(Originally posted: 10/30/2011 — See update at end)

Just wanted to follow up on the October 1 post, Whose Dog Life Is It Anyway, as I’m still getting occasional responses.

I’m writing the follow-up because dogs like humans are now living longer, but as with humans, extended life is not necessarily quality time, and may involve living with chronic debilitating conditions that require extensive and expensive treatment.  More owners of geriatric pets are faced with a dilemma.  Is it better to treat or to let nature take its course, and at what point is euthanasia the best option? So I’m going to review Maizie’s treatment, its outcome, and lessons learned, in case this is useful for other people with geriatric dogs diagnosed with Cushing’s, who come across this in their web travels.

Maize, a Jack Russell mix, is (probably) 15 years old.  While she had abnormal liver enzymes indicative of Cushing’s disease, she was asymptomatic until July when she began to drink excessive amounts of water and urinate all over the house.  She also could no longer hold her urine while sleeping or lying down and would wake up wet.

Testing revealed it was indeed Cushings. The two most effective treatments are either Lysoderm or Vetoryl.  Lysoderm is the older treatment.  The medication itself is less expensive than Vetoryl, but dosing can be tricky.  Both drugs require frequent and very expensive monitoring in the form of invasive tests. The little research I did, led me to think Vetoryl would be a better choice.  The vet started Maizie on 60 mg a day, based on the Dercha’s (the manufacturer’s) recommendation for her weight.  Had I been paying more attention to the very helpful Canine Cushing’s forum,, I would have insisted they start her on less.  As one of the more experienced consumers later told me, despite Dercha’s recommendations, there’s “no rhyme or reason” to how dogs react to Vetoryl.  A big dog may do well on 10 mg a day, while a Chihuahua might need 30.  Within ten days the polydypsia and polyuria had abated.  Her first ACTH test showed that her cortisol level had come down.  A more experienced vet, might have noticed it came down too much and too quickly.  She didn’t and neither did we. The vet, at our insistence also started her on something for the incontinence that was still ongoing when she was sleeping. The medicine was called Pro-in.  This was another one I wish I’d researched more on the net.  Pro-in is the same formula as the old formula for Dexatrim, an OTC diet-pill for humans.  The formula was banned for causing strokes in humans.  Anecdotally, at least, the same problem is seen in dogs.  Maizie seemed to lose her appetite almost immediately upon starting it.  We lowered the dose and then stopped it within a couple of days.  In retrospect, the reaction may have been a coincidence, though who knows?  In any case, she was going downhill.  Her cortisol had crashed, and she was in an Addisonian crisis.  After prednisone, IV fluids, and an overnight at the vets, she came home, tapered off the pred and was once again symptomatic for Cushing’s.  More tests and she was restarted at 30 mg a day of Vetoryl and DES for the incontinence. (Yes, that DES). She crashed again. The second time was so bad that we couldn’t get her to take the prednisone and she had entirely stopped eating.  A two-day stay at the vets with more fluids, and more prednisone got her eating again.  The bill was astronomical.

She came home.  Again we had to taper her off the pred.  The vet wanted us to bring her back for an expensive test to see if she was permanently Addisonian.  We declined.  Clearly she wasn’t.  Her thirst, appetite and peeing were back.  She still had the Cushings.  Rather than start her on an even lower dose of Vetoryl, we made another decision.  I bought Wee-Wee Pads.  As we couldn’t live with the polyuria and were heading toward euthanasia,  this was a kind of a “hail-Mary pass.”  To our astonishment, she figured out what we wanted her to do with them within two days.  All it took was putting the pads over the areas where she most likely to urinate, praising her when she went on the pads, and scolding her when she didn’t.  Suddenly, we weren’t slipping in urine puddles.  We weren’t upset.  She wasn’t nervous.  She still signals when she has to move her bowels or just wants the opportunity to troll the buffet that is Amsterdam Avenue.   We still walk her several times a day.

I wouldn’t have thought we could live with the pads, but here’s the thing — her urine is so dilute it doesn’t smell and the pads really do absorb ten times their weight in fluids. It’s easier than dealing with cat litter.

