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Thread: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

  1. #1
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Hi All,
    Super happy to have found this site and hoping I can get a little guidance from dog lovers that have sadly had to go thru these kind of problems with their furry loved ones.

    I am fairly new to the cushings discussion and quite honestly not sure Roxy has cushings at all.
    I do know we have been battling to find an answer to her health issues without much luck to this point. We have spent quite alot of money already trying to get her better and really need to pick and choose the tests and procedures going forward. Having said all that let me give a overview of the situation.

    Roxy is a 13 year old Spayed Female 23 lb Dachshund / Cocker Spaniel mix.

    About a year and a half ago she began getting UTI infections. We treated them per vet instructions and the UTI would go away for a short time. But they would return. We would run cultures etc to see what medication would work best to kill the UTI and then go with that medication for the time frame dictated by the vet. This has gone on now thru I believe 4 UTI bouts so far . The last medication we used was Primor and the current UTI we are fighting we are using Simpicef.

    We are currently also giving Roxy Proin to help with incontinence.

    I want to mention too that about 6 weeks ago we had Roxy’s teeth worked on. She had developed plaque build up on her teeth that was pretty bad and resulted in 10 teeth being pulled. I feel bad that they got to that point but by the time we realized they were bad and could swing the cost of doing the procedure Roxy was quite uncomfortable . After the dental work she seemed much happier and we agreed it was worth the cost .

    Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago Roxy began acting sluggish , She drank a ton of water and is ravenously hungry, She has always been a good eater but this seemed a bit more than usual even for her. We thought maybe the meds for the UTI were driving this behavior so decided to just keep an eye on her to see if it progressed or got worse , Well it did. One night I hear basically a scream coming from our guest bathroom were Roxy likes to sleep. I raced in to find Roxy laying on her side with all legs stiff , I thought she was gone. I got closer and realized she was still breathing so I started patting her and talking to her ( which I'm sure had no effect as she is deaf as a board ), after about 30 seconds ( which felt like a year ) she started coming out of it. Super groggy and lethargic but she was alive! That has to be one of the scariest things for a dog parent to go thru and I am sure many on this board have gone thru much worse but it really freaked both me and my girlfriend out. My girlfriend was hysterical and took longer to settle down than the dog! So this happened ( Of course ) late on a Sat night. We put in a call to our vet whom is very good about getting back even on weekends and I did research on the web and decided we would try and wait till we could get to our normal vet rather than going to emergency vet. Roxy seemed better . So now sunday night rolls around and girlfriend takes dog out to go potty., and on the way back into the house the dog flops on its side and has another seizure of about the same time duration. So now we are definitely freaked out and get the dog into the vet the next morning . Vet did bloodwork and here are the out of range levels
    I am not a Dr. and have never played one on TV so I only know what I have researched on the web. Also need to mention this test was done without fasting as we were trying to keep the dog as calm as possible and eating seemed to help her.

    SDMA High 16 Ref Range 0-14 ug/dl
    BUN High 35 Ref Range 9-31 mg/dl
    Chloride Low 106 Ref Range 108-119 mmol/l
    NA/K ratio Low 27 Ref Range 28-37
    Total Protein High 8.9 Ref Range 5.5-7.5g/dl
    Globulin High 5.1 Ref Range 2.4-4.0 g/dl
    ALT High 157 Ref Range 18-121 U/L
    AST High 92 Ref Range 16-55 U/L
    ALP High 188 Ref Range 5-160 U/L
    Cholesterol High 946 ( this may have been because of her having eaten that morning?) Ref Range 131-345 mg/dl
    Creatine Kinase High 659 Ref Range 10-200 U/L
    HGB Low 13.1 Ref Range 13.4-20.7 g/dl
    Platelet High 727 Ref Range 143-448 K/uL

    On the Urinalysis add on
    Clarity Cloudy
    Blood Trace
    Bacteria Marked Rods >40/HPF

    There is so much information on the web it is hard to determine who is for real, Who is just trying to make money off of a bad situation, snake oil,Bad information etc….

    To summarize , Roxy’s symptoms as I see them are:

    Extreme Thirst, Extreme Hunger,Heavy Panting' Incontinence, Fatigue, UTI’s ,weak in hind quarters and Seizures. Fur seems dull but no patches and no skin issues I can see.

    I am currently giving her Liverite Liveraid, have a bottle of Adrenal Harmony Gold for Dog Cushings on the way ( Will be here tomorrow ) Feeding her Purina one Grain free mixed with Pure Balance grain free wet food. I know I need to find better dog food and am doing research but here again everyone has their perceived best dog food and it's hard to narrow down a solution that works for Roxy and our busy lifestyle as well. I am currently looking at going to Rawz or Nutri Source. our vet suggested Science Diet Kidney version. I know some people cook their dogs food themselves, but I am not sure even Roxy would eat my cooking.

