Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello Everyone!

Let me preface this question by saying that we have a fabulous vet and we've taken our sheltie to see her numerous times in the past few weeks. I am not looking for advice to substitute that of a vet's, but rather ideas to bring up with our vet that might lead to our poor boy feeling better.

Our sheltie is 14 years old and has always been overweight despite being fed 1/2 cup grain free kibble in the morning and evening. We assume this is due to our lack of a flock of sheep for him to herd. He's always been a happy, easy going boy who loves to eat. Our first red flag came when he refused to jump up on the bed, started to go deaf, and began panting. We brought him into the vet who diagnosed him with arthritis and put him on Metacam. It upset his stomach a little bit and he still wouldn't jump on the bed but he seemed a little more comfortable. ETA: We also bought him a raised food dish to make it more comfortable for him to eat.

A few weeks later, his panting got really bad (REALLY heavy 24/7 unless he's sleeping) and he began coughing and gagging unproductively. We had some blood work done and he was diagnosed with a low thyroid and put on medication twice a day. We were expecting him to lose weight but instead he has ballooned up to 40 pounds.

Concerned that he might be retaining fluid, we had some x-rays taken. The vet said that everything looked fine but he had a slight infection and prescribed FOUR different antibiotics. The first day we gave them to him he threw up and had diarrhea all over the house, the first time he's EVER messed in the house. We called the vet back, stopped his antibiotics and put him on pepcid until his stomach settled. We've been giving him the antibiotics now one at a time and he's holding them down okay.

Now, a dog who we were sure would drag himself to his food bowl on his dying day, has begun refusing his food. We're not sure what else to do, what else we should test for or if there's anything we can do to make him more comfortable.

Symptoms to date:
- Change in behavior and routine
- Deafness
- Lethargic
- Arthritis
- Panting, gaging, coughing
- Weight gain
- Vomiting/Diarrhea (from medication)
- Low Thyroid
- Possible infection
- Refusing food

Has anyone experienced this with their dog? Any suggestions on what it might be and what we should have him tested for? We just want him to feel better!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,942 Posts
My first inclination would be to check heart function (the coughing and sudden weight gain in spite of being on thyroid replacement therapy). The change in behavior may be due to the low thyroid.

Another thought.. and this is sort of off the cuff.. would be a Pituitary Tumor and Cushings Disease. Is he drinking more water than usual?

Both these ideas come with a couple of assumptions such as regular heart worm treatment and testing for heart worm and parasite control for external and internal parasites (worms, fleas, ticks and the like).

Dogs will go deaf with age but the onset is typically gradual. If this was a sudden onset, then I go back to the idea he may have a tumor (head/brain)... but I have to say these are all WAG's (Wild @$$ Guesses) and maybe he has been checked for all of these things.

Has this dog been tested for Lyme Disease or tick born illness?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the suggestions! Congestive heart failure was my first thought too so I rushed him in and the vet said his lungs/heart were just fine, gums pink etc. We had her double check when she took his x-rays and no enlarged heart. He has regular treatment for all parasites, vaccines, etc. I don't believe we've had him tested for lyme disease or tick born illnesses since we live in the middle of a city and the most rustic area he's seen is the city sidewalk lol.

Cushings diseases is a really interesting suggestion that I definitely haven't considered yet. He only hits half the markers for it but I think it's worth testing for just in case. He might be drinking a bit more water now but its also been 100 degrees out so it's hard to tell. He also has a dog door so it's hard to monitor how often he's urinating though we've been keeping an eye on his poop since he had such bad diarrhea.

The deafness came on gradually but quickly if that makes sense. We didn't really notice it until it was to a point where it began to effect him hearing us call him and within a couple months since then he's gone mostly deaf. We've heard that shelties are prone to deafness so it wasn't really concerning given his age but there's always a chance it could be caused by something else. He also has these little pockets of really solid fat that we had looked at. We were terrified they might be tumors and he might have cancer but the vet felt and biopsied them and said they were just really hard adipose tissue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
An hour ago our poor boy developed an even more upsetting symptom :( He coughed up blood, about 5-6 dime sized pools. We have an appointment with the vet tomorrow and will ask that he be tested for heartworms and cushings disease if he's still with us.

At his last appointment, he had a chest x-ray that "showed an infection". I wasn't at the appointment so I can only assume the x-ray showed a lung infection since the vet didn't mention anything about enlarged organs.

I'm sure his heavy breathing and coughing could have irritated his throat to the point of bleeding and it kills us that he's so uncomfortable. If he's in incurable pain we'll have to put him down, we don't want him suffering :( However, if there's anything we can do to treat him and prolong his life with good quality we want to make sure we've covered all our bases.

Thank you for all your suggestions. We are not ready to say goodbye to our boy but will do whatever is best for him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much for all your suggestions. We had to put our sweet boy to sleep today after the vet found a grapefruit sized tumor in his abdomen. We will miss him terribly but loved him too much to let him suffer.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,942 Posts
That was going to be my next question... (tumor).

I am so sorry for the loss of such a good long time friend and family member.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone :( It's been really tough, especially for my mom since he was her companion more than anyone else. We've been looking into finding another buddy for her, a well mannered middle aged sheltie or collie but they're practically nonexistent in our area. My husband and I have been throwing ourselves into training our puppy whose happiness is infectious and hopefully a rescue pup in need will be able to help my mother heal if we can ever find one.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top