At this point the only medication she’s on is the DES, which is still working the way it’s supposed to and keeping her from wetting herself in her sleep. What she can’t do is hold out very long when she’s awake.

We are also giving her melatonin as a supplement, which may or may not be doing anything, but is touted by some as a natural alternative, and may slow down tumor growth.  We’ve also started her on wet food only.  This also may or may not make a difference, but she’s old and she likes it.

The take away for us is:  If we had known that the Vetoryl would bring her so close to death, and how expensive treatment would wind up being — not only because of the required ACTH tests, but because of the iatrogenic Addison’s, then we would not have started to treat her.  While Cushing’s is progressive, treatment probably does not extend life in geriatric dogs, and the high cortisol levels actually help alleviate symptoms of other age-related conditions like arthritis.  If we’d known how easy it would be to train her to use the pads, that’s what we probably would have done in the first place.

Because every case is different, I’m hesitant to give advice, but if your geriatric dog is diagnosed with Cushing’s, here’s what I would recommend:

1. Read the forum. The people there are consumers not vets, but some of them may be more knowledgeable  than your vet regarding treatments and side effects.  While I had looked at the forum, I didn’t realize how helpful it could be.  The people there will ask you to give them your lab results.  Give them the information and take their advice.  Ask them questions before making decisions.

2. Both Lysoderm and Vetoryl have some pretty severe side effects, including permanent Addison’s.  You might be better off finding out which medication the vet has more experience with and going with that. Also if your vet does not have extensive experience with Cushings, find one who does.

3. If the vet is using Vetoryl, insist they start at a much lower dose than Dercha recommends. They started Maizie at 60 mg.  If she’d weighed a couple of pounds less, it would have been half that.  I wish they had started her at 10mg.   Treatment protocols call for testing after 10 days, so if the low dose doesn’t work they can gradually raise it.  That does mean you’ll be living with the symptoms longer, but the cost to you and your dog will be less.

4.  Consider NOT treating.  Most people begin treatment only when the polyuria becomes a problem.  Treated or not, most dogs with Cushing’s are dead within two years.  The Cushings may be masking other problem like arthritis, especially in geriatric dogs, and per the earlier information the medications can be pretty nasty.  If your dog is NOT symptomatic and Cushings is only suspected because of tests, consider starting some safe alternative treatments like melotonin and/or flax seed oil.  Melotonin may slow the growth of the tumors that causes the cortisol to rise, delaying your dog’s becoming symptomatic. If your dog is symptomatic, consider whether or not these are symptoms that you and/or the dog can live with. In Maizie’s case the main symptoms are excessive urination and excessive drinking. The drinking isn’t all that excessive. That is, she doesn’t seem to be dying of thirst, just drinking about two or three times as much as she used to.  The urination was making us all nuts until she learned to use the pads. We are all happy now.

5.  If you aren’t blessed with a house in the country that features a doggie door, buy Wee-Wee pads.  Even without Cushings, as your dog ages, she or he may need more walks than you can reasonably supply.  They are far superior to paper, and as stated earlier, training and clean up are simple.

——-

Update: 7/15/13 — Maizie crossed the rainbow bridge on Saturday, July 14, 2013. Euthanasia was a tough decision as there was no one “This is it” moment. She’d been having gastrointestinal issues for a while and losing weight. It finally reached the point where medication wasn’t helping to stimulate her appetite, and her sense of smell and taste were diminished to where she would reject anything that wasn’t loaded with sodium. Basically, her last week, she was eating only Chinese take-out duck, and chicken-shack rotisserie chicken, and even those reluctantly, with coaxing, and not enough. (Yes, we tried healthier alternatives including homemade foods.) At the same time, she seemed hungry, and we knew that must have been torturous.

She died of age-related conditions, that weren’t related to Cushings. Again, this is only our story, but I would urge anyone whose dog has been diagnosed to learn everything you can, find a vet you can trust (We changed vets after we decided to take her off Vetoryl) and consider both the age and temperament of your dog. In Maizie’s case, the stress level of frequent vet trips for the testing the medications require would have killed her even if the drugs themselves didn’t. We hope we gave her the best possible quality of life in the two years since her diagnosis, and are sure we made the right choice in taking her off the anti-Cushings meds.

