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Thread: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero - Sweet Maggie has passed

  1. #1
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    Sep 2019
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    Default 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero - Sweet Maggie has passed

    Hi All,

    New to the forum. We have a 12 year old Spanish jack Russell type little lady, we adopted her 8 years ago and recently she's been diagnosed with Cushing's. Her symptoms were excessive hunger, weeing lots, drinking lots and back leg weakness. She was eating well but losing weight. She's been on vetoryl for 10 days now and is seeming a bit brighter but is still losing weight.

    I know weight gain is an expected symptom... Anyone else experienced weight loss? On vets suggestion we are going to switch to a higher calorie food in the hope it will help but if not she will be having an abdominal scan to see if anything else is going on.

    Thanks in advance for any help/guidance.

    Amy and Maggie the doggie

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hello Amy, and welcome to you and little Maggie! You are exactly right that weight gain is the far more common Cushing’s symptom. However, my own Cushpup, a Labrador retriever, was also an exception to that rule. Prior to his diagnosis, he had a ravenous appetite but was steadily losing weight. Along with excessive thirst/urination, hair loss and hind end muscle weakness, it was actually his weight loss that also prompted our diagnostic vet visit. After beginning trilostane treatment and a food change, the weight loss ended. So all that I can figure is that his metabolism had been drastically altered by the excessive cortisol, and since we never gave him extra treats or table scraps, he was unable to support his previous weight level on the food we were giving him. So even though weight loss is unusual, it can happen. Having said that, there is always a lot of helpful information that can be gained from an abdominal ultrasound. If nothing else, it can indeed give you peace of mind that there is nothing else involved.

    Also, we’d love to learn a bit more about Maggie and her treatment. How much does she weigh, and what dose of Vetoryl is she taking? Did her initial diagnostic testing help differentiate between a pituitary vs. an adrenal tumor? If not, that could be another benefit to having an ultrasound done. Vetoryl is appropriate to treat Cushing’s caused by tumors in either location, but surgery can also sometimes be an option for adrenal tumors.

    Anyway, once again, welcome and we look forward to hearing more about your little girl.
    Marianne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Dear Marianne,

    Thank you for replying and explaining about your dog's experience. Hopefully the meds and diet change will help Maggie too.

    In answer to your questions Maggie is currently 6.3kg and is on one tablet a day (10mg). The vet hasn't mentioned a type of Cushing's - just that Cushing's is the diagnosis. Her initial blood test showed liver concerns and then the 8hr test confirmed Cushing's.

    Today she seems to be quite shaky, wondering if that's a side effect of the meds or just another symptom? Other than that she is much the same as she has been - a sad a lethargic version of our doggy.

    Amy

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hi Amy,

    I belated welcome to you and Maggie, I am sorry for the reasons that brought you here but glad you found us and we will help in any way we can.

    Could you post those results from that 8 hour test which, more than likely, is the low dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS), this type of test has the ability to differentiate between the pituitary and adrenal form of Cushing's.

    Maggie's starting does is well within the endorsed guidelines of 1 mg per pound of a dog's weight but that doesn't mean that adverse effects won't happen. If you should see any diarrhea, vomiting, or Maggie just not acting herself than stopping the Vetoryl is recommended as this is a sign of cortisol dropping too low.

    Please know we are here for you both and if you have any questions, ask away!

    Lori

  5. #5
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    Sep 2019
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hi Lori, thank you for the confirmation about Maggie's dose. She is continuing to be shaky and sleeps a lot but when awake she is wagging a little more and the ravenous hunger seems to have eased.

    She was previously scoffing the tablets without question and now is doing her best to spit them back out!

    We got the results for the test from our vet
    Baseline 206
    4hrs 166
    8hrs 260

    Any insight into what these numbers tell us would be greatly appreciated

    Amy

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hi Amy! Welcome to you and Maggie!

    Just FYI - trembling is one of the side effects of Vetoryl so I wouldn't be overly concerned about that just now. Do watch for those other signs Lori posted that indicate the cortisol has dropped too low. That is a life-threatening condition and you will want to stop the Vetoryl immediately if you see any of those things. Hopefully as Maggie adjusts to the Vetoryl the shakes will subside a bit.

    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.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hi Amy,

    Unfortunately Maggie's LDDS test results do not differentiate between the adrenal or pituitary form of Cushing's because for a diagnosis of pituitary dependent Cushing's there has to be at least 50% cortisol concentration suppression present at the 4 or 8 hour time points. Maggie's results are indicative to a dog with the adrenal type of Cushing's, however, approximately 25% of dogs with the pituitary form demonstrate a lack of suppression with LDDS test. In cases like Maggie, either an endogenous ACTH or ultrasound is performed to try to distinguish between the adrenal or pituitary form of Cushing's.

    As for her spitting out those Vetoryl capsules, you could try putting them in cream cheese or peanut butter, also there is a product called pill pockets that are made specifically to hide those pills: https://www.greenies.com/products/dog/pill-pockets

    Lori

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Thanks Lori and Leslie,

    I gave Mags the tablet with a really tiny bit of ham this morning and she took it no problem. Hurrah!

    Lori- is adrenal the more serious type? The vet mentioned perhaps a liver ultrasound before the LDDS but we asked them to do the LDDS instead as we didn't want her to go through too much and they suspected Cushing's anyway. There's been no mention of any other tests or scans but there is a follow up blood test in a couple of weeks I think to check the meds are working.

    Would the meds still work for either type of Cushing's?

    I'm quite confused now...

    Amy

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    The Cushing's medications work for either the pituitary or adrenal form. The goal of treatment is to improve clinical symptoms and to get that elevated cortisol stabilized.

    The most common cause of Cushing's disease (80 - 85% of all cases) is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland; it is rare for these tumors to be malignant.

    With the adrenal form of Cushing's, there is a tumor on one or both adrenal glands, and unfortunately about 50% of adrenal tumors causing Cushing’s disease are malignant. However, if it is the adrenal form of Cushing's and the dog is a good candidate for this type of surgery than an adrenalectomy is a cure but this is a very serious and very expensive surgery which only a well seasoned surgeon should perform.

    Hope I'm not confusing you more, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask them! So glad to hear that she took the Vetoryl with ham...YAA!!!

    Lori

  10. #10
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    Sep 2019
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    Default Re: 12y/o JRT/Spanish Bodeguero new Cushing's diagnosis, weight loss??

    Hi Lori,

    Thank you for explaining. I understand now. Sorry for the confusion!

    I don't think we would choose to put Maggie through surgery even if it is an option. She's 12 officially but as she is a rescue we dont know for sure and we always suspected she might be quite a bit older. Other than the shakes the meds seem to be going well, hopefully at her next check her weight will have stabilised!

    She's sat next to me on the sofa, which is a lovely change as for weeks she has hidden herself away in the kitchen. Hoping this is a sign of her feeling a little better too ��

    Amy

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