Posts tagged "diagnosis"

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

November 19, 2018 Posted by Cushing's Syndrome, Diagnosis, Dogs, Pet Health, water intake 0 thoughts on “Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3”

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

This is part 3 of our in-depth look at Cushing’s Syndrome, a condition that affects many dogs around the world and is caused by an excess of cortisol in the system. For an explanation of what Cushing’s Syndrome actually is and how the condition can affect your dog you should check out part 1 of this series, published a couple of weeks ago.

Last week we talked about the various steps and tests your vet may use to diagnose Cushing’s. If you suspect that your dog has Cushing’s be sure to read the post to learn about the diagnostic process. This week we’re keen to talk about life after diagnosis, the treatments that are available and what kind of life your dog can enjoy.

The Outlook For Dogs with Cushing’s

Having Cushing’s isn’t ideal, but it isn’t the end of the world either.

Medication

Most dogs with Cushing’s syndrome are recommended lifelong medical treatment with Trilostan. It can take time to find the correct dose, which can vary greatly between dogs.

If you suspect your dog has Cushing’s, or if he/she has already been diagnosed with it, you need to be aware that your vet will need to take blood samples regularly to monitor the effect of the medication and avoid any side effects.

Pro Tip! It is common practice to perform an ACTH stimulation test to control the dose. However, studies have shown that measuring cortisol levels before administering the Trilostan, or three hours thereafter, are potentially better monitoring methods than the ACTH stimulation tests.

Too high a dose of the medicine may cause symptoms like:

  • – vomiting/diarrhea
  • – fatigue
  • – nausea
  • – decreased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms during treatment, consult your veterinarian immediately.
It may indicate that the dose is too high and there is a risk that your dog might end up in an “Addison crisis” if it’s ignored.

Surgery

If the tumor is located in one of the adrenal glands, it may be removed surgically, however, this is an advanced surgery that carries a high risk of complications.

If the tumor is found in the pituitary gland, surgery may be considered if the tumor is pressing on the brain and causing problems. Operations for this type of condition are currently carried out only in the Netherlands. After surgery, medication will still be required throughout the life of your dog, and there will remain a risk of relapse.

Too high a dose of the medicine may cause symptoms like:

  • – vomiting/diarrhea
  • – fatigue
  • – nausea
  • – decreased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms during treatment, consult your veterinarian immediately.
It may indicate that the dose is too high and there is a risk that your dog might end up in an “Addison crisis” if it’s ignored.

Iatrogenic Cushing’s

Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome, caused by medication containing cortisone, usually resolves itself when the cortisone is discontinued.

What if I just ignore it?

If you love your pet this is not advised. If Cushing’s syndrome goes untreated it will gradually cause more severe symptoms, seriously affecting your dog’s quality of life in the process.

Available medical treatment will improve your dog’s symptoms, and with the correct dose the dog can go on to have a good quality of life. If the tumor is malignant, it can unfortunately spread to other organs to shorten the dog’s life.

Don’t forget to share this blog post with anyone you think will benefit from it. We publish a new blog post each week so follow us on social media for our updates and you’ll know as soon as a new one is available.

Until next time…

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

November 5, 2018 Posted by Cushing's Syndrome, Dogs, Pet Health, water intake 0 thoughts on “Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!”

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

Cushing’s Syndrome (commonly known as Cushing’s) is a condition that afflicts people all over the world, but did you know that it can also affect our beloved dogs? In humans Cushing’s is characterised by symptoms including acute weight gain of the trunk and face. In this article we’re going to explain what causes Cushing’s Syndrome, the symptoms and how it can affect your dog.

What is Cushing’s Syndrome?

In dogs this commonly diagnosed endocrine condition results in high levels of cortisol from the adrenal glands. One of the things that cortisol does is it regulates the blood sugar level, electrolytes, fat metabolism and the immune system.

When your dog’s body needs cortisol, the pituitary gland sends out the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which encourages the adrenal gland to produce cortisol. Once enough cortisol has been produced the pituitary gland stops sending out ACTH.

If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s it means that their adrenal gland is constantly producing cortisol, whether or not there is enough.

If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s it means that their adrenal gland is constantly producing cortisol…

3 Causes of Cushing’s

There are 3 different causes of Cushing’s in dogs:

  • – Tumor in the pituitary gland
  • – Tumor in the adrenal gland
  • – Medication containing cortisone

 

The most common cause of Cushing’s is a tumour in the pituitary gland. The tumor is usually benign, but it can lead to overproduction of ACTH which, in turn, leads to an overproduction of cortisol. Another possible cause is a tumor in one of the adrenal glands, but this is less common.

