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203342 tn?1328740807
Dog with Cushings Disease
Hello. I have a maltese mix who was diagnosed with Cushings Disease several months ago. The vet said there's medication but that it's very expensive and doesn't seem to prolong their life. I made the decision to just watch him and let him live out his life. He's 11 years old. This last year I've noticed a decline in him somewhat but not sure if it's because of the Cushings or just old age. He has trouble with his back legs a lot now just suddenly giving out especially on stairs. He struggles to get up if he's been laying down for awhile. I also don't think he sees or hears as well as he used to. He's overweight which seems to partly go with the Cushings. We have him on a low-fat diet and it doesn't seem to help much. I try to walk him but he tires out easily and I wind up having to carry him home because he'll sit down and refuse to walk anymore! And just last night he was breathing funny. At first he was panting really hard for a long time. I kept checking the AC and turning it on more. Finally he stopped panting but was snoring and making funny noises for hours before he finally quieted down. He has snored before but not sounded like that. Today he's acting ok. Is this all signs of aging? Could some of it be the Cushings? Also, I told the vet sometimes he will try to get up and his back legs act like they're frozen and he can't come to me. I'll call him and he struggles to come but can't for several seconds and then he can walk again. It's weird. I've tried to describe it to the vet. I wish I had a video of it. Could this just be arthritis? Or could he be having a mild seizure from time to time? He's kind of gone down hill more this last year. I wonder, sadly, sometimes if this will be his last year.
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My dog was just diagnosed with Cushings, and now we are weighing our options.  Has anyone tried a raw meat diet?  Or, any other diet you'd recommend? Thanks!
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I have a 5 year old weim that was diagnosed with cushings disease about seven months ago.  Same symptoms...drinking lots of water, accidents in the house, very hungry all the time....  We decided to go the medicne route.  He took lysodren which just didn't keep his labs where they needed to be.  He now takes trilostane twice daily.  He has seemed to improve some.  His pot belly is gone, drinks and urinates less but is still very hungry all the time.  His back legs continue to be weak but don't seem to have gotten any worse.  He means the world to our family and I just hope and pray everyday that we are doing the right thing for him.  He is happy and still loves his walks and does run outside with my boys.  We cherish each day we have with him!
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I am sitting here with my 9 year old sheltie "Laney" laying on the floor by me and in tears by all the comments above. In June I came home from work and Laney's back leg was lifted up behind the other one, I rushed her to the vet and they took xrays her right hip was out of socket and the left socket had very little bone left. The Vet was amazed she was even walking. I took her to the surgeon to get evaluated and he came in and said he wouldnt even chance surgery on her hips because he suspected Cushing's because of the thin skin, pot belly, hair loss and drinking alot of water. We did the testing and confirmed it. We arent doing any treatments just a pain pill everyday. The vet says to treat her like a hospice patient now because she has too many strikes against her. She has been fighting every day to be happy and gives us so much joy but today she seems sad and very tired and I keep looking to see if she is breathing.  She has a sister that is 5 months younger than her, how will she react if we lose her ?  The days she has that are good, she smiles and seems so happy and we wonder if she is fighting just for us but is in alot of pain. Are we being selfish to keep her alive?  It doesnt seem fair does it? How do we know when its time?  Best Wishes for all of you!  Melody
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462827 tn?1333172552
Melody & Laney, Just to let you know that although not a Cushings Furkid, I too have (What I call) a "Hospice Patient". He has several of the symptoms of Cushings, but never diagnosed. My Vet says that with all his other problems, it wouldn't really make any difference. I've never heard of anyone else respond to their's as a "Hospice Patient", until now. I'm in tears reading your comments as my questions are the same. We take one day at a time and usually the nights (For Me) are long. I know you understand!!! My guy took a turn for the worse 2wks. ago and I thought I'd loose him. However, 4 Vet visits later, he's laying right here snoring away.  :)  Just want to let you know that I'm thinking about you and yours....My Best Wishes are for you.........Karla
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203342 tn?1328740807
Like some of you, we've chosen not to try the medication after talking over with the vet. I know some of you have younger dogs, and if I did I would probably have chosen differently, as long as we could afford it. Willow is 12, almost 13 now. We've really seen a decline these last few months. Still, he doesn't seem to be suffering so I'm not ready to put him to sleep yet.
I think the reason he barks more now is because he doesn't see so well. He is also peeing a lot around the house. We've been cleaning the carpet a lot but will probably have to replace it. I'm still not quite ready to give up, though.

