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.
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.
What do muscle wasting and weight loss tell you about a case?