Would you expect an experienced ‘Senior’ vet to diagnose this?

(10 Posts)
Tinklewinkle Wed 26-Sep-18 19:13:32

Around 2 years ago we took dog to the vet - he was suddenly a bit wobbly on his back legs and had fallen over, was panting constantly and had acquired a monster appetite almost overnight.

He’d never been particularly food oriented, didn’t beg, wasn’t interested in treats as rewards when training or anything like that and was a normal healthy weight. Suddenly he turned into a food obsessed nightmare - snatching food, constantly begging, he’d go out in the garden and eat grass like a sheep, he’d wake us up several times overnight looking for food, and was just a massive PITA

Took him to the vet where we saw the Senior Vet - who diagnosed arthritis (the panting was due to pain) and told us the dog was overweight - dog had gained about half a kilo in the 9 months since his jabs. Gave us some pain killers, implied I was making excuses for having a fat dog and insisted on a strict diet.

We struggled massively with his appetite over the next few months and vet prescribed very low calorie high bulk food

We saw the same vet regularly for about the next year or so

About a 4 months ago we noticed dog was drinking excessively.

Took him back to the vet but this time we saw a different one, who was concerned about the excessive drinking, noted my concerns about dog’s appetite and ordered some blood tests and an ultrasound.

Anyway, to cut a long story short dog was diagnosed with cushings disease has been on Vetoryl and has been doing well. His symptoms are under control and his behaviour around food has pretty returned to normal.

However, the tumour is on his adrenal gland and was already quite large when we discovered it. With our vet we decided that it was just too big an operation for him (he’s nearly 12) to have it removed and it won’t be long before it may start causing him some discomfort

Took him to the vet for a blood test related to the cushings and got the original vet and again he was talking about his weight, rolling his eyes at me and talking about the effect of his excess weight on his arthritis

Now I know there’s nothing we can do about it now, but it pisses me off that original vet just saw a ‘fat dog’ and just assumed I was making excuses rather than actually listening to what I was saying and having seen him today I’m pissed off all over again.

With hindsight I don’t believe he ever had arthritis in the first place and it was the start of the cushings

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BiteyShark Wed 26-Sep-18 20:05:38

I definitely think diagnosis is hard given that dogs can't actually tell you what's wrong. Certainly we have had lots of tests and trials before getting to the bottom of BiteyDogs illness as his symptoms could have been caused by many things.

However, I have always found my vets to thoroughly explain and go through all the possibilities as to why they think it might be X rather than Y which by the sounds of it your first vet didn't.

So whilst I think the first vet should have done more tests having seen how many people on here resent paying for simple things let alone expensive investigatory procedures I sometimes think they are in between a rock and a hard place.

Tinklewinkle Wed 26-Sep-18 20:19:47


Sorry, just realised I missed a bit out of my OP (I was trying to keep it short-ish)

We saw the same vet regularly for about the next year or so and continued to report the monster appetite but Vet wasn’t concerned as dog was now on the low calorie food.

I think it was his whole attitude at the time, and again today that has upset me and pissed me off all over again

He just didn’t listen right back at the beginning. He just rolled his eyes, shut me down and implied I was making excuses

Dog is fully insured so no issue with paying for any treatment the vet suggested.

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MrBeansXmasTurkey Wed 26-Sep-18 20:28:15

You are paying the vet a lot of money and it's the fact he ignored your concerns. Obviously a misdiagnosis can happen, but if he had taken your concerns seriously he would have been more likely to order further tests.

BiteyShark Wed 26-Sep-18 20:32:22

I find in my practice each vet has their own strengths in certain areas and I have learnt to go to different ones depending on the problem.

I also think the beauty of going to the vets is that it's effectively private medicine so if you aren't happy you can go elsewhere. Please don't think I am critising you as I'm not but I think you probably fell into that trap of thinking it's like going to your own gp and that you couldn't go to someone else despite your gut telling you otherwise.

PixelAteMe Wed 26-Sep-18 20:43:36

I would definitely have expected your vet to recognise the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. The insatiable appetite and unquenchable thirst are very typical of it, along with a distinctive pot-bellied look. My dog had this, and the vet diagnosed it immediately.

Tinklewinkle Wed 26-Sep-18 20:47:46


He is the senior vet in the practice, qualified over 30 years ago (according to their website) so I trusted him.

I’d never heard of cushings at the time and arthritis seemed to fit so I had no reason to think it was anything else

I know cushings is hard to spot and misdiagnosis happens. Over the year and a bit we saw the original vet more symptoms did appear (the pot belly, patchy fur) but dog was getting older and I didn’t really think too much of it. He was still bouncing around like a puppy, bright eyes, would walk for miles - no further issues with his back legs so assumed the painkillers were doing their job

There’s nothing we can do about it now anyway but I do wonder if we’d all put 2 and 2 together earlier, he would have been 2 years younger, tumour may have been smaller, etc, etc

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moredogsthansense Thu 27-Sep-18 15:37:33

Vet here. I can't comment about a particular dog I haven't seen, but the number one classic symptom of Cushing's is increased thirst. Speaking as someone with about 30 years experience myself, it would be high on my list for a thirsty older dog, but not so high for a dog that was slowing down etc without the thirst. Most Cushing's dogs do very well on medical treatment with modern drugs. Personally, I'd very rarely suggest surgery unless the owner was really keen for it. Hope this helps.

almondsareforevermore Thu 27-Sep-18 20:32:38

I had a dog who lived with a mysterious recurring illness and my suggestion of what was causing it was ignored every time. Finally he died, aged only four, from exactly what I had suspected.
The behaviour which killed our boy could have been treated if the vet had believed me.

Tinklewinkle Fri 28-Sep-18 08:35:47


To be fair, he didn’t have an increased thirst right back at the beginning.

Just the monster appetite, constant panting and what the new vet has described as weakness in his back legs.

When I say monster appetite - it was absolutely enormous and came on very suddenly. He went from a dog who wasn’t that interested in food to a bin raiding, food snatching utter nightmare. He’d wake us several times in the night to be fed, he’d go out in the garden and eat grass, he’d get up on the kitchen worktops to get to food. His normal food portions weren’t touching the sides and he became quite aggressive around food. A massive and almost overnight change. Since he’s been on the Vetoryl his appetite and behaviour around food has returned to normal.

Vet prescribed us very low calorie, very high bulk food

I think he just saw over weight dog - owner making excuses

Then the other day, despite knowing dog has cushings and a huge tumour, original vet still made comments about his weight

I don’t know, I know there’s nothing we can do about it now, but his whole attitude the other day has pissed me off all over again

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