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Cushings or some other disease? Weird behavior
Sunshi500 posted:
Our 1 1/2 yr old Aussie mix is constantly hungry. He counter surfs and will beg and bark at you if you have food. This has been going on his whole life, he's obsessed with food. He's become more aggressive with special treats, but not his normal food. The other day, he growled and snapped at us when we tried to take away a broken piece of nylabone. Also, he's been chewing on his paws constantly, and they are red and have some bumps. The vet said a couple months ago that it was likely allergies and to give him benadryl, that hasn't helped.

The weirdest behavior started in the last couple of days. My fiance and I were out of town, so my parents were watching him, like they always do. They said that he would wake up and snap behind him, like something was bothering him or even like he was "possessed", he'd be snapping at nothing. He'd just kinda freak out and stare around. He also growled and snarled at them for no reason. Our dog usually has a dominant behavior, but nothing like this. My parents were actually afraid of what he might do. We know he can be treat aggressive, but this was totally different.

I'm not sure if he has an increased drinking, but he does drink a lot of water at one time. I think we will take him to a vet, but last time they just told us that some dogs do have an increased appetite, and I'm thinking we may have to take him to a better vet. Does this sound like it could be Cushings, or some other type of disease? We don't want him hurting anyone, but it also breaks our hearts to think of getting rid of him. We just hope it's something physical that can be cured. He's incredibly smart, and we've been taking him to obedience classes to help with his dominant behaviors.
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
I am so sorry to learn of your dog's issues. Cushing disease is an overproduction of cortisone in the body. There are various causes and can usually be diagnosed with some straight forward blood tests. I would strongly recommend discussing your concerns with your primary care veterinarian. If a general blood and urine test has not been performed recently, now is definitely the time to do so. Cushing disease is possible but for a dog this age, it would be very unusual. The pet may have a neurological disorder that is manifesting with the signs you are seeing. Start off with a thorough exam. Follow your veterinarian's recommendations. If you have concerns that he or she is not addressing, you may want to seek the services of another veterinarian.

No matter what the cause of the problem is, please exercise great caution in considering giving him away. You will need to be extremely honest about his behavior/condition to anyone considering adopting him. It would be tragic for someone to think they are getting this great dog and then be injured by him during one of these epsiodes.

Best of luck


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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