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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28420
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 10 year old basset licks our bedroom rug. She also has

Customer Question

My 10 year old basset licks our bedroom rug. She also has had for a year or so a distended abdomen. Sometimes it's more distended than other times. She is not very active but doesn't have diarrhea or vomiting and she has a great appetite.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did the basset eat anything unusual?
Customer: no
JA: OK. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the basset's name?
Customer: Daisey
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Daisey?
Customer: She has a heart murmur but is not on meds at this time
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Daisey. Considering her history of heart disease, it's reasonable to assume that her distended abdomen is effusive; in other words, contains free fluid indicating right-sided heart failure. This is easy to confirm by X-raying or ultrasounding her abdomen. To clairify what such fluid represents, a sample can be aspirated from her abdomen and sent to our pathologist to examine its cellularity and physical qualities. There are other causes of an effusion - the inflammation associated with infection and malignancy, bleeding into her abdominal cavity (unlikely if present for a year), and a lack of albumin (a small protein) in her bloodstream. When a poorly functioning liver can't produce enough albumin or albumin is lost through damaged kidneys or bowel, an abdominal effusion can arise.

Gastrointestinal disorders, dental and oral disease, central nervous system disturbances such as brain tumors or hydrocephalus, electrolyte imbalances, metabolic diseases, and toxins such as lead can induce her licking, sucking, chewing, and picas (ingestion of inanimate objects), licking of owners, and air licking.

Daisey's vet will want to perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests. If you think that Daisey is eating and drinking more than she should, her vet might consider Cushing's disease which also can cause a "pot bellied" appearance. That pot belly wouldn't be expected to improve, however, as you've noted. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. Another thing I thought of is that she drinks a lot of water & seem to urinate often
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. Combined with eating more than usual (polyphagia), her drinking more (polydipsia) and urinating a higher volume of urine (polydispia) strongly suggests Cushing's disease. It sounds as if there's more than one thing going on with Daisey. I see blood and urine tests as well as X-rays of her heart and lungs in her future. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.
Hi Sherry,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin