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Endings for Untreated Cushings in Dogs
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Endings for Untreated Cushings in Dogs

My 14.5 yr old beagle was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease a few months ago. He is nearly blind and deaf already - we decided not to put him through the treatment. My question is how do most older dogs with untreated Cushing's begin to fail? I would really like to minimize any suffering in his final days. Right now, I am red-flagging every little twitch and thinking if I knew what to expect, I could calm down a little and hopefully not send any frightened messages to Spartacus. He is currently on Proin to control his urine accidents and that has worked for a few months now. Would just really prefer to look at him with joy rather than fear these days. Thanks, in advance, for your knowledge & stories.
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't have any good advice about what you can expect to happen, but I definately agree with you that you should try to be calm in front of him, being deaf and blind, he needs all the help and calmness he can get.  Take each day as it comes, if he's in pain make sure he has meds, and simply enjoy him and do his favorite things with him as long as you can.  Good Luck.
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2186126_tn?1384961026
Thanks - I've heard about muscular problems, seizures and other things that happen to Cushings dogs and would appreciate hearing others' stories for what to watch out for as he approaches his 15th birthday.
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Hi there...I am terribly sorry to hear about your lil guy.  I lost my Sadie to this horrible disease.  She had just turned 10.  To keep a long story short, you've gotta have alot of patience.

Sadie weighed only 11 lbs and her first signs were eating, alot!  She would try to out eat my boxer/bulldog.  She was constantly hungry but after fiding out about Cushing's, I knew it was the disease.  I went from feeding her once in the morning and once in the evening to 3 smaller meals throughout the day.  Another thing is the thirst, it's insatiable.  She would drink constantly.  They shed, she would get lil white mole looking things everywhere.  Then she started getting really weak.  She would go out to potty, but I'd have to help her down the steps (I'm not going to let her stumble and risk falling) and I'd help her back up.  She normally would go wayyy out in the back yard but she barely made it into the yard as she grew weaker.  She was tired all the time.  I made sure she wasn't in any pain as I was told she wouldn't live through surgery, nor would the meds help.  I decided to let her live her final days at home around the people she loved.  The first time I took her to the vet was in Nov. 2010, I wasn't convinced it was "liver disease" so I got a 2nd opinion in Feb of 2011 and was diagnosed Cushing's and I lost her in May on that year. :(   She was my princess (and baby since I dont have any children) and I loved her so much and loved her MORE than I ever could during those last months.  The vet told me she wasn't in any pain and just to expect her to grow weak and she did.  

Just love him as much as possible, be his best friend as he needs you now more than ever.  I wish you the best!!  And again, I'm so sorry to hear.   If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask.
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Avatar_m_tn
my 10 yr. old Bassett hound was just diagnosed with cushings. my vet wants me to spend $211.00 dollars a month to treat her, which i cannot afford. i wish i could if it would help. so my question is when your dog was diagnosed did your vet mention giving your dog the medicine or think it would be better to just let it be and do like you did. i guess what iam trying to ask is -is it really going to make that much difference if you treat them or not at this age or is it just basically prolonging there suffering? just was wondering what your opinion is and if your vet said anything.
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Avatar_m_tn
my 10 yr. old Bassett hound was just diagnosed with cushings. my vet wants me to spend $211.00 dollars a month to treat her, which i cannot afford. i wish i could if it would help. so my question is when your dog was diagnosed did your vet mention giving your dog the medicine or think it would be better to just let it be and do like you did. i guess what iam trying to ask is -is it really going to make that much difference if you treat them or not at this age or is it just basically prolonging there suffering? just was wondering what your opinion is and if your vet said anything.
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Thanks for all the posts - an update on Spartacus, my beagle with untreated Cushings. He was diagnosed at 14.5 and he hung on for another year until we decided to have him put down at 15.5 yrs old. To answer my own question for anyone who's decided not to treat Cushings - in our case, his progression was slow but nothing major. His eyesight worsened over that year, his hearing worsened but mostly his kidneys worsened to the point where he was wearing a diaper all the time and was wanting to go outside every 1-3 hours all day and all night long. He didn't have any other issues.

As for his meds, he had been on thyroid meds for years already, and we added in one to help with his bladder. Finally, they suggested one to help with his liver function that was pricey ($60 extra i think) and it seemed too late for that med.

For LynnBob with the Bassett - there is no cure for Cushings so there's no guarantee. For us, it seemed cruel to put a 14.5 yr old dog through chemo (which is the recommended treatment) and am glad we decided not to do that. Good luck with your decision - its never easy.
