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Thread: Cushings? Or something else?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2022
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    Default Cushings? Or something else?

    Hello, I’m from Belgium so forgive me for my bad English.

    My Chihuahua is 13,5 yo en is being diagnosed at the moment for Cushings. She have had 1 test with urine and it showed a high level of cortisol.
    We have to do now a 3 - days urine test with dexamethason.

    Her symptoms are:
    A huge pot - belly
    Muscle weakness. She can not walk without slipping anymore.
    Really bad smelling farts!
    And she sleeps a lot.
    No longer want to go out for a walk. And if we go, only for 10 minutes.

    I read that the most common symptoms are excessive drinking, peeing, eating. But that’s something I not notice.

    What do you think. Can it be CD?
    Or has she symptoms of another disease? What tests can I ask and for what?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    Georgia
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Hello and welcome! No need at all to apologize for your English youre doing a wonderful job! Theres no way at all that Id be able to write in a language other than my own. So Im very impressed with what you are doing:-))).

    Moving on to your questions, Im afraid I would be questioning a Cushings diagnosis, myself, since your girl lacks many classic outward symptoms. Any major illness or stress on a dogs body can elevate cortisol levels not just Cushings. For this reason, even if diagnostic tests give positive result for Cushings based on high cortisol levels, the diagnosis remains questionable when observable symptoms are missing since other physical issues could be stressing the body.

    For the benefit of our American readers, the 3-day dexamethasone urine test is commonly used in Europe, and fills the same role as our LDDS blood test here. So its an appropriate test to be performed when Cushings is suspected. But just as is true for our LDDS, I believe it is also vulnerable to false positives when physical issues other than Cushings may be physically stressing a dog.

    At this point, my main question to you would be whether your girl has exhibited abnormal numbers on any of her other blood or urine tests. There are certain abnormalities that commonly occur due to Cushings. Since she doesnt show classic outward symptoms other than the pot belly and weakness, Im wondering whether there are lab results that would be found with Cushings. Or with any other illness, for that matter. If not, and even if her 3-day test turns out to be positive for Cushings, a very helpful next step may be an abdominal ultrasound. Especially given her pot belly, it could be very helpful to directly image her abdominal area to look for any abnormalities with her major organs, including her adrenal glands. So that would be a specific test Id ask my vet about if she were my own dog.

    In the meantime, well look forward to learning more about any other blood and urine test results that you may have. And once again, welcome to you both!

    Marianne

  3. #3
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    Jan 2016
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    Glen Cove, NY
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Hi and welcome from me, too. I think Marianne is right that more testing should be done. If you have any recent blood work it would help to see the results. Only post the Highs and Lows with the reference numbers. I have had two Cushing's dogs and they had all the typical Cushing's symptoms, which is why I would question a Cushing's diagnosis for your girl.

    I also have a Chihuahua named Doree. She is 17 or 18 and is the matron of all of our furbabies. They are characters, are they not?
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Angel Gable, Angel Phoenix, Doree, Cooper, and now Sibble.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by labblab View Post

    At this point, my main question to you would be whether your girl has exhibited abnormal numbers on any of her other blood or urine tests. There are certain abnormalities that commonly occur due to Cushings. Since she doesnt show classic outward symptoms other than the pot belly and weakness, Im wondering whether there are lab results that would be found with Cushings. Or with any other illness, for that matter. If not, and even if her 3-day test turns out to be positive for Cushings, a very helpful next step may be an abdominal ultrasound. Especially given her pot belly, it could be very helpful to directly image her abdominal area to look for any abnormalities with her major organs, including her adrenal glands. So that would be a specific test Id ask my vet about if she were my own dog.

    Marianne

    Thank you for your reply!
    Today I started with the urine test, after the weekend I will bring everything to the vet.
    When I have the results I ask for a blood test and an abdominal ultrasound.
    I keep you updated.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2022
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joan2517 View Post

    I also have a Chihuahua named Doree. She is 17 or 18 and is the matron of all of our furbabies. They are characters, are they not?
    What a beautiful age!
    Yes, they are amazing.
    Her name is Mini and is such a lovely lady. Always sweet and soft… and stubborn

  6. #6
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    Apr 2022
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Hi, I’m back with the results of the 3 day urine test with dexamethasone.

    Day 1: 17,71*
    Day 2: 13,96*
    Day 3: 0,71

    * > 5: Cushings highly suspicious.
    She definitely has Cushings on the pituitary


    My vet is currently undergoing further training about Cushings, she will be back on Monday and discuss the Vetoryl thing with us.
    Because Mini has a lot of stress in the car and at the vet my husband and I want minimum hassle for her with appointments.
    The vet will start with a very little dose Vetoryl so she is safe and follow up can become limited.

    But there is an other concern….
    Her protein/creatinine ratio is 3,96. The reference is < 0,5.
    So now I’m scared she has kidney failure also. The Vet wants to investigate this further but for the well-being of Mini she said we can wait after the start whit the Vetoryl, maybe it becomes better also and that's one less investigation.

    What do you think? Has Cushings an effect on the kidneys?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Hello and welcome back. Thank you for posting those test results. I know you surely wish there was nothing at all wrong with Mini, but at least now you have a diagnosis and can put together a plan that will help her. So we hope that will be a good thing.

    As far as the kidney test, I hope I may be able to ease your worry a little bit by telling you that, in some dogs, uncontrolled Cushings is known to cause protein to be passed in the urine. This does not mean that Minis kidneys have failed, but it does mean that the disease is likely having an effect on the ability of her kidneys to filter totally properly. I think your vets approach to this makes sense, though. Its possible that once the Cushings is better controlled, the problem with the protein in the urine may also improve. If not, your vet may add in another medication that is known to be helpful, and may also ask you to cut down somewhat on the amount of protein that you feed Mini. But for the moment, it makes sense to me to focus on getting a safe start with the Vetoryl. Then, if the protein in the urine still persists, you can add more treatment. But the Vetoryl itself may end up helping.

    Thank you again for checking back in, and please do let us know how things are going for Mini.

    Marianne

  8. #8
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    rural central ARK
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    Just FYI, there is a relatively new test for kidney disease that lets us know MUCH sooner than we used to if the kidneys are impaired. It is called the SDMA and it is by the IDEXX lab. Any vet can use this test even if they regularly use another lab. If Mini's vet isn't familiar with it that is not uncommon. Here is a link about the test you can share with them:

    https://www.idexx.com/en/veterinary/...a/get-started/

    This is NOT to say I think there is a real issue with her kidneys...Marianne is spot on about the effect Cushing's has on the kidneys but this is a great test to have in our arsenal and I want alllll vets to learn about it. I was told my Tilly was in kidney failure based on her creatine and BUN but the SDMA proved that wrong and her values have returned to normal so I am very impressed with this SDMA test to say the least.
    "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.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    @ labblab

    I feel more reassured with your words!
    Mini her health decline with small steps every week since January, I’m afraid of everything now.

    She was nauseous the last 3 days right after her food, we think her big liver pressed against her stomach, today we gave smaller portions and it seems to help. But for me it is AGAIN another sign that she is sick.
    Last edited by Lilly; 04-20-2022 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Forgotten

  10. #10
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    Apr 2022
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    Default Re: Cushings? Or something else?

    @ Squirt’s Mom

    Thank you for your sharing about the test. I looked it up in my own language and it’s very interesting.
    The vet can test with minimum impact for her.

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