Willow had a seizure on Tuesday. He threw up all over himself. Poor baby. We did some blood work and it didn't look too bad. They think it's the Cushings. They said the tumor may be pressing on his pituitary gland or something and that may have caused the seizure. Has this happened to anyone else? Have any of your dogs had a seizure? The vet told us it could be a sign that he's nearing the end. :(
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584475 tn?1218421547
Hi Melody, I too had a dog with cushings. We had to put him down on August 10, 2008. I know exactly what you are going through right now. It is absolutely horrible. You will know when the time is right. My dog became very lethargic, his breathing was very very heavy, he was unable to hold his urine(peeing all over the house and on our bed), he was not eating(dogs with cushings love to eat), sleeping, not drinking water (dogs with cushings drink lots of water), he had to be carried to go do his pee, he would not go on walks, all he did was sleep. One day he went to do his number 2 and it was all blood and blood clots and he was very anemic. We took him to the vet, he normally would be freaking out going to the vet, but on this day he had no idea where he was or what was happening. We had to put him down just before 5pm. One of the worst days of my life. We also have another dog, we feared the worst as they have been inseparable for 10 years. We adopted them from different families 4 weeks apart. Pj was and is dealing with this very well. The first night he slept on the couch. He never sleeps on the couch, he always sleeps on the bed. He continued to eat. His ears would perk everytime he would hear Mickey's name. I have tried to not say the word "Mickey" but rather if I want to speak of him I will call him "the little guy". Pj now goes everywhere with us, he is very rarely alone. He has been going on lots of car rides and my mother and I have been sharing him so he is with her when I am at work and then with me the rest of the time. It is working fine. We give him more hugs and cuddle him more so. Just spend lots of time with your other one, let him/her know they are loved. I think Pj knew something was wrong with Mickey his last few weeks. I have considered adopting another dog however Pj is not the most social butterfly so I think we will refrain from doing this as I want him to think he is number 1(which he is). The week we had to put Mickey down, I lost alot of weight. I was unable to eat and felt very very selfish for putting him down. I felt selfish eating because I know how much he liked to eat. I feel sad everytime I get a treat for Pj and think Mickey would love to be eating this treat as well.  

If I can give you one word of advice that to this day I regret not doing? At the vets office the dr asked my husband and I if we wanted to be with Mickey when he was put down. I said no because I was being very selfish, my husband also said no he would not be able to do this. Can I tell you that to this day I regret not being with him and holding him. I will never ever ever allow another dog of mine to be alone if we have to put him down.
Take care and email me if you ever want to chat.                  
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203342 tn?1328740807
Melody, I agree with the others. You will know when the time is right. I know you don't want your dog to suffer. It's a difficult decision. Please feel free to come back on and share with us. We can all support and encourage each other.

seajess, please don't feel bad for not being with your dog when he was put down. I couldn't do it either when I had my cat put to sleep. I left her at the vets and practically ran back to the car and bawled all the way home. The vet sent a sympathy card a day or so later and said she went right to sleep.
Everyone's different. Some can handle it, some can't. My mom decided to have the vet come to our house to put my little poodle to sleep. She wanted her to be as comfortable as possible and be with her. I was a teenager at the time and couldn't handle it. I was mad at my mom and ran out of the house. I regret that now that I didn't support my mom during that time. But my mom said it was the hardest thing she had ever done. She was holding her when the vet put her to sleep and it happened so fast my mom said she didn't get the chance to hug her one last time. She now says she can't do that again. It was just too hard. That's why I said don't be hard on yourself for not being there. Everyone's different, not everyone can do that.

I honestly don't know if I can watch when the put Willow to sleep. I guess I'm a wimp, then. I know he's going downhill and I don't know how long he's got. I just don't want him to suffer. I'm just going to take one day at a time. I think, like you guys, that I'll know when it's time.

Hugs to everyone! And hugs to our "babies". God bless you all!
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584475 tn?1218421547
Hi April2, thank you for the kind words.

