View Full Version : Chester has Cushing's Disease

14th April 2007, 12:07 PM
Hi everybody,

I gave Chester a haircut at the beginning of last year and within 3 months all his hair grew back then i gave him another haircut september of last year and by december it hadn't grown back on the top of his neck all the way to his tail, so i took him to our vet that we'd been taking him to for 6 years and i asked if there could be any medical reason why it hadn't grown back on top when all the rest of his body was growing back and he said that it was probably just old age and that it would eventually grow back. (Chester is 9 and a half).

Fast forward about 6 weeks, we moved house down on the south coast and i took him to a new vet to get him checked over and the vet asked me if i had given chester a hair cut recently and i told her the situation so she suggested he may have Cushing's Disease. Well, my heart started racing because at that time i had no idea what it meant, so she explained that the lack of hair re-growth on chester's back was a symptom so she gave him a good look over and checked his heart - New News - he has a mild heart murmur. Then she explained all the information about Cushing's Disease and gave me a little booklet on it. Apparently, it only occurs in about 7% of all older dogs so naturally chester had to get something fairly rare! He He!

At this point i was extremely angry that my previous vet didn't pick up either of these things!

So, now came an ultrasound to check the size of his heart and blood & urine tests to confirm Cushings. On a funny note, i had no idea how that got a urine sample from a male dog and my dad asked the vet if they just followed the dog around with a little plastic cup waiting for the dog to pee and they said exactly right! Ha Ha! Duh! I felt a bit sheepish!

Blood tests came back - no sign of Cushings, but the vet was still pretty sure that he had it so she said he needed another diagnostic test where they give him a small dose of cortisone and take samples just before, 1 hour and 2 hours after the dose and his levels should have dropped, i can't remember the exact technical details but to cut a long story short, the test finally confirmed that he had Cushing's Disease.

We had to put him on a trial of 5 Lysodren tablets over 5 days, have 2 days rest then go back for another blood test to check his levels and determine how many tabs he'll be on each week for the rest of his life.

So now chester is on 1 and a half tablets per week for three months and then another blood test then check his levels again, then another three months and another blood test etc for the rest of his life.

I'm not worried about the new changes, i love chester so much and would do absolutely anything for him. Because we caught the cushing's early he won't suffer any adverse affects of the disease whilst he's on the medication thank goodness and the ultrasound of his heart showed that his heart isn't enlarged yet, but as soon as it starts to increase he'll be on heart tabs but we'll check it again in about 9 months time (the vet said in a year but i don't want to wait that long to check it just in case).

Sorry everyone for the long post but i just needed to share it with people who understand how precious our cavvie babies are to us.

He has been on the tablets for about 8 weeks now and his hair is 95% grown back on his back so he's looking like his old gorgeous self, and he's been on a diet for the past three months and he looks much slimmer than he did. We had to put him in kennels for three weeks whilst we moved so he put on a bit of weight!

He's happy as can be now and i'm glad he's going to be okay, i couldn't bare to lose him if we hadn't picked up the disease early.

Again, sorry for the long post!

14th April 2007, 01:23 PM
I am so sorry to hear this chester is so beautiful. Hopefully you can control this with medication ( I do not know much about this condition )
I will keep him in my prayers for a long happy life.

14th April 2007, 01:32 PM
Thankyou so much Judy for your kind words, my vet says he should be fine for a few more years yet thank goodness!

Your two little ones are just precious!

14th April 2007, 01:52 PM
Sory Chester has this extra challenge but it sounds like he is doing well, it was caught very early, and it will be easily and well managed by you so that is good news all around. :) It also sounds like you have a great new vet! I wouldn't be too hard on your former vet -- they really are general practitioners with varying degrees of familiarity on less usual conditions and even with your new vet the tets didn't confirm her diagnosis til she took extra care with the final test. Your old vet would possiby have considered something like Cushings had things progressed a bit, or maybe not... always hard to know.

It is one reason I so often suggest a second opinion if some issue exists or anyone spots an odd change and your own vet, no matter how much you like them, isn't coming up with anything (you were very sharp to think the haircut was connected to the signs you saw and it might not just be old age). Different vets because of training or experience or continuing education or special skill will pick things up that others won't so it is always worth having a fresh set of eyes look at an unsolved problem. :)

14th April 2007, 01:52 PM
I am really sorry to hear that Chester has Cushing's. Thank goodness you got it diagnosed and it sounds like you have it well under control. Some of the symptoms you described reminded me of our Scarlett. The thing that caught my attention was the lack of hair regrowth. Last November the vet shaved a patch on her neck so he could take some blood, and now 5 months later it still looks like it was shaved yesterday. I Googled Cushings and many of the symptoms they described apply to our Scarlett. Wow. I've got to look into this.

Anyway, big hugs to Chester.

14th April 2007, 02:08 PM

Thanks for your insight, you're right about having a fresh set of eyes, i was lucky with our new vet in this case, she's had some experience with Cushings and she said that as soon as she saw his hair on his back (or lack thereof!) that she thought he had it. I'm glad that she happened to know what to look for in his case.


Chester says to say thanks for the hugs! I'd definitely look into Scarlett's bald patch, if you're googling Cushing's and some of the things are applying to her in your opinion, then i'd contact your vet if for no other reason but peace of mind. Whenever Chester's had any kind of sign of discomfort or anything out of the ordinary i've always gone straight to my vet just to be sure. Chester and i send big hugs to you, Sonny, Beau, Scarlett and Sam too!

Take care!

14th April 2007, 02:19 PM
My Shih-tzu, growing up, Allie, also developed this when she was around 10. I'm glad that you caught it early and it can be treated! That's good news!

14th April 2007, 02:24 PM
Hi I have Arne a 12 year old B & T who has been on medication for Cushings for nearly a year now. He had various symptoms which could have indicated various problems, thyroid etc as well as Cushings

It can be difficult to diagnose and like Chester it didn't show up on the ACTH blood test the first time so we had to do the Low Dose Dex test. In the UK the drug that is licensed for use is called Vetoryl. There is an active yahoo group which gives lots of help as with all the blood testing that has to be done to ensure control you need to understand the results.

14th April 2007, 02:40 PM
Thanks Holly and Norma,

I'm glad to see that other people know about Cushing's through personal experience. At least now i know i'm not the only one on the board who has a dog that has the disease.

15th April 2007, 01:43 AM

Chester says to say thanks for the hugs! I'd definitely look into Scarlett's bald patch, if you're googling Cushing's and some of the things are applying to her in your opinion, then i'd contact your vet if for no other reason but peace of mind.

I did a Google last night & I found myself nodding my head to many of the symptoms on the list. Tomorrow (Monday) we are taking Scarlett to the vets. She got sent home with some anti-epileptic drugs back in October but her fits are increasing & we'd been thinking that if it gets out of hand we would have to consider PTS as she is now an old lady in Boxer terms & we don't want her to suffer. However, after reading your post last night I am starting to see this with new eyes. We are going to a different vet this time. The one we had seemed all high-tech & switched on, but is impossible to speak to over the phone & is terrible with follow up. Grrr.

Anyway, didn't mean to hijack your topic, but isn't it wonderful how we can learn from each others experiences on this forum!