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20 Comments on Maizie is Still Not Dead

  1. Linda Tuningley says:

    I found your blog very helpful. At 11 years old our Westie, Kyla, was diagnosed with Cushings. Her symptoms were very mild and included increased appetite, drinking and a potty tummy. She is 12 1/2 years old now and has been on Veterol for about 6 months,starting at 30 mg. and increasing it to 40 mg. the next month. She has worsened considerably since starting this treatment and after reading more about this drug I am beginning to think she is allergic to Veterol. I have dropped her dosage back to 30 mg./day and taking her in to the vet to talk about discontinuing this treatment altogether. Hope Maizie is still with you and doing well.

    • Marion says:

      Hi Linda,

      Yes, Maizie is still alive, but she’s ancient, and I’m not sure how much quality time she has left. I don’t know how much of what she is now experiencing is due to cushings and how much is simply old age.

      As for Kyla — I’d urge you to check out the forum referenced in my post. They are more pro-med than I am, but they are pretty knowledgeable about side effects, how to read the ACTH reports, and what to look for that indicates your dog may be getting too much (or too little). It does sound to me that even 30 mg would be a lot for a small dog, but as I was told on the forum, there seems to be a big variation. Maizie who was more than 22 pounds at the time, crashed quickly at 30 mg. It’s worth asking your Vet how she/he came up with that dosage.

      The decision we made for Maizie was the right one for her and for us. It may not be right for you. She not only couldn’t tolerate the medication, but she HATES going to the vet even more than most dogs, and her stress level was super high. She was also very old at diagnosis. Our new vet also has been very supportive of our decisions and we respect his treatment suggestions as well.

      It may not be a case of vetyrol or nothing. We made “lifestyle” choices such as switching to wet food, adding melatonin as a supplement, using wee-wee pads, etc. Maizie as an older dog has also needed treatments at times for her other conditions. She still takes DES for incontinence, and she just started a new med for intermittent gastric issues which so far seems to have given her a new lease on life.

      The only advice I feel confident in giving is: If you’re dog seems to be miserable, you need to be doing something else.

  2. Shelly says:

    Thanks for posting. I rescued a Choc. Lab last November who was going to be put down because the owner didn’t want to get her tested for cushions and pay for treatment. Well the test confirmed and she’s been on Vetoryl since – started at 120 mg a day and has been great since, but I hate that the vet charged 500.00 for the test and seems to want to do it every other month. In May, KeeWee was tested and dropped to 60mg a day and still perfect. She is also on proin, but i backed it down to once a day. I feel like it’s just a crutch. I haven’t been working since january and plead with the vet to please not demand the testing so often and let me be able to buy the meds, but she is a “B”, but they are the only vet in my area that will treat, test and provide the RX for vetoryl. It’s like she doesn’t care that I saved this poor dog and doing all I can and give me a break. The lower dose is fine and feel skipping a few months testing is better than know this dog would have been killed if i didn’t save her. I wish there was an over the counter or herbal treatment for this disease. I wouldn’t even mind the pee if it was a few times a day, but KeeWee was flooding all the time.

    • Marion says:

      Sorry, for not responding sooner, some stuff wound up in spam, and I didn’t see it. Our experience with Proin was bad, and from what I read about it later and anecdotal, I wouldn’t use it. (We had neighbors with a young dog who have used it with success for years.) The DES has its own risks, but not of sudden stroke. It is a “crutch” in the sense that it doesn’t eliminate the constant need to pee. It just gives the dog more control. In Maizie’s case, it kept her from leaking or waking up wet. This happens in older female dogs even those without Cushings. It did NOT prevent her peeing in the house because she had to go. The best solution we found for that was the wee-wee pads. Feeding her wet food also may have helped keep her hydrated but not too hydrated. The melotonin also may have helped keep her cortisol levels a little lower. In the two years since diagnosis, symptoms ebbed and flowed.

      It may be difficult to find ANY vet who will let you go without the testing, but I believe once it’s stable they let you go to every three months or longer. (I know that’s still a HUGE chunk of change.) But things can change quick and if she gets too much and goes addisonian, you could wind up with a bigger bill or a dead dog. You might want to research other solutions/alternatives to Vetoryl, but if it’s working for your dog, it’s a tough call.

  3. fernando says:

    cushex drops lo mejor para un perro con cushing, es un remedio homeopatico americano

  4. fernando says:

    voy a dejarles mi experiencia con mi perra que aun vive,ojala sirva para mejorar y-o alargar la vida de muchos de estos seres maravillosos , hace dos años la empece a ver demasiado gorda sin ningun otro sintoma que jadeo lo cual no le preste mucha atencion porque ella es de hacer jadeo excecivo cuando quiere algo y hasta que no se lo das no para y se quejaba cuando corria atras de la pelota y hacia alguna doblada brusca, se me ocurrio hacerle examenes y resulto en cushing, el veterinario me diagnostico ketaconazol, empezar con 100 mg mediodia e igual a la noche hasta que a las semanas se marco la dosis final de 200 mg cada 12 hs.No me dio ninguna dieta para mejorar su salud ni me dijo que podia padecer algun otro sintoma ligado a esta enfermedad, aclaro que excelentes personas , muy dispuestos pero la informacion lamentable ,tenia que sacarles informacion con cuenta gota y enloquecerlos para que me dijeran algo.
    Entre los 4 a 6 meses del tratamiento la dosis de ketaconazol seguia igual ,no habian sorpresas nocturnas ( que nunca las hubieron , pero al avanzar la enfermedad podian empezar a aparecer ) , a lo sumo en el dia las veces que hacia pis lo hacia en mayor cantidad, pero empece a observar que le empezaba a caminar mas lenta, no estaba tan alegre aunque cuando veia a niños jugar con una pelota ella se mesclaba y corria poquito pero jugaba y movia su cola mostrando interes. Empece a observar que mi perra empeso a tener el vientre mas inchado de lo normal , comia bien , diria que muy bien , pero empezo a ponerse selectiva ,COMIDA, PASTILLAS , PIENSO , O CROQUETAS , DEPENDE EL PAIS , a las que le agregaba unos 200 gr de pollo ( suprema ) por comida , 3 comidas al dia 11.30 am , 17 pm solo patillas y 22 pm, pero comenso a salterse alguna comida , la de las 11.30 la comia a las 14, no queria mas las pastillas , solo el pollo o carne , era obvio que empeza a sentirse mal por algo , COMENTARIO DE VETERINARIoS , ES NORMAL , en la noche el ruido de las tripas era muy fuerte y siempre estaba con calor , con temperaturas de 10 grados tenia que ponerle un ventilador para que durmiera porque sino no se iba de mi cuarto y no dejaba de insistirme hasta prenderle el ventilador, VETERINARIO ( ES LA ENFERMEDAD ) si miraba la perra de arriba del lado derecho se notaba una inflamacion mayor , obvio que tenia que ser el higado ,empece a informarme y encontre algo que el VETERINARIO NUNCA ME DIJO , que el ketaconazol un antimicotico que a altas dosis fuunciona como quimioterapia por lo que entendi el calor que ella sentia , se quemaba por dentro por la medicacion, pasaron unos meses mas y comia al mediodia a la tarde se la salteaba y algo a la noche , al otro dia todo lo contrario , despeuas se normalizaba y estaba bien , era obvio que su higado tenia cambios.
    ESTO NO DABA PARA MAS YA QUE SE ESTABA VINIENDO ABAJO, YO YA VENIA LEYENDO MUCHOS FOROS Y BUSCANDO ESPECIALISTA POR INTERNET QUE ME APORTARAN ALGO, averiguando di con un veterinario argentino que segun sus estudios el acido retinoico 9-cis en una toma sola al dia de 2 mg por kg controlaba la enfermedad y al termino de 6 meses la curaba.