Just remember to live every life with Willow as if it is the last day. Take care.Please keep us posted.  
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My 11 year old dalmation mix was just diagnosed with cushings.  She has had the excessive drinking, urinating with occasional accidents.  However, she still seems to have some spunk in her.  She still wants to play with her toys and with me.  I am starting her on the loading dose of Lysodren today.  I am picking it up at the vets later tonight.  I have been reading this posts and am getting a bit nervous about this medication and whether or not it will help her symptoms.  I want to give her a better quality of life and a longer life.  I don't want to see her suffer.  But it seems that a lot of these dogs who have been treated with Cushings seem to still suffer.  I am very heartbroken.  I want my coco to be around for a few more years.  She has been my joy since she was a pup.  
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I have a Beagle, Suzie, who has Cushing's disease.  She was diagnosed in 2002. She was drinking water faster than I could pour it in the bowl and urinating all thru the house. The vet checked everything and could not find out what was wrong with her. When her sides bloated out, I was really concerned that she had idney failure. The vet assured me that everything checked out OK. I did some research online and found out that her symptoms could be a sign of Cushing's Disease. The vet said that something in her bloodwork was slightly elevated which could be a sign of the disease. Since his office does not test for Cushings, I had to find another Vet that did. Turns out, she had the disease. The reason I am posting this is that I want all of you to know that you do have options to treat your dog with this disease. The internet is the best at finding out all there is to know about this disease. It is managable, especialliy if caught early. The reason most articles say that life expectancy on medicine is only 2 years is becuase most dogs that get Cushings are already 10-12 years old. Also, many articles posted are old and new drugs have come out now that can treat the disease. My dog was 6 (we think) when she was diagnosed. We chose the drug Lysodren as a treatment. I really should have had more scans done to see if she had the adrenal form of the disease as I may have considered the surgery and she would have been cured of this disease. We really think now that my dog has the adrenal form and not the pituitary form of the disease. My beagle had to take one Lysodren pill per day for 7 days and then 1 pill per week thereafter.You also have to keep a Predisone prescription on hand in case your dog has a reaction to the lysodren (this is rare). My dog has been on Lysodren now for 6 years. The medicine did not work right away. In fact, her bloodwork did not return to normal until about 2 years. The doctor was patient and kept adjusting her meds until one day it worked. For about  2 years, then, her bloodwork was perfect. Now, she starting to have a little bit of a relapse which is normal. Most dogs will have a relapse and the medcine needs to be adjusted. Dogs who have a relapse may need to go on 1 pill per day for 7 days like in the beginnning. Her bloodwork is way off again now, so we have to increase her meds to 3 pills per week instead of 1 1/2 pills per week. She also just started with the hind leg weakness and can't go up tall stairs. She has also been falling a bit because her belly is bloated again and he legs can't support her weight. She also collapsed today and took a few minutes to come around. I have to call my vet in the morning, but I am confident that this medicine will kick in and she will be back to normal again soon. I am an advocate of the Lysodren. It really does let dogs with Cushings live a normal life. Had we not put her on this medicine, we would have lost her years ago. If you have a dog with Cushing's, you have ot be patient, give the medicines as directed, and take your pet for periodic bloodwork.If you ignore the symptoms and pass them off s "old age" you may run out of time to try anything. My best advice would be to shop around for the Lysodren. I was initially told that only Giant Eagle in  my town carried it and I was paying $8 per pill X 4 pills per week! I now get it for $4 a pill. Pharmacies will order it for you if they know you will be a regular customer. Also, most pharmacies will price match. When she was on one per per week, it was obviously affordable. The testing is about $130 per visit. At first, I had to take her 2-3 times per year.  When she responded too the medicine, I only had to take her once a year for testing. If you can't afford treatments, there are organizations who may be able to assist you.  You just need to research them in your town. Again, the internet is your best bet for information, or try your local Library. Also, you vet may be willing to work out a payment plan with you. My advice would be to not be so quick to put your pet down. Most people make the mistake of thinking these symptoms are from old age and in many cases, it's Cushings Disease. It's worth investingating and it's worth taking a chance on the meds. You may be able to get a couple of more good years with your pet. My vet has another patient who's been on the Lysodren for 8 years now. Most dogs don't die from Cushings. They die from complications that occur from the disease if left untreated. One more side note, there is a new medicine in the UK that treats Cushings and it is supposed to be a wonder drug for the disease. It's called, Vetoryl®, active drug: Trilostane a/k/a Modrastane.  It is supposed to be way more effective than Lysodren. The problem is that the FDA has not approved it in the U.S. yet. You can purchase it online, though and have it shipped here. I am not sure on the cost as I have never purchased it because the Lysodren starting working on my dog. I hope all of this helps all of you. I wish you all the best with your pets. I know how it feels to worry. We love them so much!
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My 11 year old Shepherd mix, Hector was diagnosed with (Adrenal) Cushings a few years ago. I'm happy to report that he's still hanging in there. Maybe I can offer some advice or suggestions about what I give him. His particular medication to treat the Cushings is not too expensive, but he's also on a host of other supportive supplements.

