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Thread: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the time...

  1. #1
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    Question I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the time...

    Hi all! I知 new here- and very glad to have found a forum to hopefully ease my worries/anxiety/general need to quit googling to the ends of the earth to help my sweet dog. Me, my husband, and his other 3 dog siblings just want him to get better. This is about to be a doosey of an introduction...

    Eli is 6- he is a Rottie/Catahoula mix and quite the large dog he was 90lbs before all of these shenanigans started and is the sweetest normally full of energy dog.

    It started around Aug 2019 when he became insatiably hungry and would walk around the house eating the other dogs food and licking everyone痴 empty bowls. After about a whole month of it I finally said something is up and it isn稚 getting better, I scheduled a vet appt. Interestingly enough the morning of his vet appt I wake up and he had peed in his sleep- which was a first. I take him in and tell the vet the symptoms- insatiable appetite, breathing heavy all of the time, just peed in his sleep.. you know the drill.

    The vet wanted me to bring him back the next day to do the 8 hr LDDST test. So I take him ... that comes back and he says he more than likely has Cushings Disease and wants to do another test but at a higher dosage to narrow down if it is the adrenal or pituitary form... so I bring him back in two days for that. (This is early Oct 2019 by the way). In the meantime I realize that he has been drinking like a dolphin and just never noticed that symptom until then. After the next test the results come back that he more than likely has the pituitary form and the doc gives all of the options... which is essentially only Vetoryl. He then has me come back and pick up the prescription along with some dewormer because he had some hookworms too.

    To recap- I took him to his first vet appt on a Friday and the following Friday I was picking up his Vetoryl for 120 mgs. I go home and give him his first dose. Wake up on Saturday and give him his second dosage. He seemed to not be drinking as much water but also not as interested in his food (it痴 working I assume..) that day he seemed lethargic and stopped being himself. I wake up on Sunday and he痴 super lethargic and isn稚 interested in eating. I opt to not give him any more meds until I can solve what is going on. After googling quite a bit I go look around the backyard and find jet black poops. Given we have 4 dogs, that didn稚 give me anything definitive to work with so I watch him like a hawk and start freaking out. He痴 really just laying around and not moving much but I did get to see him poop and it was jet black and I began to internally freak out- it痴 a Sunday the vet is closed, so I consider taking him to the ER but it I wasn稚 quite there yet.. her was still moving some and the side effects mentioned lethargy.

    Well Monday rolls around and he痴 hardly moving- I call the vet and they say to take him straight to the ER.. so off I go. They run tests on him and throughout that day I find out that he has a stomach ulcer, pancreatitis, anemic and has lost a significant amount of blood and will need to stay overnight. They call that night to let me know they have to do a blood transfusion because his blood count was so low. Pretty sure my heart stopped that night.

    After more days in the ER they say he can some home and I just watch him like a hawk. There痴 no way for them to tell what caused all of that to happen. Did he eat something? I don稚 know the dude wanted to eat everything the last month. Was it the Vetoryl? The vets aren稚 sure but think it would be too soon for that given he only had two doses. No one has those answers.

    All I can tell is that he came back verrry weak and needed to recover from being anemic and this terrible stomach ulcer had to heal and was down to 83lbs. During the next two weeks he got gradually better (from deaths doorstep) and some of the Cushings symptoms got worse. One being his muscles disappeared- and I mean overnight. He became skin and bones. They had him on blood thinners worried about his Cushings and anti stomach acidity Meds. About a week into the blood thinners his the water bowl showed blood in it and I noticed his nose was bleeding give he would also sneeze blood in the mornings (so we temporarily discontinued those meds) and come the 2 week mark I take him back to a check up. His blood count had gotten much better but now his blood pressure was showing high so they send me home with blood pressure meds and told me to come back in 4 weeks and then we would do more tests and consider restarting the Vetoryl at a lower dosage.

    Well he came back from that day of tests and he seems to have gone a bit backwards and become lethargic so I watched him like a hawk. Also I went to my usual new best friend google to search for hours to try to solve all of my questions, concerns, and problems. In my googling became nervous to give him the blood pressure meds because of the side effects. My poor dog has been in such a fragile state since his near death experience I grow skeptic of anything and everything. Well I made the executive decision to just not give him those meds... this was the first time in a series of 5 recent visits that said high blood pressure, he hadn稚 had high blood pressure in any of the other visits.

