Cushing's Syndrome Opens The Door
As important are annual check-ups for people, they are equally important for our pets. It was that time of year for my
Watson's annual check-up. Once at the Vet, the doctor did the usual tests and all came back fine for my 7 yr old male dog. I was happy to hear the nice results and told her thanks, see you in a year. She cautioned me however and said although all of his numbers came back within the normal range she thought something was going on but there was no indication as to what or where. Practicing Voodoo science perhaps? What was she talking about, I say go by the numbers and the tests indicate all is fine. Blood, urine everything looked good, except for the fact that he was a little chunky. We are all a little chunky! Without no clear road to go down , I told the Vet that didn't want to go hunting, if something was developing it will show itself in time. Life went on as usual.
8 months later things began to change. Watson was drinking more, and getting me up one, two, three times a night to pee and asking for more water. This went on for a few weeks and I knew that something was now going on, that something reared its ugly head. I took Watson to the Vet. We did some tests and this time the results came back that he had Cushing's Syndrome. What is Cushing's Syndrome? Cushing's Syndrome happens when the dog's body make too much cortisol. So what does that mean? Too much cortisol can affect other parts of the body such as the liver, kidney and eyes so it was very important to get this under control quickly before it starts to affect other parts of his body. We put him on Veterol. Finding the right level of Veterol took us some time but we now believe his Cushings is holding steady. Watson takes 70mg of Veterol daily. Watson's Cushing's is now under control, this was good news. Did we catch it in time? We have no way of knowing. During our final testing and in a span of time of one month's time, Watson developed Diabetes due to the Cushing's. The same as with people, its important to get diabetes under control. The longer you wait, Diabetes quietly can wreck havoc on other parts of the body such as your liver, kidneys, eyes. The race was on to get his Diabetes under control. What does this mean exactly? We had to quickly start with insulin injections but the dosage levels had to be methodically determined. We first started with a low dosage then at the end of the week Watson would spend the day at the Vet where he would get his glucose tested every few hours, this is called a Glucose Curve test. Week after week the doctor would say that his glucose level is off the charts, we need to raise the dosage by 1 unit. We were loosing hope, were would this stop? We had no idea how severe his diabetes was on the spectrum . At this point we were up to 8 1/2 units twice a day when the doctor said hesitantly (based on his weight she was nervous about pumping him with so much insulin because he was still off the charts) go to 9 1/2 units. Once we administered the 9 1/2 dosage within an hour we started to see changes, he was walking as if he was drunk and he kept squinting his eyes. We knew at that point we were at the upper insulin level and called the vet to tell her of our observation. She instructed us to take him down to 9 units at his next dosage. We now know that no matter what, we've reached the maximum insulin level. Does this bring his glucose level to a more manageable level, we don't yet know. Next week he goes to an Internist Specialist to see if there is anything else we can do to help him, like perhaps change to a more effective form of insulin. More to come. Several times daily we do a Ketone test strip and his glucose level comes back somewhere between Negative and Trace.
Due to the Diabetes, within the space of a month Watson has now gone Blind. He lost his sight over the course of a few days SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome). I can't say how important it is to address these issues as soon as they develop. Cushing's Syndrome is ugly but Blindness is uglier. If you see that your dog may have Cushing's Syndrome don't hesitate to take your dog to the Vet. Time is of the essence. For support, you can find on Facebook Cushing's and Diabetes groups to join so you can read about other people's experiences and see that you are not alone. The groups are a wonderful support. Our mission continues and we can only hope and pray that blindness is the only downside of Watson's Cushing's Syndrome. Both Watson and I can adjust our lives to live with that.