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Avatar_m_tn
Vectoryl has been an affordable treatment for canine cushings. I spend about $90 a month for it at Coscto for my dog and it worked for two years. Hope this helps someone.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a miniature schnauzer whom we have been treating for Cushings for about a year. He took Vetoryl for months and in his monthly stem test vet noticed he is starting to show signs of Addison's disease (opposite of Cushings) so took him off the Vetroyl for 30 days. Ill tell you that he was a completely different dog while being treated with the meds!! On the meds he is like a puppy again and totally worth he money. Our family had to give up a couple things to be able to afford his treatments but our dogs a member of our family so we don't mind. We are actually putting him back on the Vetroyl but at a lower dose. This way we will continue to treat the symptoms but not cause him to develop Addison's disease. We will continue to treat him for the rest of his life ( he is 10) because we have seen the amazing difference in his quality of life while being treated!!!  
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Avatar_f_tn
I just want to thank you for being such a good pet owner.  So many people claim they can't afford treatment for their pet, but your family is willing to give up things so you can .  Your vet sound like he is up to date on treatments, and I'm so glad your dog has improved. I wish you continued good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have a 15.5 female schnauzer, she is blind and deaf, in the last 6 months she has undergone 2 surgeries one for a lump on her neck and recently had a toe removed as it had a growth. She is now panting a lot, eating a lot drinking a lot and as the pot belly so I know she has cushings disease. In March of this year I lost my other female schnauzer to diabetes, being diagnosed 6 months before hand she was 13.5 years old. I will not be putting Sasha through any more treatment I will nurse her to the end best I can once she shows signs of pain I will do the right thing, watching my other dog deteriate so rapidly broke my heart. Having to inject her twice daily which she always hated broke my heart and I will not put my eldest through anymore treatments........my dogs mean the word to me ..... Totally but to keep putting her through all this is not fair, forget the money side of things, she now needs quality of life and love from us which she gets 200% just to add both my dogs are mini schnauzers x
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Avatar_f_tn
It is so hard when our friends get old, it breaks your heart to see them sick.  My dog is 15, and doing okay right now for her age, but I know at anytime something can come up.  We also  have 7 old cats, and one of them was just diagnosed with heart disease.  They give you so much pleasure and love, but it is so hard in the end.  I wish you luck with helping Sasha, shes a lucky dog to be so loved.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a 12yr old dachshund that we go to the vet tomorrow but from first signs looks to have all the symptoms of cushings, The only question I have as he has been breathing funny as of late and very restless. I checked his nose cause I heard him in the corner crying and his nose was completely plugged. both nostrals were dried and plugged. gave him warm bath and got his nose wet to ease pain of me removing the debris so he could breath. Has anyone seen this?  im worried about tomorrows vet visit and its out come. Wish my family and me luck. I will not let him suffer though after looking into his eyes last night.
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't remember our dog having problems with congestion when she had Cushings, but it wouldn't surprise me if that is also a symptom, there are so many.  Let us know how you make out, Good Luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a 9 year old ShiZu and he has had Cushings for about two years.
I only have to have his test done twice a year. My Vet put him of trilostane
and I get a 90-day supply at DiamondBack Drugs in Arizonia for about
$90.00 my vet wanted $86.00 for 30-day supply. Cushings can be managed. Out dog had a huge pot belly and lost a lot of his hair and had
a lot of sores. Since he has been on the medicine he has grown back his
hair and his appetite is curb somewhat. He will eat all the time if you let him, but you have to feed your dog and then take up the food. I don not
know how long he will be with us, but a least this medicine helps, good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
just to add to my comments above. My dachshund was diagnosed with cushings, stage 6 heart murmur, and possible prostate cancer. Our little guy lost his battle and went to heaven on 11-1-14. Will be greatly missed.
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Avatar_m_tn
Our Pomeranian is 12 1/2 and has been diagnosed with cushings. Difficulty breathing is one of the signs. My vet said a dog should be breathing 30 times a minute. We chose not to put him through surgery and enjoying the time we have left. He is losing the ability to use his rear legs. I help him up and massage them until he can walk. His liver is enlarged and he is slowing down. I know the time is coming soon and my heart is breaking. They are my life. My other Pom is diabetic and 14 1/2, but doing well with morning and night injections. Prayers to you and your baby.
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Avatar_f_tn
Malibu406, I'm so sorry for your little guy.  Cushings is a horrible disease to watch your dog go through.
