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  1. Cushing’s disease is caused by tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands. Besides humans, it can occur in other animals like dogs and horses.
    In Cushing’s disease, the body makes too much cortisol long-term. It can cause diabetes. The high cortisol levels can cause things like insulin resistance. There is overlap in symptoms and treatment.
    This project displays a Venn diagram showing similarities and differences in symptoms and treatment of Cushing’s disease in humans, horses, and dogs.
    Common symptoms include weight gain in the belly, thin skin, and diabetes.
    In humans, symptoms additionally include cerebral atrophy and a rise in cardiovascular morbidity.
    In dogs, symptoms additionally include increased appetite and panting excessively.
    In horses, symptoms additionally include weight loss and an increase in coat length.
    Various drugs are used depending on the source of the disease (whether it is a pituitary tumor or an adrenal tumor) and whether the disease is occurring in humans, horses, or dogs.
    The different locations of the tumor affect the drugs used because the location of the tumor affects how the disease works. A tumor on the pituitary affects the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone, which affects the negative feedback loop regulating the production of cortisol. A tumor on the adrenal glands simply secretes cortisol, rather than interfering with the regulation of its production.
    Horses have the fewest treatments available. Their most common treatment is pergolide, a dopamine antagonist.
    Radiotherapy can be used in humans and dogs, although it is used on tumors on the pituitary gland. Some drugs like ketoncanzole are mainly used to treat humans and have little effect when used on dogs.

    Josiah Hummel

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