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My dog might have Addison's disease...

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by tiffany, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. tiffany

    tiffany New Member

    Hi there,

    My 10 yr old choc lab Dooley has had some strange things going on lately. He has long been healthy with no issues ever. Our vet has been scratching her head as to the cause of his recent weight loss, lethargy and weakness, seemingly low blood sugar and a seizure.

    It all started 2 weeks ago when he refused to get up and eat in the morning which is completely uncharacterisitc of him. We were in the process of moving, so I had attributed it to depression. As we really paid attention to what was going on a week later when he again refused to rise and eat, we noticed he was lying on his dog bed urinating. Our other dog, bed for his brother Jake, was urinated on as well from sometime during the night. We didn't understand the incontinence and the vet decided he must have low blood sugar causing him to be so weak and unable to get up.

    She ran a full blood panel and urine test on him that day. Everything seemed within normal range except low glucose. She explained what Insolinoma was and ran an add'l test for that. Those results were also normal. So, she said he likely does not have a pancreatic tumor. Good news, we thought.

    She had us begin feeding him the same daily portions of his food, but in increments throughout the day to keep his glucose more stable. This seemed to help or else was just a fluke. Several days into this new feeding schedule, my husband accidently forgot to feed him his late night meal and around 4:30 am I woke up to thrashing. Dooley was having a seizure. This was very frightening and I have never witnessed it before.

    After that, Dooley had a chest xray and an abdominal ultrasound. Again, nothing abnormal was found. At this point, our vet had suggested Addison's. The only challenge is that Dooley has been on Prednisone for several months to help with allergies. We would have to take him off to get an accurate Addison's test. We fear that taking him off could really be devastating and not sure what to do from here.

    I realize this could be a brain tumor or bone cancer, etc. I'm not willling to spend thousands on MRI's, ultrasounds and xrays to determine any of those due to his age and the fact that the treatment would be the same. At this point, we have increased his Pred from 10mg to 20mg per day in the hopes that it will help. The vet says that if it is Addison's, the extra pred should help pretty quickly. I noticed his back legs are still so shaky and weak and wondered if he is in pain. I thought some of the lethargy might actually just be him not wanting to get up because it hurts. Our vet said she did notice tons of arthritis in his back and imagined his hips the same. I asked for pain meds for him and he is now on those and a glucosomine supplement. I am so frustrated, but I want him to be comfortable more than anything. I am so glad I started him on the pain meds last night. He woke up this morning wagging his tail and had a light in his eye that I haven't seen for awhile. I really wondered if I am just being optimistic or if it really is helping him.

    If anyone has experienced similar, I would greatly appreciate any knowledge you can offer. I bothers me to not know what is going on, but at the same time, if Pred is the magic drug for dogs for a number of problems, what else can really be done.

    Tiffany and Dooley
  2. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    did the vet check thyroid levels? T4
  3. tiffany

    tiffany New Member

    Hi Mary,

    I am not certain if she did. I know she did a "full panel", but don't know what exactly that consists of. I will call tomorrow to ask. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    i mention this cause years ago I had a dog the vet thought might have addisons and with further testing it showed to by a hypoactive thyroide...T4 test confirmed it and that test, I believe, isn't usually a part of a CBC.
    One pill a day is all it takes to keep the levels normal
  5. HDrydr

    HDrydr New Member

    My Boxer/lab has Addison's he's had it for 4 years now...It was very hard to diagnose him, they thought his kidneys were shutting down. They did a test dose of a DOCP injection and he responded to it! The adrenal glands mimic kidney failure. He was lethargic, didn't want to eat (very odd for him!! food=everything!!) his head would shake a bit, weak, drinking a ton, vomiting, peeing a ton and was incont inside which was very odd for him!!

    He can go every 50 days between DOCP injections which is a bit rare most dogs can only go 30ish days, and gets predinsone everyother day now....only because he got Cushing's Disease from the predisone every day... But due to the long term steroid use he has a thryoid issue so he is also on levothroxine (sp) everyday.

    It can be diagnosed and alot of vets overlook it!!
  6. tiffany

    tiffany New Member

    That's another great idea. A test dose was never suggested by vet and I didn't realize would be an option. She was just looking at it from the perspective of getting a positive Addisons test and felt we needed to take off Pred to do that. I will ask about it tomorrow.

    Thanks again for the input! I'm at a loss at this point.
  7. HDrydr

    HDrydr New Member

    I hope everything worked out with you're dog... What was the results? Addison's?

    Very treatable just have do alot of blood tests to watch all the hormone levels and kidney functions and thryoid and electrolytes. And each time we moved the shot 3 days out....until Buster either didn't act normal or his blood test's came back wavering.... then we knew 50 days was his magic number.... at 51 he acts weird we've tried a couple of times but when we did he got violent diarrhea took him to the vet several times at 3am because he was having an addisonian's attack which is life threatening!! Thankfully my vet is a 24 hour hospital right down the street or I may have lost him a time or two.... They can't regulate the potassium so it builds up and can give them a heart attack. It's hard but you get used to what/how they should be acting and when they look not quite right give them predinsone....call the vet and have a blood test done they get them in right away when you tell them they may be having an Addisonians attack you get right in!! They know that's life threatening!! and time is ticking.... So don't wait till morning!!! Not to scare you but if they are showing signs of it morning maybe too late... Yea you pay an ER fee but he's worth it to me....

    I mark on the calendar when he gets pred and when his shot is so I know where we are in the timeline.... So if he looks moppy I can look on the calendar and see if his shot is close or not or if he's stressed about something going on in the house and it's an off day for pred I give him a dose anyways.... Hope that helps

    Sometimes I can tell when we are a week away from his shot....he tends to get a bit moppy or his stool will change in consistancy alittle... So after all this time of watch it and that has been his normal coming up to his shot so....I know it's normal for him and not an attack. My vet knows me and my comfort level with all of this so she usually lets me get 2 bottles of the DOCP just in case his next shot should be at the vet for blood tests but we may be camping or scheduling is weird she lets me do that one too if he's acting normal... usually we go everyother to every 3rd shot at the vet so to do blood tests...

    Good luck with your dog! It is expensive but worth it!! I give Buster 2.9cc's every 50 days it costs me $190ish..... plus Prednisone every other day 7.5 mg unless he's looking stressed then we give it everyday til he settles, about $20 for 90 tabs.... Then the Levothroyxine 2 times a day 7mg i think $20 something. :mrgreen:
  8. tiffany

    tiffany New Member

    it was not Addisons disease

    Thanks for your concern. Unfortunately, Dooley had to be put down on August 9th. He went into a seizure that afternoon and it wouldn't stop. My husband rushed home and we took him straight to our vet. I've never been so horrified as to see him going through this and to be completely helpless.

    He was having cluster seizures which are several close together that may not ever end. They sedated him and we had to make a big decision that day.

    That was a most horrible day for us. In the end, our vet felt he must have had a brain tumor.

    we miss him terribly
  9. HDrydr

    HDrydr New Member

    :cry: Soooo Very sad to hear of this news!! My condolences go to you and your family!! You did all you could do for Dooley!! He lived a long happy life with all of you! Loosing a fur family is never easy!!! I've lost many... I lost a 6 month old kitten to seizures that they never found the cause.... they thought brain issue or a heart issue...
    Again very sorry.
  10. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    sincere hugs to you - I know what it is to have to do this in an emergency. You don't have time to prepare yourself.

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