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K9 Biographies / Stories A place for you to post your "story" about your dog, including details of diagnosis, treatment, and management of your dog's diabetes; other medical issues; diets; and any other history or information about your dog that you care to share.

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Old 03-21-2008, 02:35 AM
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BestBuddy BestBuddy is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Melbourne,Australia
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Default My Buddy's Story - Cushings and Diabetes

Hello, I finally made it here.
Buddy has just turned 15yo is a mini poodle and getting close to 6 years being diabetic. He is now blind from mature cataracts and has dental problems which will continue until the last few teeth are removed. He has an ongoing problem with UTI so has been on amoxycillin for 12 months and will continue on this for life. Buddy also has cushings although he is considered to be in remission and is not on medication for this at the moment. He recently had to have surgery for a corneal ulcer and has come through this well. It may sound like he is a very sick little boy but he is so happy most of the time and he is my inspiration. He weights 5.2kg and is on 5iu of Humulin N (was Caninsulin for 4 years) and eats 115g SD Mature canned and 1/4 cup of biopet organic kibble, no treats except for a small (really tiny) piece of liver when I test his BG. He is fed and injected at 6am and 6pm.

Here is his story......

I have always been an animal lover and luckily my husband is the same way. Buddy came into our lives quite by accident, we were at a Pet shop buying food for one of our other dogs and there was this little dog who looked a bit like a rat with curls in a cage looking really sad. Buddy was the last of a litter of five and it seemed no one wanted him. We bought the food AND the dog.
He settled into the family really well and 9 years passed. I still have guilt about the next lot of events that passed?.my husband and I took an OS holiday and all our dogs went into a kennel for a week and then to family for the next four. Buddy had become a bit porky during the last year but not so bad that I thought there was a problem?..wrong. I think the time at then kennel really stressed him and by the time we arrived home he was really sickly, drinking gallons, eating constantly and then throwing up. We took him straight to the vet and he had lost 4kg of his 7kg weight. He had pancreatitis and was very ill and also it was discovered he had diabetes. He was put on a drip overnight and in the morning the vet called and said he isn't going to make it so come and say your goodbyes, he was like a rag doll and I must have nearly drowned him in my tears but he lifted his head and he knew I was there. The vet said he wouldn't eat and he needed to eat to get his insulin but maybe he would for me. I got a roast chicken from the supermarket and he ate a little, so I was given a little hope. The next few days are a bit of a blur as I went to the vets every few hours to hand feed him and he improved each time I was there. Five days later he was well enough to come home and panic set in as I would have to start giving the injections and I really hated needles. My hubby did the first few needles but I forced myself to learn and it really was no trouble at all. We celebrated every year and sent anniversary cards to the vet for the next four years. We were lucky that we were able to get his blood glucose regulated so quick and for so long and then?.

Four years later my sweet little Buddy turned into a grouch, he didn't like to be touched and he was drinking and peeing a lot. His curly hair although never thick was thinning even more and there were even bald patches down his back legs. His skin turned black and was greasy, flaky and had little pimples. His blood glucose was also all over the place, mainly too high and he started to loose his sight. He always wanted food and being diabetic was on a strict feeding schedule but he was constantly begging for it.

The first tests done were for the thyroid and it was discovered that he needed medication. This improved his attitude a bit and slowed the drinking but he still wasn't happy. We had the LDDS which told us he had pituitary cushings and our small vet clinic had never dealt with this before and said we could let him go or be referred to a specialist at a University Hospital. I felt like my would had fallen apart again and cried for a week but made the appointment to see the specialist who did an ACTH test that showed a post number of 22 which I now understand is not that high but consistent with cushings.

We were given two options if we were to treat and they were lysodren or trilostane. With Buddy's thyroid and diabetes problems the specialist recommended trilostane. That in itself is another story on how to obtain this drug not yet legally sold in Australia. Anyway we started the trilostane at an average dose and noticed the drinking and peeing slowed after a few weeks and the diabetes was in much better control. Testing is very important to know how things are going so we did as advised and ACTH tested as often as recommended. The first test showed an improvement with a post cortisol of 8 so we were on the right track and increased the dose. Now although the numbers were improving I felt Buddy was getting worse, he didn't want to eat which is a big problem for diabetics and he had no zest for life at all. He slept most of the day and was a bit unsteady on his feet. It didn't seem right that although the testing showed an improvement he was actually doing worse. The next ACTH test showed a post cortisol of 5 which is great except Buddy was still miserable, we also tested his thyroid which was now into normal ranges again so we were able to stop that medication. At the specialists suggestion we stopped trilostane for a week and his post cortisol was 1 so we resumed at a lower dose and he had an addison crisis and needed a cortisone injection. Buddy seemed to have no quality of life so the specialist said to stop trilostane for 10 days and retest to see what was happening. The next ACTH showed a post cortisol of 2 so we held off the trilostane for a month and his next ACTH had a post cortisol of 1. Very unusual to have the numbers still going down without the trilostane so we stayed off the trilostane and left another month and his post cortisol was still only 3. His diabetes was under control and the specialist said in an almost whisper that Buddy may actually be in remission. This was so exciting and it seemed Buddy was also feeling much better. His interest in food returned and he wanted to be cuddled again. As for the thinning hair, sometime during the previous few months it had started to grow again and the reason I noticed was that my very pale haired dog was growing new hair in a very attractive red color. It grew back better than before although at the first clipping the pretty red was cut off and it is now more a pale apricot in patches.

It is nearly 3 years since that first gut wrenching diagnosis of cushings and Buddy is doing great. The highest ACTH post cortisol was 7 and the last few 5. His attitude is good and his diabetes is under control even though we had to change his insulin as it seemed to not be working well. It's unclear whether the cushings or the trilostane changed something in his system that made his previous insulin stop being effective after four and a half years but he is now a well regulated diabetic in remission from cushings and no thyroid problem. It seems he will always have problems with UTI's which could be cushings or diabetes related and will be on a low dose of antibiotics for the rest of his life. His eyesight has gone but he doesn't let that worry him and although we will keep testing several times a year to make sure the cushings doesn't return it is a happy ending in our case.

That's more than enough info for now.

Jenny & Buddy

Update because all stories need an ending.

It's taken a while but this is from January this year (2009)

Buddy's Journey ended today. It was sudden and those of you who know our story will understand what a fighter my little man was. He was nearly 16, cushings/addison, heart murmur and diabetic for close to 7 years. I suppose I was beginning to believe he was invincible.

He was such a little trooper getting two injections a day for the last 6+ years and numerous blood tests to check glucose and vet visits for more testing. I was home for lunch and he was fine and he had already gone when I got home tonight only 4 hours later. So once again my little man has made it easy for me by taking “that decision” away, and never having to worry if it was the right time.

He had been doing so well and the last few weeks he has been getting perfect Bg numbers and now he is gone. I'm still numb and need to pack up his things and meds and then I will let myself fall apart for a bit and have a good cry.

If any dog has earned angel wings it was my little man Buddy.

Jenny & Buddy (still in my heart)

Last edited by BestBuddy; 11-13-2009 at 11:54 PM. Reason: finishing the story
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