- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Cushing's Disease (loss of use of limbs)

February 27th, 2012, 07:42 AM
Wanted to ask about Cushing's Disease, please!

I've run a search here on the site and have found several threads as well as a very informative article on this disease, but haven't seen anything addressing my specific situation.

My 17-yr-old Chihuahua has already lost the use of her back two limbs due to Cushing's.

She was walking just fine last April but by August had lost use of both rear legs, despite being on the medication by then. :(

Two previous vets had each noticed something wrong with her for months before that, but didn't know what exactly the problem was. I took her to a new vet and he figured it out after looking at her for 3 minutes. So, we were a bit late to get her into meaningful treatment.

I notice these last two days that she is holding her left front paw up in the air now, as if it were injured, but inspecting it carefully, I don't see any reason to think that it is injured per se. I am thinking this is a Cushing's thing, that she might next lose the use of her front limbs too.

Would anyone have any comments/information for me about loss of use of limbs as a result of Cushing's? Is this degenerative progression normal? Should I be pushing for more (or different) medication? (She is on 10mg of Adrestan (10mg trilostane, same as Vetoryl in the USA/UK), every other day, for 2 kg body weight.)

She's a super interesting dog with lots of spunk and I am horrified at the possibility that she might lose her ability to get around.

We have cancer surgery scheduled for a different dog on Thursday morning first thing, so I'll take her in then to get the paw checked out (and probably another cortisol check).

BTW I also ran a search on the forums at but didn't have much luck finding anything specific to our situation, so I thought I'd ask here first.

Oh, and for diet, I have her (and everyone else) on a homecooked diet, with occasional meals of Innova Evo fish for days when I'm unable to cook.

February 28th, 2012, 08:03 PM
I am very sorry to hear about your Chihuahua's troubles. It saddens me to think about her raising her poor little paw in the air.

Did you check out the k9cushings forum?

I did a search for 'weak limbs' and that returned numerous related threads so I think that is pretty common. As for the paw in the air, I am not sure. Maybe you can find something on that forum. Good luck with your other doggy's surgery too.

February 28th, 2012, 10:48 PM
Sorry that you are having troubles with your senior Chi. I do not know about Cushings and hope that I will never have to research this horrible disease. Take care of your girl.

February 29th, 2012, 01:37 AM
The Cushing's site is excellent and I think it'd be good to ask people there about this problem your little Chi' is having. I know that my Sheltie that had Cushings became very weak in the hind legs, she couldn't jump up on my lap like she used to, and if I rested my hands on her hindquarters, as she moved I could feel terrible clicks and crunches like advanced arthritis. It is a terrible complaint and it wouldn't surprise me if dogs gave up and did the least they needed to.

March 1st, 2012, 09:33 PM
Aleo1203, thanks for the suggestion-- I had searched that exact site earlier (before I posted here) using I think words like "weak legs" and came up with nothing. I'll try again using the search terms you suggested!

We went to the vet yesterday (BTW, the 18 yr old toy poodle got through surgery fine. They did the right hand side of her chest/stomach, taking out perhaps half a dozen cancerous growths. When I adopted her at 17.5 last summer she already had one tumor the size of a golf ball on that side, but it was decided not to put her under anesthesia because of her bloodwork results, but she now has a very aggressively-growing one that is bright red, so we decided to take the risk).

They x-rayed the Chi's front legs but found nothing. Vet thinks it is from excessive use/pressure on the front legs now that the hind legs are useless, and he expects things to go downhill from here. She is quite active and I find her all over the room over the course of a day. Quite a large territory for a dog her size, especially considering that she sleeps 20 hours a day.

We did a cortisol test also and should get the results back next week!

March 7th, 2012, 02:52 AM
Well, we got the cortisol test results back, and the number was well in the range of normal. There goes my pet theory that she needs a boost in meds.

I'm attaching photos here. The vet says that he thinks it's too much stress on the front legs because she can no longer use the back legs at all, and she is trying to relieve pressure on it.

But that doesn't sound right to me, because she holds the paw WAY up there. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the forearm is right up against her chest-- maybe easier to see how sharp the angle of her elbow is in the picture in which she is being held. If she were just relieving pressure on it, I would expect her to barely hold it off the ground, not hold it way up there against her body, especially when she is being held and there is no "weight" to be relieving from the limb.

That said, (1) we took X-rays and found no problems, and (2) she doesn't constantly keep that paw in the air. Sometimes she puts weight on it.

Any ideas about other side issues that could cause a similar reaction? :confused:

BTW it looks like she is pain, but she isn't (as far as I can tell). She's blind and when she listens, she kinda looks up at the sky like that.

And yes I know she could give Gene Simmons a run for his money, what with that tongue. :D (Have we done that yet for monthly photos? Pets who "look like"/remind us of famous people? I already have my photo ready :D )

March 7th, 2012, 10:38 AM
OMGoodness she really does have a tongue!:crazy:

I had a thought when I looked at ther pictures holding her paw/leg up, Ligament or Tendon shrinking? :crazy: I know this is way out there but I have seen people whose fingers have curled into their palms and not able to stretch them out.

Search out a Tellington TTouch Practioner in Toyko, they may be able to ease some of this problem. Or......checkout TTouch youtube videos.

March 7th, 2012, 10:53 AM
Heck of a tongue, isn't it? I mean, her head isn't all that big, you know? Crazy!

Could be a ligament thing! Makes sense, since she does it even when held aloft.

I just googled TTouch on the Japanese language google and I found a web page:
They seem to run classes.

One is this weekend, for US$1,650 (:eek:!) for two days' (!) training, for rabbits.

That's a bit steep for me... I think I need to try to learn it from YouTube instead!

I'll look it up on YouTube next!

March 7th, 2012, 08:16 PM
I didn't know that dogs can lose the use of their legs permanently when they have Cushings. Our dogs legs would get weak and we'd have to carry her, but the next day they'd be fine. Is permanent loss a common thing to happen?