‘Old Age’ Is Not a Diagnosis for Bloated Dog

Dog with swollen abdomen most likely has Cushing’s disease.


Q. My 10-year-old Shih Tzu’s abdomen has been bloated for a month or two. At first I thought he had gained weight, but then I realized that his stomach is as tight as a drum. It seems like he’s always thirsty. Snickers was bouncy and filled with energy until he became bloated. My veterinarian says he’s just old, but I think there could be a problem.

A. Your Shih Tzu may very well have Cushing’s disease. It is no longer acceptable for a veterinarian to say, “He is probably just getting old.”
The signs of Cushing’s are increased water intake, a distended abdomen, lethargy, increased panting, and sometimes skin coat changes. It is caused by over-secretion of hormones by the adrenal gland.
The diagnosis is made by a blood test that must be done twice, several hours apart, following an injection of a special stimulating hormone.
If your veterinarian does not want to investigate your dog’s symptoms, consider seeking a second opinion elsewhere. Most dog owners’ instincts are correct regarding whether their dog has something significant going on medically.


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

10/11/2013 4:14:52 AM

Great information!

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

4/4/2013 11:17:56 AM

Good information. thanks

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joanna   Columbia, MD

2/22/2012 6:38:38 PM

Very interesting, seeing that my 14 yr old beagle passed away a few weeks ago. Her stomach was the same as described by other owner. She started with a cough and when she was xray'd I was told her heart and liver were enlarged and when I asked about her bloated, tigh tummy, was told the liver was pushing on the heart and not allowing oxygen to the tummy. No test, as you describe, was done on her. I am however very glad we had her for 14 yrs.

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