its recommended to add theraputic supplementation & topicals such as

Cushing’s Syndrome Hyperadrenocorticism in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs


  • V4B Bully Probiotics LOAD UP (x10 the good bacteria
  • V4B Bully Probiotics KEEP UP (prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes


  • V4B Bully Immune Support
  • V4B Bully Fish Oil EFA
  • V4B Bully Urinary Support


  • V4B Yeasty Bully Antiseptic Medicated Shampoo
  • V4B Yeasty Bully Antiseptic Medicated Gel

Bulldog Cushings economical bundles are available HERE

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

Cushing’s Hyperadrenal in Bulldogs/ MEDICAL & SURGICAL

Treatment can vary depending on the underlining condition

Bulldog Adrenal Cushings Treatment:

Surgery is required for benign tumors. Metastatic ones should be managed with medication.

Bulldog Pituitary Cushings Treatment: 

lifelong medication and diligent monitoring are required.

  • Mitotane ( Lysodren,)
  • Nizerol
  • Trailstane

Trailstane is the most commonly used drug.

Bulldog Itrogenic Cushings Treatment:

Usually only requires stopping the exogenous use of steroids, most of which are in the form of prescription prednisone for the management of itching allergies.

Cushing’s Hyperadrenal in Bulldogs/ TIPS & WARNINGS

Tip #1 Bulldog Cushings CALCINOSIS CUTIS

Calcinosis cutis is a skin condition unique to cushings, you can treat it with therapeutic shampoos and lotions and topical DMSO.


Prednisone and other forms of steroids are often prescribed for itching allergies.

To help limit the adverse effect of those drugs try using or complementing with non-prescription safe supplements & topicals such as

  • V4B bully-medicated shampoos, conditioners, sprays, and lotions.
  • V4B Bully therapeutic bully fish supplements.

Bulldog skin & allergies economical bundles are available HERE

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

Bulldog Cushing Skin - Ultimate

Warning #3 Bulldog Cushings / OTHER DISEASE

Other diseases can clinically present like Cushing’s thus they must be ruled out. Examples are kidney disease, diabetes (excessive drinking and urination), and hypothyroid (weight gain, hair loss).

Warning #4 Bulldog Cushings / STEROID RX

Bulldogs treated with oral and injectable steroids for allergies or for other medical conditions could suffer from iatrogenic Cushing. When so, you must slowly taper off the medication.

Even topical ointment or spray steroid treatment can cause Cushing’s when used excessively and for a long duration.

Warning #5 Bulldog Cushings / HYPOADRENAL ADDISON DISEASE

Overdose of Cushing’s prescription medication can result in a serious condition called Atypical Addison which is a depleted endogenous adrenal production of the stress hormone cortisone.

In those cases, your dog might appear unusually depressed, especially in a stressful situation. In those cases, you must avoid stress,  substitute with a low dosage of prednisone, and see your veterinarian for testing and medication adjustments.

Warning #6 Bulldog Cushings / ADRENAL TUMOR SURGERY

Adrenal tumor surgery can be curative but should be done by experienced surgeons and carefully monitored postoperatively

Warning #7 Bulldog Cushings / LIFELONG MONITOR

Cushing’s disease patients who are managed on medication must be carefully monitored; routine blood tests are recommended.

“An Ounce Of PREVENTION Is Worth A Pound Of CURE”

Cushing's in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs store

*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “MUST READ” manual for any current or future bully owner.