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Avatar_m_tn
My dog has cushings and instead of putting her on meds that would ruin her kidneys, etc, (and the fact I was unemployed at the time), I went through PetWellbeing.com and ordered their "Harmony Gold" for dogs with cushings.  Within one week her panting (which was excessive) diminished about 90% and her bloaty abdomen went back to normal.  She is 14.5 years old now, been on the meds for two years.  It is now that she is deteriorating fast due to cushings.  I don't expect her to make it much longer, but that product gave me two additional years.  She is starting to get mild seizures (mostly disorientation) and mild muscle spasms.  She still manages to go outside to potty and just wants to be near me.  She sleeps all the time and hasn't eaten hardly anything in days, but still drinks water.  Her time is nearing an end.  This is the second dog I have had with Cushings.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Try looking at products with Petwellbeing.  I treated my dog with their product for cushings.  I have posted already if you wish to read.  Bless our pets!!
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Avatar_f_tn
    My 15 yr old dachshund passed last month from pituitary dependent cushings related issues. She had been struggling with seizures for a year and a half before she suddenly developed a tooth root abscess and was unable to heal from. Sadly, it forced me to put her to sleep w/ in a week. Her teeth didn't seem so bad, though I wanted to have them cleaned last year to be on top of her oral care. However, because of her seizures, my vet didn't want to put her through dental surgery/ anesthesia; this was a mistake. She should have referred me to an animal hospital where they can resuscitate.
   When she was diagnosed, I began cooking all of her meals organic, veggies and high quality protein (recipes online), and adding supplements (omega 3, calcium, children's multi) which worked wonders. My single biggest regret is that I didn't brush her teeth every day and add probiotics to her meals every time. Dogs with cushings are highly susceptible to bacterial infections, so feeding probiotics helps the entire system, including the mouth hygiene. So GIVE PROBIOTICS WITH EVERY MEAL. I also recommend blood test at least every four months on schedule, as you never know when the symptoms will cause a cascading effect on the bodily functions. My dog ended up turning a sharp corner in the end that I feel could have been softened if I had been only slightly more rigorous with these key elements.
   I had decided last year with my vet to just manage her symptoms, ie seizures, with anticonvulsants and diet because she was nearly 14 when she was diagnosed, and the treatments are harsh on the body, so we decided to take it easy on her with the meds. If I had to do it again, I would treat it more aggressively and hope for the best. The medication that seems to have the best reviews over all is called Vetoryl. I now think by shrinking the tumor with this medicine, then managing the subsequent side effects of treatment is the superior approach for dogs under 14. Make sure to google/ research the heck out of Cushing as it is very complex, and you'll want to make sure your vet can refer you to a specialist as symptoms become more serious. Get second and third opinions, etc. Drs don't truly understand this illness very well at all, and tend to have varying opinions on treatments, etc.
     This condition has the potential to be heart breaking, so try to do everything you can asap. It seems like an expensive and difficult process, but just break it down and figure it out, it cannot be ignored or you will regret it. There is nothing like the guilt of losing a pet and feeling like maybe there was something more you could have done to keep them safe. And remember, even if you have a team of highly reputable Drs In your corner, you know your dog better. If you think there's something wrong, there is, do not delay finding the source of the problem.
Take care,
Emily
PS. Use raw coconut oil on dry noses;)
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Avatar_f_tn
    My 15 yr old dachshund passed last month from pituitary dependent cushings related issues. She had been struggling with seizures for a year and a half before she suddenly developed a tooth root abscess and was unable to heal from. Sadly, it forced me to put her to sleep w/ in a week. Her teeth didn't seem so bad, though I wanted to have them cleaned last year to be on top of her oral care. However, because of her seizures, my vet didn't want to put her through dental surgery/ anesthesia; this was a mistake. She should have referred me to an animal hospital where they can resuscitate.
   When she was diagnosed, I began cooking all of her meals organic, veggies and high quality protein (recipes online), and adding supplements (omega 3, calcium, children's multi) which worked wonders. My single biggest regret is that I didn't brush her teeth every day and add probiotics to her meals every time. Dogs with cushings are highly susceptible to bacterial infections, so feeding probiotics helps the entire system, including the mouth hygiene. So GIVE PROBIOTICS WITH EVERY MEAL. I also recommend blood test at least every four months on schedule, as you never know when the symptoms will cause a cascading effect on the bodily functions. My dog ended up turning a sharp corner in the end that I feel could have been softened if I had been only slightly more rigorous with these key elements.
   I had decided last year with my vet to just manage her symptoms, ie seizures, with anticonvulsants and diet because she was nearly 14 when she was diagnosed, and the treatments are harsh on the body, so we decided to take it easy on her with the meds. If I had to do it again, I would treat it more aggressively and hope for the best. The medication that seems to have the best reviews over all is called Vetoryl. I now think by shrinking the tumor with this medicine, then managing the subsequent side effects of treatment is the superior approach for dogs under 14. Make sure to google/ research the heck out of Cushing as it is very complex, and you'll want to make sure your vet can refer you to a specialist as symptoms become more serious. Get second and third opinions, etc. Drs don't truly understand this illness very well at all, and tend to have varying opinions on treatments, etc.
