Canine Weight Gain Misdiagnosis: What Is Wrong with Suki?

Unexplained weight gain can be just that–weight gain. Can a veterinarian misdiagnose weight gain in a dog?

Suki was a 7 years old spayed female Labrador/Beagle Mix. Rescued dogs can teach us many valuable lessons but this one was unexpected.

Canine Weight Gain Misdiagnosis: What Is Wrong with Suki?

The first thing that stood out about Suki when she was adopted was a low-hanging belly. It was the first time Suki’s mom had a dog. Was Suki pregnant? Overweight? Or is there something wrong with Suki?

Better safe than sorry

Suki’s new mom took her for a veterinary exam.

The veterinarian examined Suki and assured her mom that the belly was nothing to worry about.

However, a week later, Suki was back at the clinic with digestive issues. They were seen by a different vet but received the same answer, don’t worry about the belly, it has nothing to do with it.

On the third visit with a cut on Suki’s paw, yet another vet ensured them to not worry about the hanging belly once again.

Fourth time is the charm?

Shortly after, when Suki was in for a check-up on her paw injury, she saw yet another vet.

Unlike his colleagues, this vet found Suki’s belly alarming. He recommended x-rays to have a better look at what’s going on.

After the veterinarian reviewed Suki’s x-rays, he broke his conclusions. Suki might have a tumor in her abdomen. Or, potentially, she has Cushing’s disease.

From nothing to potential cancer in 60 seconds

Suki’s mom left the clinic distraught.

The potential diagnosis the vet gave her was terrible with poor prognosis.

She was upset at the diagnosis, and she was upset at the three vets dismissing the problem.

On the other hand, Suki wasn’t obese. The only part of her body that was out of proportion was her stomach. Because Suki was a rescue, there was no telling how long it took for her belly to get that size. Other than the recent stomach upset, she Suki seemed healthy and happy.

What to do?

Could it be that Suki had a tumor growing in there all along? It is possible that Suki had Cushing’s?

Other symptoms of Cushing’s disease include

  • excessive thirst
  • increased urination and urinary accidents
  • increased hunger
  • excessive panting
  • hair loss
  • skin and coat changes
  • low energy and weakness

As well as blood work ought to show changes in liver values. Suki had none of those signs. All she had was a pot belly.

Time for another opinion

That’s when Suki’s mom decided to get a second opinion and an ultrasound.

Do you think Suki had Cushing’s disease and cancer? What would you make of the hanging belly in the absence of other symptoms? What would you do if it was your dog?

Read Suki’s story here.

Related articles:
A Word on Second Opinions
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Unexplained Weight Gain

Further reading:
All About Weight Gain In Older Dogs

Categories: ConditionsMisdiagnosesReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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