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Possible Cushing's Disease in Dog

by Geraldine
(Valley Stream, NY)

First thank you for helping me with my Dogs "open" wart problem a few months ago. I am happy to report that it has shrunken in size dramatically and no surgery needed!! yay!

So I took Dulce to the vet recently for her rabies shot, heart worm test, and to take a look at her hind legs...she's been having increasing problems in walking. The Vet gave us Deramaxx for her pain. I'm still deciding whether to give it to her as much as she prescribed (I've read horror stories and good stories about that drug). We are currently searching for an acupuncturist to help her hips instead.

Anyways, The vet asked if we wanted to do some blood work on her since she just turned 13 to make sure everything is ok. The results came back ok. Just that she hd elevated levels of (i forget the name) enzymes. That the normal level is 130 and Dulce has 230 indicates possible Cushing's Disease. So she suggested and blood analysis for 2 hours of something and give her a steroid to see "how she responds".

I'm sorry this description is a bit vague... the vet called me in the morning and I was thrown for a loop and I don't know what to do. Is there a better way of going deeper into this? I don't want to ignore it, but i do want a second opinion and suggestion of what to do now.

I GREATLY appreciate your help in this matter.

Best Regards,

Comments for Possible Cushing's Disease in Dog

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May 30, 2012
i forgot to add
by: Geraldine

So just a little side comment that I forgot to initially mention with this whole Cushion's Disease thing.

My previous dog was diagnosed with it and a month later passed away. So we are a bit nervous about it and really want to take the correct steps.

Also she used to tremble over stupid things...any high pitched beeps (like a microwave beep), the washer/dryer, thunder, etc... now she trembles for no reason. She hides in the basement for most of the day. I have to make her go out side to go relieve herself.

Is she shaking because she's in pain from her hips? Is she shaking cause she's in pain because of this possible cushing's disease?

Ah and I didn't mention that she weighed 78lbs for most of her life. But she's lost about 7 pounds in the last 6 months (hence the vet wanting to do blood work).

I had noticed shat she was getting a little thinner, but I thought it was because we were walking her more then usual and she tends to skip a meal here and there.

Last thing I forgot to mention is her breed - she's a mutt. Half Husky, half Lab. Her body shape is more like a lab, her personality all husky.

OK, thats it. sorry to be all over the place. I'm super worried!

May 31, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Cushing's Disease in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Geraldine,
That is nice to hear that Dulce responded to non-surgical treatment for her warts. For her current problems: weight loss of 7 lbs in 6 months, shaking, hiding in basement, difficulty in walking, and elevation in one liver enzyme, Alkaline Phosphatase, I am not sure it is Cushing's disease.

Cushing's disease is usually characterized by a 'pot belly' appearance, increase in thirst and increase in urination, plus increase in appetite. And also hair loss along the flank areas.

The test that your veterinarian would like to do to confirm the diagnosis is called an ACTH Stimulation test. In my experience, dogs that have Cushing's Disease have a HUGE increase in the Alkaline Phosphatase (high of 800-1,000 or more).

The shaking, hiding in the basement and difficulty walking would indicate osteoarthritis in the hips and/or spine with possible neurological involvement, such as a pinched nerve. All of this is VERY painful.

Since she has the elevated liver enzyme, I would NOT give her the Deramax. If you can find a veterinarian to do acupuncture and treat her with Chinese herbs, that would be the best treatment for pain.

She should also be on liver support such as milk thistle (8 mg per lb two times daily), and Hepatrophin or Livaplex from Standard Process (one capsule opened and sprinkled into her food two times daily). There are also Chinese herbs available for liver support.

Since you are very concerned about Dulce, it might be best to agree to the ACTH Stimulation Test to find out if it really is Cushing's Disease or not. If the rest of her blood panel is normal, I would also suggest a urinalysis, fecal, and heartworm test (Heartworm positive dogs can exhibit unexplained weight loss). And also consider an x-ray to check her spine and hips for osteoarthritis.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Warts,
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Warts, Cysts and Strange Growths Section,
- Dog Anxiety,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Behavioral Issues Section

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