And a snippet more regarding the Little dog.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen he sits up his little belly sticks out like a Pot Bellied Pig’s.

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.


44 thoughts on “And a snippet more regarding the Little dog.

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

    I hope that Tucker is on the road back to good health.. as i read, i first thought, ‘diabetes.’ then ‘yes, diabetes,’ and then, ‘heart disease,’ then finally, ‘this is not good…’ but who am i? certainly no one trained in medicine! it sounds like a good case for a vet school class!

    • Lynda says:

      Well, we were sure stumped for awhile and, if left untreated, the Cushing’s can lead to your good guesses! Thank you for the good wishes, Lisa!

  2. Animalcouriers says:

    It does look like a match!!! There are so many new treatments out there for dogs. You’re lucky to have a progressive vet who is ready to try them. Go for it Tucker.

    • Lynda says:

      Thanks, Annie! We are lucky! Strangely, Tucker’s Vet in California, and his Vet here studied in school together. What are the odds of that?

  3. Na Na says:

    Ooo… poor baby. Tucker looks like he’s confused about what’s happening to him. My furkid acts that way when he is under the weather.

    • Lynda says:

      Anita, all he does is sleep. When he’s awake he looks as you say, “Confused.” He loves to play ball and he doesn’t even care anymore.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Tom! I certainly understand what you mean about your not owning a dog. They really wriggle their way into your life. When they get sick it costs you a fortune in vet bills, and when the time comes, the loss of one breaks your heart. I never used to even like dogs, and now I can’t imagine not having one.

  4. thyme4dreams says:

    Sending hugs and hope to all of you. I know how hard it is when a beloved family pet becomes ill.

  5. Littlesundog says:

    Poor Tucker! I sure hope the meds get your little fella back on the road to good health. He doesn’t even look very happy in that picture. I’m sending healing thoughts and loads of positive energy your way!

  6. shoreacres says:

    It does look like they have the diagnosis pegged. I’m so glad – it would have been terrible to have to go through test after test with no result. I’ve heard of Cushing’s disease, but only as a human ailment. It’s always such a surprise to find another disease that we share with creatures. I don’t know why it should be, but it is – at least for me.

    I chased around the house and found every happy thought I could – they’re on their way to Little Dog right now (minus the dust bunnies they were huddled with!)

    • Lynda says:

      Well, you weren’t the only one, Linda. I was surprised too! You would think that if it was a common as they say it is, then they would be further along in finding medications and treatments that will do some good! As for the dust bunnies, what the heck, send them along too! They will be quite at home around here! 😉

  7. petspeopleandlife says:

    This is a really good post. Very informative- great teaching here. Too bad the young vets did not act on your dog’s symptoms. Reallly not a good thing at all. A lesson learned here, Lynda. Don’t rely on anyone but the the best. I really hope the med will help little dog live to be quite old. He is so cute and looks much like dogs my parents aways had and similiar to my son’s little dog, Andy.

    Thanks for letting your readers know about what all is going on with your wonderful pet.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Yvonne! Yes, I have had two bad experiences with young vets in the past year. One told us Tucker had Thyroid disease and put him on medication for that (It didn’t help… DUH?), and on my return visit on Monday one briefly glanced at the top page in his file and wanted to do a repeat test of what was done on Sunday. I explained to her the the VET had already done that and that we were giving a urine sample to go out to the lab. She argued with me! That’s when I very sternly told her to go and get the VET. She started to argue with me, but I gave her the evil eye. 😐

      • petspeopleandlife says:

        Her ego was hanging out a mile long. What a “beech.” Too many smart alecks around. That just proves even more what I wrote abount not trusting the peons. I am so glad that you insisted on the top guy.

        • Lynda says:

          Yes, strangely, I am used to being treated that way by men on topics that are ‘male dominated,’ so I was a little taken aback by her likminded behavior towards me. I’ll go to bat for that Little dog any day!

    • Lynda says:

      In a very real way it is, Wildninja. Your kidneys are controlled by the pituitary and the adrenal glands. If either of them are damaged, then your kidneys stop doing their job. The blood and urine samples were tested and came back suspect. They then did a two hour test where the put something in his bloodstream (I forget the name of the test) and then took another urine sample to send off to the lab. The test came back positive for Cushing’s. So yes, indirectly it is his kidneys.

  8. victoriaaphotography says:

    Poor little Tucker.
    At first, like ‘Playamart’, I though it might be Diabetes. Must feel good to get an accurate diagnosis and modern treatment for him.

    • Lynda says:

      Without the medication the Cushing’s could lead to Diabetes, so yes, it does feel wonderful to be able to get him on track! Thanks, Victoria!

  9. Margaret says:

    Our Doxie Oscar had it for years and until the very last and he was 16 1/2 when he died, he was his normal self after we got the meds. They cost more than ours but he was worth it. Hope this makes Tucker feel better quickly.

    • Lynda says:

      Margaret, this is great news! Thank you for sharing it with us. The meds are special order, and therefore we imagined they might be a bit pricy. However, the Little dog is so worth it! 😀

    • Lynda says:

      Lisa, you are the second person to tell me this today, and it is a comfort. We look forward to having our Little dog back in the swing of things. Thank you!

      • Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

        that’s great. my friend teaches at the university of colorado and is a brilliant doctora. she said that it’s not your fault! (we’ve been corresponding a lot b/c she and her husband are moving here, hopefully soon. they’re coming down in about a month.. z

  10. Pam Nunn says:

    Hi Lynda! So I’m glad you got a diagnosis for Tucker. Not wanting to play ball!!! That’s shocking. We KNOW how he loves to play ball!

    Horses get Cushings, too. You probably don’t know John Henry, champion racehorse, but he lived to be 32 with Cushings.

    So glad to hear that your other dear Pet is doing well. 😉

    • Lynda says:

      No, the only John Henry I know of was the coal miner in the song! 😉 I can’t wait to get Tucker on his medication. He is really lethargic, and the peeing problem is getting worse! We have him sleeping in his crate at night…

      And yes, I was very relieved with the news about my other ‘dear Pet.’ Let me tell ya, so was he!

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