//The cost of cushing disease – a chronic condition

The cost of cushing disease – a chronic condition

The cost of cushing disease – a chronic condition

Here’s Bingo. She’s a much loved Labradoodle, she’s a senior dog now (13 years old) but we think we still have a good few years with her. Bingo unfortunately has Cushing disease.

Basically what this means is that Bingo overproduces cortisol. It’s something to do with the adrenal glands not providing the normal feedback mechanisms. Cushing disease eventually results in negative effects on the body due to the sustained overproduction and release of cortisol. Signs associated with Cushing disease can include:

• Increased drinking and urination
• Increased appetite
• Thinning hair
• Muscle weakness
• Liver enlargement

Cortisol overproduction can also cause problems with the body’s regulation of sugar, a condition that can predispose a pet to developing diabetes. So it’s important to treat as soon as possible.

First off our vet did a blood test which involved a day stay at the clinic. They do the test by drawing a small amount of blood to check the baseline (“starting”) cortisol level. Afterward, a very small dose of cortisol is given by injection. Repeat blood samples are then taken at specific intervals (a few hours apart) to measure the cortisol level and determine if the body’s response to the injection of cortisol is appropriate. The blood samples are submitted to a diagnostic laboratory.

Following the test (which proved positive) the vet prescribed a dosage of Trilosane pills. Bingo is now on these pills for the rest of her life – she currently has 2 a day, but she still needs to go to the vet every 6 months for blood tests to ensure the dosage of her pills is appropriate to her needs.

You’ll be surprised at how the cost adds up, and also remember this is a chronic illness, so we will be paying these costs for as long as our gorgeous girl stays with us.

Blood tests 2 x per year: $600
Medication: $3,219 (yes that’s right – $8.42 a day for 2x a day– and these are the non-branded variety too).

Total cost per year, excluding heartworm, check ups and any other ailments: $3,819.00.

Now that’s when pet insurance comes in handy, and as this is a chronic (recurring) condition, it shows how important it is to have pet insurance, such as Petsecure, that covers chronic conditions (like Cushings Disease) for as long as you keep your pet insurance policy continuously in place!  In the above example, with a policy that pays an 85% benefit, you would only be up for $572.00 per year, instead of $3,819.  Now that’s quite a saving, even when you consider the cost of the premiums.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals


  1. Me Paul June 24, 2018 at 01:41 - Reply

    Thank you, this helps.

  2. Corey December 29, 2018 at 03:24 - Reply

    My 15 year old chihuahua has cushings and it seems half the vets say treat it while the others say don’t, and personally I know one pet owner who did treat their dog while another did not. Both of these dogs had similar lengths of life with similar health issues. It seems it’s a 50/50, leaving me with a constant inner debate of whether to treat my Chihuahua or not. Any suggestions?

    • Liz Walden January 2, 2019 at 09:33 - Reply

      Hi Corey, I would be taking advice from the vet. Every diagnosis and pooch is different so that needs to be accounted for. I treated my Labradoodle for Cushings over many years – she lived to 15 years old. Will never know if we would have had the same outcome with no treatment! Liz

  3. Debbie January 25, 2019 at 22:09 - Reply

    Isn’t that about the average life expectancy of a dog after being diagnosed with Cushing disease and if you don’t have health insurance or those thousands of dollars isn’t it just as humane to let the dog live their lives with out the horrible side effects of the pills and then go save a different dog slated for death at the pound?

    • Liz Walden January 28, 2019 at 15:39 - Reply

      Hi Debbie, thank you for your comment. From personal experience, there were no nasty side effects from drugs for Cushings, but that’s not to say that it never happens. Complications of Cushing’s syndrome include high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and diabetes, and as you know it can be life threatening. It’s a personal choice (and I would think in consultation with your vet) whether you choose to medicate or not.

  4. Saundra March 18, 2019 at 17:20 - Reply

    My sister in law has one of the off spring from my “bitch”, sorry, I hate that word, anyway, she pays $45 per month for medication, not $3,000.

  5. Saundra March 18, 2019 at 17:21 - Reply

    Oh, I see you are in AU, maybe that’s why the high cost of meds.

  6. Saundra March 18, 2019 at 17:23 - Reply

    ^^I should have said $540 per year.

    • Liz Walden March 18, 2019 at 18:04 - Reply

      Hello Saundra, Yes being in Australia would potentially mean that the cost is higher, but also the cost will depend on the dosage of the pills that are being administered. Some pets need less to manage the condition. I can assure you that these costs are absolutely correct in Australia – they have been verified from vet’s bills. Thank you for your comments. Liz

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