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Old 05-03-2009, 10:44 AM
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Mel B Mel B is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cottingham, Near Hull, East Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Posts: 7
Default Midge - Cushings + other problems - help please

Hi all

I was a member of the Canine Cushings forum before it crashed out. Not my fault it did so ... honest! Apologies in advance for the length of this post ...

In a nutshell, I have Midge, a 9.5 year old male cross West Highland White/Jack Russell (as far as we know ... he's from a shelter). He's had the chop (already done when we got him at 9 months). He has always been a sedate little dog, quite happy just to potter about, odd mad dashes around, but never one for manic running around etc like most dogs do. He's always had a very good appetite and likes his water, his shape was once described by a French vet as 'rotund'! This could be, however, because he was a little over-weight at the time as he'd pulled his leg so couldn't do much exercise. He is a barrel shaped dog with spindly legs - but he's always been like this so it could just be his cross breeding as Westies are more 'barrel shaped' and Jack Russells tend to have thin legs.

Anyway, in September 2008 he developed a sore patch on the front of one of his legs which wouldn't heal, it was lumpy and he used to nibble it - he's always been a nibbler too! Unfortunately it wouldn't clear up and eventually it spread to his feet, all 4 of them, which were sore and swollen, so walking was extremely uncomfortable for him. After many types of antibiotics, eventually the vet suggested we test for Cushings, which we did and she diagnosed him as being a Cushings dog (don't ask me for the actual tests/results, I don't have them, might be able to get them if really needed but a bit reluctant to bother the vet at the moment as you will realise as you keep reading).

Since then he's been on Vetoryl 30mg daily but whilst his Cushings appears to be under control (excellent levels apparently) the problem with the feet hasn't gone away although they are nothing like as swollen/sore as they were and he can walk fairly well on softish ground, but they are now covered in a few layers of a type of scale - the vet says this is caused by a yeast/bacterial infection - something to do with us all having a certain amount of yeast and bacteria on us normally which our immune system keeps in check but as Midge's body isn't functioning correctly it's not doing so. The 'infection' is patchin all over his body - around his eyes in particular, in his ears, round his bottom, nearly covering all of his feet up to his 'knees' and patches on his tummy and on both sides, with a few other smaller patches on his neck etc. They come out as crusty scaley patches and then eventually the skin turns black, due to, I assume, the bacteria being trapped in the moist yeasty stuff.

We have to try to bath him every day (Maleseb or another anti-bacterial shampoo), not always possible, to wash all the horrible yeasty stuff off, especially on his tummy which gets very hot and sweaty and this makes the yeasty stuff come back with a vengence - within 12 hours of washing him it can be nearly as bad again.

The vet also thinks he's got serious liver problems as his enzyme (?) levels are high - he's just had another blood test and his levels were way high again and to add insult to injury he's anaemic as well.

He's getting more picky about food, sometimes doesn't want to eat at all which is quite upsetting - he was on a fairly strict chicken/fish, rice/potato diet to try to help the liver but he's now won't eat rice at all, he's also not as interested in things as he was so we've had to resort to feeding him just about anything we can get down him so as well as the fish and potato which he will eat most of the time, we're having to supplement this with Frolic and Bakers complete dog food plus a couple of tinned hot dogs to get his tablets down him in a morning (ie to hide them in). I assume he's less interested generally partly down to his now being anaemic and feeling crappy but we're also worried that it could be the Vetoryl as well as this is contra-indicated for dogs with liver problems but there's not a lot else we can do for his Cushings. The side effect of Vetoryl include lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhoea - he's not quite got this last one but his stools are not really solid, sometimes it's the consistency of toothpaste (sorry if that is not a nice image!).

The reason why I'm reluctant to contact the vet again at the moment is that both when I saw her on Thursday for the blood test to be done, and when my husband spoke to her on Friday morning, she suggested that Midge is suffering and things we should look at his quality of life - she's said this a few times over the past few months but to be honest she doesn't see him at home, on a 'good' day, he's not in pain or discomfort, will have a little potter, eat and drink normally and is more alert - of course when you take a dog to the vets they are anything but normal and she does acknowledge that dogs generally are at their worse in the surgery. He has got more of the yeasty patches on him since she last saw him a couple of months ago but they don't seem to be bothering him - he just looks manky. He does get quite hot, but he's always been a hot dog, which unfortunately adds to the yeasty problem as he sweats more and this encourages the yeasty stuff to come back.

We're trying to do the 'right thing' whatever that is for Midge. We don't want him to suffer but we also want to give him as much of a chance as we can. Whilst we were on holiday just over a week ago (in our motorhome) we took Midge with us and made a point of taking him out (in his buggy) and he was quite perky and interested in what was going on - he had a few gentle walks on the beaches we visited ... although he was turning into a homing pigeon by trying to go back to the motorhome some of the time.

Rightly or wrongly, we've stopped his Vetoryl at the moment - he didn't have a tablet yesterday morning, nor today, as we want to see if he 'perks' up off them to see if they are making him feel lethargic etc. As a result, we think, yesterday lunchtime and evening he ate loads of potato, fish and chicken, and again today he's done the same so he's certainly got a much better appetite since stopping the tablets - before that it was really a chore to get anything down him that was 'good' for him. We're closely watching him for any signs of anything untoward, or out of the ordinary, as we don't want him to have problems with being off the tablets. I know it's only been since yesterday, but he sees to be more relaxed without the tablets in his system.

The questions is what do we do now! Do we keep him off the Vetoryl and try to boast him by getting him to eat better and therefore hopefully improve the anaemia? Or should we put him back on it and see if he again has the same problems? Should we give him a tablet every other day and see if that is a good compromise? Should we be doing something to try to help the liver problem? Or is there something else we should be considering?

Any suggestions/help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Mel B & Midge the Squidge