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Another Mystery Illness - Stella *2/3 New Update*


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Guest KennelMom

2/3

 

I wanted to put in a "final" update of sorts for posterity...hopefully Stella continues to do well with her Cushings treatment and there's no more need to update the thread :goodluck

 

We started treatment of lysodren, which involved an induction phase of 150mg/day for a week, then an acth stim test. The lysodren works by killing off part of the adrenal glands, but you have to make sure you don't overdose because you can kill too much of the glands and end up with an Addison's crisis. The lysodren was not cheap - about $80 for a week's worth at 150mg/day. The stim tests run another $130 or so.

 

After a week on the lysodren, her levels were still high so we kept up her daily dose for a few more days and rechecked with another stim test. That came back a hair low so we started on a maintenance level of 150mg once per week. She goes back next week to have another stim test done to see where her levels are and we'll adjust from there. So, we should be at the maintenance phase, which our regular vet can manage vs the specialty hospital. A lower dose of the lysodren and a stim test every few months just to make sure she's not dropping too low.

 

Blood tests and medications aside, Stella has done a complete 180 in her symptoms. She can go through the night without an accident. Her coat is looking nice and blue and fluffy again. The texture is normal. She's putting weight back on and she's not cold all the time. She doesn't look miserable anymore...she has a spring in her step and has started enjoying the yard with the pack again...We have our Stella back :yay :yay Two weeks ago, she started jumping back up in the bed with me at night, something she hasn't done in many, many, many months.

 

12/22

 

I just wanted to update this thread that we finally have a diagnosis for Stella and it's Cushings. The vet finally agreed to do the dex test, which was positive. We'll do an ACTH stim test and another ultrasound before deciding on a course of treatment.

 

It's nice to finally have an answer, but frustrating we didn't get one sooner. I can't say that I'm thrilled with our vet right now, but that's another matter.

 

9/16

 

They had to order the hormone for testing for diabetes insipidus...that, alone, is a couple hundred bucks. I guess it's the same thing you'd treat with and he said that's usually enough "for a week." :blink: At this point, even though I really want answers, I'm really :hope that it's not DI. He said it's not exactly commmon...

 

So, not sure when that will get in and the rest of the bloodwork (lepto and thyroid) will probably be back on Monday.

 

***************

 

Update 9/15

 

Talked with the vet...he her blood re-check looked fine. WBC count is fine. Kidney values were all normal. Cortisol level was normal so he's ruled out Addisons. Urine is still very dilute but otherwise looks OK. We are going to test for lepto (though he thinks this is unlikely) and we talked about possibly diabetes insipidus, which we are going to test for.

 

He didn't leave a lot of details but said Peanut had a few issues with her bloodwork that he needs to talk to us about. :riphair She was in for a general check and bloodwork to prep her for her spay.

 

eta: Peanuts bloodwork indicates a low grade infection. Considering she came out of season a couple months ago and her teeth are gorgeous and clean, he suspects it's in her uterus. Spay is scheduled!

************************

 

We've been back and forth to the vet for the last couple months with Stella. I'll try to keep this short. Any advice, experience or even a vet between here and Texas that might be a good referral for a second opinion is welcome...

 

Symptoms:

Significant weight loss, muscle wasting. She's down to 54 lbs :(

Excessive drinking

Excessive peeing (can't go more than 3 hours)

Appetite waxes and wanes, generally OK

Coat looks like crap, rough, dull, dry, brittle, even the color has changed.

Hair loss along the limbs, butt, belly, ears

Lethargy, depression, general "doing poorly"

Skin seems very thin, fragile and almost transparent, esp on the legs

 

Tests

-Blood work: several times. Normal. We're re-running it again today.

-Urine: protein:creatinine was elevated, rechecked three times in a month. Went from 1.5 to 2.0 to .5 this last time (she did start KD food at the beginning of the month). Culture was negative.

-Ultrasound: Kidneys were bright, diagnosis was glomerulonephritis. Adrenals looked normal, which leaned them away from cushings.

-Thyroid on a general blood panel is a little low (even for a greyhound), but that's not enough for a diagnosis. We sent out for the full thyroid panel this morning. Neither our regular vet nor the specialist really think this is going to be an issue. At this point, we're throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks

 

 

I can't recall if we did a tick panel on her. She started getting sick around the same time as Rocky, and I know we did a tick panel on him. I don't think we did one on her.

 

Medication: enalapril once a day for the last 2 weeks.

 

She's a 2001 model and up until the last few months has never had any health issues. Raced at 64lbs. Last vaccinations were three years ago, but we've been holding off on updating her until we know what's going on.

 

Other things - she also trembles a lot. Outside, inside...doesn't seem to be temperature related. She doesn't have the characteristic "barrel" look of a Cushing's dog.

 

Here she is at the vet today. We should have blood work results and cortisol level tests back tomorrow so I can get some specific values if it would be helpful. Of all the dogs to be sick, she's one of the worst ones. She does horribly at the vet. Her blood pressure reaches dangerous levels if she's there too long. She's a spooky dog, always has been. Does fine at home though.

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Guest Javasmom

Addison's Disease... or Cushings disease? (I get the symptoms of the two mixed up if I do not look them up)

 

I am so sorry. Keep us posted. Hugs to you and Stella.

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Guest KennelMom

They keep telling me they've eliminated Cushings (even though a lot of her symptoms line up, her lab values and ultrasound don't). Right now Addisons seems to be the what they're leaning towards, which is why we're doing the cortisol level test today. Symptoms of addison's are vague, from what I've read on the 'net.

