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Old 11-24-2008, 10:32 PM   #1
haydenks
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10-yr old Mixed Breed

Hello, Everyone!
I'm a new user and one with a timely question, as my pet, Lucky, died several days ago after what seems to have been a mysterious illness.
Lucky was a mixed breed I adopted from a shelter about seven years ago. Her estimated age at the time of adoption was about two years old. She had always been in good health, a few pounds added as a result of her new home and surroundings, but was my walking companion, endertaking 6 mile walks almost every day of the week.
About four months ago she seemed to lose her appetite, and I noticed she seemed very lethargic and had difficulty getting on her feet. Two trips to the vet and a battery of blood tests indicated she had a very high level of potassium in her system. The vet said that she may have a growth affecting her adrenal glands and suggested operating on her. I asked if there were any non-surgical options available and he suggested prednisone. After only a few days on prednisone she seemed to miraculously improve. Her daily regimen included two prednisones every twelve hours. After about three weeks, I noticed she started to revert to her pre-medication activity, loss of appetite and struggling to get to her feet. Another trip to the vet produced a prescription for some pain medication and more prednisone. Last week she became so weak that she wouldn't even go out to pee. She stopped eating altogether one day and died that night.
I realize that this is long and drawn out, but can anyone shed any light on what Lucky died from? Her belly area was very tight, indication perhaps a buildup of fluid or a growth of some kind. Toward the end she could only move her eyes to acknowledge anyone trying to communicate with her.
Thanks for any help!

Hayden KS
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:43 PM   #2
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Just a semi-wild guess, idiopathic hyper/hypoparathyriodism? Cushings Disease? I'd have to look into a little more.


*Later*

After some reading I thought that maybe it could be...

Renal Failure
Hypoadrenocorticism
Or Heart problems due to the high levels of Potassium.

Hopefully other members can help.

I'm really sorry about your loss, don't hesitate to post on the Rainbow bridge section if you want to dedicate a tribute to Lucky.

Last edited by Jr_K9_Expert : 11-24-2008 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:19 PM   #3
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Sincere condolences on your loss. Your story reads a lot like mine with Maxwell. When I adopted him he was guesstimated at around 2 years old...a lovely chocolate Cocker Spaniel with eye, skin, and ear problems. He was my heart dog. Got his skin issues under control and his one eye removed, he was doing well. A few years before he passed the vet suspected Cushings but he passed all the tests...negative for Cushings. Well, my vet up and left the state during all Max's later problems so I had to see a new vet. More rounds of blood tests and such. Come to find out his rising liver levels indicated Cushings Syndrome which I don't think your pooch had. Max had a huge thirst and peeing uncontrollably for the last six months of his life. He also had hair loss and eventually loss of bowel control. I only had Max for 7 years. He shoulda lived another 6 years but was he really 2 when I adopted him?

Here's the thing though Hayden...I think our critters only have really one way to let us know they're tired and have had enough and that's not eating. Max lost 7 pounds in 3 months. It was time to let him go. You can beat yourself to death thinking of the coulda woulda shouldas but you're only gonna make yourself sick. It was estimated that my Maxwell was probably at least 15 when he passed - not 9. He had a good life with me as I'm sure Lucky had with you. What I did was honor him with the adoption of 4 more rescues from the same place I got Maxwell. I could not have another with Max cause he was aggressive but his loss meant a home for four more!
Sharon - Mom to Mozart, Monte, Merlin and Mylee! my boyz!
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:48 AM   #4
Shells_k
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Originally Posted by haydenks View Post
Hello, Everyone!
I'm a new user and one with a timely question, as my pet, Lucky, died several days ago after what seems to have been a mysterious illness.
Lucky was a mixed breed I adopted from a shelter about seven years ago. Her estimated age at the time of adoption was about two years old. She had always been in good health, a few pounds added as a result of her new home and surroundings, but was my walking companion, endertaking 6 mile walks almost every day of the week.
About four months ago she seemed to lose her appetite, and I noticed she seemed very lethargic and had difficulty getting on her feet. Two trips to the vet and a battery of blood tests indicated she had a very high level of potassium in her system. The vet said that she may have a growth affecting her adrenal glands and suggested operating on her. I asked if there were any non-surgical options available and he suggested prednisone. After only a few days on prednisone she seemed to miraculously improve. Her daily regimen included two prednisones every twelve hours. After about three weeks, I noticed she started to revert to her pre-medication activity, loss of appetite and struggling to get to her feet. Another trip to the vet produced a prescription for some pain medication and more prednisone. Last week she became so weak that she wouldn't even go out to pee. She stopped eating altogether one day and died that night.
I realize that this is long and drawn out, but can anyone shed any light on what Lucky died from? Her belly area was very tight, indication perhaps a buildup of fluid or a growth of some kind. Toward the end she could only move her eyes to acknowledge anyone trying to communicate with her.
Thanks for any help!

