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Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Forums General Melanoma Community Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

  • This topic has 12 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by jag.
  • Post
    Kimmer
    Participant

    We have recently moved into a corporate apartment while we are waiting for our new little townhouse to be completed. It is about 40 miles N of the Orlando house that we rented for a year; the house had a large fenced back yard where both of our Beagles could just roam around.   AbbeyDog, our 14 year old Lemon Beagle had her shots and checkup about a month ago with the vet that did her surgery for a splenic mass last year.  He was glad to see that she was doing well.

    We have recently moved into a corporate apartment while we are waiting for our new little townhouse to be completed. It is about 40 miles N of the Orlando house that we rented for a year; the house had a large fenced back yard where both of our Beagles could just roam around.   AbbeyDog, our 14 year old Lemon Beagle had her shots and checkup about a month ago with the vet that did her surgery for a splenic mass last year.  He was glad to see that she was doing well.

    We moved into the apartment 10 days ago and sweet Abbey started to pee on the carpet, act really agitated and by Friday night, pant almost non-stop.  I called a local vet Saturday morning and they worked her in.  He is currently testing her for Cushing's Disease and gave her an NSAID (Metacam) for the thickening her felt in her knees.  He thought it could be pain, or behavioral from moving, or Cushing's.  So far he bloodwork shows some suspicion for Cushing's (liver and cholesterol, a little anemic) and we are waiting for the urinalysis.  (I had to get THAT sample…not really all that easy.) Depending on that result, he will take her for a day and do several blood draws, I guess which shows her tolerance to cortisol.

    Anyone of you doggie lovers ever have this happen to your furry friend?  I don't just trust, trust this vet yet and am thinking to take the lab results back to the Orlando vet.  Abbey is much better now; she still pants a lot, but is resting and hasn't marked the carpet since Friday.  We are wondering what we are up against here and mainly don't just know this vet.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Kim

    Lake Mary, FL

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  • Replies
      rtsmichele
      Participant

      If you've just moved into a new place, there's a great possilbity that she is reacting to something environmental.  Sometime the floors are cleaned with cleaner that is toxic to dogs.  Dogs are also much more susceptible to carpet cleaning chemicals and off gassing of newly installed carpet, baseboards, etc. 

      All the symptoms that you describe can be attributed to poisoning as mentioned above.

      Good luck!  I hope you find out the cause.

      Michele  :-)

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        Kimmer
        Participant

        Thanks Michele,

        That is a good thought.  Abbey has some allergies; she can't have wheat and eats a lamb and rice food.  She often sticks her nose where she shouldn't (just like a Beagle) and gets pretty sneezy.

        I should hear back from the lab today.  Meanwhile she is much more like herself and we are glad of that.

        Take good care, K.

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        Kimmer
        Participant

        Thanks Michele,

        That is a good thought.  Abbey has some allergies; she can't have wheat and eats a lamb and rice food.  She often sticks her nose where she shouldn't (just like a Beagle) and gets pretty sneezy.

        I should hear back from the lab today.  Meanwhile she is much more like herself and we are glad of that.

        Take good care, K.

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      rtsmichele
      Participant

      If you've just moved into a new place, there's a great possilbity that she is reacting to something environmental.  Sometime the floors are cleaned with cleaner that is toxic to dogs.  Dogs are also much more susceptible to carpet cleaning chemicals and off gassing of newly installed carpet, baseboards, etc. 

      All the symptoms that you describe can be attributed to poisoning as mentioned above.

      Good luck!  I hope you find out the cause.

      Michele  :-)

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      Kim K
      Participant

      Based on what you posted, Cushing's disease can be responsible for all you have described and isn't all that rare.  Your vet is taking a thorough approach.  The urine tests are an indicator, but the blood tests (challenging the adrenal glands with dexamethasone to suppress cortisol and seeing what happens….) is much more conclusive.

      Most cases of Cushing's disease is due to a tumor in the pituitary gland and can be managed.  If it is in the adrenal gland then possibly cured via surgery to remove an adrenal mass.  The bloodwork will be suggestive as to where the mass is located.  An abdominal ultrasound can scan the adrenals and other organs within the body.

