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Cushing's and huge appetite

July 22nd, 2006, 03:08 PM
My 11 year old dalmatian has Cushing's disease due to prednisone. We tried everything including an allergy specialist and shots but it was the only thing that relieved her symptoms. Please don't give me the lectures about the drug ... I know what it does but there are dogs that have no other options. She has ALL the symptoms of Cushings including the huge appetite. She eats a huge amount, steals food from the counter, eats apples that have fallen from the tree. Her weight is very unevenly distributed now with skinny hips, sunken face, skinny neck but pot belly. How do I know how much to feed her? Is there something that may get processed better for her? She is on Eukanuba Fish and Potato from the vet and she has always done well on it (allergy-wise). I also cook rice with a can of tuna in it for her. She is fed 3 times a day with snacks, leftovers and of course the apples. She actually eats more than an adult human and she poops about 6-8 times a day. She appears thin except for the belly. She acts as if she needs more food but I really can't see increasing the amount. Has anyone got any ideas to help her or experience with this? Thx. -Hogansma

July 22nd, 2006, 08:39 PM
I had a dog on long term prednisone for an auto immune disease before, so I do understand the effects and even its necessity. so no comments with pred use. :grouphug:

What I did notice was the weight went on evenly. not like you are describing, which makes me thinking something more may be going on, so I am going to make suggestions, take a fecal sample to the vet to check for internal parasites, a large worm load could cause the distended abdomen and leave her literally starving, constantly wanting more food, as they would be robbing the dog of nutrients.

If that comes back normal my other suggestion is to do abdominal x-rays, predisone can damage organs with long term use so good idea to check if any have enlarged, or it could be unrelated as in my own dogs case. One of my dogs has a very enlarged spleen which has caused his abdomen to sag it is about 10 to 11 inches longer than normal, I had him run through a battery of tests checking for cancer and spleen function to determined whether it needed to be removed, it is not diseased just overly large.

July 23rd, 2006, 12:24 AM
Thank-you for the reply and I will do the fecal sample. Sometimes it is easy to get too focused on one thing and not step back and see the whole picture ... that is what I was doing. I will consider the xray too.

She has had a rough time with the allergies in the past to the point of chewing the pads off her paws, rubbing her lips on the cement until they bleed and ear infections. Guess I'm a bit paranoid about critics who think all use of prednisone is bad. I know she will not be around much longer (she's 11) and will do anything to make her comfortable now.

Thanks again for the advice.

July 24th, 2006, 03:11 PM
I can definitely sympathize with you as my beagle, Misty, also has Cushings. Although Misty's cushings isn't drug induced she does exhibit many of the same symptoms: excessive thirst, voracious appetite, frequent urination and pot belly. Dogs with cushings also tend to lose muscle mass on the head and rear legs which then causes back leg weakness. Luckily, we are able to control Misty's cushings with medication. I'm not sure what advise I can offer that you probably haven't already tried before. The only thing I can think of would be to try and find another type of medication other than prednisone that wouldn't cause the cushings symptoms, but I believe that you may have tried that already. What about a lower dose of prednisone? Has this been tried? Have you seeked the advice of an internalist? They specialize with cushings patients and may be able to help. When I was told that Misty had cushings, I did a lot of research. During my research I found a website with others who had dogs with cushings. They may be able to offer you some assistance. Here is the website:

July 27th, 2006, 04:19 PM
Thanks and I will check out the website.

July 28th, 2006, 12:02 AM
I am so happy to finally find someone else whose dog has cushings. Not happy that they have it but glad to have another view. I have a boston terrier that is 13yrs old and was diagnosed almost 4yrs ago. I was so scared at first until I too looked it up and the thing that got me to notice was the belly and the constant going outside and inside and that was every 1/2 hour. She lost hair, looked goofy and continued to drink alot of water and we started on midotane and yes, predisone. I am glad to say she has done her best and now the weak muscles cause her to fall alot and I am constantly her care giver with re-start, and water which is a vit supplement because she can't eat herself due to a stroke that left her tongue and right side messed up but she still continues to walk and go. please don't give up. Her hair has came back her stomach is not large and she is doing fair. The predisone I use is once a week and as far as allergies, she has licked and chewed at her feet legs and yes, it is part of the disease but try lamb and rice food. At this point I say let them eat what they want and enjoy life. She doesn't give up and I won't either. She now has her nights and days mixed up and we have tried medication to help her relax but they don't make sleeping meds for dogs? I have tried the acepromazine and thats too strong but at some point she needs to rest too. Thank you so much for listening and I have tried alot of different med until it got better.