Sam's double diseases

Sam is an 11 year old Maltese Terrier cross who was presented to us in February this year as his owner had noticed that he had started drinking and urinating a lot. A general blood test was taken from Sam and the result showed that his liver enzymes had increased. Based on this, Dr Suzanne recommended a more specific test for a disease called Cushing's Disease, which unfortunately came back positive.

Cushing's disease occurs where the adrenal glands (that usually produce cortisone and other 'fight or flight' hormones) become overactive. This means that they produce a lot more of these hormones which can lead to lots of problems. Sam was started on a special medication given every morning. This medication prevents the production of these hormones and will make Sam feel much better. It took a few months to adjust the dose of his medications but he is now on a stable dose and his Cushing's is being controlled.

Last week Sam came in again as his owner now noticed that he had started to drink more again and was losing weight. He was eating really well but his weight was just falling off him. Dr Suzanne took a blood test and an urine test which unfortunately showed that as well as his Cushing's disease he had now developed diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin. When you eat your body breaks down food into glucose. This is then used by all of your cells to power them. Insulin is a key that lets glucose from your blood into your cells (such as your brain and muscles) to keep them working. When insulin is not there, even though you are eating, the sugar is not getting into your cells so they think you are starving. Extra glucose comes out in urine and your body cannot keep any weight on.

Sam's owner needed to start giving insulin injections twice a day and is doing a fantastic job. Recently Sam came in for his first blood glucose test which helps us ensure that he is on the correct dose. Sam is doing much better now both of his diseases are being controlled.

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