So as I told you on Saturday, Tucker is sick. For the past year and a half he has been on a hardly noticeable decline. As you read the following, please know that he was getting regular checkups all along, and we were relaying our observations to the vet. (These were usually the interns, not the head veterinarian.)
First he began peeing in the house. Not all the time, but just every once in a while. Then it gradually increased.
Next he started loosing weight. We could feel his backbones and ribs, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, except that nothing in is diet regimen had changed. Plus, he had this big pot belly thing going on and he didn’t have worms. We’d checked for that too.
Now it got really weird. The Little dog has always been what we referred to as a secret water drinker. Prior to getting sick we had only ever seen him take little sips of water at a time. Suddenly, he was drinking the water bowl DRY.
And weirder still, he began chasing the Big dog away from his food dish and wolfing it down!!!
The final straw was when we woke up with wet feet in the bed. Tucker sleeps between the covers at the foot of the bed and, poor guy, he lost it in his sleep!
I called the vet as soon as they opened and we went in to see the head veterinarian. We explained everything that had been going on, and he said he believed it was Cushing’s Disease. He began testing in office and sent out lab samples too.
So, now begins the treatment. Treatment is tricky with the old meds, but there is a newer med on the market that has been trialed in England called *Vetoryl (trilostane) . We will be using this newer med because it has less risk to the Little dog. This is not to say that it does not have side effects! (see below) We await the medicine, it is on order, and then will have to closely monitor the Little dog to get the dosage right.
Think happy thoughts, because it is breaking my heart to see him like this every day.
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in Dogs
The most common symptoms include:
• increased/excessive water consumption (polydipsia) (!!!)
• increased/excessive urination (polyuria) (!!!)
• urinary accidents in previously housetrained dogs (!!!)
• increased/excessive appetite (polyphagia) (!!!)
• appearance of food stealing/guarding, begging, trash dumping, etc. (!!!)
• sagging, bloated, pot-bellied appearance (!!!)
• weight gain or its appearance, due to fat redistribution
• loss of muscle mass, giving the appearance of weight loss (!!!)
• bony, skull-like appearance of head
• exercise intolerance, lethargy, general or hind-leg weakness (!!!)
• new reluctance to jump on furniture or people (!!!)
• excess panting, seeking cool surfaces to rest on
• symmetrically thinning hair or baldness (alopecia) on torso (!!!)
• other coat changes like dullness, dryness
• slow regrowth of hair after clipping
• thin, wrinkled, fragile, and/or darkly pigmented skin (!!!)
• easily damaged/bruised skin that heals slowly (!!!)
• hard, calcified lumps in the skin (calcinosis cutis)
• susceptibility to infections (especially skin and urinary)
• diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures
( (!!!) Indicates Tucker’s slowly increasing symptoms over the past year and a half.)
*Vetoryl (trilostane) Capsules, the latest drug approved to treat canine Cushing’s, is also the first drug approved to treat both pituitary- and adrenal-dependent Cushing’s in dogs. This prescription drug works by stopping the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands. In studies of the drug, the most common side effects were vomiting, lack of energy, diarrhea, and weight loss.