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Anyone have a dog with Addison's disease?

My min pin is getting tested tomorrow for Addison's.  The vet has been suspecting it for awhile but we were trying some other options first (Metro for diarrhea and then an antibiotic, plus two food changes)  Since non of these were working, we are on to testing for Addison's.

Just looking for an owners perspective if anyone has experienced this.

Her biggest symptoms are shaking (which is common in min pins just on a normal basis)  Sensitivity to her back legs, and the biggest one has been her constant needing to poop.  She goes about once an hour or more. 


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My gorgeous girl in the snow.
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Re: Anyone have a dog with Addison's disease?

  • Oh and right now she eats Natural Balance fish and sweet potato.  She was on wellness before that, and then we tried wellness limited ingredients.  Her poo is more solid on the Natural balance. 

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    My gorgeous girl in the snow.
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  • I'm sorry I don't have any advice on the disease, but I wanted to say I'm terribly sorry you're going through this. It sounds like you're a wonderful pet parent and I hope that everything works out for you and your pup lives a long healthy life. 
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  • its a really rough disease and can be deadly if not controlled so I am glad you are getting tested. Treatment is life long but it'd relatively cheap and easy to manage. If it is addisons once you get her on the proper dose you will have a new dog on your hands :)
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    DD born 1.25.15

  • My mom's St. Bernard has addisons on top of a couple other issues. The meds are relatively cheap and she gets hers at Harris Teeter(grocery store) or Wal-mart as a lot of the meds can be used for people too. She does have to adjust the meds and one of them makes him aggresive. Yeah imagine a 200 lb dog trying to attack people. She can't leave him anywhere with people he doesn't know so I have to stay and watch him. He is fine with my husband, me, my parents, and a couple people. He gets VERY thirsty on one of the meds too and so  you have to watch him. There have been a lot of days where I have been here and come back after 8 hours of work to have pee and diarrea. The meds once adjusted make him act very normal, other than the aggression. He does have to go to the vet more often than he would without a disease. It is managable.
  • There are several former regulars who have dogs with Addison's, I'll cross post you so they can respond.  I know both Lucky and Sadie are doing very well with treatment.
    image "...Saving just one pet won't change the world...but, surely, the world will change for that one pet..."
  • Hopefully, you'll have answers soon.  My dog did not have Addisions, but had Cushings with bouts of secondary Addisons.  Having a vet who is really on top of it helps.  It's not a disease to play around with and you want to get her treated as soon as you get an answer.

    How long have her symptoms been going on?   Is she loosing weight noticably?

  • I used to post here regularly and i saw the XP from Kel. My dog Sadie was dx in early April after going into a crisis. Addisons can be mimic many diseases so often it can take some time to get to the bottom of it. The ACTH stun test is somewhat pricey but that is the diagnostic test. Electrolytes can also help point you in the direction of treatment and medication dosage. Dogs with addisons need daily low doses of prednisone to replace the steroids they can't make. A very small dose is usually sufficient. If a dogs electrolytes show elevated potassium they will also need a monthly injection of a different (more expensive) steroid. In my reasearch it is preferable to give this every 28 days. The first dose is usually higher than necessary though and it takes a few months of lowering the dose to get it right. With a small dog it shouldn't be too expensive, but it isn't cheap. There is a really great yahoo group that I would check out. They can answer all of your questions and help you make informed decisions about the treatment. Since het crisis my dog has been really doing well. We are still lowering her steroid doses and I'm trying to get her endurance back up since her crisis kind of hit her hard. A dog on treatment should not go into crisis if properly monitored and should not have a reduced life expectancy. If you have any specific questions let me know. I usually post on Getting pregnant so you can page me over there in the future. Best of luck to your pup.

    I could hold you for a million years
    To make you feel my love.
  • I'm laughing at the idea that Addison's is cheap to treat. Maybe it's less expensive compared to some, but I wouldn't call it cheap. Especially not at the beginning.


    My dog was dx with Addison's Disease in June 2008.  We've been successfully maintaining it without incident for 4 years now.

    As another poster said, it's a lifelong condition.  The general recommended treatment is a daily low dose of prednisone combined with an injection of Percorten once a month.  The pred is cheap; the Percorten is not.  One 4mL bottle of Percorten runs us about $210.

    There is another medication called Florinef but I've not seen it recommended much and it's generally only used for very small dogs who would be hard to dose with Percorten (which is partially weight based).