     This condition has the potential to be heart breaking, so try to do everything you can asap. It seems like an expensive and difficult process, but just break it down and figure it out, it cannot be ignored or you will regret it. There is nothing like the guilt of losing a pet and feeling like maybe there was something more you could have done to keep them safe. And remember, even if you have a team of highly reputable Drs In your corner, you know your dog better. If you think there's something wrong, there is, do not delay finding the source of the problem.
Take care,
Emily
PS. Use raw coconut oil on dry noses;)
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Avatar_n_tn
My little Blue is a 12 year old Toy Manchester Terrier and has struggled for years with various illnesses from idiopathic vestibular disease to regular ear and bladder infections. Last year he was finally diagnosed with Cushing's. I tried the chemo and everything else under the sun until finally I decided to stop treatments and make him as comfortable as possible. The typical symptoms such as gorging on food and water and the frequent urination were part of our daily lives until recently, new ones started coming up. Weakness in the hind legs, weight loss and constant whimpering. Through all of this, he's still alert, hungry, energetic and playful as ever which confuses and frightens me. I will carry him outside 50 times a day to go potty if I have to but when do I draw the line? When do I make that decision to end his suffering? Are there more serious symptoms I should look for?
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2186126_tn?1384961026
Sounds like a good decision for your pet - its all so difficult. Best...
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Avatar_f_tn
What does your vet say about how your dog is?  Does he give advice?  Its a decision only you can make, I know when my dog had Cushings, treatments were unsuccessful and she had absolutely no quality of life.  She would just lay there all day, not playing, eating, anything.  Its so hard to make that decision, I feel for you.
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Avatar_m_tn
So many of you are so nice to your doggies.  We had our dog, age 12, shitzu, take Vetoryl, for the first 6 months after diagnosis but then decided based on cost to let him go "cold turkey."  He basically only gets up now to drink, eat or pee.  My kids have several times commented that they think he might be dead. It is sad and we may start to shell out for the medication again.  My only question is whether others have had to have expensive testing done every year to check levels.  Our Vet did a $500 test before medication and the another $500 test after a couple of weeks on medication.  Now we are at a year and he won't prescribe anything without another test.
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Avatar_f_tn
My dog never lasted that long, but if she did I definitely would have had another test, just to see what was going on with her levels.  Good Luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for sharing Linda. Sorry about your loss. Was the Cushings the ultimate cause of death?
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Avatar_f_tn
She never responded well with the Cushings meds, plus the vet wasn't very good treating Cushings dogs.  She got to the point where she would just lay all day, with her head against the wall, and the look on her face told us it was time.  I don't think you'll regret having your dog retested, this way you'll know where you stand, plus your vet can give you his opinion on the test results.  At least then you'll know you've done everything you can.  Good Luck, let us know how you make out.
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Avatar_m_tn
My beagle/dachshund mix is almost 10 and was diagnosed with atypical Cushing's at around 4 years old in it's early stages after she experienced excessive thirst and frequent urination. We started with natural treatments at the recommendation of our vet - melatonin & flaxseed capsules. She did not really improve and this went on for several years. Next she was started on Trilostane and and could not tolerate even a small doses (became almost unresponsive and had to be given Prednisone to return to her normal state). After a while on the low dose of Trilostane without improvement in her symtoms (symptoms) she was started on Vetoryl. Her dosage was gradually increased to 60 mg/day with absolutely no improvement and she began urinating frequently in the house. The Vetoryl was costing me almost $200/month and the frequent stim tests were over $400 each. At almost $600 month with no improvement,  we discontinued the Vetoryl with the agreement of the vet specialist. Our only other option is  Lysodren which is a chemotherapy agent. I have decided against giving her this medication which I have heard has terrible side effects. I also cannot afford to continue treatment and medication at $600/month. At this point, she is in doggy diapers and we are making the hard decision of when to put her down. I hope others have better success at treating their beloved canine friends who develop Cushings.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel for you, I know how hard it is to see a good friend suffer from Cushings, and to try to decide when they have had enough.  It is a horrible disease, and you tried so hard to help her, she is very lucky to have been loved so much.  Please try to find some comfort in that.
