A little background...my Jax is 3.5 years old and we have known since he was a pup that he has HD. We waited for xrays until we were ready to embark on surgical treatment. Well, that time has come and boy did it change things.
Jax went to the vet Tuesday, planned to stay all day so he could be sedated for the films. When the vet ran the blood panel for sedation, he noted some of his levels were pretty significantly off, so he did a bit more digging. (can I just say, I love our vet!) With everything he was seeing, weight loss, hind end weakness, crest forming on his skull from muscle mass loss, droopy skin, grey coat, thick skin, he really looked far older than his time. Jax could pass for a 10 year old rottie easy right now. It's so scary how quick it sneaks up on you. You see them every day so the changes are noticeable, but not as distinct as they are to others. Anyhow, our vet really suspected Addison's, so he ran the ACTH test and told me what they were thinking and would be in touch. Wednesday morning the vet called me before they even opened, the lab had called him directly because Jax's cortisol levels were UNMEASURABLE in the pre/post ACTH draw and vet wanted me to bring him in right away to get treated. So I get him up there yesterday morning, do the injection and head back home. I'm probably a little crazy, but I swear just 12 hours after his injection, he was standing up straighter and not slouching his hind end as much (if at all, really) getting up quicker and more responsive to us being around and wanting to play. He was even scratching his ears with vigor last night and not just a slow, turtle-esqu pace he had been for quite a while. I'm SO extremely thankful our vet put the puzzle together that we didn't really know we had. We knew something was wrong, but we all thought it was the HD. Turns out, he doesn't even have HD, he does have lumbar spine arthritis, but said it was pretty minor, and the good news is that with treatment for Addisons, all the signs we were seeing and attributing to the HD should resolve.
I did a forum search and saw a few of you have had some experience with Addisons. Have any of you experienced Addisons and HD in the same pup? We're hopeful we won't need to treat HD for quite a while, but want to be prepared. so far we have not started pred. Is that a requirement for Addisons along with the injections? Any insight, tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated as we begin this journey.
I have no advice but sorry this is happening. Hopefully someone will chime in with experience. Sounds like you have a wonderful vet to look for other issues. I hope it works out that you don't have to deal with HD. Best of luck.
I will start off by saying I do not have an addison's dog. I do have a dog with moderate HD....she is not a rottie she is a little staffy mix. I did a TON of research on cushing's and addison's back when we weren't quite sure what was plaguing my rottie boy Lou.
Anyway..... While it certainly fast to see results with the shot it is not surprising. Cortisol which is not being produced in an addison's dog or it's being minimally produced helps with muscle tone and the lubrication of joints. Many people with cushing's dogs mention that when they get it under control their dog starts coming up lame. You right now are experiencing the opposite which is awesome. The cortisol is going to help those joints feel better plus long term you should see better muscle tone which will help tremendously as well.
The biggest thing with HD is alot of it depends on the dog. As I said my little Tot has moderate HD but is never lame. She does have an odd quirky gait when she runs but omg she jumps and runs and goes nuts. My vet who did the x-rays on Tot said that he has seen dogs with mild HD that can barely walk and dogs with severe that you'd never know. The reason we got little Tot x-rayed is when we rescued her at 2 for the first couple weeks she was a little lame in the mornings. Once we got her muscle tone built up along with good diet and exercise and supplements as I said we have never had a lame day and it's been 4 1/2 years.
When Jax was x-rayed and diagnosed with HD did they tell you if it was mild, moderate or severe?
Since you'll probably see a marked improvement in energy you can slowly start building the muscle tone /strength back up. Swimming is an excellent low impact exercise that would help greatly to build muscle and give a great workout. I'd also recommend supplements. Fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin and microlactin are what I would recommend. These supplements will also help with the joint issues and it's possible your boy may never need surgery. Another thing is to keep him lean. A dog with HD should never be allowed to carry any extra weight as it is so hard on the joints. The other thing that may help is diet.
I'm not sure what you feed now but I would recommend a food that has no corn in it. Some people say that a grainfree food will help even more as even grains can aggravate poor joints. I personally feed both grained and grainfree foods and have never seen a difference but your results might be different.
I feed them both grain free, but low calorie from a local supplier. I'm not sure if we're allowed to name names or not, so I'll err on the side of caution. They're a small business who locally grow and make their pet foods at a better price than the chains, but nearly identical content. Oddly enough, we went grain free when Jax started having skin issues, hot spots and excessive shedding. Turns out it was all probably related to the Addisons' setting in.
As far as is x-rays, his HD is mild. Bella also has HD (lucky me!) but hers is moderate. But true to what you said, Bella will run, jump, pounce and play without so much as a limp, yet Jax has been very lame, weak upon standing, stumbling and the whole nine. I am so hopeful that as he begins to feel better from having the cortisol, he will begin building more muscle mass. I tried swimming last summer and poor baby was utterly terrified of the water. The instructor and I tried everything and he would never settle enough to get anywhere. Maybe we'll give it another shot once he is used to having cortisol in his system again.
Jax does have a funky gait, he's my little bunny hopper. He's started to pick up chase after the ball again and instead of a stride pattern he moves both hind legs at the same time it's cute!
I never thought about the cortisol helping with his joints, but that is fantastic news, and I sure hope it comes right along with the territory!
I honestly don't think there is an issue naming the food. Heck someone else on here may feed it and have comments or someone else may be considering it.
My little Tot does more the bunny run as well but walking you'd never know. And even when he gets more muscle mass back he will probably always keep that gait.
Not sure if your vet ever tested Jax's thyroid. He is fairly young to have thyroid issues but some of the symptoms of cushings and addison's mimic some of the hypothyroid issues. He probably doesn't have it as weight gain is usually a big factor but alot of times when one area of the internal system is borked up another is as well. Just something to consider down the road if everything isn't falling into place.
As far as swimming. My guy Lou...who was recommended swimming as PT for after surgery for a torn cruciate...he hated swimming for probably the first 4-6 weeks. HATED it. Then it was like a light went off and he realized how fun it was. For the rest of his life he had a standing Friday morning 8am swim. So don't be discouraged if it takes Jax a couple weeks or better to decide swimming is fun. Did they use a life jacket? Even if he never likes it....my little Tot who is deaf never took to the water. I think it's because if her head went under she lost all her senses but anyway...even if he never likes swimming you could always look into the underwater treadmills. Or if you know of a pond or river where it's not overly deep you could walk him in that. The resistance will still help even if he isn't truly swimming.
The big thing now is while he is feeling better you want to keep things in moderation. He might want to go balls to the wall non-stop but you'll want to rein him in a little so he doesn't get all sore.