Thu, 19 Jun 2003
It was the end of April of 2000, when I received a phone call from Karen
a friend of mine in Butte Mt. She was on the board of the shelter in
She said that they had a little cairn terrier, approx. five yrs. old,
that was in
need of a home. When the dog had been left at the shelter, the people
not give the employees there her name or any history on her. She was
soon adopted, but was returned a week later. The people who adopted
her said she wasn't house broken, and they did not want her. Karen
this little dog and I would be great for each other.
So on the afternoon of April 27th, I drove the 100 miles to Drummond
to meet Karen and pick up my new little girl. When I arrived in
Drummond, I pulled up next to Karen's truck and sitting on her lap
was this little ball of black fur with the biggest brown eyes looking
of the window. I fell in love with her right there and then. On the
hour ride back to Hamilton she slept most of the way on the passenger
or was sitting in my lap with her head out the window. She settled
right away, so the next thing to do was give this new addition a name.
I had a book on baby names that I was thumbing through, and came
across the name Brenna. Brenna is Irish for little raven or raven hair.
I said the name out loud, and she picked her head up and came over
to me. So she became Brenna.
Life went on, and Brenna settled into her new home and family.
She came with me on my days off to my Dad's and my sister Carol's house,
and loved being the center of attention.
In July of 2001, I noticed, that Brenna was drinking more water,
and panting a lot, But I attributed this to the hot weather. So I put
fans out for her and did my best to keep her cool. It was the first
when I noticed that Brenna was having a difficult time seeing. I called
vet right away. She came to my house the next morning. She gave
Brenna a full exam and drew blood samples. She thought it might be
diabetes. By that afternoon, I had the results of the test.
Brenna's blood glucose level was 750!
Dr. Linda, Brenna's vet, had me start her on Humulin L 5 units bid
I was to test her urine every morning and call her with the reading.
We did weekly blood tests until Dr. Linda felt comfortable with Brenna's
Brenna regulated very quickly, and was acting like a new dog, however,
I was still concerned with her constant panting, and she seemed to
gaining weight. Brenna's tummy almost touched the ground. Her heart
lungs checked out O.K.; so I thought maybe it's the heat. By the end
August, I couldn't keep Brenna's diabetes under control. She would
one extreme to another. She was drinking and eating like crazy one
I couldn't get her to eat the next. She panted constantly, even in
she would pant. One morning at 3 a.m., she had a hypo episode. So here
we were, sitting on the kitchen floor, giving Kayro syrup and praying
like mad that she will be all right.
Dr. Linda, adjusted Brenna's insulin, but to no avail. It just wasn't
On September first, we tested Brenna for Cushings disease.
The results were positive. Her little body was making to much cortisol
and the was fighting the insulin, so Brenna's body couldn't utilize
The treatment of choice for Brenna, was Lysodren. It is derivative
but it works very well for controlling Cushings disease. We started
treatment two days later, The loading dose was 250 mg twice a day.
I was to give this until I saw signs of overdose, which included diarrhea,
vomiting, lethargy, taking longer to eat than usual and decrease of
water intake. When any of these occurred, I was to stop treatment,
call Dr. Linda and set up a time for an ACTH blood test. The results
the first test showed Brenna's cortisol was still too high and I had
continue to give the Lysodren twice a day. The next four days of
treatment were tough on her. I would have to measure the amount
of water she drank, if it wasn't enough, I would sit and encourage
her to drink more. She wouldn't eat sometimes, so I had to come up
with something that she would eat. There was many a time that I sat
the floor and spoon fed her baby food or boiled dinner. Anything to
her to eat. Sometimes she would just cuddle up to me and not even move.
Her little body was going through so much, that I didn't know what
the out come would be. Brenna is a fighter, and she made it through
the treatment. The second ACTH test was much better, and she was changed
to a maintenance dose of 250 mg of Lysodren a week. Once we got
the Cushings under control, the diabetes started to regulate. The original
dosage of 5 units twice a day was reduced to 2 units twice a day.
As her body adjusted to the lower levels of cortisol, and she could
utilize the insulin better, we had to slowly increase her insulin dosage.
She is now on 4.5 units of Humulin L twice a day and is doing fine.
I home test her glucose levels, so I can provide better care for her.
The only thing I regret, is that I didn't catch this sooner, and maybe
she would still have her sight. However, Brenna has adapted, and
she runs around our house and yard no problem. She still loves to hang
her head out the window when she is in the car. She has a special seat
that she sits in so she is tall enough to enjoy the breeze. She loves
going to Dad's and Carol's house. She follows my sister everywhere,
sits by my Dad at the dinner table, because she knows she just might
get a little tidbit. Brenna still believes that she is a Doberman,
she runs right by the person and barks at..........NOBODY!
Working at the hospital here, I can't always get home at the same time.
I'm very lucky that my boss has been able to adjust my shift so I can
work straight afternoons. I'm always home for Brenna's morning meds
since I live four blocks from the hospital, I can run home at night
her the evening meds. If I can't make it, the nurses and the techs
with or my sister can go to my home and take care of Brenna. I can't
take off on a whim anymore. Brenna's needs come first. But I do have
a group of wonderful people who have volunteered to take Brenna for
few days if I need to get away. If I decide to go over to Butte and
my friends there, Brenna comes along.
The one thing that I always believed,
was that it is the quality and not the quantity of life.
So no matter how much time I will have with Brenna,
I will know that she had a life that was filled with love and that
I did the I could.
Hugs and Scratches
Kris and Brenna
Brenna (dd)dx Aug of 2001 (cushings)dx Sept 2001
One funny pound puppy
To err is human, to forgive, canine
Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.
Rainbow Bridge Page
Here you will find an faq on Cushings by Kris
is Cushing's Disease?
This is the article that can be found at www.peteducation.com