Pro Tip! Occasionally, Cushing’s can be caused by medication containing cortisone, this form of Cushing’s is called Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome.

What are the symptoms?

If you’re concerned about what you should be looking out for, the symptoms can vary from dog to dog and tend to appear gradually. However, you may often observe the following symptoms:

  • – Excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
  • – Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • – Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
  • – Excessive panting
  • – Exercise intolerance
  • – A large or tensioned abdomen “pot belly”
  • – Loss of muscle mass
  • – Skin and coat changes
  • – Susceptibility to infections

 

In our next blog post we will take a deeper look at Cushing’s. Specifically we’ll be looking at the different tests that can be performed to help diagnose Cushing’s. If your dog, or one you know, has Cushing’s you’ll also be interested to read, in our next blog post, our detailed account of the types of treatments that are available to enrich your dog’s quality of life.

So, follow us on social media for updates when the next blog post is published.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

October 15, 2018 Posted by Cats, Chronic Kidney Disease 0 thoughts on “Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2”

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

In our last blog post we began discussing Chronic Kidney Disease and how it can affect your cat. We also covered the symptoms you should be looking out for. This time we’re going to discuss what you should do if you suspect your cat is suffering from CKD and how you can help your cat’s quality of life if it is confirmed.

If you suspect your cat has CKD

Your vet should begin with a clinical examination so they can, amongst other things:

  • – Assess your cat’s level of dehydration.
  • – Perform an oral examination and assess the colour of the gums.
  • – Feel the abdomen to assess the size and structure of the kidneys and signs of constipation.
  • – Perform an ocular (retinal) examination.
  • – Take your cat’s blood pressure. This is particularly important and should be done when your cat is relatively relaxed, at the beginning of the consultation.

Pro Tip 1! It’s good practice for your vet to use IRIS. The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), is a staging system for CKD in cats and dogs. The system is intended to facilitate communication between vets (and vets to owners) about the diagnosis, treatment and outcome of CKD. It accurately assesses the severity of your cat’s CKD by measuring the following:

  • – creatinine levels in the blood
  • – blood pressure
  • – the amount of protein lost in the urine

The blood concentrations of other components, such as BUN, electrolytes (sodium, potassium), phosphorus, calcium, red blood cells, and proteins are also important to evaluate when CKD is suspected.

An examination of a sterile urine sample (often taken directly with a needle through the abdominal wall into the bladder, usually the cats do not react at all and it is considered safe) is also important to assess the ability to concentrate urine, pH, presence of protein, blood cells and bacteria. It is also important to examine the urine to rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection.

Diagnostic imaging tools such as radiographs and abdominal ultrasound can also be useful in the evaluation of CKD.

Provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot!

Quality of life with CKD

When a cat has developed CKD, there is unfortunately no cure for the disease. But there are many treatment options that can prolong and improve the quality of life.

Remember to always provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot! Cats shouldn’t be without food for long, so if your pet refuses the new diet don’t persist! It’s better to just give your cat the old diet if that is what will make them happy.

Pro Tip 2! Studies show that therapeutic kidney diets that are low in protein, phosphorus and sodium content, but high in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants may prolong life and improve the quality of life for cats with CKD.

With both wet and dry food options it’s up to the cat to decide what they prefer. If you’re changing your cat’s diet it is a good idea to gradually introduce the new menu to make your furry friend more accepting, and also avoid any bad reactions to the sudden change. Anti-nausea and appetite stimulating medications are available to help your pet feel better.

There also exist medications for controlling hypertension, decreasing urinary protein loss, supplement potassium and bind phosphorus. Cats with CKD may produce less erythropoietin in the kidneys, which leads to anemia, and there is some evidence that replacement therapy can increase red blood cell counts. In some severe cases, blood transfusions may be necessary to restore normal red blood cell concentration.

More advanced therapy, such as hemodialysis (removal of toxic waste products from the bloodstream) and kidney transplants, are available in certain countries.

Studies suggest that the earlier CKD is diagnosed, and treatment is initiated, the better the outcome. So keep an eye on the symptoms we mentioned in our previous blog post, Cats Need Kidneys Part 1, and track your cat’s drinking habits to keep an eye on their health.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfil my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve worked in Denmark and the United Kingdom, and now I am back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, have always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals, and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

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