    I apologize for the long post but wanted to give enough pertinent information as I could.
    And I am extremely grateful to any and all that may shine some light, opinions or recommendations on how we should move forward on extending Roxy's remaining time here on earth, and making that time more enjoyable .

    I believe the next step the vet wants to make is an Ultrasound
    Last edited by Roxys Dad; 04-11-2019 at 01:40 PM. Reason: add Ref Range

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Wow! Welcome. That is a whole lot of information, but exactly what members more knowledgeable than I am need. They will be along shortly to try to answer some of your questions, and will most likely have more for you. You are in good hands!

    Joan
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Doree, Gable, Cooper, Angel Phoenix and now Sibble.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Hi and welcome to you and Roxy!!

    I'm sorry for the reasons that brought you here but sure glad you found us and we will help in any way we can. Thank you for the detailed information about your precious girl, the more we know about Roxy the better our feedback can be, so thank you again! However, can you edit your post and include the reference ranges for all of those values you listed?

    Given Roxy's symptoms and abnormal blood work results it sure seems like Cushing's could be a possibility. An ultrasound is always a good thing to have done but it can not rule in Cushing's, unfortunately there's not one test that can absolutely diagnose Cushing's so multiple testing should be done. The two most common diagnostic tests used to diagnose Cushing's are the low-dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS) or ACTH stimulation. The LDDS is the "gold standard" test so that is the one that I would recommend, however, it can yield false positive results if another non-adrenal illness is present so those seizures could be an issue. How long after the Simplicef did the seizues occur? I ask because some antibiotics can cause seizures.

    Please know we are here for you and Roxy, and if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask them.

    Hugs, Lori

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Thank you Joan and Lori for your replies and kind words
    I have added the ref ranges above.

    We had just finished 21 days of treatment for UTI with Primor when the seizures occurred.
    Probably about a week after stopping that treatment.

    After the seizures we did blood work ref above and bacteria marked rods determined that Roxy was again getting a UTI. Did a culture to determine that the Simplicef would be the best treatment for this strain of UTI.

    The vet also mentioned the LDDS and ACTH test I believe She said that they are both about $250 and that the best ultrasound costs about $300 as the dog would need to be sedated. A lesser ultrasound could be done for about $60 but was pretty basic.

    She also stated that even after doing these testes we did find that Roxy had cushings that the treatment drugs themselves could due her in at age 13 ( roughly 78 in dog years)

    Being a realist I realize that we have had 13 years of enjoying this happy go lucky creature and my only real wish is for us to enjoy the time we have left with her and to make that time as comfortable as possible.

    I do have a question …. Is there a sticky or faq on dog food etc on this forum?
    I looked but did not see one.

    Thanks again,
    Roxy’s Dad

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    The decision to treat is a very personal one and with an elder dog there are pros and cons to look at. If the dog suffers from arthritis than treatment may make it more painful because that abundance of cortisol acts as an anti-inflammatory. Also, there are the monitoring tests that have to be done to check the level of cortisol which for any dog are not enjoyable but much less so for an older one. I don't tell you this to dissuade from treating Roxy, I just want you to have as much information as possible. Now having said that, Cushing's is a treatable disease and with treatment dogs with Cushing's can have a good quality of life and there is every reason to believe that they can live out their normal life span. However, for the treatment to work safely and successfully it requires an educated pet owner along with an experienced vet as adverse side effects are mostly seen when the proper protocols are not followed.

    Sorry, we don't have a thread dedicated to dog food, as we beleive a dog should be eating a diet tailored to it's own health needs. I think that these two web sites have good information: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/ AND http://dogaware.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Lori is right, it is a personal decision. I didn't know anything about Cushing's when my Lena was diagnosed. She was 14 years old, and died 1 month shy of her 15th birthday, only a couple of months into treatment. There are times when I wonder if I should just have let her enjoy whatever time she had left without all the testing and dosing. I was stressed and worried all the time and I knew she could tell.

    But if I hadn't done anything and she died, I would have wondered if I should have.

    There are no right or wrong choices...whatever you decide, you do because you love them. And there is nothing wrong with that.
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Doree, Gable, Cooper, Angel Phoenix and now Sibble.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Hello and welcome from me too. I don't know if you would want to do the cushing testing if something else is gong on, as it could cause a false positive on the test.
    I think a fasting blood test might help determine what is actually out of order vs what might have been caused by food.
    The constant antibiotics also can be a factor.

    Some dogs have had reactions with proin too, so maybe just try to stop that and see if it makes any difference.

    I notice nothing about glucose on the test being high, can you verify that it was within range.

    Just thinking of things that need to be eliminated so you can determine if cushings is actually a factor, no matter what you decide to do as far as treatment goes and that is of course a personal decision.
    Sharlene and the late great diva - Molly muffin (always missed and never forgotten)

  8. #8
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    I want to give a quick update on Roxy
    We are guardedly optimistic about Roxys condition.
    We decided to try natural treatments and forgo the expensive tests and drugs with scary side effects. Alot of our decision based on reading people's experience’s on this web site and others.
    I am also a little apprehensive about sharing what seems to be working at this time because a) I do not want to Jinx it and b) because I do not want to sound like I am trying to sell something.

