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Can anyone experienced in animal health help diagnose what is wrong with my elderly dog ? It has flummoxed the vet

(20 Posts)
Winetimeisfinetime Tue 27-Oct-09 19:41:20

Our vet practice is puzzled as to what is wrong with out 11 year old Boston Terrier - at least 3 different vets have been involved but they can't come up with a firm diagnosis and I am very worried about him.

It started with him occasionally weeing in the house which he has not done since a puppy and we initially thought was down to a bit of age related incontinence. It has got steadily worse over the last few months and is now happening several times a day if we aren't constantly letting him out. He also seemed to be drinking quite a lot and panting but as we first noticed this over the summer we thought it was heat related but took him to the vets once the weather cooled and we realised it wasn't due to the heat.

The vet has done lots of urine tests on him - all of which show there is protein in his urine but there is no infection. They thought he had kidney disease and did a blood test to confirm but this came back normal - was repeated and still normal so wasn't presenting as kidney disease.

He then had an ultrasound scan of his kidneys and bladder - all looked fine.

The vets are puzzled as he is not presenting as a standard kidney disease case. They are going to check his blood pressure next but seem to be unsure what is wrong and what to do. I am worried that whilst this goes on he seems increasingly under the weather and is getting no treatment for whatever it is that is ailing him. I just have a horrible feeling about it all and want to give him the best chance possible but it all seems frustratingly vague.

dooit Tue 27-Oct-09 19:44:40


hormonstersnomore Tue 27-Oct-09 19:46:05


dooit Tue 27-Oct-09 19:47:52

info here

Winetimeisfinetime Tue 27-Oct-09 20:11:19

dooit - thank you for that. You are brilliant as Cushings fits his symptoms almost exactly.

I wonder if the vets have considered this and ruled it out or haven't put the symptoms together like you so cleverly did.

I am going to take him back tomorrow and ask them about it. He has just been sick and is panting away and is not happy but still wants to eat. Do you have experience of Cushings in dogs ?

Thanks also, hormonstersnomore - I have also been wondering about diabetes but assumed they would have ruled that out through the blood urine tests. Also he isn't losing weight but has gained slightly. I will confirm that the vet has discounted that tomorrow though.

beautifulgirls Tue 27-Oct-09 20:27:49

Definately want to get them to check cushings - was thinking it as reading your post and then see that it had already been suggested to you. The majority of cases can be treated with drugs to modify the steroid productions but do need close monitoring to ensure that the treatment being effective and is not "overdone", otherwise there can be problems too - but in general treatment is not that difficult. It can however be quite a costly thing. Is your dog insured? - hopefully so and you have no cost worries.

Other than Cushings....possible diagnosis options are diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, renal issues (that do not necessarily show blood level changes) psychogenic polydipsia (= all in the head!) Addisons disease (the opposite of cushings but generally these patients are very sick too not just thirsty) some liver conditions, certain hormonal issues - eg testicular tumours. The list can go on. If your vet is unable to make a diagnosis and you feel you are not getting the help your dog needs then ask for a referral to a specialist centre, you are quite within your rights.

Good luck - hope they get things sorted soon.

Winetimeisfinetime Tue 27-Oct-09 20:47:55

Thanks beautifulgirls - unfortunately he is not insured so we will have to pay. Sounds like it is going to be expensive, especially as our other Boston Terrier seems to have syringomyelia - which I also had to suggest to the vet as a possible diagnosis after seeing something abput it on mumsnet. They are a very highly regarded practice but I will be very disappointed if they have missed cushings as well as syringomyelia.

I will have a look at the other things you have suggested and mention them tomorrow. I had thought they were a really good practice but over the last few weeks both of our dogs seem to have developed symptoms that have flummosed them and I have had more insight by using mumsnet than the vet has given me.

dooit Tue 27-Oct-09 21:15:10

Our childhood dog had cushings. He went from being a very slim lurcher type to a very solid block of a dog that would drink every water source dry. He'd empty his water bowl then move on to the toilet bowl if he could. He would even gobble bits of ice from the freezer that fell out as it was opened. When he went for a pee it was like turning a tap on. He looked faintly embarrassed as the wee poured out for a minute or more at a time!

It was the first thing that sprang to mind as your dogs' symptoms sounded just like Ben's. As I recall he was not offered any treatment as he was quite elderly and whilst inconvenient at times his symptoms didn't cause him any pain or distress.

Winetimeisfinetime Tue 27-Oct-09 21:58:21

That sounds just like Boris, dooit. His wees seem to go on forever !

