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Test for Cushings?

Species: Dog
Breed: Aus Shepard Mix
Age: 8-11 years
My dog is breathing rapidly, about 60 times per minute, night and day, but otherwise acting normal. Only exception is that he drinks a bit more water than usual. He had a blood test about 10 days ago. Things that are out of range include:
ALT 220
ALP 1445
Amylase 1345
Platlet 479
Diff is Absolute
Protein and pH is high in his urine, 3+ and 8 respectively

My vet wants to do the Cushings test ($333) which will be difficult to pay. Any other suggestions?

How worried should I be?

Thank you so much.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear about Thor's problems. The symptoms certainly sound like Cushing's disease. Dogs with cushing's will often pant a lot, drink more water than usual, have a very high ALP (alkaline phosphatase) and protein in their urine.

The tough thing with cushing's though is that it can be difficult to treat. With that being said, even if you weren't going to go ahead with treatment it is still a good idea to have the test done. If you know that this is Cushing's then you know what you can expect. Knowing this can help you make decisions when it comes to quality of life.

If this is not Cushing's then there are other possibilities but getting a diagnosis can be difficult. A liver condition can do this, but a liver ultrasound and biopsy would probably be needed to get a diagnosis.

There are some dogs that can have odd bloodwork changes like this and still have nothing seriously wrong with them. It's possible that the panting could be due to something like arthritis pain. If the Cushing's test came back negative then your vet may consider a trial of pain medication.

It's always hard making decisions when there is a financial burden.

If you have more questions, let me know.

Dr. Marie


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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.