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Thread: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

  1. #1

    Default Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hi, I'm new here and overwhelmed!
    I have a 11-12 year old, 36 pound mixed breed spayed female dog, named Blackberry. She is in very good health aside from the Cushings. She has textbook symptons: excessive drinking/urinating, ravenous appetite, a potbelly, and some panting.

    We just got diagnosed this week with the probability of adrenal gland tumor Cushings, through a LDDS test. These were her cortisone levels: pre 7.7, after 4 hours, 8.5, and after 8 hours 8

    We have started her on Vetoryl (trilostane) 10 mg; 2 capsules by mouth 2x a day. She will go through an ACTH stimulation test in 2 weeks.

    We are considering an ultrasound and surgery with a specialist. Trying to sort through all the information...I'm starting to understand that the medicine will only manage her symptons, not extend her life? Does anyone have any input or advice? I'm also seeing that the cost of a year's medicine is approximately the cost of the ultrasound AND surgery...
    Any input will be greatly appreciated. I've had this dog since I was 18, and she is my dog-of-a-lifetime. We have always been together, she's my shadow.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sussex, WI, USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Welcome to the forum; you've found a good group of people, here. Sorry to hear about Blackberry's diagnosis.

    Our English Shepherd was diagnosed with adrenal dependent Cushing's, but it was a long road to get a diagnosis that everyone believed, as both her adrenal glands were enlarged, but with no pituitary cause. In her case, the ultrasound was a very useful diagnostic: it not only gave us good images of the tumors on her adrenal glands, but turned up a small mass in her liver. By knowing the size of the adrenal tumors and how close the right one was to a major vein, we were able to get some estimates of the risk of surgery, and make an informed choice about treatment options.

    This is some scary stuff, and the tests and treatment are expensive, but I've found reading up on the disease and its treatment to be helpful. There is a lot of good information in this site's resources. I've also found some good material in the Files section of the caninecushings-autoimmunecare Yahoo group.

    There's no single "right" treatment, and everyone here understands how hard these choices can be.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hello and welcome,

    My dog had a very successful adrenalectomy about 4 1/2 years ago after a lengthy diagostic process. She had just turned 12.

    The results of your low dose dex. test indicate that Blackberry may have an adrenal tumor. The way to find out with certainty is to have a top quality ultrasound performed. If there's an adrenal tumor, you need to know which gland it is in, its size and its involvement with area blood vessels.

    There is no reason to jump to any conclusions now. An abdominal ultrasound with a high resolution machine will give you your answer. Surgery is the treatment of choice for an adrenal tumor. I hope you will get Blackberry an ultrasound performed by an excellent ultrasonographer pretty soon. Then, you can take it from there and we will be right with you every step of the way.

    Ken

  4. #4

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hi LaurieLee,
    based on your LDDS test results the medical literature says there is a 50-50 chance you're dealing with adrenal disease vs. Pituitary based. It's advisable to have the ultrasound to determine type before treating.
    There was no suppression, so its a complete guess at this point as to type of Cushing's.
    Suppose you could see if the treatment helps at all, but mostly you would want a better idea of what's going on with the adrenals first. The doses are different, much higher for adrenal, with surgery most often done for treatment of this type vs. drug therapy.
    It's a whole lot to absorb and learn about this disease! Best to you and your fur-baby.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Dave, Ken, and Wolfpak,
    Thank you for your responses and for references to other information (which has been very helpful)!
    It still amuses me slightly that I've joined what amounts to is a support group for this (the forum), ha ha, but this is a confusing disease to sort out. It's also interesting to me that unless I figure out the-right-questions to ask the vet... it's hard to know what direction to take. Especially if my furry friend could have many more happy years, aside from the Cushings.
    My husband and I have decided to schedule an ultrasound with the specialist. Our regular vet is very confident that it's an adrenal tumor (we had some xrays done..?). But we're just going to see what's going on.
    Has anyone had their dog go through the surgery successfully? Especially an older dog, like ours?
    Thank you for all your responses.
    Laurie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,402

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hi Laurie and a belated welcome to the forum.

    I just wanted to say that the results of the LDDS may not indicate pituitary based disease but that sure doesn't mean your girl has an adrenal tumor. Opting for the abdominal ultrasound as your next step is a wise move as it can make the distinction between pituitary and adrenal as well as give your vet a look see at the surrounding internal organs. Will be looking forward to hearing about the findings.

    Glynda

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    California
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    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    If you don't mind pages and pages of reading and a less then brave owner, you can read my thread about my "Kira 10 yr old husky". She just had this surgery about two months ago.. The surgery went extremely well, the result so far has not been the best.
    Janis
    My avatar is a picture of Elly at age 7.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hi Laurie,

    Lots of us felt overwhelmed when we were in your position, I know I sure did. It can be a difficult diagnosis and a difficult disease. But, you are doing everything exactly right. Thank goodness for modern veterinary medicine; whatever the diagnosis, you will have options. I know you love Blackberry deeply.

    I am really glad you will be getting an ultrasound and that it will be performed by a specialist. Adrenal tumors rarely show up on x-rays. You will want to glean all of the information possible from the ultrasound. Hopefully, you will receive a detailed written report. Pick the brains of every veterinary professional you are in contact with. Read and study everything the veterinary textbooks/manuals say about cushing's disease. A couple of them are available on-line. Again, if there's an adrenal tumor, you want to know which gland it is in, its size and its involvement with area blood vessels. You also need to be sure Blackberry is a good surgical candidate if it comes to an adrenalectomy.

    Let's not jump the gun, though. Even with no suppression, the LDDST cannot definitively diagnose an adrenal tumor. We will be looking forward to hearing the results of Blackberry's ultrasound.

    Ken

  9. #9

    Smile Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Wow, thanks for all the responses. It has helped me be more matter-of-fact about everything.

    The ultrasound and 2-hour consultation is all set up for Monday (the 28th). I feel apprehensive, but at least we're moving forward.

    Altira, I have read some of your postings, and found it to be helpful. Keep on keepin' on; best wishes to Kira.

    Thanks for the welcome, Glynda.

    And for the ongoing info, Ken.

    I will let your know the results of Monday. Keep your fingers crossed... I'm also working on a blog post about Berry which I'll include a link to if anyone would like to "meet" the creature-in-question here...

    So thanks again for the reply posts; that has, at the least, been encouraging to me!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    rural central ARK
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    13,301

    Default Re: Adrenal Tumor Cushings

    Hi LauraLee,

    How is your Blackberry doing? What did you learn from the ultrasound?

    Hugs,
    Leslie and the gang
    "May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." Anne, a Corgi mom

    Death is not a changing of worlds as most imagine, as much as the walls of this world infinitely expanding.

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