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  #1  
Old 02-21-2009, 01:41 PM
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Symptoms of Cushings?

I was just wondering if Cushing's occurred just in older dogs or if the symptoms were just more apparent in older dogs. What are the symptoms and what things can mimic Cushings or have similar traits. I have read that longterm bouts of Whipworm can display like attributes of Cushings, is this true?

I have come across all this trying to find a reason for Gunners continual flakey skin. More and more I read the more and more I am beginning to think their is just something else wrong.

I have also considered mange, but he his hair loss is around "pit" areas and just thinning really not bald or completely lost. It is noticeable to me though and has progressed. He also has it around his eyes. Wouldnt mange- either kind have meant more hair loss?

I am not feeding the best food, but its really all we can get right now. Its the Kirkland lamb & Rice. Hes no worse on that than he was on Evo to tell you the truth. When things get a little better I want to try to get him that Natural balance Duck and Potato because they sell it at Petco wich is near us now.

Sorry for rambling, but I just wanted to know about anyone elses experience w/ Cushings and if I am on the totally wrong track. What other things should I rule out.

I never know what test to ask for at the vet. I want a skin scraping, but what tests should they run? And I have heard Whipworms have to be tested over 4 days? Is that from 4 diff fecal floats or the same on over 4 days? Should I get a Thyroid panel? ARggg! Its also better for us to do everything we can on big expensive visit (and while tax refund time is at hand) because Gunner has to be sedated.....

Please share any experience or direction.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2009, 02:05 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

A friend of mine has a Beagle that has been consuming alot of water (alot more than normal), with increased urination (of course), extended abdomen and increased heart rate. The vet thinks it may be Cushings.

I would discuss it with your vet. There is a specific test for Cushings and as far as my friend said, they would have to keep the dog for the day and test her blood at certain intervals throughout the day. Your vet may want to just run a blood panel, urinalysis etc. before testing for Cushings, or even do a skin scraping. The skin issue could possibly even be due to allergies. I'm sure depending on what they want to test for will depend on whether there are any other symptoms along with the skin issue right now.
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2009, 02:35 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

He does have increase drinking and urination. He has had a couple of accidents. I thought I was not getting him out the door soon enough or not taking him out enough. I really dont think he was marking one was right infront of the door and squatting. That is not like him. I felt awful. I know dogs dont have feelings, but it was almost like he was embarrassed. I guess it could make them uncomfortable because they are soiling their own surrounding.

The thing that stood out to me is his weight shape. He is fat in the abdomen. It is most noticeable when he is laying on his side. I look at him and just think, no wonder his leg hurts! He is 120 pounds and could stand to lose at least 10 to be on the generous side. I am not sure if it is just that it appears worse because of the weight distribution and or atrophy.

I really dont think I can give him any less food than I do right now though.
I think I am going to have to sit down and premeasure out the scoops in ziploc bags for a week at a time so no matter if it is me or my husband feeding he is getting exact amounts.
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  #4  
Old 02-21-2009, 03:08 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

Our dog Sensi has been drinking excessive amounts of water and urinating a lot. No accidents though. We took him to the vet, had a complete blood panel worked up and also started a urine culture (to grow the bacteria) to see what type of bacteria/how to treat. Ended up being e-coli with a kidney infection. At the time though my vet was not ruling out Cushings.

Take him to the vet. Have them draw blood and take a fresh urine sample with you. Honestly, it could be anything.

I also had Sensi on a grain free, high protein kibble (Orijen) which he loves. I took him off of it while we are fighting this infection as I don't want to over work his kidneys. I switched him to a low protein/grain free kibble in the interim (Taste of the Wild. Salmon) which he also loves. He only gets 2 cups a day (am/pm) with a dollop of yogurt. His weight is 108.8 lbs and he looks awesome! He'll be 10 years old on May 1st.

Oh, I also disagree with you statement about dogs not having feelings.