    me pedi el medicamento a argentina ya que en uruguay no se hace y previa consulta via mail que el veterinario que muy amable me respondio empece a darle 50 mg al dia , previa la pregunta si empezaba con una dosis mas baja para acostumbrarla y me dijo que no, primer y segundo dia la perra se sentia mejor mas contenta se paraba con mas rapidez y se la veia mejor yo super feliz,a los 4 dias empezaron las diarreas que se tranformaron en cronicas durante un mes,bajada de peso , desanimo, respiracion lenta , indiferencia total, ,ni me miraba , la llamaba y ni movia sus orejas ,era terrible.
    AHORA ES CUANDO EMPEZO MI DECISION DE HACER LAS COSAS A MI MANERA
    DIETA- pastillas de la mejor calidad par perros adultos, nada de hepaticas o renales que no las queria.
    POLLO-SUPREMA – 400 mg al dia como siempre en 3 tomas
    QUESO MAGRO – sin sal
    CLARA DE HUEVO – saco algo de pollo y pongo una clara de huvo al mediodia y una a la noche , dia por medio.
    AGUA- compro agua mineral sin gas , mejor que darle del grifo.
    MEDICACION — CUSHEX DROPS REMEDIO HOMEOPATICO A BASE DE HIRVAS QUE , LE MEJORO EL PELO , AUNQUE EL POCO PELO QUE SE LE HABIA CAIDO EN EL LOMO CASI LA COLA Y QUE ESTABA DETENIDA , A AVANZADO UN POQUITO ,COME REGULARMENTE Y DIFICIL QUE SE SALTEE ALGUNA COMIDA , SE LE FUERON LOS RUIDOS DE ESTOMAGO, YA NO TIENE MAS CALOR A NO SER QUE LAS TEMPERATURAS SUPEREN LOS 20 GRADOS MINIMO,YA NO JUEGA PERO YO ASUMO QUE ES POR SUS 12 AÑOS Y SU ARTRITIS A CAUSA DE LA ENFERMEDAD
    si LE ESTAN DANDO MEDICACION PARA ESTA ENFERMEDAD Y notan ruidos de estomagos continuos seguramente es alguna gastritis, ULCERA o algu desorden estomacal o intestinal acausa de la medicacion como ketaconazol vetoryl etc, el cushex es muy bueno lo unico que no es tan facil de dar , se recomienda para perros chicos 3 gotas 3 veces al dia
    como la mia que pesa 25 kg 5 gotas 3 veces al dia , pero no funciona tan asi, en mi caso despues de provar 5-5-5 pase a 3-4-5 luego a 5 y 5 leugo 7 y 7 y hoy dia estoy dandole 5 gotas al mediodia y 8 a la noche y voy dandole el remedio hace 2 meses ,si lo que se recomienda no le funciona se debe ir buscando, OJOO que dos gotas hacen diferencia por eso no abusar y buscando la dosis que mejor le haga.
    FUNDAMENTAL ningun veterinario lo explica en los foros , sera para que sus colegas no dejen de recibir clientes, si notas que tu perro tiene un bulto sobre la cara interna de la rodilla de cualquiera de las patas trasera, eso es una ruptura de ligamentos , probocado por esta enfermedad, obvio junto al jadeo o el mirarlo de frente o de espalda y que la barriga se le mueva como pendulo ,APENAS LE DIAGNOSTIQUEN LA ENFERMEDAD EMPIEZEN A DARLE UN PROTECTOR HEPATOCO ( SALIMARINA ) Y CARTILAGO DE TIBURON
    PARA HUMANOS ACONSEJAN UNA GRAJEA DE SALIMARINA 70 MG POR COMIDA YO LE DOY UNA AL DIA AUNQUE NO TIENE CONTRAINDICACION NI TOXICIDAD ALGUNA Y CARTILAGO UNA GRAJEA DE 750 MG DIA , Y YOUGHURT TODO LOD DIAS ESOS CHIQUITOS QUE MEJORAN LA FLORA INTESTINAL , QUE DREFUERZAN LAS DEFENSAS, BUENO ESPERO HABER AYUDADA A ALGUNA PERSONA QUE TUVIERA DUDAS

    • Marion says:

      Respeto su experiencia con Cushex. Sin embargo, he escuchado de muchas personas (incluyendo en el Foro de Cushing canino) que Cushex y la homeopatía no funcionan. En los Estados Unidos, tenemos la tendencia a tener prejuicios contra la homeopatía en general. Una vez más, en nuestro caso, nos encontramos que con una buena dieta y aprendiendo a vivir con algunos de los síntomas era la solución mejora.

