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Nicki
29th July 2006, 08:15 PM
An Internet friend of mine has two Cavaliers, one of them, Arne, is battling with Cushings. Arne is a very handsome 11 year old B&T.

I asked her if I could share his story to help others to be aware of what to look for - it was a condition I knew little about, and it may help someone in the future.

Symptoms of Cushing's disease can be vague and varied and tend to appear gradually and progressively.

Common symptoms include:
increased/excessive water consumption, increased/excessive appetite
appearance of food stealing/guarding, begging, etc.
sagging, bloated, pot-bellied appearance
loss of muscle mass, giving the appearance of weight loss
exercise intolerance, lethargy, general or hind-leg weakness
new reluctance to jump on furniture or people
thinning hair or baldness on torso
thin, wrinkled, fragile, and/or darkly pigmented skin
hard, calcified lumps in the skin
susceptibility to infections (especially skin and urinary)
diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures

It is the increased water intake and urination or the coat changes which prompt an owner to take action.

Relatively young dogs can suffer from this too so if your dog appears to be getting "old" before its time it may not be the aging process that is causing it.

Nicki
29th July 2006, 08:19 PM
This is Arne's story:

Autumn last year Arne lost a lot of coat and at the same time became grumpier. He was always hungry which I thought was because of the steroids he was taking for colitis. Gradually he became slower and didn't jump up on the furniture and his grumpiness got much worse. I though the slow down could be due to him getting old and getting arthritis. A relative of his had very bad arthritis.

The grumpiness I was at a loss about, sometimes it was as if he was frightened and others aggressive. I wondered if having Jassy starting to come out of his shell was threatening for Arne in some way. I tried to be strict with them both, if Arne growled and snapped at me just for looking at him, he got the spray bottles as normal deterrent methods were being ignored. I wondered if I had done the right thing in homing Jassy. When Jamie had died Arne was lost as he had grown up with 2 other dogs. I had been sure that rehoming Jassy would please Arne as well as me and it seemed like it was going to be great at the start. Sadly Jassy has never learnt to play and wouldn't play with Arne but he was interested in every other dog we met outside, much to Arnes disgust.

Anyway both them got a couple of doses of the dreaded runs and they were on antibiotics etc and different stuff to try a get it to clear up. Eventually we opted for a diet of chicken only for 10 days and then took another 10 days to introduce the salmon and potato kibble. I noticed that his water consumption was increased but I thought that could have been due to the new food and that he was getting really thin, but then we had been through 6 + weeks of tummy troubles.

The new kibble seemed to agree with them so it was back to Arne's problems, he had a course of injections which helped with the stiffness and then we started on the blood test route. Thyroid, diabetes, alopica were all possibilities along with Cushings. The reason the Vet thought of Cushings was because his personal bits were a bit flabby. Eventually the diagnoses came back with Pituitary Dependant Cushings which is the commonest for small dogs.

One of the saddest things about Cushingoid dogs is that some of them become "remote" and no longer wish to interact with their owners, Arne was like this but the grumpyness is caused by the Spondylitis. That I found very hard to bear as I was used to him being with me in what ever room I was in and also wanting cuddles sometimes. I now have to be very careful as although Arnes grumpiness has really improved, Jassy is always at the ready to defend himself even when he is in the wrong ie he pinched Arnes breakfast and when Arne growled quietly about it Jassy bit him.


Arne was diagnosed with Cushings in March and it has been confirmed that he has Spondylitis in his spine. For the Cushings he gets a tablet every day and has to get regular blood tests to monitor his cortisol levels. Since he has Cushings the options for helping him with his Spondylitis are limited. He get a Seraquin tablet every day and we are trying acupuncture and diazapam to help with pain relief. This week was the 3rd session and there has been a big improvment which is a relief as he is 11 1/2 and is on Vetmedim for his heart plus he suffers with colitis.

Maxxs_Mummy
29th July 2006, 08:44 PM
Poor little {{{{{{{{Arne}}}}}}}}. Alison's Honey Bee (My ickle Hunnybunnybuns) had Cushings too :( It's a horrible illness and I wouldn't wish it on any dog.

Thanks for the info Nicki, I think it's something we should all be aware of. xxx

Karlin
29th July 2006, 11:22 PM
How difficult for both dog and owner :(; it must be especially sad to lose the closeness that cavaliers enjoy so much. Thanks for posting this.

Davy
29th July 2006, 11:32 PM
Oh poor Arne,

Here are some more links for Cushing’s, most of them are from Diabete sites as it often can go hand in hand. :(

http://www.petdiabetes.org/cushings.htm

http://www.io.com/~lolawson/cushings/index.html

http://www.caninediabetes.org/kriscushingscorner.html

http://www.petdiabetes.com/cushingsdisease.html

http://www.petcarebooks.com/books/ddad.htm

RodRussell
30th July 2006, 01:07 AM
There is a discussion of Cushing's disease in Cavaliers, including a discription of what it is, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and breeders' responsibilities, on this webpage:
http://www.cavalierhealth.org/cushing.htm

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

Cathy Moon
30th July 2006, 01:44 AM
:thnx: Thanks for posting this info!

Alison_Leighfield
30th July 2006, 07:58 AM
Yes thanks Nicki for putting this info here.

And I would also like to say a huge thank you to Davy or Donna as I know her now from this list who was a fabulous help when I so needed it.

I also knew little Arne from the support group Nicki, please send her my love and hugs, I think of them often.

I can only hope that I never see the condition again, it robbed my Honey of her weight and coat and made her so vunerable to all infection. Hers was well established when we were told what it was and we found we were unable to manage it, I just had to watch her fall away from me, she never picked up.
Running the two auto-immune conditions (Cushings & Dry Eye/Curly/Coat) was very tough on her. Such a brave little girl, I miss her so very much.

Owners should be more aware and be on the look out especially with an older dog. I gather that treatment of the illness can be more manageable if found earlier on.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

Arne
30th July 2006, 08:46 AM
Thanks everyone especially Nicki for doing the posting for me.

Arne has improved, his coat is coming back in, he is putting on a little weight, he drinks less water and so doesnt need garden visits so often, and he is not so hungry all the time now. I cant judge if his slowness in walking is due to the muscle wasteage caused by cushings or the spondyilitis, his struggles to climb steps is caused by the spondylitis I think.

Claire
31st July 2006, 10:59 AM
Poor Arne - but thank you for posting this and also the information about SM - we never even knew cavs suffered from anything else except for MVD...... they are such a brave breed.... :(