Mrs Grumble's dog is getting old. It's sad when your dog gets old. She has begun to get those sorts of terrible things old people get. One of the worst is wetting the carpet. She never used to do this. She's also been panting a lot. It's a different sort of panting from usual - almost a breathlessness. She climbed the stairs yesterday and was gasping at the top. Another curious thing is that she has been drinking a lot - vast quantities. Yes, Dr Grumble thought of diabetes. Mrs Grumble managed to catch some urine and there was no glucose. Even odder she has become ravenously hungry and has begun stealing food. She never used to do this. Not once. Now that is very odd. She's also had difficulty jumping into the car and like old people she has developed a bit of a pot belly. Old age is bad. And the dog is only 9. In her breed (she is a Newfoundland) old age comes on early. They rarely live to 13.
What you don't want to do when your dog gets decrepit is prolong the decline too much. It's really not fair on the dog. So Dr Grumble was a little concerned about where the inevitable trip to the vet (who does extremely well from the Grumble household) might lead. He was not looking forward to an incontinent, gasping dog on heart failure pills.
If you are a vet reading this you might by now have made a diagnosis. If you are a doctor you probably won't have. Certainly Dr Grumble hadn't. But then he's not a vet. And the disease Mrs Grumble's dog has is a rare one in humans but common in dogs. Mrs Grumble's dog has Cushing's Syndrome.
And Dr Grumble thought it was old age. But Dr Grumble is now becoming an expert on canine Cushing's and according to the textbooks 'the most common signs are very similar to those of the normal ageing process'. But Dr Grumble feels a bit bad because, looking back, Mrs Grumble's dog has obviously had this problem for at least a year or two - perhaps longer. This too is typical.
(This post was first published in 2007 and has been republished because I was thinking about our poor dog who eventually got weaker and weaker and died.)