Worried about Oreo!!! Cushings or Not?

Discussion in 'Lantus / Basaglar (glargine) and Levemir (detemir)' started by oreosmom, Dec 24, 2013.

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  1. oreosmom

    oreosmom Member

    Apr 16, 2012
    Hi All,

    I haven't written for a while since Oreo had been doing great, but this has changed! As many of you have read, Oreo is a diabetic that also has GI lymphoma. He has been on Lantus, prednisilone and Leukeran for about a year and a half. In the past month he has started licking the underside of the tail near his rectum. He entirely licked off the fur. Then we noticed his hair thinning and falling out. But his lower underbelly is red, hot and irritated! The hair around his collar is thinning out in patches! He looks really miserable and has no energy! He is still eating OK. We took him to the vet today (third visit this month) and she said it looked like a contact dermatitis but....also was concerned about Cushing's Disease. She said Cushing's was very rare in cats. She put him on an antihistamine, and a spray called VetericynVF. She switched the prednisilone to prednisone. He lost three pounds since September.

    Coincidentally, we had a dishwasher leak in our kitchen the day after Thanksgiving! It was worse than we thought and the entire floor had to be removed. A real mess! The floor had asbestos in it and a haz-mat team had to come out and remove the asbestos tiles. This is all around the same time Oreo started his symptoms!!! We are still without a floor since the re-construction isn't done.

    Can Cushing's disease cause hot, red itchy skin with hair loss? Or does this sound like a skin allergy? The vets arent even sure. Is there a test to confirm Cushing's? We are very worried!

    I appreciate any input! Signed, Oreo's Worried Momhttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... mdPSl94WWc
  2. julie & punkin (ga)

    julie & punkin (ga) Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    i can't answer all of your questions, but most cats with cushing's are female. i haven't heard that the skin is itchy, but it tears easily. so it doesn't just get irritated from licking, it actually develops tears from touching.

    food allergies aren't uncommon in cats and can cause skin problems, including itching.

    Here's a little more information from the High Dose forum:


  3. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    In addition to the links Julie provided, I like this site for veterinary info: Marvista vet - Cushings. There are links to the specifics of symptoms, treatment, etc. 0n the menu bar on the left. Cushings may be a possibility given that Oreo has been on steroids for a while.
  4. Michelle and Mannie (GA)

    Michelle and Mannie (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi - I can't answer most of your questions, but can tell you that yes, there is test for Cushings. We went though this with Mannie,as for a while he was symptomatic for Cushings. We dealt with an IM Specialist, and the test involves urine collection. The testing can be a bit pricey, but might be worth your piece of mind. It almost sounds like maybe you are dealing with some sort of contact dermatitis?
  5. Linda and Bear Man

    Linda and Bear Man Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    My cat, Bear Man, took Prednisolone on a long term basis for IBD and developed Iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome. This consists of symptoms of Cushing's disease caused not by a pituitary or adrenal tumour, but by steroid use. The typical Cushingoid appearance is a pot belly, a poor hair coat (thinning and balding), muscle weakness, and thin, fragile skin. In serious cases, this can lead to skin tears - the skin pulls apart with very little provocation. These skin tears are difficult to treat. My cat did not progress to that point. There are lab tests for Cushing's disease, but my cat was not tested. The Cushingoid signs in a cat on steroids can give a diagnosis of Iatrogenic Cushing's. I am not sure if the lab tests would give valid results in a cat taking steroids. It is worth asking your vet if the medication would affect the results. There is a medication for Cushing's, but it is a heavy duty medication with side effects. The more logical treatment would be to taper down or eliminate the steroid medication.

    I had another cat who had GI lymphoma, and who did well on the Leukeran and Prednisolone combo. I understand why the Pred is important for Oreo, and why you might be reluctant to taper the dose. It is worth discussing with the vet, if the antihistamine treatment is not effective, whether Oreo is still tolerating the Pred well, and if it should be tapered.

    Having said that, the licking and the red, hot, and irritated skin do sound more like an allergy or dermatitis. The timing of the onset of symptoms is suspicious. Cushings does not, in my experience, cause irritation or redness of the skin, though I have read that scaling of the skin may be a symptom. It is possible that two things are going on at once. I found that if Bear Man lost hair, for example after shaving for a medical test, it never grew back. Perhaps Oreo has something irritating his skin, and the steroids are slowing or preventing a normal amount of healing and hair regrowth. I would give the current treatment a couple of weeks to take effect, and if it is not successful, then you need to ave further discussion with the vet. In the meantime, be very vigilant about Oreo's skin. If this is Cushing's it is important to try and prevent skin tears. If he is currently licking the skin, you may need to consider putting and E-collar on him, whether it is allergy or Cushing's. Licking will delay healing.

    It sounds like you are doing a very good job with managing his lymphoma. I know it is a huge juggling act. I hope that the skin issues resolve quickly.
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