    In the meantime Eli literally has lost all muscle mass it seems. He痴 almost the size of a Great Dane and struggles to get his back legs stable to stand up by himself on the hardwood. He can manage to stand on other surfaces after a little persistence but most of the time we have to lift his back end up so he can stand. His fur isn稚 growing back from where the ER had shaved spots and he has black bruising or pigmentation where the IV was. Poor guy looks sickly- his head is sunk in too. My next 4 weeks consisted of me scouring the internet trying to find some miracle. I came across the petwellbeing Adrenal Harmony Gold natural drops and after reading tons of reviews decided to give that a shot for two weeks. During those two weeks his water consumption seemed to go down, his breathing was more normal, maybe his hair started getting a little fuller (he never lost hair in his symptoms though just where the vet shaved).

    Where I am now is that I skipped his 4 week checkup on Friday because he has been doing better and last time he got tests done he declined for a bit. I stopped the drops two days ago in preparation of trying Vetoryl again at a much lower dosage. Today we picked up the Vetoryl 30mg for him and I haven稚 given it to him yet.

    Where I really am now: I知 just lost. It痴 November and in September I had a perfectly healthy energetic dog that just seemed to want to eat everything in sight. I知 nervous to put him back on Vetoryl because I have no idea what caused his ER episode. I want a magically muscle fairy to visit my sweet boy in the middle of the night and give him all of his muscles and strength back that evaporated into thin air.

    I致e googled and googled and haven稚 known what to trust and found myself nose deep in a Canadian scholarly article sifting through the findings at 2am. I somehow just found this forum and am so glad to find actual people that aren稚 giving a review on some products website.

    I知 sorry again for the lengthy hello and background but I wanted to get it all out just in case someone has had a similar situation or has any advice.

    -Jenni
    Last edited by Jenbubs; 11-19-2019 at 11:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Hello Jenni, and welcome to you and Eli. I love your avatar photo Eli looks like an absolute sweetheart! I apologize that I知 not able to take the time to write a more substantive reply to you right now, but I want to welcome you, nevertheless. I知 so sorry that Eli has been going through such a rough time, and I hope we can help you sort through some of your options. So I値l be returning tomorrow, if not today, in order to add further thoughts. In the meantime, I知 so glad you致e found us, and I surely look forward to talking more.

    Marianne

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Hi Jenni, and welcome from me too. Poor Eli! I'm no expert, but that starting dose was pretty high. My Gable was about 80 pounds when we first started him on the Vetoryl at 40mgs. He did well for a while, but last January his cortisol dropped way too low. We had to stop, restart at a lower dose and keep tweaking. Right now he's on 5mg in the morning and 5mg at night. He's still drinking and panting a lot, but I am leery of raising it.

    It would help if you posted Eli's blood work, only the highs and lows. Also the results of the LDDS test and if they did an ACTH test.
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Doree, Gable, Cooper, Angel Phoenix and now Sibble.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Thank you for your advice Joan! I'm going to reach out to get the results from the vet.

    Only thing I question a bit is if he possibly had the pancreatitis while we were testing (and that would affect the numbers) and just never knew or the mega dose of Vetoryl caused all of the pancreatitis/stomach ulcer.

    Last January did you find out it dropped too low after a regular check in test or was Gable acting different?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Hi Jenni,

    Welcome to you and Eli!

    Joan is correct that the starting dose is WAY too high. Recently there has been another change with using Vetoryl and it has to do with the size of the dog....larger dogs need a much lower starting dose than stated in the drug literature. Here is some info concerning this change -

    Dechra recommends starting treatment at 1 mg/lb (2.2 mg/kg). A UC Davis study suggests that dogs weighing >66 lbs (30 kg) tend to be more sensitive to Vetoryl and require less of the drug to control the clinical signs of cushing痴 than dogs weighing less <66 lbs (30 kg) Based on that study, UC Davis established protocol for treating larger dogs starting at doses ranging from .3 to .5 mg/lb (.66 to 1.1mg/kg).
    https://www.k9cushings.com/forum/sho...l-(trilostane)

    Some info you can share with Eli's vet about this (in addition to our internal link above ) -

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22708554

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/...6.2012.00956.x

    And I agree with your concerns about the pancreatitis - if Eli was tested while this condition was in play I would be highly suspect of those test results. AND I would not want to restart the Vetoryl at any dose in light of the fact that his signs are not as prevalent; plus I don't think he has had enough time to fully regain himself after all he has been thru recently. In your shoes, I would hold off treating Cushing's and give him time to fully heal. I would keep an eye out for the typical cush signs - ravenous appetite, excessive peeing, excessive drinking, panting for no reason, seeking cool places to lay - while getting his weight and strength back with some good nutrition and gentle exercise as tolerated. Check into hydrotherapy availability in your area for Eli - that would be gentle yet give him the opportunity for him to start rebuilding some muscle mass.