      Cushing's disease can cause an increased risk of blood clots, panting due to changes in the lungs, weakened muscles (thus a pot belly), thin hair, torn ligaments, liver problems, a poor immune system, and diabetes.  If diabetes occurs concurrently, it is VERY difficult to control until the Cushing's is addressed.

      Average life expectancy after a Cushing's diagnosis is less than 2 years.  It will require frequent and regular blood work to monitor response to treatment, and there is something like a 50% relapse rate within one year.  This is usually dealt with adjusting the meds and more bloodwork to make sure all is well.

      Cushing's is a chronic disease that will require lots of owner compliance, and commitment to treatment.  Unfortunately, very few owners are willing to do so because of the high maintenace required, especially if they have diabetes on top of everything else.  It is doable though….

      Wishing you the best of luck, sounds like you found an astute DVM.

      Kim K (also a DVM)

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      Kim K
      Participant

      Based on what you posted, Cushing's disease can be responsible for all you have described and isn't all that rare.  Your vet is taking a thorough approach.  The urine tests are an indicator, but the blood tests (challenging the adrenal glands with dexamethasone to suppress cortisol and seeing what happens….) is much more conclusive.

      Most cases of Cushing's disease is due to a tumor in the pituitary gland and can be managed.  If it is in the adrenal gland then possibly cured via surgery to remove an adrenal mass.  The bloodwork will be suggestive as to where the mass is located.  An abdominal ultrasound can scan the adrenals and other organs within the body.

      Cushing's disease can cause an increased risk of blood clots, panting due to changes in the lungs, weakened muscles (thus a pot belly), thin hair, torn ligaments, liver problems, a poor immune system, and diabetes.  If diabetes occurs concurrently, it is VERY difficult to control until the Cushing's is addressed.

      Average life expectancy after a Cushing's diagnosis is less than 2 years.  It will require frequent and regular blood work to monitor response to treatment, and there is something like a 50% relapse rate within one year.  This is usually dealt with adjusting the meds and more bloodwork to make sure all is well.

      Cushing's is a chronic disease that will require lots of owner compliance, and commitment to treatment.  Unfortunately, very few owners are willing to do so because of the high maintenace required, especially if they have diabetes on top of everything else.  It is doable though….

      Wishing you the best of luck, sounds like you found an astute DVM.

      Kim K (also a DVM)

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      jag
      Participant

      Kim, one thing in your bloodwork that is not consistent with cushings disease is the anemia.  I suppose it could be due to her missing spleen, but be careful when giving NSAIDs like Metacam, if she starts to have diarrhea or vomit at all, discontinue.  NSAIDs are designed to help dog pain, but that combined with cushing's disease (higher blood steroid volumes) would make her more likely to ulcerate and bleed internally.  I would give them with Pepcid(you can buy them over the counter at the pharmacy) Her dose would be 10mg orally once daily.  

      Here is a link to a website for clients that explains things more clearly (it is actually a part of the veterinary information network written by veterinarians should you feel the need to question your vet more thoroughly) just because he/she isn't your old vet is not a reason to distrust them they shouldn't get upset at all when you ask.  

       http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=636

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        Kimmer
        Participant

        Thanks so much for your responses, Kim and Jon!

        I did wind up getting her other vet to get the lab results and took AbbeyDog back to him.  Her lab results were almost identical to last year's, but I pestered him into testing her for Cushing's anyhow.  Happy to say that she flunked.  He didn't want her on the Metacam at all because she had some vomiting from Deramaxx last year.  She did not seem to be in pain when he saw her.  He surmised that I might have been walking her too much (not the same as just snooping the back yard); that coupled with the move was just too much change

        As for the New Vet….He never returned my phone calls after he said that he would.  He didn't get Abbey's lab results from last year after he said he would.  I just got a bad feeling, that's all.  Honestly, that is the first time that I ever just got a bad vibe and my dogz have had lots of different wonderful docs taking care of them in the 7 times (and 7 different states)  that they have moved with us.  My precious AbbeyDog is such a trooper and she has always been excitable.  She calmed down after that first weekend and is acting like Abbey again.  Nothing ever seems to phase our other Beagle, EmmaDog.

