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. Stacy Your Own Question
Dr. Stacy
Dr. Stacy, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1583
Experience:  10 years of experience in Small Animal Practice
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Dr. Stacy is online now

I have an older dog 16 human years in a week, cross breed terrier,

This answer was rated:

I have an older dog 16 human years in a week, cross breed terrier, she has lost a lot of body weight, practically all her extra mass, she eats + drinks well is very active also she was black but now her body fur is orange, not sure if connected. I wonder if she has a metabolic disorder or something worse?
Hi. My name isXXXXX I have been a small animal veterinarian for 12 years.

I do have a few questions that will help me understand what is going on. When you say she drinks well... is it and excessive amount? Does she urinate in large quantities?

How is her appetite... just good or increased/always hungry?

Has she ever had any blood work or other tests done?

Dr. Stacy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Stacy, she drinks no more than normal, her appetite is still normal although she is always begging. So probably always hungry but I have another dog so try not to overfeed + she always eats her share + not that of the other dog. No tests have been done so far as I'm reluctant due to her age as will commence the slippery slope to doom. She's happy + see no signs other than weight loss + change of fur colour. I suppose I'm looking for some insight before I consult our vet! She seems cachexic if she were human! Also I'm a people nurse!

The change in fur color can definitely be see with any hormonal imbalance. There are several, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc. Most of these will cause marked increases in water consumption or weight gain. However, there are other hormonal causes that we don't entirely understand. We don't worry about too much about these because they seem to cause no other symptoms other than the coat change.

What worries me more is the weight loss, especially with the muscle loss you are describing. When I have an older dog that is eating well, but loosing weight rapidly I think of two things... diabetes and cancer.

Because diabetes is on my list of differentials for the coat change and the weight loss I would have her looked at and have bloodwork run. Diabetic dogs are always insulin dependant so you end up having to give them insulin injections, but they do very well. If the bloodwork fails to identify diabetes, then we would worry about cancer. How agreessively you search for the cancer is up to you... sometimes they need ultrasounds, xrays, biopsies.

At this age, I might not do all that. But I would do the blood work because it is not invasive and may uncover a very treatable problem

I hope that helps, but if you have more questions, let me know.

Dr. Stacy
Dr. Stacy and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you