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This afternoon, my 12 year old irish bitch has been diagnosed wih Cushings Disease and treatment will start tommorrow with medication.  If anyone on ES has experience of this in an elderly irish  I would very much like to hear from you particularly with regard to how well the dog responded to treatment.

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What does it come from? Is it from ongoing treatment with steroids? Or is the cause unknown? 


All the best with the treatment!

Hi Ilona, As I understand it from my vet Poppy has enlarged adrenal glands which are producing an increased level of the hormone cortisone.  Her symptoms have been excessive panting and drinking, urine incontinence, lethargy and a slightly pot-bellied abdomen. Treatment (in Poppy's case) is with a steroid called vetoryl.  I'll report back in a couple of months to let you know if we have had any success with the treatment .
Have not had a dog with Cushings,   Have heard that they respond to treatment very well.  You see alot of cushings in older horses.  Good luck with your little girl

I had an Irish bitch with Cushings.She was about nine when it was diagnosed.She lived until she was nearly eleven.She would not settle and walk round the rooms all the time,it is not an easy disease because the dog can,and ours did,become fearful.Even of my wife and me.She would drink a lot and became incontinent of urine,however she was treated with Vetoryl (Modrenal, Trilostane) and there was an improvement.I don't know where you live but I do not think this drug is licenced in the US.

If there is anything else I can help you with please ask.


Hi Kate,

I am very sorry to read this. I had a dog diagnosed with Cushing at the age of 7 and he lived to 10 years old. It can be stablelised with Vetoryl but it is expensive as you have labs report on all his functions levels regularly to make sure the dog is given the right dose. Tom lived a fairly comfortable life to 10 years old until he deteriorated quite quickly.His temperament did not change and he was not in pain, just slowed down a bit. He did have a bit of a pot bellied look which is normal for Cushings syndrome.Before he went on Vetoryl, I did tried the homeopathic route ( horses respond quite well to it) but unfortunately this did not work with Tom. I wish you luck. Take care of your little girl xxx

Hi Catherine,

Thanks for your reply.  I have collected the Vetoryl this afternoon so hopefully Poppy will respond to the medication and stabilise soon. She will be going back for tests on a regular basis so I'm relieved I didn't cancel her insurance earlier this year. 

Hi Camilla, thanks for that positive reply!  I have just collected Vetoryl medication and Poppy will be tested again in 10 days.  Hopefully it will stabilise her and she will start to enjoy her excercise again.


Hi Katie,

My dog always enjoyed her walks even with full blown Cushings.It seems to effect different dogs in different ways.Bobbie never lost her fur but it didn't grow again where she had to be shaved for a blood sample.The Veteryl worked very well and once we got her dosage correct she was a happier dog.She used to enjoy one part of her tests,we used to have to starve her then she would be tested ,she would stay at the vet's and  they fed her McDonald's burgers, tested then tested again some hours later.The McDonald's she liked!

However there was a personality change ,as I said earlier,she became very fearful.

I hope all goes well with you and Poppy and,like you,I was grateful for her insurance!

Unfortunately I have had three Irish who have had Cushings, all would have been aged 9 years or older when diagnosed. The first received excellent care and lived for two years after going on to medication. The second was accidentally overdosed with medication by the Vet and developed Addisons, she died within a month. The third I did not have treated because of this experience and he lived for a bit over a year. I found a support group on Yahoo that was a great help:


No doubt things have improved dramatically since my last experience so sure you will be receiving excellent treatment.

Just to say my old girl Jinty started with Cushings at age 8 and was successfully treated with 'Vetoryl'  Trilostane. she started off with the usual symptoms, excessive thirst, panting, urinating, pot belly and hair loss, with the treatment she was back to her 'normal' self within a very short time, her coat reverted to being very glossy from the fuzzy 'spayed' coat she had had, she was possibly a little slower but then age could have been a contribution and she remained a very happy dog until death at 15 years 8 months.

Never knew if the Cushings started with her having long term steroid treatment for recurrent bacterial skin infections or due to a benign tumour in the pituitary gland that causes it to over produce natural steroids.

From what my vet told me at the time he was very pleased with the results achieved with Trilostane and had successfully treated a number of dogs. It is an 'ongoing' and quite expensive treatment fortunately Jinty was insured and it did help with the costs and my vet matched the 'online' price and without it I would not have had almost 8 more years with my special girl.

I know it's a huge shock when you hear that your dog is ill, but remember this diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, there are more dogs 'living with' Cushings than ever before!



To all of you who responded to my discussion regarding Cushings, Poppy has now been on medication for 4 weeks and is responding well to Vetoryl. She is no longer continuously panting, the excessive drinking has stopped and she is happier to have her twice daily exercise.


Hi Mel

Poppy is on 30mg vetoryl capsules but thank you for the very kind offer.





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