     

    The startup costs can also be a shocker.  Once you have the diagnosis, you'll need to start playing with dosage to find how much Percorten she needs.  This invovles bloodwork being drawn for electrolyte levels 14 days post-injection.  Our vet did 14 days, 21 days and 28 days post injection the first time, then at 14 and 28 days after.  Most dogs need an injection of Percorten every 25-28 days.  You'll start with an initial high-ish dose of Percorten to get her stable and then work with your vet over the first few months to decrease it to the level that works best for her.

    You'll also be starting at a higher dose of Prednisone than she should be maintained on.  Again, you'll want to work with your vet to decrease that.  My vet's preference (and ours) was to play with the dosage of only one medication at a time.

    It took us about 6 months of bi-weekly bloodwork to get his medication at a nice, low level.  Each dog is different but, as an example, my ~45ish lb dog gets 1mg of Pred a day and 1mL of Percorten a month.

    Once she's stable your vet may choose to only run the bloodwork every 6 months.  This is what we do.  We usually try and lump that bloodwork in with other ones (e.g. heartworm test, etc.).  It ends up being cheaper that way.


    There really are no other lifestyle changes.  You don't need to switch foods or give supplements or anything like that. The big thing is you want to carefully monitor them in situations that are "stressful" - physically or emotionally.  Stress can be a trigger for a crisis, which can be fatal.  Generally, if you know ahead of time she's going into a stressful situation, you can give an extra half dose of her pred without thinking about it.  Then just watch for warning signs.

    That all said, once they're stable on their new meds, though, it's fairly simple to fall into the routine and let life continue like normal.

  • Just an FYI I have heard that Costco pharmacy will order percorten and pricematch online pharmacies. We get ours from our vet for $165 for 4 ml.

    I could hold you for a million years
    To make you feel my love.
  • image BackseatDriver:
    Just an FYI I have heard that Costco pharmacy will order percorten and pricematch online pharmacies. We get ours from our vet for $165 for 4 ml.

    Yeah, we don't have a local Costco. *cries*

    I also know Target has started doing Pet prescriptions as well.  The prednisone is crazy cheap there.  Like $4 for 100 ct or something?

    I need to talk to them again about ordering the Drs Foster and Smith or something.  They're at $180, not including shipping.

  • image curlydoglover:

    image BackseatDriver:
    Just an FYI I have heard that Costco pharmacy will order percorten and pricematch online pharmacies. We get ours from our vet for $165 for 4 ml.

    Yeah, we don't have a local Costco. *cries*

    I also know Target has started doing Pet prescriptions as well.  The prednisone is crazy cheap there.  Like $4 for 100 ct or something?

    I need to talk to them again about ordering the Drs Foster and Smith or something.  They're at $180, not including shipping.

    That is too bad about not having a Costco :(  Prednisone is stupid cheap there as well. We're lucky that our vet office doesn't charge a very high rate for the Percorten. I'm not sure why they are so much cheaper than many other places.

    I'm thinking Sadie's percorten dose will end up around 1 ml which isn't terrible, but not what I would consider cheap, especially since we're still doing monthly appointments and electrolytes- it adds up!

    I'm sure you're more familiar with the percorten than florinef, but I think with florinef dogs don't need daily prednisone. Not that it would help much in the cost savings! I don't really know how they dose the florinef or if they follow the same reduction schedule that is recommended for percorten. As for the percorten doses, it seems that the recommended starting dose of is pretty high. My vet started Sadie off at a lower than recommended dose and we still had to lower quite a bit. I'm not sure if florinef is the same.


    I could hold you for a million years
    To make you feel my love.
  • Also CDL- I was just wondering how things went after the birth of your son. I'm wondering if I'll need to increase her pred dose at that time and by how much. I'm sure every dog is different, but it was a foster dog that ended up pushing her into her crisis to start with. I think a new baby will be stressful for her and I definitely want to monitor her carefully. I'm still getting used to judging when she needs more or less prednisone. Oddly I think the fireworks this season will be a good learning experience for me.

    I could hold you for a million years
    To make you feel my love.
  • Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was taking my mom to Dr's appointments today and then Penny had her blood work.  We should know by tomorrow.  They were just checking her cortizol levels.

