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A member of my Cushings support group has a real concern with her dog, and I'm hoping someone here might be able to suggest something. She is a 14-yr old female doxie who's been having stiffness and pain, and her head has started tilting to the right. My friend just wrote me that she took her to the vets for an MRI and spinal tap yesterday, and the spinal tap revealed inflammation in 2 spots. She doesn't know why. She asked me if I knew anything about MRIs and spinal taps, and I was hoping that since several of your babes have had disc problems, someone might be able to pass along some ideas/suggestions/advice that I can share with her. Hopefully her vet will be talking to her too. Thanks so much.
 

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Originally Posted By: GenieA member of my Cushings support group has a real concern with her dog, and I'm hoping someone here might be able to suggest something. She is a 14-yr old female doxie who's been having stiffness and pain, and her head has started tilting to the right. My friend just wrote me that she took her to the vets for an MRI and spinal tap yesterday, and the spinal tap revealed inflammation in 2 spots. She doesn't know why. She asked me if I knew anything about MRIs and spinal taps, and I was hoping that since several of your babes have had disc problems, someone might be able to pass along some ideas/suggestions/advice that I can share with her. Hopefully her vet will be talking to her too. Thanks so much.

Genie, are you a member of caninecushings.net? If not, you should be. It is an excellent source for all Cushing's info and I am no expert that's for sure. But, my female Malamute died of Cushing's on May 20th of this year. Your friend's situation may or may not be related to Cushing's. My male Malamute (put down on May 20th of 2007 - weird or what?) had a bone spur on his spine. That caused a neurological disruption in the signals down the spine. For him it affected his back legs to where he could no longer stand at all. Has your friends dog received a definitive diagnosis of Cushing's? Has the vet discussed a separate issue of neurological dysfunction? They could be unrelated and sadly just two different things going on in an aging dog.

Because of all the steroids being pushed into her body almost anything is possible. Did the MRI reveal any bone spurs or growths or just inflamation? Is her head just leaning - I don't think that's generally a sign of Cushing's. Weakness in the back legs, shaking, pot belly, etc. - all the things you probably know already. Could it just be arthritis???

Guess I'm not much help - more questions than answers, but there are some very, very knowledgeable people on that site who will have answers I'm sure.

And, if your dog and or your friends has Cushings - my heart goes out to you and you will be in my prayers. Putting Makaella down (and Simon the year before) nearly killed me. Seeing her suffer was even worse. I'm sending you and your friend a big hug from a dog owner who has lived through Cushing's.

I've attached a photo of Makaella the night before I put her down. Sure doesn't look like a dog on death's door but she was. She will forever be my little girl - with attitude - as most Mals are.

Good luck to you both.


<span style="font-size: 8pt">Makaella's Last Night</span>
 

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Beaglemom, thank you for your quick response. I'll pass this on to my friend.
I didn't realize that Makaella had Cushings--I am so sorry. She was a beautiful girl, and you're right, you'd never know how sick she was. Yes, both my friend's doxie (her name is Beanie Su) and my Shiloh have Cushings. We're not members of caninecushings.net (at least I'm not--she may be) but another Cushings support group--yes it has been of so much help. Siloh was diagnosed with Cushings in 2005, but probably had it longer. That's the thing about Cushings, it masks as other things. I'm not sure how long Beanie Su has had it. Shiloh takes Trilostane, 90 mg. a day, and her last 2 bloodworks have been very good. So we're very thankful, as I know things can turn around quickly.
Thanks again.
 

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I have no advice for your friend, Im not even familiar with exactly what Cushings is (and honestly, I hope and pray I never have to be that familiar with it).

I just want to say my heart goes out to your friend, Genie. When they get up there in age, it's so hard to figure out what's wrong when there are so many underlying issues. Two weeks ago, we went through a horrible bout of pancreaitus with Cassie. She has always had a chronic condition, but this was an accute attack and it took a week to get under control and we were really afraid we may lose her, thank God we didn't. But it's often hard to diagnose things in an older dog because the symptoms of so many aging diseases mirror each other. I'll keep her and Beanie Su in my thoughts.

Beaglemom, Makaella was a beautiful girl! I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our Roscoe on the 13th at the age of 13 and we are still dealing with the sense of loss, I can only imagine how hard it was for you with both of them going so closely together. You're right, she looks like a perfectly healthy girl in that picture, hard to believe she was so sick. Malamutes are such pretty dogs and so lovable.
 

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Thanks so much. My friend wrote that she's just heard from her doctor and that Beanie Su's problems are not related to the Cushings. She has old age vestibular disease, something that I'd suspected when she first described the symptoms to me. Our late great standard poodle had that during his latter years. The head tilts, and the leg muscles get weak, but usually they get better with time.
Zookeeper, Cushings Disease is caused by a little tumor on the pituitary or adrenal gland that causes the body to produce too many steroids. It in itself is not usually fatal, but can cause illness and damage to other parts of the body. I am, again, so sorry about the loss of your dear Roscoe. I hope the memories of happy times with him will bring you comfort.
 

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Wow, I'm so glad she found out. It's awful no matter what it is but at least she has facts.

Makaella probably had Cushing's for a long time before we knew it too. Malamutes are prone to thyroid conditions and the only symptom she had for years was bad thyroid values. Then in the last two months of her life the Cushing's really stepped up and - this is awful - but you could have cut your hand on the bones in her spine and hips. Her double coat hides it but it was startling and sickening to feel. The last two weeks were fast, she stopped eating, couldn't walk anymore. Layed in the kennel all day and I mean all day not moving and so sad. I've attached another photo of her taken in the last week of her life that pretty much says it all.

Anyway, enough about us - I hope your friend's outcome is good!
 

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