Muscle Wasting in Dogs: What Would You Do if It Was Your Dog? Allie’s Story

What would you do if your dog started losing muscle mass without an obvious reason?

Allie was as sweet as a Maltese can be. A beautiful, loving little girl.

Muscle Wasting in Dogs: What Would You Do if It Was Your Dog? Allie's Story

On the surface, Allie seemed perfectly fine. Her appetite was good, she wasn’t losing weight. While her weight remained stable, Allie kept wasting before her mom’s eyes. Allie was losing muscle mass and she was losing hair.

When Allie was brought to see a veterinarian, they examined her, did some basic labs and concluded that her muscle wasting was because of her advanced age.

Overall, Allie’s veterinarian didn’t seem concerned with Allie’s situation.

Allie’s mom was, though. Surely something must be going on for Allie vanishing before the eyes? It’s not like Allie wasn’t getting any exercise so her body would decide there was no need to maintain them. Other dogs of Allie’s age don’t look like emaciated stray dogs; why does Allie?

Older dogs can lose muscle mass when pain prevents activity. Some degree of muscular atrophy can be caused by changing the ability to process protein.

Arthritis is a common cause of muscle loss. But arthritis wasn’t Allie’s problem. Her joints didn’t see to bother her. Her veterinarian didn’t discover any other musculoskeletal or neurological problem that could explain what was happening to Allie.

Allie didn’t seem to suffer from hypothyroidism nor Cushing’s disease. She didn’t have diabetes and her kidneys were working well.

Knowing what is not the diagnosis, however, is of little use.

And Allie’s veterinarian was unable or uninterested in finding the answer. At her friends’ urging, Allie’s mom decided to seek a second opinion.

What would you make of Allie’s muscle wasting? Would you buy that it was simply age-related? What would you do if Allie was your dog?

Read Allie’s story and find out what her diagnosis was.

Further reading:
What do muscle wasting and weight loss tell you about a case?

Categories: Dog health advocacyMisdiagnosesMuscle wastingReal-life StoriesSecond opinionsSymptoms

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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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