Cortisol can be thought of as the body’s main stress hormone, where it works with specific parts of the brain to control moods, motivations and fears. Cortisol is a hormone that many animals produce too, including dogs - in which it can help control weight, fight infections and keep blood sugar levels in check. However, if the body produces too much cortisol - in humans and in dogs - it can cause many problems. Cushing's syndrome is the name for the condition where dogs produce too much cortisol. The incidence is one or two cases in every 1,000 dogs per year, making it the most common endocrine disorder in dogs. Humans can also be diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome, where excessive exposure to cortisol is known to cause myocardial hypertrophy and cardiac dysfunction. It has also been reported that humans can experience hypertrophy of the cardiomyocytes and an increase in myocardial fibre. A team of researchers based at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Japan is investigating the cardiovascular effects of hyperglycocorticoidemia. Dr Sachiyo Tanaka is working with Professor Yasushi Hara and Assistant Professor Shuji Suzuki, to conduct research in order to elucidate the histopathological changes that occur in the heart organ when there is hyperglucocorticoidemia.