To control the Cushings, he takes LYSODREN (1/2 pill, 2 times a week)

When he loses his hair, I have his Thyroid tested and every time it's off! When I adjust his Thyroid medication, his hair grows back in perfectly and stays for a long time. He still has his full, thick coat or fur.

To support his stiff joints I give him the following:

DASUQUIN  (high levels of Glucosomine/Chondroitin)
MSM (available at Trader Joes)
HYAL-JOINT  (this is great stuff for arthritic dogs) http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWU238/ItemDetail?n=4294967188

For any pain he might be in, he takes RIMADYL, but only if he's eaten.
For his leaky bladder issues he's on PROIN.

And to help take the edge off, he's on RECONCILE.  My vet says there's a generic (less expensive) version available. If he still can't sleep, he gets a little BENADRYL (Dyphenhydrochloride 25 mg)  (the generic version is cheaper)

Man, that whining and pacing at night can be pretty crazy making!

Good luck everybody, I hope this helps.

Donna

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My Beagle was diagnosed with cushings about 2 months ago.  She had a big belly with spindles for legs.  Her back leg was weak.  She was up at least 4 times at night to pee and I had to keep her water bowl full all the time.  She was soooooooooo hungry and that is saying something for a Beagle because they are always hungry anyway.  Lucky, we have a doggie door and she always had access to the yard.  We have placed her on Vetoryl and I have to say it is amazing.  She back to normal and I am so happy.  She will be 9 years old in May and I am hoping she will be around for many years to come.  The pills cost me $236.00 dollars a month including the fee for the government.  You know they have to have their share!  Thanks to those pills my baby girl is doing great!
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I have a 9 year old Bassett Hound, Lady, that was diagnosed with Cushings about two weeks ago...the kind caused by a non-cancerous tumor in the pituitary gland.   She had the same symptoms mentioned, excessive urination...thought it was a bladder infection, put her on antibiotics and when she didn't get better through more testing found out she has Cushings.  She has the excessive drinking, urnination, some panting, seems a little disoriented at times...and has constant b.m.'s (approx. 6 a day if not more) and they were soft.  I'm happy to report that Trilostane has now been approved for use in the US...was just approved 2 weeks prior to my Lady being diagnosed.  This drug can only be used with dogs having Cushings due to the pituitary...not the adrenal gland.  I've had her on the medication now for 10 days (60mg..based on her weight).  It costs approx. $80 per month (30 day supply).  Lady is at the vet now having a blood test to see if the dosage she's on is the right dosage for her & to see how the Trilostane is working for her.  The blood test runs about $200 but after this test...if all goes well, she won't need another test for about 3-6 months.  She'll be on the medication once a day for life.  If Lady was in pain I wouldn't put her through this, but aside from the urination and drinking alot and the b.m.s (which have now become more solid since she's been on the meds)...she's not in any kind of discomfort.  I haven't noticed much of a change after 10 days on the meds aside from her stools becoming more firm, but I've read it can take up to a month to notice a change in her symptoms.  I'll keep you posted.
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I have a black Pomeranian. His name is Alfa. Alfa is 10 years old. He to has cushings really bad. He is on a medicine called Trilastate. Today 3-22-09 he is not doing well at all. Alfa is very quiet, not moving, not eating, drinking, or looking at me. I'm scared he is slowly dieing. The medicine does cost a lot of money, so does the testing. I am crying all day,he is my baby.
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203342 tn?1328740807
Oh honey, I'm so sorry! I know how this must hurt. I will say a prayer for you and your doggy. I just watched "Marley and Me" and they said in the movie that you will know when it's time to let them go. It's a hard decision but I pray your dog will let you know when he's ready.

*Big Hugs*
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I have am American bulldog, 6 years old, he has been constantly drinking water and having to urinate, he cries to go out in the middle of the night to urinate I let him out and sometimes he doesn’t even urinate he looks for water around the yard.  Accidents in the house are very common.  He used to be solid as a rock and now I'm noticing that he's lost muscle definition.  I took him to the vet about 5-6 times and they have tested his blood and urine number of times and haven’t found anything wrong with him.  A couple of weeks ago he started loosing his fur on both side of body and also has lumps all over his paws.  I took him to the vet again and was told it's a skin infection or allergy.  I was told to give him an antibiotic for 20 days and if no improvement to have him tested for Cushing’s.  Am I wasting my time with antibiotics?  Should I have him tested?  
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Hello All:

I have a ten year old beagle mix (Baby) who has been diagnosed with pituitary Cushings.  She has always loved to eat (what beagle doesn't), but recently inhales her food as soon as it has been given to her, it is as if her appetite is insatiable.. She has also taken an interest in the trash, and seems that she cannot consume enough water, which of course causes her to urinate all over the house. She looks as if she has a pot belly, consistent with cushing's I know, and she seems so tired all of the time.  To add a little fuel to the already uncontained fire, she has suddenly lost her vision.  I hate this for her.  She finished one round of 500mg of Lysodren, which lasted about 10 days. She seemed to tolerate the meds pretty well, her stools were normal, still had quite the appetite, I thought she was doing pretty good. Dropped her off at the vet's office for her ACTH stim. test this past Tuesday.  Since Tues., I have noticed that she seems so tired, or lethargic.  I honestly don't know the diffence between the two these days.  Her appetite is somewhat depressed,  she will eat, but not the instant her bowl is given to her.  I can't stand seeing her this way.  The vet called this afternoon and reported that her ACTH test indicated that the Lysodren had done its job, and that we needed to figure out a maintanence dose for her.  As soon as I told him that she seemed lifeless, he was concerned and wanted to see how the weekend goes before we gave her anymore Lysodren.  He also wanted a call if any diarrhea was present.  I love this dog as if she were a child, I do have three children as well.  I want to do everything within my power to give her the best quality of life that she can have.  I understand that there is no cure for this disease, and treating it will no way give her a longer life span, but again, I want the remainder of her life to be as pleasant as possible,  I want her to be happy again, plain and simple.  I don't want to give up hope just yet, it seems a lot of dogs do remarkably well with the treatment.  I also would like to know how soon you see results after treatment begins.   I know she must be uncomfortable with her belly, and going suddenly blind, it has to be terrifying.  My question is how do I know when it is time for her to be put to rest?   I would feel tremendous sadness that I let her go before I had exhausted all possible means of treating her.   She almost seems, simply put, sad, and it is breaking my heart.   I don't want her to suffer anymore.  It is, as if, she has turned into another dog.  She has been my sweetest dog that I have ever owned, and there have been several, I don't want to cause her anymore misery, just because I want her here with me.   I will at least wait until Monday to see what the Doc says, and if there is no improvement over the weekend, i just don't know,  This is agony!  Any input would be GREATLY appreciated as family members and friends don't understand this uber-complicated disease!  It is obviously keeping me up at night as it is now 1:40 in the morning!  Please excuse my poor writing, I actually am somewhat tired, but will gladly give up sleep to find information/advice that I can. Thanks for giving me your time-S.Davenport
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793908 tn?1294708709
Please, will all of you let me know how your dog is doing with Cushings?

I must say that Cushings is NOT a death sentence. Not at all..if treated in time.
My Poodle is getting better on Trilostane...aka Vetoryl.. aka Modrastane.
It is now available in the USA & it is not a terrable amount of money..price varies acording to your dogs weight which in turn regulates what dosage she/he takes.

I see a big difference in Julie's personality & symptoms, her hair is back in full force .
Her symptoms are getting better. Not great yet but better than before.

Please don't give up on your dog. Trilostane does work..there are no side effects for my Julie either..She is 14 lbs & 9 yrs. old.

I suggest anyone interested to please read my posts.

Happy Mothers Day to you all.

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S Davenport: I would suggest that you back of the Lysodren for now. My beagle has been on it for years, and this past Dec., when her Cushing's numbers started creeping up the doc increased her medicine by way too much! All of a sudden, she became lifeless, tired and TOTALLY refused food for a week! I had to get some pet milk in the store and force it down her throat to keep her alive. She even collapsed one day and passed out! I researched online that when the Lysodren destroys too much of  the Adrenal gland, that this could happen! The overdose throws the dog into the opposite disease, Addison's Disease. In fact, some docs will purposely do this because Addison's is somewhat easier to deal with then Cushings. To counter the overdose of Lysodren, the vet immediately gives the dog Prednisone (spelling??). As soon as my dog got that first dose of Prednisone, she bounced back and is 100% happy and healthy! She gets a low dose of Prednisone daily now and we continue to monitor her bloodwork every four months or so. So, far, she has not had to go back on the Lysodren. Just some food for thought before you make any drastic decisions. Try discussing this with your vet. I know I had to convince my vet that this was what was happening with my dog. He didn't believe it could be so, because over the years, we could never get my dog's Cushing's numbers low...but, when he ran her Cushing's test he saw that the numbers were WAY too low! Some times it helps to brainstorm with your vet. They are not God and you really need to be proactive with them just as you are with your own doctors. Hope this helps!
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S. Davenport: P.S. We believe my dog has the adrenal form of the disease and not the pituitary kind.
Diane
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