        What opinion do y'all have on Cosequin?  Both Beagles have taken it since they were 6 years old (when EmmaDog had her back surgery.)  I think it has helped a lot as they move around really well for almost 14!

        Once again, many thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond.  I do appreciate it so much!

        Take good care, k.

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        jag
        Participant

        Cosequin is good Kimmer, but the same supplement that people use is available at Walmart and Costco for a lot less.  Look for Glucosamine/Chondroitn Sulfate.  Same thing goes for Omega 3 caplets.  Some vets sell a "specially labeled one for pets" for about 10x what you can get them for in the supermarkets.

        Merry and I were taken out to lunch today by an internal medicine speciailist and I asked her about anemia in a splenectomized dog  on your behalf, and contrary to my theory, a splenectomy does not cause anemia.  

        Here is a link that explains anemia 

        http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2595

        Probably worth following up-to find out the cause of (even if it just means repeating the test) sometimes it can just be due to lab error or poor technique.

        Very happy to hear that she is not cushinoid though, as Kim said, Oftentimes Cushings disease can be very time consuming, expensive, and chock full of side effects, which can be very costly.

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        jag
        Participant

        Cosequin is good Kimmer, but the same supplement that people use is available at Walmart and Costco for a lot less.  Look for Glucosamine/Chondroitn Sulfate.  Same thing goes for Omega 3 caplets.  Some vets sell a "specially labeled one for pets" for about 10x what you can get them for in the supermarkets.

        Merry and I were taken out to lunch today by an internal medicine speciailist and I asked her about anemia in a splenectomized dog  on your behalf, and contrary to my theory, a splenectomy does not cause anemia.  

        Here is a link that explains anemia 

        http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2595

        Probably worth following up-to find out the cause of (even if it just means repeating the test) sometimes it can just be due to lab error or poor technique.

        Very happy to hear that she is not cushinoid though, as Kim said, Oftentimes Cushings disease can be very time consuming, expensive, and chock full of side effects, which can be very costly.

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        Kimmer
        Participant

        Thanks so much for your responses, Kim and Jon!

        I did wind up getting her other vet to get the lab results and took AbbeyDog back to him.  Her lab results were almost identical to last year's, but I pestered him into testing her for Cushing's anyhow.  Happy to say that she flunked.  He didn't want her on the Metacam at all because she had some vomiting from Deramaxx last year.  She did not seem to be in pain when he saw her.  He surmised that I might have been walking her too much (not the same as just snooping the back yard); that coupled with the move was just too much change

        As for the New Vet….He never returned my phone calls after he said that he would.  He didn't get Abbey's lab results from last year after he said he would.  I just got a bad feeling, that's all.  Honestly, that is the first time that I ever just got a bad vibe and my dogz have had lots of different wonderful docs taking care of them in the 7 times (and 7 different states)  that they have moved with us.  My precious AbbeyDog is such a trooper and she has always been excitable.  She calmed down after that first weekend and is acting like Abbey again.  Nothing ever seems to phase our other Beagle, EmmaDog.

        What opinion do y'all have on Cosequin?  Both Beagles have taken it since they were 6 years old (when EmmaDog had her back surgery.)  I think it has helped a lot as they move around really well for almost 14!

        Once again, many thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond.  I do appreciate it so much!

        Take good care, k.

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      jag
      Participant

      Kim, one thing in your bloodwork that is not consistent with cushings disease is the anemia.  I suppose it could be due to her missing spleen, but be careful when giving NSAIDs like Metacam, if she starts to have diarrhea or vomit at all, discontinue.  NSAIDs are designed to help dog pain, but that combined with cushing's disease (higher blood steroid volumes) would make her more likely to ulcerate and bleed internally.  I would give them with Pepcid(you can buy them over the counter at the pharmacy) Her dose would be 10mg orally once daily.  

      Here is a link to a website for clients that explains things more clearly (it is actually a part of the veterinary information network written by veterinarians should you feel the need to question your vet more thoroughly) just because he/she isn't your old vet is not a reason to distrust them they shouldn't get upset at all when you ask.  

       http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=636

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