He has seemed poorly this evening - trembling, panting much more than he has been doing, just not right and has also been vomiting so my dh has just taken him off to the emergency vet to be on the safe side. I hope he is ok and lives his time out like your dog did.

dooit Tue 27-Oct-09 22:39:24

Oh dear Winetime, I hope he's ok. Fingers crossed for Boris.x Let us know how he is.

dooit Wed 28-Oct-09 09:39:25

Morning Winetime. Just wondering how Boris got on last night. Hope everything's ok.

Winetimeisfinetime Wed 28-Oct-09 10:42:57

Hi dooit thanks so much for checking in.

The emergency vet thought he had a stomach upset and gave him something to try and settle it and sent him home. He wasn't well through the night and we monitored him closely. I was all for taking him back but my dh thought I was just over reacting but he was so poorly this morning that we were waiting outside the vets when they opened.

They now think he may have pancreatitis or a stomach bug and have kept him in and say he will be in at least overnight so I am feeling very concerned for him. He had to spend a long time at the vets several years ago when he had a very bad bout of colitis and still remembers it so I know he will be very anxious there. I just hope that he will pull through this ok as he is now elderly with an underlying, still undiagnosed problem. Feel very worried about him.

We mentioned the Cushings to the vet and he said that they had considered it but the blood tests they have done don't indicate it but that when he is feeling a bit better they will do some more specific tests. He did also say though, that Cushings is common in Boston terriers.
Thanks so much for bringing that up as we would never known about it and will make sure it is properly tested for.

dooit Wed 28-Oct-09 16:02:58

Aw poor Boris. Poor you too. It's horrible having them upset and unwell and not being able to explain to them what's going on isn't it. At least with the DCs you'd get to stay with them in hospital and comfort them.

I hope the vets get him mended in no time at all.x

Winetimeisfinetime Thu 29-Oct-09 10:11:13

Hi dooit - yes I hate it that poor Boris probably thinks we have abandoned him at the vets. It feels horrible having to leave them there and come home.
I did tell him and our other 2 dogs what was happening, having once read some new-agey article that you should do this as they understand more than you think - made me feel better anyway.
Boris is a sweetie, but not the most intelligent of dogs and as far as we know only ever hears " Blah, blah blah, walk ! Blah, blah, blah food ! " so my chat with him probably wasn't that reassuring for him.

My dh went to the vets to visit him last night and he thought Boris was looking a bit better and he even managed to stand up to greet dh. I'm going to see him today so hopefully he will realise he's not been abandoned.

He has apparently had a comfortable night but will be in at least for tonight but the vets feels he is gradually improving which is relief.

Thank you so much for checking in on him xx

Winetimeisfinetime Thu 29-Oct-09 18:16:17

Just been to see Boris at the vet's and they have done a scan of his pancreas and it doesn't look good.

It is very enlarged and there's lots of fluid. The vet says the next 24-48 hours are critical.

dooit Thu 29-Oct-09 18:56:54

Sending positive vibes and crossed fingers for little Boris. I really hope he picks up soon for you.x

Winetimeisfinetime Thu 29-Oct-09 20:52:58

Thank you dooit. I will update when I have more news.x

dooit Sun 01-Nov-09 21:08:21

HI Winetime. How's Boris doing? Been thinking about you/him all weekend.

Winetimeisfinetime Tue 03-Nov-09 13:30:35

Oh dooit you are a sweetie !

Miraculously Boris came home last night from the vets. The prognosis was so poor I didn't think he would make it, but he is obviously a fighter.

He is very tired but on the positive side, is very eager for food { always a good sign } but unfortunately can only have very small meals of low fat food. The vet rescanned his pancreas yesterday and said it was still very inflamed and 'horrible' looking and that he was amazed that Boris was as well in himself, as he was. We had visited him at the vets every day and at first he was very poorly but then for about the past two days, I think he was determined that he was coming home and maybe that is what has got him through.

They have also tested him for Cushings and we should get the results by the end of the week - the vet doesn't think he does have it but the test will be conclusive.

I don't know what the future holds for him as he is elderly and also has this kidney/Cushings issue as well as now the prospect of a relapse of pancreatitis, but I am just so pleased he is home again.

Thank you so much for checking in on us again dooit and also for coming up with the idea of Cushings in the first place.It has been so much appreciated xx.

dooit Wed 04-Nov-09 07:54:55

That's brilliant news Winetime. So glad that you got him home again.x

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