    But in the event that this somehow helps someone else going thru this its worth it. , I will also preface this information with the fact that what has worked for Roxy ( so far ) may not work for every dog .

    As I mentioned before We ordered a bottle of Adrenal Harmony Gold for Dog of Amazon I believe . Started putting the drops on her food and almost immediately noticed a change in her excessive water drinking. After a few feedings with the drops she wasn't as ravenously hungry. She still eats but not like she hadn't been fed in days.

    She still however seemed like she was having mild seizures , not a grand mall like the others but still disconcerting and a couple of these times she had accidents ( wet herself)
    Other than these smaller seizures she was good about getting outside to pee etc. and wasn't having accidents in the house.

    I decided that since that stuff was working so good to look into other natural sources that may help with the seizure and found some essential oil stuff that claimed it helped. OK it was like $20 so what the heck I ordered a bottle I was really hating the idea of putting her on phenobarbital after reading other peoples experience with it.

    Bottle gets here and it's a spray you put on topically , I'm thinking how in the heck does that help with seizures…. But I have the stuff now I might as well give it a shot. The stuff is pretty strong smelling , not bad smelling but strong and I guess that's how it works , the dog smells it and is more relaxed . anyway … Night and day difference, She has been on it for 4 days and no seizures , Her attitude has changed as well , she in back to her fun loving ways and even went out and interacted with neighbor dogs positively ( before she would growl and snap at them if they wanted to play) A marked and hopefully lasting difference . the stuff we got is called Pet Relief Seizure spray also off amazon. I am sure there other similar sprays and drops out there but this is what has worked so far.

    I am still working on her diet. I kind of want to go to all raw but it looks a bit daunting.
    For the moment he are feeding Dry mixed with a little wet ( all grain free ) with a little plain low fat yogurt on top.

    As I stated we are guardedly optimistic as I realize we are postponing the inevitable. But if we can have another year or more and Roxy is happy what more can we ask.

    I will update with any changes and really appreciate the support and input

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    I am glad what you are doing seems to be helping but I can't stay silent. You need to know the other side of these things are using for and on Roxy that you will NOT hear from those selling them. Many EOs (essential oils) are toxic to humans, dogs, cats, horses, etc. They were NEVER meant to be used as the MLM companies like doTerra, YoungLiving, and others promote them. Many dogs have died or ended up with permanent issues....like seizures, liver damage, lung damage, etc., up to and including death. The Adrenal Gold, or whatever they call it these days, is very good at masking the signs of problems but has no ingredients that will help with Cushing's or seizures. Some of the ingredients can be helpful but most do nothing they claim. One of our Admins has written to these companies selling Cushing's "cures" and so on asking for their scientific studies proving their product works or has ever worked on any single dog....if she got a reply it was simply more of the "witness" comments found on their websites. I put "witness" in quotes because these companies pay people to write positive testimonies for them even if those witnesses have never used the product they are swearing by.

    I write to you as one who has studied, and continues to study, herbs for over a decade. I believe in the power of plants to heal and I understand the role EOs can play in healing and know it is a very limited place. Most are used as preservatives in herbal salves and infused oils. One ounce of an EO will last me years because it takes only a few drops in an 8 oz batch of salve. Very very few are recommended for ingestion or direct topical application. EO are the most volatile part of any plant. Companies like Adrenal Gold and Cushex, who have changed their names and formulas over and over over, make my blood boil because they prey on fear and take money that could be used to actually do the dog some good.

    So again, I am very glad she seems to be better but wanted you to be aware that what you are using may simply be masking signs while the cortisol continues to cause internal damage and that the EO may bring other problems to add to what she already carries. I know these traditional drugs are scary but they WORK and are proven to work. With educated parents on what to look for and a cush savvy vet, these dogs can live out their normal life spans and beyond....not just another year with luck.

    We will stand by you all the way regardless but I couldn't let you proceed without speaking up.

    Hugs,
    Leslie
    "May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." John O'Donahue, "Eternal Echoes"

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

  10. #10
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Roxy - Possible Cushing's sufferer

    Thanks Leslie,
    That is exactly the input I wanted to get and I am as cynical as anybody as to these companies claims. And you are right that traditional medication are probably the best.
    What I am weighing is whether the tests and medicines are worth the few months they will extend Roxy's life . She is 13 yo and these type of dogs life span according to akc.org is 13 years.
    So as I stated I am merely postponing the inevitable. And the minute I perceive that her life quality has reached a point of suffering I will have her laid to rest.

    I think the concerns you raise are completely viable. but in Roxys individual case I think making her comfortable and happy in her last days is the route we will go.

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