[SIZE=4]Cushing's Disease or Hyperadrenocorticism[/SIZE]
Cushing's disease is probably more accurately referred to as hyperadrenocorticism -- the production of too much adrenal hormone, in particular corticosteroids. It can be naturally occurring or due to over administration of corticosteroids such as prednisone (iatrogenic Cushing's). The latter is easy to cure - just cut out the corticosteroid administration slowly to allow the body to return to normal function. The former is more difficult.
Hyperadrenocorticism occurs for two reasons --- a tumor of the adrenal gland that produces adrenal hormones or stimulation of the normal adrenal glands from the hormones that control it. The primary reason for this to occur is a pituitary gland tumor that produces excessive ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroids. Adrenal gland tumors account for 15% of the cases of spontaneous hyperadrenocorticism. Pituitary tumors account for 85%.
Cushing's disease causes increased drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, panting, high blood pressure, hair loss - usually evenly distributed on both sides of the body, pendulous abdomen, thinning of the skin, calcified lumps in the skin, susceptibility to skin infections and diabetes, weakening of the heart and skeletal muscles, nervous system disease and other symptoms. Most owners reach a point where the water consumption and urination become bothersome to them.

Cushing's Disease in Dogs

I hope this helps in understanding what Cushings is. I hope it's something very simple that Gunsey has that a simple antibiotic or a belly rub will take care of.
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  #5  
Old 02-21-2009, 03:30 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

I do too. I am planning for a fairly $$ vet trip with part of our tax refund and hoping to get to the bottom of this. I know some of his weight has to do with his leg. He has been on essentially activity enough to keep him from stiffening into a mummy and to keep him joints in good shape. I know that cant help keep the pounds off.

I just know Gunner doesnt have accidents. He has also been licking and chewing at his paws- which I thought of as allergies. If I let him, he would lay like a lump on his dog bed all day and all night to get up just to eat and go potty.

I feel so aweful for him. I know I am not going to be able to take him until we get our taxes back too. that could be 1 1/2 months from now. Hes not worse, but I am just going crazy. Sometimes I lay on the floor with him for a bit when I come home from work and just tell him I will take care of him soon and cry. Sorry guys I just feel crappy right now.
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  #6  
Old 02-21-2009, 08:18 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

Hi Gunsey'smom, I don't have any experience with Cushing's disease, though I wanted to say I can completely emphathize with how your are feeling right now: frustrated. While I understand the Gunner hasn't been to the vet at length yet to cover these symptoms, know that this isn't always a slam dunk. Magnus has been seen three times since the beginning of this year, given five different treatments and yet his ears are still clearly a problem and still clearly bother him. And as a pet owner I still feel like I am letting him down. During my last discussion with our vet, she warned me that disorders of the immune system are quite complex and we may perform tests and procedures and still not find the cause of the problem. Though I hope when Gunner sees the vet it is a simple problem with and simple fix.

One note on Cushing's Disease, Bruce Fogle, DVM "Caring for you Dog" states that dogs with Cushing's disease if shaved, their fur does not grow back. Has Gunner been shaved or had surgery and had this problem? Just another thought.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2009, 10:14 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

I did read that is more common in older dogs.
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2009, 11:29 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

My 12 1/2yo rescue girl, Faith, has been recently diagnosed with Cushings. She has the classic symptoms of a distended abdomen and heavy shedding. Her hair is thinning out on both sides of the rib cage but so far she has no bald patches. We have a new development in the last few days of flakey skin on her back. She's drinking more but hasn't had any accidents. She has 24/7 access to the yard.

Faith is always hungry and since the beginning of this illness she looks overweight but I can't reduce her food any further. She needs enough nutrition to feel well and maintain her current low level of energy. She spends most of her time on the couch and our walks are down to 15 minutes.

We are due for a vet visit to discuss the results of her CBC but the weather is so hot that I'm reluctant to take her out. We have a fair walk from the car park to the vet surgery and Faith is old and frail. Since she's happy and feeling well I'll wait another week or so and hope the weather cools down enough for me to take her back to the vet.

Her diagnosis is recent and I'm on a learning curve about Cushings so I have no helpful information.
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2009, 11:57 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

Anne, your post sounds so familiar but Gunner is not even 4is this possible for him? I am just wondering if Cushings is possible at his age. I guess the only way to confirm is our vet visit. I was just trying to see if I was barking up the wrong tree if you know what I mean.

He has had the few accidents, but I am thinking it was more like I should have got him out the door sooner and thought he could hold it. I guessed wrong since he has been drinking so much! I think its a combo of my slowness and ignorance of not knowing his new urgency?