    Regardless of what you decide, stick around, keep reading and learning and asking question, and keep us informed about your sweet baby boy.

    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.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Thanks Leslie!

    He definitely displays the Cushings symptoms - all of the ones you mentioned: ravenous appetite, excessive peeing, excessive drinking, panting for no reason, seeking cool places to lay, along with hind leg weakness and shakiness, hair that was shaved has not grown back at all, bony head appearance.

    His symptoms were significantly reduced (some hunger, thirst, possibly a little weight gain, and energy) on the Adrenal Gold drops for the two weeks we put him on that. As soon as I stopped them his water intake and hunger came back full swing. I am weighing on continuing the drops in the meantime or starting back the Vetoryl at the 30mg dose.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenbubs View Post
    Thank you for your advice Joan! I'm going to reach out to get the results from the vet.

    Only thing I question a bit is if he possibly had the pancreatitis while we were testing (and that would affect the numbers) and just never knew or the mega dose of Vetoryl caused all of the pancreatitis/stomach ulcer.

    Last January did you find out it dropped too low after a regular check in test or was Gable acting different?
    All of a sudden I realized he was drinking a lot again. Being a Cushing's mom twice now, I am on high alert for all the signs. I almost raised his Vetoryl because there was wiggle room with his last numbers, but then decided to have him tested. It was really low, .5 or .4, something like that. We think he was over-suppressed with his thyroid medication, which caused a lot of extra stress on him. He also has a sensitive stomach, so I'm never quite sure whether his symptoms are from that. I've taken him off the meds and restarted at a lower dose until it looked like we can raise it quite a few times since last year. I would rather his numbers were high than risk Addisons again.
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Doree, Gable, Cooper, Angel Phoenix and now Sibble.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Thank you again! Every little bit of information seems to help because it is such a complicated disease. Hearing that even with increased symptoms Gable was so low on the tests definitely makes me want to wait a bit to ensure he has had plenty of time to recover and get retested before trying to start Vetoryl again. I had thought that since the symptoms were back in full swing ( even gotten worse) that surely his levels were high as well.

    I’ve been so worried that with his new more lethargic state due to all of the increased symptoms and lack of muscle strength that it would be hard to guage any additional increase in lethargy if his numbers dropped too low on a new dosage.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Hi again, Jenni. I知 sorry it痴 taken me this long to get back to you, and I知 very glad that Leslie and Joan have been here to help you in the meantime. They致e given you good info, and I just have a few thoughts to add.

    My very first suggestion is that, if possible, you request your regular vet to make a referral for a consultation with an internal medicine specialist. If you live near an urban area, there are likely specialty veterinary practices nearby, or even perhaps a vet school. Asking for a specialist痴 opinion doesn稚 mean you壇 need to lose the general oversight of your regular vet, but the specialist can act in tandem with your regular vet to guide treatment in difficult or complicated cases. The fact that your regular vet started Eli out on 120 mg. of Vetoryl suggests that he痴 not 100% current on Cushing痴 research guidelines. This is not surprising, since a GP vet can稚 have cutting edge knowledge about every condition. But for quite some time now, lower starting doses have been recommended by clinicians who regularly see Cushing痴 patients. When you add in Eli痴 additional complications the bleeding ulcer, pancreatitis, possible hypertension he痴 got an awful lot going on, and having a specialist with particular expertise in Cushing痴 could be a big help. You may spend a bit more money upfront, but it could save you a lot of money in the long run. As I知 sadly aware from my own experience, Eli痴 ER visit was undoubtedly both emotionally and financially very stressful! A regular scheduled office visit with a specialist would be a whole lot less expensive.