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4 months ago my chocolate lab Dora (10 yrs old) was diagnosis with diabetes.  I woke up one morning and she was blind.  I took her to the vet and she was tested for diabetes and started her on insulin. The insulin has not brought her blood sugar down much at all even with the increases.  Without testing the vets are pretty sure (99%) she has Cushings disease which she has all symptons (pot belly,increased thirst and food, thinning of her hair (mainly the tail and back area) and not active. She can find her way around the house and to the doggie door to go outside, but is hesitate to go for walks. I took her back last week because one of her eyes will probably have to be removed, I need to take her to the opthamologist to determine this. I spend $450 on her insulin and prescription dog food per month (just for her). The surgery will cost approximately $1400, but is risky with her condition. I have 2 others doggies at home Harley, boxer (3 1/2 yrs) and Pattycakes, pit (6 yrs). I do not make much money, but I would sale everything to help her. I'm sure the disease has been with her at least 1 yr because I take my dogs annually for check ups unless something else is going on.  If I thought the testing and the medication she would need would help her, I'll find the means, but my heart tells me it would not. I had to make decisions with my others babies (4)  when it's time because I don't want them to suffer. I rescue dogs to give the best that I have because I adore them. My heart is so heavy it's almost unbearable. Just seeking some guidance.
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Avatar_f_tn
My heart goes out to everyone here who has had to confront cushings in their beloved pets. My 9 yr old baby girl (shih tzu) was confirmed about a week ago with the disease. I've noticed her heavy panting for about a year now and at that time the vet said (i think) her liver steroid levels were high and she might have cushings. Recently she was going crazy chewing and licking at her paws and limping a bit. Her hair is thinning along her backside and she does seem a little slower. Vet said these are most probably due to cushings. We did the test and here we are. Now I too am trying to decide if expensive treatment will be beneficial or just prolong the inevitable. We lost another shih tzu last May. He was 10 yrs, but it wasn't cushings. That was almost unbearable. We also have another shih tzu, who is about 5 yrs old.She's fine so far, knock on wood.
I will definetly have to think on this some more. I wish everyone peace in their hearts with whatever decisions you make concerning your pets quality of life. These little angels bring soooo much joy to our lives which makes it soooo hard to say goodbye. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and experiences. Wish me luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Sounds like your vet is high. It cost me $275.00 for the first test. $65.00 for 30 count 10mg of Vetoryl capsules. The second testing cost me $275.00. They have to do a second test to make sure meds are not to high or low. The difference the Vetoryl made is unreal.She was drinking 4, 64oz bowls of water a day. Going out all day and all night to relieve herself. Panting, starved all the time. Whining. She was miserable and so was I.  My Miniature Schnauzer is 6 years old. 90 days in now....she is once again showing signs of increased water intake, pacing and whining. i think her meds need to be increased, which will require another test. She is on a low dose. I have no way of knowing the journey we are embarked on. I don't know if she feels pain. But I know my muscular beautiful dog is slowly losing muscle mass. I have a lot to learn about the long term effects of Vetoryl as the dosage increases. I try to read everything I can from owners who have dogs with Cushings. My dog never lost her appetite or hair. To top it off my other mini Schnauzer who is also 6 was diagnosed with Pancreatis (pancreatitis) on 3/4/15. So I have my hands full with two gravely ill young dogs. Deciding what to do about each dog will be taken on a day to day basis. I have asked my vet to let me know if he thinks it is time. God Bless everyone here that has to go through this difficult illness with their beloved pet.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have a 14 yr old Vizsla who had an emergency splenectomy two weeks ago (she had a softball sized mass that had ruptured and was bleeding out into her abdomen) and a malignant tumor removed from her spine in January. We've been aware of the cancer but were told she would pass from old age before it really became an issue. Its just now coming up that she has cushing's disease as well, and in hind sight probably has had it for at least six months. I've been researching and talking with my vet, but am not convinced that treatment will improve her overall quality of life but rather improve some symptoms while creating other side effects. Money isn't really an issue. She's mostly blind and deaf and she is not fully aware of her surroundings. She'll forget that I'm right beside her on the couch and jump/cower when I reach to pet her. her back legs are already so weak she can't go up or down the steps to get outside without help. I work every day and most nights and am worried about leaving her during the day. I just wish I knew what was best for her.
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Avatar_f_tn
NicoleRob, I don' have any answers for you but I know how you feel.  Our dog is 16 and is in reasonably good health but is  also deaf and has dementia and it is heartbreaking.
One of our cats was diagnosed with diabetes two weeks ago, she also had blood pressure problems.,  After a week of trying to get her diabetes count down to normal, the two vets working on her said she couldn't be helped, and we had to put her to sleep.
It is so hard to see them sick, and even harder to decide what to do.  You wish they would die peacefully in their sleep, but it seldom works that way.  Is your vet any help in deciding what to do?
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