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Test Results In - Definitely Cushings

3488 Views 27 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  K & G
Hi, all! Just got off the phone with the vet -- he got a fax from UTenn with test results. All of the hormones tested (estradiol, progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, androstenedione, aldosterone and cortisol) were very significantly above normal leading to a diagnosis of atypical Cushings (which basically means it is Cushings but other hormones in addition to cortisol are elevated). My vet will consult with Maggie's internist tomorrow to decide if we will start treatment with melatonin implants or go straight to Lysodren (which is basically a chemotherapy drug). Maggie will have another full blood panel early next week to get a baseline before treatment. Not sure if we'll be doing another ultrasound now or not. I did ask the vet why Maggie would eat a little bit if I spoon feed her but walks away from the same food in her bowl. He said he sees this often with dogs who are not well -- he wonders if it isn't the human connection they crave. I'll keep you updated -- keep up the prayers!
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Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, since that means we haven't encountered it...) I don't know enough about Cushings and the prognosis to know whether this is good or bad news - to the extent that you finally have a firm diagnosis and can start treatment (and perhaps Maggie can start to feel better) I'm hoping that this is more good than bad...

Be sure to give Maggie lots of belly-rubs and hugs from us.
I'm glad to hear that you've finally got an answer to Maggie's problems. Now you can focus on treatment. Amber did well on Lysodren. It helped curb a lot of her symptoms. The only down side was that it was VERY expensive...around $70/month. It didn't stop me, of course! We never did the melatonin treatment. I wish I would have known about that option though. I would have at least like to have tried it. I hope that Maggie starts to feel better soon. Give her some extra loving from Jersey and Me! I'll be sending good thoughts your way.
At least you finaly know what it is and they know to treat it.
I have to agree it is at least a relief to know the actual diagnosis.
Spoon feed the pup if they want it! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif whatever works.

Judi and the gang
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I don't know anything about Cushings, either, so don't know if Maggie's diagnosis is encouraging or discouraging. I'm glad you finally know what's wrong, and of course, will keep you in my prayers.

As for spoon feeding, well, we do what we have to do. I'm the one who now makes gravy to put on Misty's food so she'll clean her bowl. Our dear seniors are so precious.
at least you finally have a diagnosis that you and your vet can work with. Give Maggie a big kiss from us and a big hug for you too !!!!!
It is good to know that you have a firm diagnosis. It is treatable! Thankfully!
Please keep us updated!!!!!
what is cushings? /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/confused.gif
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Finally a diagnosis. I hope Maggie will feel better on meds soon.

I am interested to hear any updates because I think Daisy may be prone to Cushings. One level of something was a little high and the vet told me to watch for excessive drinking and peeing. So far she doesn't seem to do either.

The only thing I do see is a pot belly. But when she lies on her back her tummy seems okay. I don't know if she's just fat or there's something going on. No other symptoms (hair loss or skin problems) I don't know any other symptoms. Is there anything else I should watch for?

Continued good thoughts and prayers for you and our Maggie :thumbup:

Monica and Daisy /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
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Hi Judy

Well at least you have a diagnosis and can move forward with treatment. I do hope that when Maggie is on her treatment she will perk up.

thinking of you and sweet Maggie

I am glad that the waiting and wondering is over. It sounds as though you have a team of good vets therefore Maggie is in very good hands.

With you at her side and the rest of "Team Maggie"...how can she loose?

As Sandy mentioned, our seniors are so precious. If spoon feeding is what she wants, then spoon feeding is it.

Keep the board posted...and stroke her silky, soft, beaglie ears for Henry and I.

I am so glad you finally have some answers. Now you can take action and do the things that need to be done to help your baby feel better. I hope this relieves some of the stress you have been feeling.
I should have read farther down before I asked in the other thread if you'd heard anything.... :doh:

So happy you have an answer....in my experience, once you KNOW what it is....you can deal with it; it's the NOT knowing that wears you down.

Eat well Maggie....prayers continuing
Well, at least you now know what is wrong. Now you can move foward to treatment! Maggie and you are in my thoughts and prayers! Lucky and I send lots of love!!!
Judy, now you know and you and the dr can get to work getting Maggie better!! Most of the people in my suching's support group seem to go the Lysodren route and several have even seen their dogs go into remission!! I will pray for such success for you and Maggie.
(P.S. I'm not familiar with melatonin treatments. What does that involve? You can PM me with an answer if you prefer.)
Hi, all! Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts and well wishes -- your support means more than you know! I'll try to answer some questions ...
RC: very, very simply, Cushings Disease (also known as hyperadrenocorticism -- whew!) results when the adrenal glands secrete an excess amount of cortisol. It is the most common hormone disease found in older dogs. Left untreated, too much cortisol destroys every organ in the body, including muscles, tissue and blood vessels. Interestingly, President Kennedy had Cushings Disease. There is no cure but, with treatment, life expectancy can be normal.
Monica: the most common symptoms of Cushings are excessive eating, excessive water drinking, a pot belly and hair loss. One of the reasons we doubted Maggie had Cushings was she had none of these symptoms except the pot belly but, when I did more research, the list of possible symptoms is extensive and, as I have learned in the past 11 years, Maggie is definitely not typical! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
Genie: I had not heard of melatonin as a treatment until Lora (of Lora & Tippi) posted that the UTenn doctors started her Tippi on it for atypical Cushings. The combination of melatonin and flax seed oil is a conservative treatment; the more aggressive treatment is the use of Lysodren (which Jen's Amber had been on). Unfortunately, even though Maggie's disease appears quite advanced, with Lysodren you have to do a loading period during which you pay particular attention to a decrease in eating and drinking as well as an increase in lethargy. As soon as these occur, the medicine is "loaded" and you move to a maintenance dose. Since Maggie doesn't have the eating/drinking symptoms and she is already lethargic, there would be no way to determine if she is loaded without doing a major blood test every day. So we start with conservative treatment and pray it works ... my vet is leaning towards going with a melatonin implant that lasts for 4-6 months so we don't have to give Maggie another daily capsule. She will also continue on the Reglan and Flagyl to help her digestive system.
The internist said he definitely wants to do another ultrasound and another liver biopsy. That is scheduled for next Wednesday at the hospital. I am really dreading that because, after the last one, Maggie had a major anxiety attack due to the post-biopsy pain. My vet agrees, and will discuss with the internist, that Maggie will need to be sedated with heavy duty pain meds after the procedure and more will be sent home with me for a few days.
Boy, this is long -- sorry! Again, thank you for your concern.
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Aw-www, bless Maggie's heart. She's been through so much, and so have you. You're a wonderful beagle mom, and she's lucky she has you. Will keep you in prayers.
sweet daisy

you might want to put your puppy on the bernie beagle diet. he had a big belly too, but it has since been going down because of his new diet. it has worked wonders for him.

that poor little girl is going through a rough time. she will remain in my prayers i promise you.
give her a big hug from bernie and i please.
Okay, guys -- I will do a lot for Maggie but I have to tell you that cleaning up poop is definitely my least favorite. I woke up at about 5 this morning and realized Maggie was not in the bed -- very, very unusual for her. I turned the lights on and saw she was sleeping on the floor -- again, very unusual. I then turned over ... poop and pee all over her side of the bed and the baby gate and the ottoman she uses to get up and down to the bed. After spending an hour cleaning, I tried to coax her back on the bed -- she was so ashamed!!! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif She is very quiet today and not eating -- hope we can get this all turned around soon so I can have my baby back.
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