    Turning to Eli痴 specific situation, it痴 hard to think that two Vetoryl doses would cause a bleeding ulcer. The medication, in tandem with the dewormer, perhaps could have aggravated a pre-existing condition. But it just may have been a coincidence. Bleeding ulcers have not been commonly reported here, either among treated or untreated Cushpups. But I know that non-Cushing痴 patients who are taking supplemental steroids for treatment of other medical conditions are vulnerable to GI problems. So the high level of circulating cortisol associated with uncontrolled Cushing痴 may have this same effect. If so, starting back on the much lower dose of Vetoryl may actually be a wise thing to do, but also perhaps in conjunction with a stomach soothing medication (and also always with a full meal, for several reasons). This is the kind of thing that a specialist will know better, however.

    In addition, if Eli truly has high blood pressure, then effectively treating the Cushing痴 as well as the hypertension will be important. Hypertension can indeed be associated with Cushing痴, and it can result in vision loss and kidney damage if left unchecked. However, blood pressure medicines need to be selected and monitored carefully when given alongside Vetoryl. So this is yet another reason to enlist the guidance of a specialist.

    It痴 interesting that you report that Adrenal Harmony seems to have helped Eli in the short run. We致e had some similar anecdotal reports from other folks. However, we致e directly contacted the makers of Adrenal Harmony for any actual research data to support the use of the supplement, and none has ever been performed. So it痴 impossible to know if it genuinely helps or if so, why. In the long run, virtually all the people who have tried Adrenal Harmony here have ended up shifting to a researched prescription medication in order to effectively control cortisol levels and symptoms. In Eli痴 case, given the damage his body may suffer if his cortisol level remains uncontrolled, I believe I壇 want to get going sooner rather than later with a medication that has been scientifically researched. At his relatively young age, I know you want to give him the best chance of living out his normal lifespan with a quality life.

    Given the rapid rebound of so many classic Cushing痴 symptoms in addition to his worrisome lethargy, once again, I believe I壇 want to seek out a specialist ASAP. I know it may feel awkward to ask your vet for a referral, but I really do believe it may be in Eli痴 best interest to do so. Heck, it may even be a relief to your vet to think that somebody else is sharing the responsibility in choosing the best path forward! Do think it over, and regardless as to what you decide, please continue to ask as many questions as come to your mind.

    Marianne

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I知 new! 6yr old Rottie/Catahoula mix recently diagnosed and having quite the tim

    Thank you Marianne!!

    Interestingly enough we landed at the internal medicine specialist with our ER stint, so we have been going to them ever since the ER episode for all of the checkups. The doctor in there is very smart and right away she knew the 120mg dose was too high. I do feel some nervousness there because she seems to very quickly put him on additional meds and before this I would have just done it no questions asked. My first time I questioned this is coming home from the ER with him to recover from the ulcer and pancreatitis, she put him on blood thinners (because of the Cushings) saying that Cushings dogs are more prone to blood clots and he would likely stay on them the rest of his life. A week later when his nose was bleeding daily I looked up the medication and it cautioned not to take blood thinners if you have internal bleeding or a stomach ulcer?

    My second time with the last checkup he went to was he first time I've been told his blood pressure was high. We left that appt and she prescribed the blood pressure medication and set another check up appt. His blood pressure might very well be high- but he stayed at the vet the whole day and he had been "more himself" when I took him in. He gets worked up and excited when he sees other dogs and really any animals so I wondered if he was excited and anxious in at the vet when he got these tests done. So I come home and look into the medicine she prescribed and the side effects aren't very encouraging. I don't know, I'm not trying to overthink everything and go against what the vet says but I also don't want to unnecessarily put him on medications that his sensitive system/stomach right now might not need. I want to give his body the best chance with the Vetoryl and not have him on a drug cocktail where I cant diagnose what medicine is causing an adverse reaction if there is one.

    She also said that she isn't a fan of the LDDS testing- and prefers the ACTH test - any thoughts on this with all of your experiences?

    I probably need to go back to them for testing and quit running in circles in my head. I do feel a little alienated with that place though because they are an Emergency Vet and have a whole slew of different specialists so every time I call with a question I find myself talking to someone new and trying to give his history recap to explain my thought process on something and its a bit exhausting.. wondering if that person even conveyed it correctly to the doctor.

    Sorry for all of my lengthy posting!!

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