Melatonin and Lignan Cushing’s Treatment

A Happy Dog Being Treated by Melatonin and Lignan

Lignans for Dogs With Cushing’s Disease

Lignans for dogs are an excellent choice for easing the symptoms of Cushing’s disease

When ingested, plant lignans are converted in the body to other lignans, such as enterolactone.

Enterolactone is a major endogenous-mammalian lignan formed by the action of intestinal bacteria on plant lignans when they are ingested and acts as a phytoestrogen in the body.

There are two kinds of lignans, SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) lignans extracted from flax hulls and which HMR (7-hydroxymatairesinol) lignans which are extracted from the Norwegian spruce tree.

The main difference between the two types of lignans for dogs are:

  • In the SDG flax hull lignan, cleavage of sugar chains must occur by the gastrointestinal bacteria before the enterolactone is formed.
  • In the HMR Norwegian Spruce tree lignan, conversion to enterolactone by gastrointestinal bacteria is immediate upon ingestion.

Reports show that HMR lignan is completely and quickly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, while SDG lignan is not entirely absorbed.

This indicates that enterolactone formed by HMR lignans is absorbed better and more quickly than the SDG flax hull lignan, allowing for lower dosages.

According to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, the suggested doses are:

  • SDG flax hull lignans  – 1mg per lb of body weight
  • HMR lignans – total doses of 10 mg – 40 mg daily should be adequate for small to large dogs

Melatonin for Dogs With Cushing’s Disease

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate hormones and the body’s circadian rhythm.

It is used in veterinary medicine as a natural treatment for coat loss in dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Researchers are not exactly sure how melatonin helps thicken and regrow fur.  

Some researchers think it may be the relationship between melatonin, sunlight, and the body’s circadian rhythm.  

Others feel that melatonin’s antioxidant properties help promote hair growth.

Melatonin has also been shown to help a pet gain back weight after surgery, stress, or illness and help with anxiety, insomnia, and noise phobias.

Mink farmers have been known to use melatonin to promote thick coats in the winter.

Research recommends not exceeding a melatonin dosage of 3 to 6 mg every 8 to 12 hours.

A general guideline for dosing melatonin is:

  • Dogs under 10 lbs – 1 mg of melatonin every 12 hours (also for those who want to give their dogs very low doses of melatonin)
  • Dogs under 30 lbs – 3 mg of melatonin every 12 hours
  • Dogs over 30 lbs – 6 mg of melatonin every 12 hours
  • Note: Research recommends not exceeding a melatonin dosage of 3 to 6 mg every 8 to 12 hours.
  • Note: Make sure you read the label and give your dog supplements containing melatonin only. Colorings and additives may be toxic to your dog.

Melatonin makes some dogs sleepy. If melatonin makes your dog excessively sleepy, give melatonin only at night.

If you plan to give your dog melatonin once daily, the recommendation is to dose it in the evening.

Melatonin is also available in implant form. You can learn more about melatonin implants at Melatonin Implant Technology.

Please remember, though, that every pet is different, and it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for the best possible dosage for your pet’s individual situation.

 Adjustments may need to be made for particular health situations and/or medications.

See Dr. Smith’s Recommended Melatonin for Dogs

Melatonin and Lignans for Dogs:

 Side Effects, Warnings, and Interactions

Lignan Side Effects, Warnings, and Interactions

If you use SDG flax hull lignans, stool frequency and occasional diarrhea may occur because of its fiber component.

HMR Norwegian Spruce lignans contain very little fiber, so using this type of lignan should not cause issues with stool frequency and diarrhea.

 According to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, no adverse effects to using SDG flax lignan have been reported based on their suggested dose of 1mg/lb of body weight daily.

They report limited feedback on the use of HMR lignan, citing only human studies showing that single doses of 1,200 mg did not cause any side effects in humans and that a 13-week study in rodents at a dose of 2,600mg/kg of HMR lignan did not cause any toxic effects.

Melatonin Side Effects, Warnings, and Interactions

There have been no reports of significant side effects of melatonin use in dogs.

There have been a few reports of minor gastric upset and sleepiness.

Melatonin has been shown to alter the time an un-spayed female comes into heat slightly.

Melatonin may also interact with corticosteroids and some internal body processes.

Melatonin is not recommended for use in breeding dogs because it has been shown sometimes to alter mating desire and when a dog comes into heat.

It is imperative not to exceed the recommended amount of melatonin.

Be very careful when choosing your melatonin product. Many of the melatonin products sold for humans are much stronger than the recommended amount for dogs. 

Signs of over dosage include diarrhea, vomiting, high blood pressure, incoordination, and even possibly seizures.

Note: Make sure you read the label and give your dog supplements containing melatonin only. Colorings and additives may be toxic to your dog.


We recommend getting melatonin and lignans at TCVM Pet Supply, as the products are top quality, and dosing instructions for your dog’s weight are listed on the label.

Note: It is always best to consult your veterinarian before concluding that your pet has a particular ailment. In the case of Canine Alopecia, you should make sure that your veterinarian rules out thyroid disease, Cushing’s disease, parasites, mites, and certain bacteria.  All of these can cause symptoms similar to Canine Seasonal Alopecia. To test for thyroid or Cushing’s disease, your veterinarian will need to perform a blood test; for parasites, mites, and certain bacteria, a skin sample may need to be taken.


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