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We have a 20 month old female chocolate labrador who has just been diagnosed with cushings disease. This is normally only found in older dogs (8 Years & Over). She has been put on Vetoryl Tablets to lower her cortisol levels but her coat condition is still very poor and she is still itching alot. Has anyone come across this disease before in such a young dog, and what age could she be expected to live to??
 

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I'm really sorry to hear about your Lab, you must be devastated. I'm afraid i don't know enough about Cushings disease to help, but i have passed the message on to a member of ours who is a veterinary nurse to see if she can help and post a reply.
 

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Cushing's

My Misty is an older Lab with Cushing's. She has had it for two years. While it is never good news to learn your fur kid has a specific disease, at least you know what you are up against and can learn all you can about it.

It will take a few weeks for her coat to come back, plus there may be skin infections. Misty had yeast and staph infections of the skin as well as hair loss. There are perscription shampoos that can help with the symptoms. Check with your vet.

Be sure you are on the same page with your vet. The vet that first treated Misty misdiagnosed her and then was not very happy when I started researching the disease. He felt that all knowledge should come from him and so we changed vets to one who was more open minded.

Search the 'Net for sites on Canine Cushing's as well as all of the drugs being used to treat your fur kid, as well as searching for Canine Cushing's support groups. There is a mail list on yahoo that may be of interest.

Contact the vetrinarian of maker of the dog food you use and explain your situation and ask for advice as to which food would do your dog the most good. Misty gets a fish oil capsule for her skin and coat and an adenysol tablet for liver function.

Is the Cushing's caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland or is it on the adrenal glands?

Some of the things I have found include:

You may want to keep a diary or journal. Written observations done over time may assist the vet in treatment

Over here in the US some of the drugs given to dogs are the same as those given to humans. If laws permit you may be able to fill perscriptions at your druggist cheaper in some cases than your vet can. Some vets won't do it because it is a revenue stream for them other vets realise it can be at great expense to pursue treatment and will do what they can to keep the costs down. Worth a discussion.

Keep track of water consumption. At one point Misty was drinking over three gallons of water a day. Your pup will need out way more often.

Beware there may be decreased concentration of the urine and possibly UTIs. Observe the colour of the urine as well as the frequency

There may also be damage to the liver and kidneys. Expect to have bloodwork done periodically to check liver and kidney function. Cushing's also can affect the thyroid.

You may want to consider having a complete blood profile done as a bench mark. If you get everything checked now you will have a better idea of the progress of the disease later.

Dogs pant as a way cooling their bodies. Be aware of the temperature of the dog's environment. Cushing's can mess up a dog's temperature control. Recently we went off to the Vet's on an 80 degree F afternoon. Misty was in the heat for maybe twenty minutes but by the time she got home she sounded like she had run a marathon.

The cortisol can act like a meat tenderizer and may affect muscle tone and joint construction. The joints can get loose. Your dog may not be able to jump on and off the furniture or in and out of the car without help.

Check with your vet about your dog being seen at a Vet School clinic. Costs may be less and because of it being a teaching institution theymay have a better understanding of the disease and research being done. I am in no way putting down your vet. There are just so many dieases and some vets may not have as much experience with a particular disease than another. On the otherhand maybe your vet is the leading authority, you have not said. Misty's vet sent her to Iowa State Vet Med School clinic and we got a lot of tests done and she is in better condition today than she was when she went.

When God gives us the leash of one of His Labradors to hold, He does not say how long we get to hold it, or even which end of the leash we are on. We learn so much regardless of which end we are attached to. Each day is a gift.

If I can be of any support or help, send me a PM or respond here.


HTH
 

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HI D7NNY,

Really sorry to hear about your little chocolate furbaby, and so unusual to be found in such a young dog too.

I'm really pleased we have Labdad on the forum, (I hope Misty is also coping with it too Labdad)

Going by what Labdad has said, i think keeping a diary or journal of your labs progress is a very good idea, it will help the vet immensly and you will then remember to mention everything, no matter how small, and you can get all the help possible.

