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Thread: Help Figuring Out Thyroid Disorder or Cushings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Help Figuring Out Thyroid Disorder or Cushings

    Hello All,
    I stumbled across this forum when I was looking for info on symptoms for Cushings.
    We have a 13 year old Texas Heeler (similar to Blue Heeler), Charvel, who first about 3 months ago had a vestibular event. She couldn't walk properly, suffered from nystagmus, and had no balance. Took her to animal hospital, then to her normal vet. The ultimate diagnosis (T3 and T4 low) was a thyroid disorder and was prescribed thyroxine. She couldn't handle the medication and would get violently sick after a couple days of taking, with multiple dosage reductions thru the process. Ultimately, we stopped giving the medication and started her on supplements as a helping hand. She had totally recovered from the event, but now is experiencing excessive panting and thirst. She is not on said supplements anymore at this point and not sure where to even start now as from what I read excessive thirst is unrelated to having a thyroid disorder and wanted to get any advice or experiences to help me work with vet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Help Figuring Out Thyroid Disorder or Cushings

    Hello, and welcome to you and Charvel! My very first question is to ask what supplements you were giving Charvel for his low thyroid level, and how recently did you stop them? High thyroid levels can cause excessive thirst, so I’m just wondering whether the supplements may have some lingering effect in terms of his overall thyroid function.

    Assuming that’s unlikely, though,my next question is to ask whether Charvel suffers from any of the other outward symptoms that are typical of Cushing’s aside from thirst and panting: ravenous appetite, bilateral hair loss on the flanks and haunches, pot belly, seeking out cool places, hind-end muscle loss leading to difficulty with jumping or climbing, exercise intolerance, etc. Also, aside from the low thyroid readings, has he exhibited any other abnormalities on basic blood or urine panels? Cushpups typically have elevated liver enzymes (especially high ALP), and frequently have high cholesterol, high platelet counts, and abnormalities in white blood cell patterns. They also have dilute urine with low specific gravity.

    Untreated Cushing’s can be a primary cause of low thyroid readings. Cushing’s and hypothyroidism can also manifest as separate primary issues in their own right. I don’t know whether Charvel’s initial thyroid testing was comprehensive enough to identify whether or not his low levels are likely a primary condition, or instead secondary to some other systemic illness like Cushing’s (“Sick Euthyroid”). If his hypothyroidism seems to be secondary, that could be another reason to suspect Cushing’s if Charvel also exhibits additional outward symptoms or lab abnormalities that are consistent with the disease.

    All in all, if they’ve not been done recently, my first suggestion would be to repeat basic panels of blood chemistries and cell counts, as well as conducting a urinalysis. If everything in that regard is normal, then Cushing’s is not likely. You’d also have the benefit of making sure his blood glucose level is normal, too, so as to rule out diabetes. Diabetes can be another cause of increased thirst, and can come on suddenly.

    We’re really glad you’ve found us, and we look forward to learning more about your boy!

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