Anyone else have a dog diagnosed with Cushings? My T.C. (almost 13 y.o. lab x) was originally diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, but after further testing (low dose dex test) & some classic cushings symptoms, we've determined he has the pituitary type.
He has been on Vetoryl for almost 2.5 months, with 3 ACTH stim tests along the way to be sure we've got the dosing correct.
Most recent ACTH results (1.1/4.4) show that the cortisol is well controlled on the current dose of 60 mg/day (he weighs 55 lbs). Only problem is on that dose, his water intake & urination are still through the roof.
Just wanted to see if anyone else is going through/has been through the diagnosis/treatment with cushings.
I have been down that road with my Boxer. He lived with Cushings for nearly 18 months and I would do it all over again. We had ACTH stim tests done regularly to make certain the meds were controlling it. We chose to go with Lysodren which is powerful but worked for him. We always knew when he was getting ready for an ACTH stim and an increase in his dosage because his peeing and drinking would ramp up. We got to the point where we were sweet talking him when he would trickle-pee in the house - we didn't want him to feel naughty about something that was clearly out of his control. Best thing we did was keep him as active as he would tolerate. Cushings can cause muscles in the back end to waste away so maintaining fitness is crucial - within reason of course. He got pretty creaky at the end and we even did acupunture and chiropractic work on him to keep him comfy. There is a lot I would give right now to be wiping up his pee from the kitchen floor one more time. I relish every day I have with my dogs because our time together is simply too short.
My border collie lab cross had cushings. At the time I could not afford the western meds., the weekly blood tests, and all the vet visits.
I have a friend who is a chinese practitioner and I changed his diet to a cooling diet or a hot diet.....I forget it was 2 years ago. but I switched proteins and did twice monthly electric acupuncture and put him on herbs.
I got a year or so more out of him.
if you would like her number, (she travels) or hear more about nontraditional therapies feel free to PM me.
I would not wish my worst enemy to have to go though having a dog with cushings.
know that there are people here that have dealt with this horrible disease and we will support you. I wish I had a support group when I went though it.
There is a lot I would give right now to be wiping up his pee from the kitchen floor one more time. I relish every day I have with my dogs because our time together is simply too short.
this statement kills me. Dealing this Cushings is so horrible. My dog would wet his bed and lay in it at the end because he couldn't get out of the bed. (hind end deterioration) and I would never get mad, you can't. He would get so embarrassed.
I was getting up every 2 hours, carry him down the stairs and let him pee outside.
But I loved that dog so much, and it killed me that I could not reverse the damage to his body. In the end, its about what makes the dog comfortable, not you.
My husband and I have 3 dogs, but T.C. is my 'heart' dog. We rescued him 6 years ago and he's brought so much joy into our lives. He's probably been showing signs of Cushings for several years, but because he was always a big drinker and LOVED food, we never thought that it was connected to some other issue.
I started to notice this past fall that the water intake really ramped up and then he had his first accident EVER in the house. I knew that something was amiss.
My biggest worry is that the cortisol was masking any arthritis pain that he may have been having. Now that we've been on the Trilostane for 3 months, I'm starting to see that I was correct. He's showing some creakiness in the hind end that I didn't see 6 months ago. In time, the vet and I will most likely be discussing pain management for my boy. Also, the hind end muscles do seem to be deteriorating (and faster than I expected), but he's still very mobile. We go for a walk every day (which he LOVES and DEMANDS), and I do my best to manage his weight (to lessen the stress on his hind end).
There's a great support group at K9 Cushings as well if there's anyone else with a Cushings dog.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences. In the end, as T.C.'s mom, it's my job to keep him comfortable and happy and love on him as long as he's here with me.
My goal is to make this last phase of his life happy and comfortable.
T.C.s mom -
It sounds like you are taking a great approach at this. It is about quality of life for our special dogs that's for sure. My Boxer was my heart dog too - held him coming into this life and held him leaving the Earth, too. I don't know why such special dogs get such awful diseases.
I found that once we got the issue under control my Boxer was no longer "super dog" but did suffer from pretty advanced arthritis too. Such a double-edged sword that when you control one thing something else worsens. We used Tramadol for pain and kind of moderated that according to the day - asked the vet what a maintenance dose was and what a likely max in 24 hours should be and kept him comfy where we could.
Where we went for acupuncture and chiro also taught us some exercises to keep the back end strong. Maybe you want to include some in your routine as therapy for both him and you. We did weaving through cones - keeps coordination up. Also set up 1x1s a few feet apart as caveletti - keeps those hocks working and limber. We did cookie stretches too - which my pup loved because food was involved! Stretching back to either side for a cookie by the rib cage and stretching down between his front feet (this one was really hard for him so we didn't push it.) Also, surprisingly one of the best things we did for keeping his balance solid was exercises to help his core. It started with simply lifting one foot at a time for 10-30 seconds. He was wobbly at first and we did it in a safe place with really good footing. Then gradually added time until he was at 30 seconds standing on any combination of three feet. Just like picking a horse's hoof there are specific ways you should lift and support their feet so be cautious. Also, at first my guy was quite wobbly so go slow and ask a friend or family member to assist. We didn't push on any of these exercises - just kept it fun and easy for all of us.
Also, if you have tile floors, we learned about a product called "Show foot." It is for show dogs and is a sticky spray that you put on their pads. After you apply it and it dries their pads are tacky to the touch - just enough to assist in stabilizing in the kitchen! It wears off in rain water or after a day or two. It was interesting to learn about this show product that can be used in an assisted living sort of way.
I loved doing his therapy as much as my boy enjoyed the attention. For me it was a daily gift of time that we spent together. We never made it a chore and it only took maybe 5-10 minutes but it helped me feel like I was doing something PRODUCTIVE to keep him strong and healthy.
Stay strong and stay true to your goal. I am glad you have found a support network, too! Keep us posted.
While T.C. looks good 'on paper' with regards to controlling his symptoms, most of the physical signs are still present. We have a visit scheduled with an internist in 2 weeks. She will do an ultrasound, some urinalysis testing & go through his records with a fine toothed comb to make sure we haven't missed something.
T.C.'s visit with the internist in GA was good. She confirmed the Cushing's diagnosis, but also confirmed that for a 12 year old dog, TC is in VERY good health otherwise. If you ever need an internist near Athens, GA, I really recommend Dr. Barker with Woodlands Veterinary Referral.
It's taken some time to tweak his medication and get the cortisol levels where she wants them, but with twice daily dosing, we're finally there. We also had to add Pepcid AC as a daily medication as well because TC was exhibiting signs of esophageal reflux that caused him to gag and puke up small bits of water after drinking.
We've visiting my parents this week in Ohio (they have a 90 acre farm, whereas TC usually lives in suburbia), and he LOVES going for walks on the farm. Lots of things to get into back in the old cow pastures. : )