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  #1  
Old 06-29-2012, 06:21 PM
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morpha morpha is offline
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Default Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Frida is a shelter rescue that I have had for 6.5 years, age unknown. Her vet thinks she is 9 or 10. A couple of months ago, I noticed she was starting to drink and urinate a lot more than normal. Took her to the vet for some rounds of tests and recently got a diagnosis. I don't know exactly which tests were run or what the numbers were on those tests, but Frida starts on Vetoryl on Sunday (in 2 days). I do recall that her urine was very diluted, and that the first bloodwork done showed low thyroid and some liver trouble, but I don't know what or how much.

Frida's belly is distended and I have noticed it becoming more so over the last month. She has also slowed down some and has a little difficulty jumping. I have also noticed some darkening of pigmented areas on her skin. She has always had a huge appetite and is overweight although I have tried to control what she eats. Now, it seems that her appetite is getting stronger and she has become completely obsessed with food. I have not noticed any hair loss or problems with her skin.

The past few weeks have been stressful. She gets up and drinks repeatedly throughout the night and I have to make sure she goes outside to pee every 2 hours because she has now had a few accidents in the house.

I only work part time and my financial resources are few, so one of the hardest things is worrying that I will not be able to provide her with the care she needs. I have gotten some assistance from a program at our local animal shelter, and have set up a donation page on facebook. The vet is letting me have the Vetoryl at cost and even let me take it home before completely paying for it. There are things to be grateful for.

I look forward to the time when the medication kicks in and Frida hopefully gets back to normal. I miss hiking with her in the woods.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

I am just jumping in quickly to welcome you and Frida. You definetly found a wonderful and very knowledgeable group of individuals who can jump in at any time to answer any questions that you are going to have.
Good luck on starting the medication and we look forward to hearing more about Frida.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:52 PM
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Harley PoMMom Harley PoMMom is offline
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Hi and welcome to you and Frida,

So sorry for the reasons that brought you here but glad you found us as we will help in any way we can. Bless you for giving Frida a forever home, you are a wonderful person!

It would help us a great deal if you could round up copies of all tests that were done on Frida and post any abnormalities listed along with the reference ranges and units of measurement. Cushing's is one of the most difficult diseases to get a confirmed diagnosis for since other non-adrenal illnesses share some of the same symptoms of Cushing's and not one test is 100% accurate at diagnosing Cushing's.

Diabetes and thyroid problems are two health issues that have some of the same symptoms as Cushing's, have these been ruled out?

Many members use a reputable compounding pharmacy to have their Cushing meds compounded which can save a lot of money. I am sure these members will be along to share which compounding pharmacy they use.

Please remember we are here for you and Frida so do not hesitate to ask any and all questions.

Love and hugs,
Lori
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Thanks! Diabetes has been ruled out, not sure about thyroid. The test the vet used to diagnose Cushings took 8 hours, and involved taking blood 3 or 4 times. I will see about getting printouts of test results from the vet. We did discuss compounding, but my vet didn't know much about it and neither do I.
Oh, yes, it's pitutary Cushings according to the vet.

Last edited by morpha; 06-29-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Hi and welcome from me too.

Your vet sounds like a keeper in helping you and Frida out.

Just wanted to pass on several links here. http://www.k9cushings.com/forum/showthread.php?t=212 (Financial resources that could help out)

http://www.k9cushings.com/forum/showthread.php?t=185 (Vetoryl info)

Looking forward to those test results too.
Terry

PS - I have a blue heeler mix too (from the shelter) - would love to see some photos of Frida Here she is..http://www.k9cushings.com/forum/albu...pictureid=3446
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

The vet just called and due to my work schedule this week, we decided to postpone starting Frida on the Vetoryl until July 8. Also, she is going to have some Prednisone and copies of Frida's test results for me to pick up at her office next week so I will be posting that information in a few days.

Frida weighs 54lb. The Vetoryl is 120mg and the loading starting dosage will be 1/4 pill twice a day. I have experience splitting pills and capsules for myself, so am not worried about doing that.

I tried to load a couple of recent pictures of Frida in an album here but couldn't get it to work.

Thanks for your responses and kind wishes. Frida says "Woof"!
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

A little bit of Frida's history.

Frida had been abandoned by a previous owner and was living in the state forest on the hill above town. She had 4 puppies and there were sightings of them raiding dumpsters and garbage cans in an area stretching over 3 or 4 miles. Animal control were eventually able to trap Frida and 3 of the puppies in November of 2005. By then the puppies were about 9 months old. The puppies were completely feral, but Frida had been socialized to humans at some point. The father was a Rottweiler, so at time of capture, the puppies were half again as big as Frida.

I met Frida about a month after she was captured. I was a volunteer at the animal shelter at the time and met her when she was moved to the adoption area. She did not do well there; she was quiet and shy and hung out at the back of the kennel. Over the few weeks she was up for adoption, she did not do well, becoming depressed and did not present well to potential adopters. Some of the staff and volunteers were able to get to know her, however and we came to realize that she was a sweet and intelligent dog.

