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PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4592
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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My nearly 10 year old beagle mix just had bloodwork done and

Customer Question

My nearly 10 year old beagle mix just had bloodwork done and his vet said it looks like the very early stages of cushings. Only one of his numbers were elevated I don't remember which he said and the very small amount of pee they collected looked diluted besides having healthy looking kidneys. The vet said he wasnt worried about it right now and that it probably wouldnt start to effect his health for a few years and recommended we do research. He stressed that its very common and often people choose to not treat it. I'm having a hard time finding good information about what the non treatment route looks like. He does show some visual signs such as the black pigmentation on his bladder,his hipbones can be felt a little while petting his back, his belly looks like it might be starting to get a little potbellyish,he does randomly pant and does drink a lot. Are these all normal for being in the low stages? Could you provide me with all that information and what the better decision would be treatment vs non treatment?Including lifespan knowledge/quality of life with both options. I just want to do whats best for my best man. I'm very saddened by this news.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 9 months ago.

Hi Ashley, thanks for your question.

It sounds like you're very concerned about Riley and rightfully so. Cushing's can be a very rough thing to go through, both as a pet parent and also for the pet.

There's a pretty comprehensive page both here: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/cushings.aspx and here: http://www.kateconnick.com/library/cushingsdisease.html

It's been my experience that a vast number of owners who have cushingoid dogs avoid treatment due to cost and concurrent health issues. Assuming he doesn't have an adrenal tumor (which could be removed) or any other concerning health issues, it wouldn't hurt to try him on these medications and see how he feels.

The idea behind treatment is to improve their quality of life, not so much the lifespan. Unfortunately, dogs with Cushings aren't usually long lived and the dogs can have problems with the treatment medications (another factor in not treating the dogs). The dog I recall living the longest with treatment received an additional 3 years of time with his owner and was pampered along, as other medical issues were also present.

The distended abdomen, panting and excessive water consumption are all normal for a cushingoid dog, but with treatment these symptoms usually clear within a few weeks to a few months (most dogs, assuming they respond well to treatment, see fast improvements in the first 2 months).

If you choose not to treat, symptoms will persist and likely worsen with time. If you choose to treat, you're helping to stave off the progression of the illness but not "cure it", per se.

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