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Thread: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    McHenry, Il
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    Default New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Intro
    Hi, my name is Mary and I am Coco Joey's mom. While I am new to any type of forums, I have been reading your site for a few weeks ...( in between freaking out) trying to make sense of everything. Rather than ramble, I thought I would try to break this out into 3 parts History, Overview and Current to help get you up to speed. I do have copies of all of our test results, because I know you will ask ... I am just trying to figure out how to read them .
    SIDE NOTES:
    The vet we use is a DVM DACVIM.
    Unfortunately, I did not keep a log in the beginning, have started 9/1 ... so some dates /days are estimates.

    HISTORY:
    Coco Joey is an 8 year old 68 lb. female boxer, spayed . She is one of four Boxers in our household and acts as the "ears" for our other 3 deaf ones. Has really had an uneventful medical history over the last 8 years, until recently. A mild case of pancreatitis 5 or 6 years ago and a cancerous tumor removed from her back hip 3 years ago were it. Last October we noticed the right side of her face was drooping. Our vet said it was Bell's Palsy and to watch for any other neurological signs ... there were none. He said the drooping may never go away, but actually that side "shrunk" up and is now higher and tighter than her normal side. Other than
    not being able to close her eye completely and having to take smaller bites, no other issues.

    OVERVIEW
    In March of this year Coco Joey started drinking and urinating a ton and then starting having accidents in the house. I thought it could be a urinary infection , so I did the cranberry and yogurt thing for a week with no success and than got her into the vet. They did tons of testing to rule things out, such as kidneys, diabetes and diabetes insipidus. They finally came back with a diagnosis of Cushings and prescribed 60mg of Vetoryl a day, which we started the first week in May. We did all the checks & rechecks. which were good. We had her on that dosage for 2 months and a few days. We actually had a couple of days where we saw signs of our old dog coming back, then her appetite started to decline, (it was never the best to begin with for the past few months) and she got more and more lethargic. The vet had us stop the Vetoryl and did another recheck to find she had been suppressed too much. She was taken off the Vetoryl and we were to do rechecks until her levels got high again and we would start her back on Vetoryl at half the dose which would be 30 mg. In between all of this she was found to have hip dysplasia and had pancreatitis.

    CURRENT
    Her levels were high enough where we were able to start her back on Vetoryl as of Saturday 9/7/2013.
    We stopped the Rimadyl as of Monday9/2/2013
    She has had head tremors off and on for the last week or so. They are tremors and not seizures, but this leads our vet to believe it could be a brain tumor and wants us to go to a neurologist for a cat scan. I do know that head tremors can be common to boxers as we had one before that was prone to them and we had him for 7 years. For me, the neurologist is last call. If they don't find anything I am back to square one, if they do ..... I can't see putting her through surgery or chemo if those were even options.
    She has lost 10 lbs and is unbelievably lethargic.
    The vet is at a loss, says he has tested for everything but the brain scan. Suggests a second opinion with another internist or the neurologist .

    So in a nutshell that's where we are at .... here a just a few of my questions.

    The vet felt that she is way too lethargic for what normal Cushings would be, plus her lack of appetite and losing weight.

    On 7/20 her SPECcPL was 842 ug/L. On her 8/26 retest her SPECcPL was 443 ug/L. I know under 200 is normal. So obviously she has pancreatitis, but she was not treated for anything. Could this be why she is barely eating and lethargic?

    The vet did an ultrasound today and it came back normal, he was in surgery so I have not had a chance to speak with him, but I did leave him a voicemail. I want her on meds for pancreatitis to see if helps, but maybe I am in denial looking for a miracle?

    How lethargic is TOO lethargic? If Cushings brings it on, and pancreatitis brings it on coupled with her lack of eating, couldn't that be the case?

    I would really like to hold out hope for the lower dose of Vetoryl to kick in, I know it can take at least 2 weeks to see any slight improvement.

    While I know we can not keep her forever, I would like to go out fighting and give her all the chances I can without making her suffer.

    It has taken me a couple of days to write this, because I write it thru my tears. So if I ended up rambling anyway ... I apologize

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Nebraska
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Welcome. I am moving your thread into the cushing's thread (you are in the polling thread) so that more people will see it. Glad you found us and please know we all came here feeling the same way. Lots of loving helpful people here. And it's free!

    I do think you should have a brain scan done. Your dog more than likely has pituitary cushings which is a teeny tumor that sits near the brain. 80% of dogs with cushings have this type. In some cases, particularly certain breeds and boxers are in that group dogs develop what are called 'macro tumors'. This is when that tiny little tumor grows and over time it can affect the brain. Symptoms and outcomes are dependent upon on the size and the location.

    There are locations in the US that treat these tumors with radiation. We have had members do that successfully. I'm not sure where you are located and if that's even a possibility.... but first thing you need to do is to have that checked out. Other signs include stumbling, walking in circles or crooked.