When God gives us the leash of one of His Labradors to hold, He does not say how long we get to hold it, or even which end of the leash we are on. We learn so much regardless of which end we are attached to. Each day is a gift.
Very touching Labdad, i hope you both have many. many more days with your labs, we are all here for you, please talk to us anytime you feel bad about the situation

All the best,
We will of course be in touch to find out how both dogs are doing.

Bradleysmum
 

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D7NNY
Pituitary Cushing's is a very slow growing tumor. Not sure about adrenal Cushing's.

Misty recieved Lysodren to kill off the adrenal cells that produce corisol. She was off the drug for six months and on Anipryl a medication that did not work for her. when she went back on the Lysodren the loading doses killed off almost all of the cortisone producing cells and she had a crisis while at the vet's for testing and almost died. It was a close thing.

Be sure you understand the medication your dog is on. If the med is for killing off the adrenal cells you may need prednisone as a back up in case your pup goes into an Addisonian crisis. Injectable pred. works quickly.

Cushing's while progressive can be managed for an extended period of time. Learn all you can, keep an eye on the condition and give 'em hug now and again.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Many thanks to you all for your help and advice. Josie (our Chocolate Lab pup) cushings is caused by a tumour in her pituitary gland (not sure if that is good or bad). The vet said she is responding well to the vetoryl tablets ( her cortisol levels are at about 180-which they say is normal) and has just been put on antihystamine tablets to soove her skin, and we also have to bath her once a week with moisturiser to help her skin and coat. We have also put her on a Hills D/D prescription diet to help. She has had her allergy test results back which where not good ( she seems to be Borderline on alot of things), so we will try her with a course of injections to see if that will help. We are hoping this will be enough as we are running out of things to try.
Thanls again
Danny, Maria, and of course Josie.
 

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Josie (our Chocolate Lab pup) cushings is caused by a tumour in her pituitary gland (not sure if that is good or bad).
The pituitary gland is located in the brain stem and over here in the US is considered pretty risky surgery. As Cushing's is seen in more in older dogs it may be more of an age thing but brain surgery is usually pretty complicated.

The pituitary gland is a clump if sensors and switches that monitor blood content. When it determines cortisol is needd it sends a signal to the adrenal glands to produce what is needed. In pituitary Cushing's the tumor plays the role of the bully, dolt, or oaf that leans aginst the control board, continually pressing the switch that calls for cortisol. The adrenal glands respond by producing cortisol 24/7 (twenty-four hours a day/ seven days a week.) The tumor is generally very slow growing and at least in older dogs is not the primary cause of death.

The body needs a certain level of cortisol to function properly. The amount fluxuates depending on the activity. Stress increases the need. Too much cortisol produces a toxic effect on joint tissue as well as muscle mass, and also attacks the organs. It also messes up the coat. Many symptoms of Cushing's are shared by other diseases.

Beware of staph and yeast in infections. They can produce hard, *****, dark coloured nodules, and hair loss.

Misty was a rather chunky Labrador when she came to live with us, weighing 81 pounds. We had been able to get her down to about 76 pounds over about two years when she started to shed weight and hair rapidly. She went from 76 to 64 pounds in five months, started drinking water until she was consuming over three gallons of water per 24 hours, had UTIs, and dilute urine.

Be sure to monitor water input/output and note any sudden changes as well as subtle trends. If the meds used to control cortisol block too much production, stress could produce an Addisonian crisis wher ethe body uses up all available cortisol and causes collapse.

Even though Misty likes the vet's it is stressful and even though water intake did not appear low, she collapsed at the vet's during an exam and presented life threatening symptoms: comatose and very low blood pressure. Fortunately she was at the vet's when it happened othewrwise she would have died.

Some vets believe it is simplier to treat an Addisonian dog than a straight Cushing's case and will induce Addison's.

Cushing's also messes up temperature control. Increased panting is a symptom of the disease.

Learn as much of the disease, treatments and medicines used, and the side effects. Diet may play a role so do research different feeds and talk to people.

Please keep us posted on how she is doing. PM me if I can be of further assistance.

HTH
 
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