Gunner also has no bald areas but alot of thinning spots, and probably only noticeable to me- but I do notice. They are on the leg pits(dont know proper name) belley extending now out towards abdomen, around the eyes and I also always notice little rust hairs shedding into the black on his beautiful face..... :( His skin has been flakey for a long time wich was why I thought he had food allergies and had switched him to every food under the sun with no better or worse result. Then I thought maybe mange?

Gunner also spends most of his time just lying around. He is so eager to please he will exercise anytime I give him a chance to, but I am just afraid its not good for him. He needs frequent breaks, wich I give him if we do exercise. We dont ever exercise for long periods anymore like we used to. That just makes me feel worse because then I feel like he is fat because I dont let him exercise him.

I identify with the part where you say that you cant reduce the food anymore!

I just dont know, he is not old? Can this be Cushings?
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  #10  
Old 02-22-2009, 12:38 AM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

I wish I knew more about Cushings. The info on the net isn't very helpful. We know in most cases it's caused by the pituitary and there is excess production of corticosteroids and then we are given just a few symptoms. I want to know about the progression of the disease and what I should be watching out for.

Gunner does sound young to have this disease but again, I haven't read anywhere that a young dog doesn't get Cushings, just that it's more common in the oldies.

I know exactly what you mean about the thinning hair in the 'pits'. That's what I'm seeing too, though Faith's belly itself is well covered with hair and there's no hair loss on her face at all.

When she came to me 2 1/2 years ago she had recently been spayed and the shaved area on her abdomen didn't even start grow hair for more than 6 months. She was in bad shape and very emaciated when she came to me so that may have had something to do with it.

Much of the hair on her body close to the skin is white. When the hair comes out when I groom her, the length of the hair is half white/half black....looks like regrowth on a human head. She looks black but has white hair for half the length of the hair. It's not the undercoat.
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  #11  
Old 02-23-2009, 04:28 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

I think thats jsut one thing that has me really stumped. There isnt really alot on Cushing's - like you said, and also I have never read of a younger dog having it.

I have read alot of Thyroid symptoms that are similar, so that was another one of my considerations.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was on one search I was doing there were several links between Cushings and Whipworms. I dont have time to dig it up right no, but when i get home from work I'll post it. I was thinking maybe since Gunner is so young maybe this could be Whipworm and something else mimicing Cushing's?

I know I will only be able to speculate and a vet test will be able to tell, but I had some ?'s about the Whipworm fecal floats because it sounds like whipworms can easily flt under the radar. I want to be absolutely sure to rule out 1st mange, then whipworms, before I proceed with Thyroid aor Cushings. That was kind of the plan of process of elimination.

Does that sound like a good order?
What do you think about the Whipworm thought. I mean this would be a longterm reinfection- wich I am considering as completely possible...........

Thanks for everyones replies. Everything is helpful!
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2009, 08:11 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

I think that a skin scraping is a fantastic next step to dx skin problems. It could be a mite infection, yeast infection, bacterial infection on the skin surface. Magnus has had both a mite infection (Cheylatiella) and a bacterial infection (staph with several others) on the surface of his skin that caused flaking, itching, red bumps and one hot spot. For the mite infection we had a few false negatives before he was correctly diagnosed. I highly recommend that the vet does a skin scraping from several different areas.

Also, since it sounds like Gunner has other issues beyond the skin and coat, I would recommend a full blood panel, CBC and thyroid, especially if the skin scraping is negative. Regular fecals with the float are always a good annual routine too. Though we have also had false negatives for the fecal exam and flotation.

I know how frustrating this is! I hope you find answers soon and that it is a very simple fix.
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2009, 09:12 PM
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Re: Symptoms of Cushings?

Gunseys Mom: Faith has had 3 fecals within 6 months, all were negative for parasites. She has Sentinel Spectrum every month and has never had a worm or flea problem. Previous CBC's and Thyroid panel were fine.

I think my vet has arrived at the diagnosis of Cushings by a process of elimination.
Her flakey skin is a new development and is mild. Since it's a symptom of Cushings and everything indicates Cushings I figure it's why she's recently shown the mild flaking. She doesn't scratch so evidently it doesn't irritate her.
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