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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25615
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My dog 10 yrs old, within weeks she has lost most muscle

Customer Question

My dog 10 yrs old, within weeks she has lost most muscle mass, eats drunks water. Now her belly is bloated and her back legs have swelling, like fluid retention. Urinated in the house last night. Never does this. Breath is horrible.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Lacey has me worried. You're correct...she's retaining fluid in her abdomen (ascites) and legs (peripheral edema). This occurs when right-sided heart failure exits, when her liver can't produce enough albumin - a protein which helps keep fluids inside vessels and out of "third spaces" such as her abdominal cavity and subcutaneous tissues of her legs, and when she's losing too much albumin through her kidneys or bowels. Her horrible breath suggests that her kidneys are involved in her fluid retention. The breath might well be a uremic one indicating kidney failure. Fluid retention like this always indicates serious disease and so Lacey's vet will want to perform a thorough physical exam paying particular attention to Lacey's heart and I would expect diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests to be recommended. Lacey can't be cured but conservative care often can prolong the life of such a dog.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.