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Cushings Disease

My Chihuahua was diagnosed with Cushings Disease about 2 1/2 years ago.  My vet was pretty sure it was Cushings but did the ACTH test to confirm.  He was started on a loading dose of Lysodren for a week or so and then a maintenance dose of 1/4 500 mg tablet 2 times per week.  Over the last couple years, he relapses every 6 months or so.  I can usually tell by his water consumption, frequent urination and panting.  He has never lost the big belly or the bowed back which I thought eventually would happen.  Because of his weight issue, he now has been diagnosed with slipped discs in his neck and back and takes Tramadol for pain.
Each time that he relapses, it is very expensive for the ACTH tests - one before and one after the reloading period.  I am a widow on Social Security and can barely pay my bills.  I frequently go without my medication so that I can buy his Lysodren.  But my biggest issue is that during each reloading, he gets so sick.  Very lethargic, and weak.  It has only been 2 months since his last ACTH (pre number was 7 and post number was 2) I think I may have jumped the gun that time but I had just moved and maybe it was the stress of the packing and moving that made me think he was sick again.  Now I see again that he is drinking more, etc.  He has also developed a dry, hacking cough that ends with him gagging which has me concerned.  I am at my wits end and don't know what to do.
Each time that I take him for the testing, I say it is the last time but I do not want to lose him.
Any advice that you can give me especially about the cough would be appreciated.  But my main question is, what would happen if I just stopped his Lysodren?  Would he be able to live?  Would he be in pain?  Please help.  Thank you.
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234713 tn?1283530259
He can live without the Lysodren.  

Without any treatment for Cushing's syndrome your dog would go back to panting, excessive eating, excessive drinking and urination, skin issues and any other problem that he had prior to being diagnosed.  

Many of his symptoms could be treated symptomatically.  The medication, Anipryl can sometimes treat the symptoms of increased drinking and urination.  Alternative treatments such as: Neoplasene and Ophiopogon can help.  

Neoplasene is a holistic treatment for tumors.  Since Cushings syndrome is caused by either a pituitary or adrenal tumors, Neoplasene can be an effective treatment.

Ophiopogon Formula is a Chinese herbal treatment for Cushing's and has been shown to be effective in controlling symptoms of Cushing's.

Neoplasene is available from Buck Mountain Botanicals and Ophiopogon Formula is available from the Jing Tang Herbal Company.  Both are only available by prescription.  Please discuss these with your vet.

The coughing may by unrelated to the Cushing's and could be due to collapsing trachea, kennel cough, heart disease and others.
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