    She only weighs 5.2 pounds, but should be 6 pounds.  She has always had issues with getting diarrhea and sometimes vomiting whenever she was stressed (vet visit, we went out of town, etc) but after a bout of boiled chicken and rice and slowly putting her back on her food, she'd be perfectly fine.  Well we had her teeth cleaned in March and about two days later the diarrhea started, and it just hasn't gone away.  She isn't shooting out straight water anymore, but she still goes about once an hour and she goes A LOT if she's stressed.  In just 45 minutes time she went outside the vet, inside the vet, and then inside pet supplies plus.  She used to be very calm but she's been getting agitated with my other dog fairly easily (which I don't blame her, I'm irritable when I'm sick too)

    So in March for her teeth cleaning, she was about 6.2 pounds, and as of a couple of weeks ago she was 5.2.  Which one pound for such a small dog is a significant amount of weight loss.   

    So far she has been tested for....

    Worms (two fecals both negative )

    Urine test (kidney, liver and bladder were fine)

    Three blood tests.

    Addison's test.

    The blood work she had done a few weeks ago showed that she had an infection.  We couldn't figure out where but knew it wasn't UTI related since they did a urine sample the same day.  Her white blood cells were around 30k when she should only have been around 4k.  So we did a broad spectrum antibiotic to treat that, and whatever the infection was has cleared up.  Vet assumed that due to the stress on her bowels, it was probably an infection in her colon or intestines.

    I've been researching like crazy and so many things point to addison's.

    Depending on her diagnosis and how much her treatment would cost, we are not 100% if we are going to be able to afford her treatment.  If she is able to be treated with just prednisone (I'm drawing a blank on which type of addison's can be treated this way) then we know we can afford her care.  But if she has to have the injections we are not for sure yet.  Since she's so small, we are hoping it would be less than 50 a month (which is what we could afford right now)

    As much as it sucks to think about, we have found her another home if we cannot afford her care.  One of the techs wants a min pin for her mother, and since she works at the vet she'd be able to afford a lot more due to discounts.  But we will cross that bridge when we come to it... 


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    My gorgeous girl in the snow.
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  • Get her thyroid tested, also.

    Hyperactive thyroids can cause lots and lots of diarrhea and shakiness of the legs. GL.
  • image BlueGirl9603:

    Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was taking my mom to Dr's appointments today and then Penny had her blood work.  We should know by tomorrow.  They were just checking her cortizol levels.

    They did an ACTH Stimulation test, correct? That's the only test that will diagnose Addison's Disease.  And I'm surprised they don't do in-house results for that.  That's generally not the sort of thing you want to wait around a day or two for....

    On her previous rounds of bloodwork, did they check her electrolyte, BUN and creatine levels at all?  If so, what were they?

    image BlueGirl9603:

    Depending on her diagnosis and how much her treatment would cost, we are not 100% if we are going to be able to afford her treatment.  If she is able to be treated with just prednisone (I'm drawing a blank on which type of addison's can be treated this way) then we know we can afford her care.  But if she has to have the injections we are not for sure yet.  Since she's so small, we are hoping it would be less than 50 a month (which is what we could afford right now)

    As much as it sucks to think about, we have found her another home if we cannot afford her care.  One of the techs wants a min pin for her mother, and since she works at the vet she'd be able to afford a lot more due to discounts.  But we will cross that bridge when we come to it... 

    Because she's so small and Percorten is weight based, I would expect your monthly costs to be under $50.  According to the Percorten Calculator, her initial starting dose - which is always higher than what she will be maintained at - would be between .18 and .25mL.  That gives you 16 doses per bottle.  That's over a year's worth.  So even at my vet's price of $210 a bottle, that averages out to $13 a month.  And, as I said, the Prednisone is cheap.

    Also, as someone else mentioned, there is the option of Florinef.  I haven't a clue what it costs but if you go that route you don't have to do prednisone either - just the Florinef and, IIRC, lightly salting her food.

     

    Honestly, if she IS Addisonain and reacts to stress the way you describe, I'd say re-homing her has a good chance of sending her into a crisis.  That should be part of your consideration.

  • image BackseatDriver:
    Also CDL- I was just wondering how things went after the birth of your son. I'm wondering if I'll need to increase her pred dose at that time and by how much. I'm sure every dog is different, but it was a foster dog that ended up pushing her into her crisis to start with. I think a new baby will be stressful for her and I definitely want to monitor her carefully. I'm still getting used to judging when she needs more or less prednisone. Oddly I think the fireworks this season will be a good learning experience for me.