Hayden KS
Its called Addisons Disease, my dog Jessie has it and suffered from all the symptoms you described until she was treated. She was diagnosed 2 years ago this coming January. ADdisons Disease is the opposite of Cushings. Addisons disease, the adrenal glands stop making cortisol, in Cushings disease the adrenal glands go out of control with making cortisol. And actually there are vets who will intentionally "force" a dog into Addisons Disease if they have Cushings by "overdosing" them over time with a certain medication, as Addisons Disease is a lot easier to regulate and maintain than Cushings.

The reason dogs stop eating with Addisons disease, is that the cortisol that is no longer being produced is what our bodies and dogs create to be healthy, happy, and have a fight or flight sense. If your body stopped producing cortisol you wouldnt eat either.
The best give away was the high potassium when described with all the other symptoms, and should have immediately clued your vet into doing an ACTH test confirming of Addisons and IMMEDIATE measures to make sure Lucky was treated for her high potassium can be deathly. Surgery as an only option was bullshit, an ACTH test could have very easily confirmed whether it was Addisons or not. A secondary medication of either Florinef or Percorten should have been given to Lucky which regulates the electrolytes (potassium and Sodium),to see how he did on it if you could not have afforded the ACTH test, which is the only definitive test for Addisons disease. With high potassium you do NOT leave this untreated in a human OR a dog, it will cause muscle weaknes/paralysis, as well as heart failure.

Addisons disease is where the adrenal gland is no longer funtioning for a few different reasons.
Prednisone is only one of the medications given depending on what type of Addisons. Atypical Addisons only requires Prednisone, as ONLY the layer of the adrenal gland that supplies cortisol is no longer functioning, hence the need for daily prednisone. Primary/Typical Addisons, which not only affects the adrenals that no longer makes cortisol (prednisone), but another layer of the adrenal gland as well that regulates the electrolytes, requires also a mineralcorticoid (either Florinef or Percorten). Secondary Addisons IS casued by a tumor ruining the adrenal gland, but if Luckys potassium was high prednisone without question wasnt the only medication needed.
Without the mineralcorticoid medicine a dog (or human for that matter) cannot survive with Primary/Typical Addisons. The heart can only handle a certain amount of potassium before heart failure.

The reason Lucky did good for a few days is because the Prednisone was propping him up from crashing. But ultimately Lucky was not given ALL the correct medicine she needed, nor the tests for diagnosis. I am very very sorry to hear that. And makes me spitting angry at your vet for not treating her properly.
For the life of me I cant understand how vets dont either know enough or RESEARCH enough to know how to treat this disease correctly. I cant even count on all my fingers and toes how many people on my support group had their vets treating their dogs with the wrong medications for Addisons Disease.

Probably more than you bargained for in asking your question and probably did not expect such a detailed answer.

I feel really bad for you and your poor Lucky. My heart really goes out to you, and is breaking into little pieces for you and the loss of Lucky. Just know that Lucky is no longer in any pain and is running around at the rainbow bridge now like a crazy puppy. And God Bless you from adopting her for a shelter in the first place.

So sorry, again, about Lucky. If you need someone to talk to, we are all a great bunch of listeners!

My most heartfelt condolences....

Last edited by Shells_k : 12-11-2008 at 03:04 AM.

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Old 12-11-2008, 02:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jr_K9_Expert View Post
*Later*

After some reading I thought that maybe it could be...

Renal Failure A SIDE EFFECT/SYMPTON OF UNTREATED PRIMARY/TYPICAL ADDISONS DISEASE
Hypoadrenocorticism YES - CALLED ADDISONS DISEASE
Or Heart problems due to the high levels of Potassium. CAUSED BY UNTREATED ADDISONS DISEASE


Good research as usual Steven.

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