I had always been a cat person, but over my time at the shelter came around to appreciating dogs as well, and felt that I was ready to have a dog for the first time in my life. After a couple of months at the shelter, Frida was not doing well. She was very depressed, and nobody was interested in adopting her and. Even though it is a low-kill shelter, staff was beginning to discuss putting her down. Another volunteer and I swore that somehow between the two of us, we would not let her die.

I decided to try fostering Frida and took her home for a weekend. I never took her back.

As I had not had a dog before, it was a big adjustment for both of us. A dog is a lot more work than a cat! (Duh!) But it has been so worth it, and Frida turned out to be an amazing dog. She is smart and loving and loyal.

Frida has always had some problems with appetite. No matter how much I fed her, she always wanted more. She has always stolen food at every opportunity. Once she ate a 2 lb block of cheese that I had left out on the counter. Every time we go out in the woods, she finds bones and brings them back. She hunts, kills, and eats mice, moles, rats, and bugs and has always eaten any kind of non-dog poop she encounters. She knocks over garbage cans, has stolen entire cakes off of the table and once, made off with and ate an entire turkey carcass. I have always tried to control the amount of dog food I feed her, but even if I didn't feed her, she is perfectly capable of scrounging her own food.

In the 6.5 years I have had her, Frida has never been sick until now. Now, we can't go on long walks because she gets too thirsty and tires easily. She doesn't play as much and is listless. Never a good jumper, she often now needs help getting into the truck. Some days, she seems really off - her ears are down all the time, she doesn't want to get up, she won't play at all and she seems really down. Other days, she is almost her usual self again. Except for the excessive drinking and peeing. It is as if she has aged quickly over a period of 2 or 3 months.

I hope the medication can get her back to her usual happy, energetic self. I look forward to being able to sleep the night through again.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

What a very nice ending for Frida to have a loving home after being dumped. Thank you for sharing her story - I am sure she was very scared and missing her pups.

I PMed you with the instructions for uploading photos.

Terry
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Hi Morpha,

I wanted to comment on something you said. Cutting pills is not a problem, however dividing capsules is. Since the powder in the capsules is not pure Trilostane (Vetoryl) and is part filler powder, by dividing the powder inside you cannot be sure of the balance between the drug and the filler. So dividing capsules is never a good idea as you cannot gauge the potency of each dose. So insist on pill form or have the dose compounded if needed.

Sometimes dogs who have had the "opportunity" to be "wild" never quite get over the rediscovered instinct to hunt and find their own food - even if it's not that great for them. I have worked with dogs who were starved at one point and some of them were kinda like folks who survived the Great Depression - they could never quite accept that there would always be plenty of food from now on and would gorge, or hoard, at every opportunity. A cush appetite is still different from this, tho. When Squirt's cortisol started rising and that appetite kicked in, it was heart-wrenching to watch. I could see in her eyes that she truly believed she was starving to death...just after finishing her meals even. She has always been my Miss Piggy and I worried that I wouldn't know the difference between her usual appetite and a cush one. Boy! Was I wrong!

Hang in there! You are doing a fine job! I'm really glad you found us and look forward to learning more as time passes.

Hugs,
Leslie and the gang
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Frida, Blue Heeler Mix, Just diagnosed with Cushings

Hi Morpha, I am quite new to this site, but I want to welcome you and tell you that this group has been so helpful to me as I started treatment for my dog Maggie on May 14. I feel that I have also had great support from our vets in Portland, Oregon, as well as the benefit of a well respected compounder who provides us with the Trilostane liquid. Maggie is a 45-pound Aussie, will be 12 years old on 8/15, who is taking 35 mg. of Trilostane twice daily.

Maggie has done exceptionally well on the drug. Today is her 46th day. We had a little blip with a reaction to Metacam (bloody vomit) on day 21 at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I gave her the overdose antidote prednisone as instructed by the vet in case of vomiting, etc. when her office was closed. Of course, this happened on a Sunday morning when everything was closed. Maggie seemed fine after the vomiting incident, but I discontinued the Trilostane until Monday morning when I could talk with the vet. She attributed the vomiting to metacam, and Maggie restarted Trilostane three days later. Since then all has been fine. She has a spark in her eye, the excessive thirst tamed to normal within the first few days of starting, and that eliminated the incontinence. Her excessive hunger also tamed, although she still has a pretty good appetite, except when it comes to taking pills. Her fur has started to grow in a few places. She will go for her next ATCH stim test tomorrow. Just wanted to let you know that I was so scared to start, but things are working very well. This group has been a life saver for me. I have learned so much--it's one thing to read something or hear something from the vet, but everyone in this group has lived with a dog with Cushing's. That knowledge and experience just can't be beat. Thank you everyone, and the best of luck to you and Frida. Kathy
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