I'm a vet – urgent warning to dog owners over little-known sign your pet is suffering from deadly disease | The Sun

A VET has urged all pet owners to look out for a little-known sign that your furry friend is suffering from a sinister condition.

Cushing's disease is brought on by an overproduction of the steroid hormone cortisone in the body.

While it is often life-threatening, the disease is incurable.

The most common cause of Cushing's disease is a tumour of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain – which could be either benign or malignant.

The potential scare prompted natural dog food bran Harringtons vet Peter Wright to ask owners to act swiftly if their pooches are showing symptoms.

Common clinical signs are an increase in appetite, increase water consumption, and urinating more.

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Increased appetite is a direct result of elevated levels of cortisol, which help stimulate a dog's hunger.

Thin and fragile skin is another resulting symptom.

Resembling tissue paper, your pet's coat will noticeably lose its elasticity – leaving it prone to nasty infections.

Many of these dogs may also develop a “pot-bellied” appearance because of an increase of fat within the abdominal organs.

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The vet explains: "They begin to look quite podgy and fat (even though they haven’t actually put on weight).

"What’s happening here is that the collagen – the fibrous network that holds our bodies together – becomes weaker, causing the pot belly as a result. 

"If you notice any of these problems beginning to develop over time, then it’s time for a trip to the vet".

After a thorough examination of the clinical signs your dog is showing, the vet will likely perform a series of tests to reach a diagnosis.

If a vet suspects your dog is battling Cushing's disease, a series of blood tests will likely follow.

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