    He did fine!  Zero problems with his adjustment, medically speaking.  I think there was one day that first week he threw up, so I gave him an extra dose of prednisone. We never had any serious problems once B was born.

    But Lucky is a super-chill dog.  There isn't much that stresses him out.

  • image curlydoglover:

    image BackseatDriver:
    Also CDL- I was just wondering how things went after the birth of your son. I'm wondering if I'll need to increase her pred dose at that time and by how much. I'm sure every dog is different, but it was a foster dog that ended up pushing her into her crisis to start with. I think a new baby will be stressful for her and I definitely want to monitor her carefully. I'm still getting used to judging when she needs more or less prednisone. Oddly I think the fireworks this season will be a good learning experience for me.

    He did fine!  Zero problems with his adjustment, medically speaking.  I think there was one day that first week he threw up, so I gave him an extra dose of prednisone. We never had any serious problems once B was born.

    But Lucky is a super-chill dog.  There isn't much that stresses him out.

    That is great to hear!


    I could hold you for a million years
    To make you feel my love.
  • Update.  Negative for Addison's.  It's still POSSIBLE it could be addison's because there is another test to do...but this vet doesn't seem to think.

    I'm a little irritated because last time I was at this VCA they had TWO vets...I have talked to FOUR different vets now and there are two others I have not met!  So I keep getting the run around and a million different opinions.

    But this vet seemed WAY more knowledgeable than the other vets I had spoken with.  She actually spent about 20 minutes on the phone with me just discussing what she thinks it is based upon test results and what I had described.

    She was the first one of all four to ask what Penny's stool looked like.  When I described it as being dark and very tacky/tar like, she said "interesting".  Then when I said it also tends to be VERY greasy, she instantly said "Enzymes, I can almost guarentee she isn't producing enough enzymes to break down her food and absorb fat, so that's why she's losing weight and her stool is so greasy".

    So we are now trying giving her 1/8 cup of crushed pineapple with 1/4 tsp of non flavored meat tenderizer.  Her hope is that the natural acid from the pineapple and the meat tenderizer to break down the protein will help her digest the nutrients instead of just shooting them straight out.

    She thinks she has exocrine pancreatic inefficiency ( or EPI).  The test costs about 300 dollars and it won't tell us much of anything because there really is no "medical" treatment.  It's all diet related.  She basically said to me that most vets would say she's crazy, and call me crazy too.  But EPI is a REAL condition and it is 100% treatable with natural sources.  She didn't suggest a food change yet because she said what I feed is a very good food and being fish and sweet potato it's great for sensitive systems, and Natures balance is actually what she feeds her own dogs. 

    So for now we are kind of back to square one.  It should take about two weeks to see any results from the pineapple and meat tenderizer.  I hope it works because it cost me 3 bucks for the stuff!  


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    My gorgeous girl in the snow.
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  • My dog has EPI and it is absolutely treatable.  The blood work needed is essentially called the TLI blood test (after a 12-hour fast) and is sent to TAMU for them to read. 

    Max has done wonderfully and once stable, it not horribly expensive to treat.  They require RX enzymes on their food for LIFE and some require Tylan (antibiotic powder with food) and B12 shots (sub-q).  My Max requires all and is the picture of health.

    I urge you to get her tested asap.  It will kill her if untreated because the dog literally will starve to death.  Every bit of food/calories that go in, go right out the other end. 

    Here's the link to the EPI website/forum for reference.  http://www.epi4dogs.com/epi.htm
  • aes17aes17
    First Comment
    member
    This is an old thread, but my dog just got diagnosed with Addison's.  Please let me know how your dog is doing if that was the case.  I noticed someone mentioned relatively cheap, and I'm wondering if I am getting her meds in the wrong place.  I just paid $400 for one month supply of her Percorten.  This is something she'll need every 25 days... hoping there is a less expensive place I can purchase this.

  • I have 1 rescue dog (diagnosed 1 yr ago) and yellow lab just diagnosed.
    I use Florinef/fludrocortisone pills rather than shot...Costco was running 50 cents per pill... abcpetmeds.com @500 pills is .21 cents/pill...ships from UK & takes up to 1 month for initial supply. Anyone who is lucky enough to have stability in regulation...you are fortunate. This is difficult.
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