  5. Sylvia babineau says:

    I just rescued a nine year old bichon who is on 30 mg of vetoryl. My vet was upset when he learned of Pirate’s diagnosis and suggested I search the web myself. I just found your postings and am very interested in dropping the vetoryl altogether. I cook his food and he eats twice daily and had been drinking voraciously the first week I had him and peeling everywhere. That is not the case any longer. I bought belly belts which are velcroe on flannel around their belly and I buy adult depends pads at SAMs very reasonably. I change these pads regularly. It is very easy to manage. He is now sleeping through the night and waking dry. The minute he wakes up I put him out and he stays dry for hours. He seems to be good and I work so must leave him with his two bichon brothers. One of these bichon is 20.6 years old and he started on the belly belts one year ago. Have to check for diaper rash occasionally and if that happens I use over the counter diaper creme. They seem okay as long as I take them all out first thing in the morning, lunchtime, dinner time and just before bed. I would much rather take him. Off the meds altogether and deal with peeing in pads than any drug side effects. I want his quality of life for his time left to be as good as possible. I can deal with minor inconveniences. I took him because reminded me so much of my Bichon, Sushi who passed away three years ago at age 19 and who I still miss. I was afraid Pirate might not survive since the owner planned on Bichon rescue so he brought a reminder of Sushi back to me. Sushi was my very best friend and I miss her so much. Now I have Pirate and I want him to have the best care. But most of all quality of life. Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated. He is a little lover. Sylvia for Pirate (Pi-Pi) Snuffles and Rexi (his new brothers))

    • Marion says:

      Really, can’t add much. Again, I’m no expert. The forum mentioned in the post has lots of good info. 30mg for a bichon sounds like a lot to me, but again, my understanding is the right amount is the amount that works. For Maizie, quality of life was better without the meds, but I don’t know if that’s the case with every dog. With the DES we didn’t need any kind of doggie diaper, which certainly made life easier, but we did run through lots of wee-wee pads. If you’re not doing this already, the cheapest ones we found were the 150 count through Petco.

  6. Nancy says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post. My companion, Scruffy, is 12 and the vet believes he has Cushings based on his raised liver enzymes, ravenous appetite and some excessive drinking which is sporadic. He is otherwise still full of energy most days. I don’t want to put him through unnecessary tests and am reluctant to go down the meds route which in the UK is Vetoryl. I’m planning to try to treat him holistically to begin with and see how it goes.
    I found your blog extremely helpful and may start one for Scruffy following his journey through Cushings and old age. I’ve also heard that milk thistle can be helpful.

  7. Diane says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing. Your post was very helpful to me as my 11 yr old weiner dog was diagnosed with Cushings on Monday. She started the vetroyl 30 mg on Monday night and started to decline, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gagging, and fast shallow breathing. She is at the vet right now getting iv fluids and I believe we are just going to not treat the Cushings. All I want is her last days ( which I am heartbroken at the thought of not having her around) to be spent happy and comfortable. Right now I could careless about being up every couple hours for water and outside to pee. The puddle in the corner everyday when I get home seems fine as well to me right now. I just want her back to her self. I am just sick with sadness right now. Sorry about your dog, but I believe heaven has a beautiful dog park! :”(

    • Marion says:

      Maizie had a VERY long and great life. She was a rescue and always a crazy. If the better-half hadn’t taken her in, she would have been destroyed. Don’t start mourning your dog yet — she might have more good years left. The “puddle” will be much easier to deal with (for both of you) with wee-wee pads. The DES really helped keep her from waking up wet. I think the melatonin may have been helpful with the symptoms as well (but can’t prove it.) Find a sympathetic vet who respects your decision not to go the vetoryl route and won’t make you come in for constant blood tests for the DES. Switch her to a premium wet food. We thought Maizie was a goner when she had her last addison crisis as a result of the “treatment.” Once she started to eat again (with coaxing) we got her back and once we decided not to treat the Cushings, we didn’t look back.