    I've linked you to some information that goes into greater detail. Again, don't worry as you are no longer alone on this journey. Kim

    http://www.k9cushings.com/forum/showthread.php?t=229

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Nebraska
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Me again. The loss of weight and the lethargy have me concerned because they are both signs that the cortisol levels have gone too low. When was the last time you had an acth test? Please post the results from it and give us the date. I assume that is when you lowered the dose but am concerned that perhaps it is still too low.

    An easy way to find out is to simply skip a days dose and see if you notice an improvement. Trilostane doesn't stay in the body long so you should notice changes.

    If your dog has pancreatitis you really need to be on a special diet - we have some real experts here on that so I'll let them give you advice but if I recall correctly you withhold food and then you slowly introduce small amounts of rice and then some boiled chicken (white meat) - tiny amounts several times a day.

    Just trying to cover all the bases. Sending you strength, Kim

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    I'm so sorry to read about Coco Joey and what you're going through. I am no expert and there are many on this forum that know more than I, but pancreatitis can make a dog feel really terrible...and also very tired I think.
    If Cushings is uncontrolled and cortisol is running high the dog is usually super hungry and also sometimes can seem a little hyper and restless along with the excessive drinking/peeing etc.

    You wrote that her levels were back up high enough to start vetoryl 9/7/13-- when was an acth done to determine the most recent level? Do you know what the test results were?
    It could be her level is low again...so she's getting 60mg of Vetoryl since Saturday and has she been lethargic with no appetite since you started back on th medication?
    I think if it were my dog I would not be giving the Vetoryl right now, I would definitely stop and see if she rallies...it's sounds to me that the level is too low. I think the pancreatitis really needs to be addressed as well..probably before Cushings.
    Did she have any other Cushing's symptoms other than excessive drinking/urinating? Did she ever have the ravenous appetite, panting, fur loss?
    Hope you can figure out a plan with your vet so Coco Joey can begin to feel better.

    Barbara

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    York, PA.
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Hi Mary,

    Welcome to you and Coco Joey from me as well! So glad you decided to post and we will help in any way we can.

    Pancreatitis can be very painful so pain medication is a must. The lack of appetite could be from pain and/or her cortisol being too low. As Kim has mentioned, if you could post the results of all ACTH stimulation tests with their timelines that would be great.

    A diet very low in fat is recommended for a dog with pancreatitis, also feeding several small meals throughout the day is best. Keeping a dog hydrated is very important for the healing process of the pancreas.

    Until Coco Joey is eating normally and acting more like herself, I believe, the Vetoryl should be stopped.

    Hugs, Lori

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Just want to welcome you to the forum. They've been a great source of information which you said you have seen. We have all shed tears over our babies, so we know exactly how you feel.

    The best advice is here without a doubt, so hopefully you can get things resolved with Coco Joey.
    Judi & "mah boy" Keesh

  7. #7
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    Sep 2013
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    McHenry, Il
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Thank you all for your kind words and support. I will post lab results after work tonight. A special thanks to frijole for moving my post. After I did it ... I noticed it was wrong, by that time I was crying so hard I had to walk away!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Just a word of encouragement for you. Hope this helps. I never even heard of cushings and was absolutely beside myself when I found out, then came on here and was even more upset. Not because of what they said here, but because of the screw ups the vets did and I wouldn't have known until coming here. They didn't even do the testing at the right times, so hundreds of dollars later and even to a Veterinary college at that... it was all wrong. Because of this forum too, I had no idea about reverse cushings (Addison) so Keesh almost was put down, and certainly vets didn't tell me about prednisone for reversing his situation.
    I have cried more in the last few months then I think in many, many years, and I still haven't resolved the issues with "mah boy" but now that I know what direction(s) to take, I've been so fixated on that, I don't cry anymore. It's a roller coaster for sure, but we cope.
    Don't worry, it will work out. It's been over 4 months for me, but at least I know what isn't wrong with my pup, all because of this forum.
    We love our furbabies absolutely whole heartedly and would go to the ends of the earth for them. We all know how you feel, so sit back, take a deep breath ( or a few ) and be ready for the best advice you could ever receive.
    Last edited by spdd; 09-12-2013 at 03:39 PM.
    Judi & "mah boy" Keesh

  9. #9
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    Nebraska
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Quote Originally Posted by coco joey's mom View Post
    Thank you all for your kind words and support. I will post lab results after work tonight. A special thanks to frijole for moving my post. After I did it ... I noticed it was wrong, by that time I was crying so hard I had to walk away!
    Don't cry - we'll help you thru this. Kim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: New Member Needs Help for Coco Joey

    Hello and welcome to the forum. We all basically arrive here scared to death.

    What we do have is big hearts and wide shoulders. Hugs.

    Sharlene and Molly Muffin
    Sharlene and the late great diva - Molly muffin (always missed and never forgotten)

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