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Species: Dog
Breed: Collie X Border Coll
Age: 11-15 years
Hi Dr. Marie. My name is Kim. I'm from Sydney, Australia. My dog, Lassie is going on 12 in November. I know that's old for a dog.

My mum took her to the vet and he did a blood test and he suspects Lassie may have cushing's disease but she hasn't shown any signs of the disease. I was wondering how long can a dog live with cushing's and also what is the cost of treatment in Australia.

Thanks so much! Kim.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks so much for your question Kim. Cushing's is a condition that can be hard to explain but I'll do my best to give you some ideas about Lassie.

First of all, I don't tend to treat cushing's unless there are clinical signs. These signs include a really high thirst and urination as well as an increase in appetite. As the disease progresses we see a large abdomen, skin issues and more.

If your dog is not showing any of these signs, it is possible that what your vet saw was an increase in something called the alkaline phosphatase level. Many times a dog with a high ALP will have cushing's but sometimes it can be a sign of something else. I have found that some older dogs have high ALP and we can't figure out why.

Another possibility is if your vet diagnosed cushing's with a urine test. If this test is high it CAN mean cushing's but sometimes other things will cause an increase.

Has your vet done a low dose dexamethasone suppression test? This is the test we most commonly use to diagnose cushing's. If this test is conclusive then cushing's is very likely.

There are several treatments but they can be costly. It is hard to say for certain what the costs are but the main costs are in the routine bloodwork that must be run, especially in the first few months.

I hope this information helps!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.