How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. John Your Own Question
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4855
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. John is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Our 13 year old Standard Poodle has panceatitis. She is

Customer Question

Our 13 year old Standard Poodle has panceatitis. She is wasting away before our eyes. She is lethargic, very thin and listless. She has a bad hip. We are having trouble telling if she is in pain. Sophie has been very well cared for, however, in the past year we have seen a major decline. What can we do to help her.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the standard poodle. What is the standard poodle's name?
Customer: Sophie. Our Vet seems to be jumping all over the place to come up with help for Sophie. My husband and I are medical professionals and very intelligent. However, we love Sophie and may not be objective.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Sophie?
Customer: She is on thyroid medication. Tests borderline for Addison's and is a sweet, loving dog.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gregg replied 3 months ago.

Hi I'm Dr. Gregg and I will try to help you tonight. Sorry Sophie is sick. How long ago was the diagnosis of pancreatitis made? Was there blood work run? Is Sophie eating? Does she have vomiting or diarrhea the last few days?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She was dx 6 months ago. She will eat homemade chicken (boneless and skinless) and a few scoops of low fat canned dog food. Yes, blood work has been done. She will eat but continues to look like she is loosing weight. She has intermittent vomiting and diarrhea.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She weighs about 30 lbs. She is a short Standard, but has weighed as much as 54 lbs.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She has lost this weight in the past year or so.
Expert:  Dr. Gregg replied 3 months ago.

Since you have not answered I am assuming you are offline. Let me give you some ideas to consider. My first thought is if she has pancreatitis, that alone can cause weight loss, but sometimes results in pancreatic failure where she does not make enough of the enzymes to properly digest her food. Diarrhea is a sign of this.

Expert:  Dr. Gregg replied 3 months ago.

Addison's disease can cause these symptoms as well. Do you know if they did an ACTH stimulus test?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am sorry. This is beginning to look like a rip off. Don't respond to me . I am contacting my credit card company.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
many times. Her titres are close but not close enough for a definitive DX.
Expert:  Dr. Gregg replied 3 months ago.

I am not sure why you are unhappy, but since you are dissatisfied I will be glad to opt out of this conversation and let another expert handle your question

Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 3 months ago.

I am sorry to hear about your dog's distress and condition. Are you looking for help deciding about euthanasia or are you looking for treatment suggestions to discuss with your veterinarian?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
we are. I do have concerns as to whether I gave my cc# ***** a legitimate concern. How can you reassure me?
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 3 months ago.

Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that you will like my answer but I can tell you that I will only be compensated if I receive a positive rating. I will do my best to help you. I do not have access to credit card information, I am a veterinarian that just answers medical questions. If you are unhappy, you can contact customer service and they can help you deal with your financial concerns. If you would like to continue with me, I am happy to do what I can to help you make a decision about your dog.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** love your opinion.
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 3 months ago.

Ok, so pancreatitis can be a nasty disease, but is usually cyclical and does not typically cause weight loss over the long term. It is also tricky to diagnose and thus without knowing how the diagnosis was made, I cannot speak to its correctness. However, while it is a chronic condition, it tends to cause cyclic signs and "bouts" of illness as opposed to one long protracted episode. So, I am concerned that there is more going on than pancreatitis. Cancer comes to mind and I have had a few patients myself that were diagnosed with pancreatitis but because they didn't improve with standard treatment we investigated further and found pancreatic cancer. There are also other conditions that can mimic pancreatitis and will go undiagnosed without a thorough work up. As far as Addision's disease goes, the test is pretty straightforward. We test cortisol levels, give an injection and then measure the cortisol level afterward. If the level goes up we know that the dog is not Addisonian. If the level does not go up (or only goes up a little) then we know the the adrenal glands are not responding appropriately and the diagnosis is made. That being said, sometimes there can be confusing results and you have to look at the entire clinical picture to decide. There are two types of Addision's disease that dogs can get depending on which hormones are deficient. Since the adrenal glands produce glucocorticoid (cortisol) and aldosterone, deficiency of one or both of these may occur with different clinical signs. A dog that is only glucocorticoid deficient has normal electrolytes but still has other signs of Addison's disease such as excessive urination and thirst, GI distress, lethargy, and possibly low blood sugar. A dog that is deficient in aldosterone and cortisol has all of these plus electrolyte disturbances. Do you know if your dogs electrolytes are normal? Is she on a steroid currently? If so, did this resolve her clinical signs?