 

I should add, with regard to the Addison's diagnosis - her electrolyte levels are normal, which points away from Addison's, but from what I've read this isn't diagnostic enough to rule it out or in.

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Guest KennelMom

Prayers for you and Stella! There's a Mystery Diagnosis show for humans on Discovery Health Network. Maybe someone should approach Animal Planet with a Mystery Diagnosis show for pets!

 

That is a great idea!

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Heather some of what you describe with Stella is what we see in Pearl (GE), but much of it is significantly different. Pearl has good energy. Still the first one up for her walks and rides. She can hang with the two much younger hounds . She usually outdoes lazy butt Dodger.

Her coat is gleaming and bunny soft. Pearl does not tremble unless she actually IS cold. That was normal for her before she got sick. Her skin is good and elastic. She is very thin, but again only 54 pounds down from her normal weight of 57.

Geeze, I hope you can find some answers for Stella. Oh as you know Pearl is also a spook as is Stella. Please keep us posted on your girl. Good luck!

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More support from us but no useful advice. I hate when the vet can't figure out a diagnosis. I am such a black and white person that vagueness makes me nuts. We will be keeping our fingers and paws crossed!

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The first 5 symptoms described Emmy to a tee. The only two that don't line up with Emmy are the thin skin and hair loss. I think the depression we saw with Emmy was due to her losing her sight. Emmy was diagnosed with Cushings through the cortisol test. Unfortunately the tumor she had was cancerous which doesn't seem to be the case with Stella.

 

Poor Stella, I hope you find out something soon.

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Guest KennelMom

The first 5 symptoms described Emmy to a tee. The only two that don't line up with Emmy are the thin skin and hair loss. I think the depression we saw with Emmy was due to her losing her sight. Emmy was diagnosed with Cushings through the cortisol test. Unfortunately the tumor she had was cancerous which doesn't seem to be the case with Stella.

 

Poor Stella, I hope you find out something soon.

 

 

yeah, when the vet first mentioned cushings and I came home and read about it, I was like: yes! That's it! Almost all the symptoms fit perfectly...even down to the part where the first time I took her in I even said that it might be normal aging, but we just wanted to have everything checked.

 

Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone...

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The first 5 symptoms described Emmy to a tee. The only two that don't line up with Emmy are the thin skin and hair loss. I think the depression we saw with Emmy was due to her losing her sight. Emmy was diagnosed with Cushings through the cortisol test. Unfortunately the tumor she had was cancerous which doesn't seem to be the case with Stella.

 

Poor Stella, I hope you find out something soon.

 

 

yeah, when the vet first mentioned cushings and I came home and read about it, I was like: yes! That's it! Almost all the symptoms fit perfectly...even down to the part where the first time I took her in I even said that it might be normal aging, but we just wanted to have everything checked.

 

Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone...

Yeah, I agree, the symptoms do sound very much like Cushing's. The cortisol test should hopefully give you some answers. There was another thread recently about Glomerublahblahblah :P on here that might have some useful info. Unfortunately I don't have much to add, but will keep my fingers crossed that you get some answers. You have had a crappy run lately with these mystery illnesses. :(

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"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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The only thing that doesn't line up with Cushings is her appetite. She would be hungry all the time.

 

If her electrolytes are not off, she can't be full Addisons I don't think.

 

Saying an extra prayer this will be an easy dx and an easy fix

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Guest KennelMom

I should also note that her BP is normal. We monitored it at home for 24 hours.

 

The only thing that doesn't line up with Cushings is her appetite. She would be hungry all the time.

 

Some of this might have to do with the KD food and stress. Initially she ate the KD with no problems, but now she's only interested in half a bowl and she just kinda picks. I wasn't thinking the other morning and plopped one of the regular bowls in front of her and she started eating it with gusto.

 

We've also tried crating her b/c she can't get through the night without peeing once or twice but she absolutely freaks in the crate. She gets so worked up she won't eat the next morning. Right now we're just putting pee pads down in the house in the one spot she always goes to. Not ideal, but I'd rather her not have a stroke from being in the crate.

 

We got some new kidney food from the vet today (NF), so we'll see if she likes that better.

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Best wishes for Stella!

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We have Jaynie on the Royal Canin reduced protein diet (dry, but there is also canned available). Vet said it was more palatable than KD. She also gers a buttery one-egg omelet each day - unsalted butter, no salt on the egg. She gets 1/2 in the morning and the rest in the evening. She loves this and would eat this when she was in the hospital and wouldn't touch anything else. Internal med guy said the protein in eggs is very bio-available and for her condition, I didn't have to worry about the phosphorus in the daily egg. Perhaps some of this would be worth trying with Stella.

 

Hope the vets figure it out soon. Sending prayers for your girl.

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She doesn't have the characteristic "barrel" look of a Cushing's dog.

Misty never did develop that sausage look. I would think they would do an ACTH to rule out both Cushings and Addisons.

Misty had them trembling too

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Missing my little Misty who took a huge piece of my heart with her on 5/2/09, and Ekko, on 6/28/12

 

 

:candle For the sick, the lost, and the homeless

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I first thought was Cushings also--- but, they are usually super hungry. I'm guessing the vet hadn't run a ACTH stim or LDDST as of yet? Maybe you will get some answers from the single cortisol test. Have you had an ultrasound done yet???

Edited cause I can't see the tiny lil letters on my iPhone!

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She doesn't have the characteristic "barrel" look of a Cushing's dog.

Misty never did develop that sausage look. I would think they would do an ACTH to rule out both Cushings and Addisons.

Misty had them trembling too

I thought that was what Heather was referring to when she said cortisol test. If not, I would definitely do the ACTH test.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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