  8. Diane says:

    Hi, Iris never did make it through being sick after the Vetoryl treatment she died that Sunday night early Monday morning January 27th 2014. I miss her so much and I can help but want to go back in time, but I can’t. I enjoyed every moment I had with her and am lost without my best friend and daughter.

  9. Marion says:

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. Although a lot of people say their dogs were helped by vetoryl, I’ve heard from many since this post has been up who are convinced it hastened their dogs’ death. I’m wondering how often this happens when vets are inexperienced using it. I haven’t heard of this happening (as much) with lysodren — the older medication. I wonder how many deaths happen because vets who aren’t very experienced with vetoryl go with the manufacturer’s guidelines on weight and amount. It seems like a lot of bad outcomes could be avoided if vets started with a much lower amount to check tolerance and gradually raised it.

  10. Diane says:

    My little dog Bridget was diagnosed with Cushing’s and prescribed 30mg vetroyl June 15th. I had to leave for a trip and left her with my dog sitter. I came back to my beautiful, bouncy, happy little girl now skeletal thin, depressed, lethargic and not the fun girl she used to be.
    I stopped the pills to day, I would rather deal with the pee pads and getting up during the night to have my darling girl back.
    Her quality of life is bad and I want however long she has left to be happy.
    I lost another of my rescues to Addison’s August 2013 and now Bridget has Cushing’s. I am heartbroken. She has always been the hellion in my family, into mischief, annoying everyone with her constant demand to be petted. I am hoping she comes back as I will deal with everything as long as she is happy.
    I wish I had found this earlier. Thank you.

    • Marion says:

      Diane — Just found this in my spam. I hope you Bridget is ok and you got her to the vet. It sounds like she crashed and may be Addison. (That’s what happened to Maizie.) She may need prednisone.

  11. Suzanne says:

    I wish I did more research on Vetoryl. My French Bulldog, Romo was diagnosed with Cushings and put on 30mg. After two days on Vetoryl, he starting vomiting all over and became listless. I rushed him to the vet when I couldn’t get him to stand up. Pur vet tried prednisone and IV fluids. He couldn’t breathe on his own and was on oxygen. I was told to leave him there for a few hours and they would call when he was ready to be picked up. Withing 45 minutes the vet called me and said I needed to pick him up and take him to the Emergency Vet Hospital, as his condition was declining. I picked my little Romo up and sped to the ER. He died on the car ride there. I wish I would have just let nature take its course.

    • Marion says:

      I am so sorry you had this experience. Thank you for sharing it with other readers. These drugs are dangerous and the vets don’t really tell you how dangerous they are. I understand a lot of people have good experiences and buy that treating Cushing’s aggressively is the best course. But we all have to take a breath and realize that some medicine can be bad medicine.

  12. cynthia says:

    This was so helpful to me. Our 14 year old was just diagnosed this week. We’re heartbroken of course. She is full of stones in her bladder and kidney. Has a slightly enlarged belly, is having mishaps some nights and dribbling at times but that has been helped immensely by an herbal product. We tried her on the the Proin but she immediately refused to eat and has already lost way too much weight so after two days we took her off of it. We opted not to take the other meds. First, we cannot afford it. But also, our vet was honest with us and explained that it would not extend her life. She is a amputee and we were told that this would affect her connective tissue and she would lose strength in her muscles at some point. We felt she’d had enough to deal with in life with several surgeries and don’t want to put her through all that mess. We have found some herbals and this vet told us they are about as affective in controlling symptoms as his medicine is so we’ve ordered those. She’s also getting acupuncture treatments and we’ve been given recipes for her new diet.

    • Marion says:

      Good luck! It’s sounds like you are doing your best. Maizie surprised us, living as long as she did even after the diagnosis and it sounds like your girl is in good hands. Although you are going mostly the natural route, you might consider the DES. It worked really well on the “dribbling” for us. If your vet is willing to work with you and not have you come in for frequent blood tests if she’s doing well, and you get it at an online pharmacy, then it shouldn’t be that expensive.

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