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Does my dog have Cushings? PLEASE HELP!!
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Does my dog have Cushings? PLEASE HELP!!

My dog, Darlin', a female Daschound, about 10 yrs old (not 100% positive) has always had some difficulty breathing. Her previous owners had her voice box removed when she was a tiny puppy so she wouldn't be able to bark!  Still angry about this! We've been told she has a collapsed trachea all her life.
Recently her breathing became much worse. We had taken the dogs to the park and the next morning I rushed Darlin to the vet. She was prescribed some pills that did nothing to help her. A month or so later, we again rushed her to the vet because she would not get up. Her regular vet was "booked" so we took her somewhere else. I'm SO happy we did!  She had a fever of 106. She was diagnosed with Pneumonia. (The X-Ray showed a perfectly normal, open trachea!) Given Bactrum to take for 14 days. Took her back 10 days later because there was no improvement. Vet said "it could be Cushings, but..." she suspects it's due to her teeth, they are pretty bad, but, PLEASE remember, we were told all her life she's had a collapsed trachea and any surgery, including dental cleaning, was out of the question...Anyway, she thinks it may be her teeth causing drainage down her throat, gives her another antibiotic. It's been a month and she still can't breathe.  She can't sleep with us anymore because it keeps us both awake. The constant coughing and gagging.  She does drink more than the other dogs, her hind legs seem to be very stiff and she looks to have lost muscle mass on her thighs. Her legs just don't look the same. She is always starving, acts like she hasn't been fed in days. Peeing in the house too. All of these are NEW symptoms within the past 4-6 weeks.
I was watching her attempt to climb the doggy stairs the other day and almost cried.  It was the saddest thing.  It's as though her back legs don't bend anymore. Even when she lays down or sits, her hind legs are straight out in front of her. Her tail is always down, in between her legs. She is graying, and she has this weird hard rock like spot on her tail. The vet said it wasn't anything to worry about....When I put all of these together it seems like it might be Cushings??  The only difference is she is losing weight, not gaining weight. In fact, she's lost almost 7 pounds in the past 2 months...not good for a tiny dog!  I did have both my Senior girls on a weight control food, they were both getting fat. I've since put them back on regular adult dog food and it seems like she has gained some weight back. The vet wanted her to gain at least 2 pounds.
Any thoughts would be so greatly appreciated!!!  Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Avatar_f_tn
  She could be losing weight because she can't eat properly because of her teeth.  She probably neeeds to have some pulled.  Does she drink TREMENDOUS amounts of water, and constantly pees?  That, along with leg weakness is a sign of Cushings, but diabetes could show some of those symptoms, too.  Has your vet tested her for either?  I definately would try to get the teeth problem straightened out, and then push for more testing so you can get her help.  Good Luck.
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It sounds to me like diabetes is more of a possibility than Cushings, however the only way to tell what it is would be to run diagnostic tests for both diseases.  When you said that she is always starving, that led me to think more of diabetes.  It would also explain the leg weakness because diabetes causes nerve pain and damage.  A simple blood test will tell your vet all he needs to know.  Diabetic dogs can live very normal lives with medication and proper diet.

I would like to clear up one misconception for you, however, that may make you feel a bit better about your dog's inability to bark.  In the debarking procedure, the "voicebox" is not removed.  The mechanism of a bark is a simple thing.  The vocal cords run alongside the throat.  When the dog barks, it rapidly expels air from its lungs, this air rushes up and past the vocal cords which vibrate and cause the barking sound.  In the debarking procedure, either a biopsy punch or a laser is used (the technique depends on the vet who performed the procedure and which method they prefer) to make two small pinholes in each of the vocal cords.  These holes are EXTREMELY tiny.  However, what happens now is that when the dog barks, the air that is being expelled and pushed past the vocal cords doesn't have a solid object to vibrate against any longer.  The pinholes in the vocal cords lessen the degree that the cords resist the air, softening the barking sound to almost a whisper.  Picture, if you will, a banner hung between two poles.  The four corners of the banner are tied to the poles.  When the wind blows, the banner is stretched as far as it can go, like a sail that is full of wind.  Now, put some half-moon-shaped slits in the banner and let the wind blow through it again.  It won't billow out nearly as much because the wind is passing through the slits.  The banner cannot catch nearly as much wind as it used to because the slits allow the air to slip through.  Well, these slits are the equivalent of the holes made in your dog's vocal cords.  The vocal cords are still there, nothing has been removed, and your dog does not now nor did it ever feel pain from it.  It just has a soft, whispery bark as a result of the procedure.  Many breeders who have multiple dogs do this so that their dogs don't become a nuisance to their neighbors,

Ghilly
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you both so much for your comments and help. I do know a little bit about pet diabetes, we had a cat (recently had to let him go) that I honestly was 100% positive, as was the vet, that he had diabetes. He had EVERY single symptom...except for the tests kept coming back negative.  We had to put him down last year because I couldn't stand the suffering anymore, he could NOT walk. His hind legs were no longer functioning and then he started to lose his bowels. He clearly had Neuropathy that had no explanation.  It was pretty bad, he would just go in circles when he'd try to walk. Or he'd drag himself.  He had several other symptoms of Diabetes also.  This is different.  She does drink twice as much as the other dogs, she pees constantly, to where I've had to diaper her to keep her from going all over my house. It's either that or I get up every hour to take her outside.
I recently lost my job, we are barely eating right now, there's just no way I can pay for a dental procedure that according to the vet could cost up to $800.00.  I still owe them for the most recent visit.  When I go back to work, she is top priority.  I have a good feeling about a recent interview, keeping fingers crossed.  If I don't find work and soon, we may have to consider letting her go. She honestly looks miserable. Her eyes just don't look good.  It's about quality of life, not quantity and she has had a pretty good life. Spoiled, all of  my fur kids are.  It's really hard for me to watch her suffer. Listening to her struggle to breathe is killing me. Causes me more anxiety than I can handle most days.
Ghilly, thanks for clarifying the de-barking for me, it has really bothered me, it sounds painful.  
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441382_tn?1329196690
I'm so sorry you are in this situation.  You sound like a wonderful dogmom, and the state that our current economy has our country in is just making life very difficult for everyone, right down to our pets.  I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers that you are the candidate they choose for the job you interviewed for.

Is there a veterinary college near where you live?  Veterinary schools are excellent places to go for diagnostic work and the cost is often lower than going to a regular vet clinic because it's a school.  Don't let that scare you, the veterinary students that work on the public's pets are often EXCELLENT, and unlike many small, local vet clinics, the diagnostic equipment is state-of-the-art.  The students work under the constant supervision of veterinary professors who, of course, are vets themselves.  If you have one of these schools near you, it may be a possibility for you.

I'm glad I was able to explain to you about the debarking procedure.  It's understandable how people who don't understand how it is done can be upset by it.  And while I don't feel that it's something that should be done to just any dog, some dogs, regardless of their training, are referred to by dog professionals as recreational barkers.  These dogs can make life very difficult for their owners and especially for the neighbors of their owners.  In some cases, debarking is preferable to rehoming the dog or, worse yet, euthanizing it because of nuisance barking.  I don't know the situation behind your girl having the procedure done on her, I suppose only her former owner knows that.  I assure you, though, that whatever discomfort she may be in, none of it is caused by that.  

Again, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that your situation changes.

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
Have you checked out prices with other vets for the dental work, $800 seems high.  We've never paid more that $350, and that was for both cats or dogs, with extractions.
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