Thursday, January 31, 2008


It looks like Mars (one of our Rottweilers) has Cushing's disease (aka hyperadrenocorticism). What's that, you might ask... It's either a pituitary tumor causing the adrenals to produce too much cortisone or a tumor on the adrenals causing the overproduction. Not good on the body and can eventually cause serious problems. We think we caught it early, as he's not showing the typical initial symptoms of drinking a lot of water/excessive urination. His alkaline phosphatase enzyme was elevated in a liver panel they did before he got his teeth cleaned a few months ago. When he gotsome additional blood work done before his root canal work the enzyme was still high. The vet suggested that peridontal disease could have caused the elevated values (normal is ~150, he was 800) so we had him tested again Tuesday, about a month after the root canal. It was even higher than before, over 1000 (not sure of the units).
Sooooo...the vet did the test for Cushings and his values were in the "consistent-with-Cushing's" zone. But other liver function values were normal, which is good. Since Mars is also somewhat arthritic, treating Cushings to reduce cortisone levels may make the arthritis worse. So for now we'll probably have Mars get an ultrasound to determine if it is pituitary or adrenal and get him on rimadyl for the arthritis. We'll probably waiton the Cushings treatment since it is pretty harsh - the drug is relatedto DDT and basically kills the adrenal cells. Kill too many and you get Addison's disease, not really good either. Now we know what to watch for and can keep an eye on him. So a bummer, but we're hoping it can stay under control for now. Mars will be 8 years old on Valentine's day so he's no young'un.

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