Minuet was getting older and at around 15 years old we noticed that she started having trouble walking a straight line and she seemed to walk in large circles. I later learned this was one of the symptoms of the Cushing’s. She also started having issues with urinary accidents in the house, and we struggled to get her to eat which resulted in more weight loss. She was becoming a little old frail lady right before our eyes! About the same time as Minuets health issues came up, unfortunately (and fortunately) Tom lost his job. He was able to stay home with her the last 2 years of her life, which we are both so thankful for. His extra care of Minuet, I believe, added at least another quality year to her life. Toward the very end, she walked in tight circles and eventually couldn’t hold herself up to walk at all and needed assistance. She slept a lot, we had to keep diapers on her, and for the 1st time in her life she wasn’t allowed to sleep with us in the bed, She had to be crated at night for her own safety. We struggled with getting her to eat and drink and we (Tom) fed her with a feeding syringe several times a day. Sometime she would eat good and other times just spit it out. She had good days, a few great days and too may bad days. She was getting thinning and more frail every day. As hard as it was, there did come the day that we had to let her go. Saying goodbye to a family member that you have lived with, cared for, and loved for over a decade and a half is like sadly shutting the door on that part of your life. Fortunately, given time, other doors do open up.
When Minuet got older we started noticing several unusual things about her. She was ravenously hungry all the time and was gaining weight, her coat was thinning in some spots, and then there was the runny poop. We didn’t think much about the appetite and weight gain or the thinning hair, but the runny poop was a concern. We had taken her to several different vets and still unable to figure out what was causing the runny poop. We started looking around online at different dog diseases trying to find out what could be causing her chronic runs. The more I read about Cushing’s the more I realized she had several of the symptoms! We took Minuet to our new vet and asked them to check her for Diabetes and Cushing’s. Minuet had Cushing’s. Apparently it is a fairly common condition in older dogs and most of the symptoms are often mistaken for natural aging issues like weight gain (pot belly look), thinning hair, and loss of muscle mass, so you rarely know that there is a problem. If it wasn’t for the runny poop we would never had thought anything was wrong with her. We also found out that Cushing’s disease is most frequent in small dogs weighing less than 45 lbs, and found most often in Beagles, Dachshunds, Poodles and some terrier breeds ~ especially Boston Terriers. Basically this is a manageable condition and in our case it was caused by a tiny benign tumor in the pituitary gland which caused the pituitary gland to do one thing, that caused the adrenal gland to do something else, which created the whole problem. I know that was a very simplistic explanation and there are several websites that will explain it more accurately ~ I liked this one: www.kateconnick.com/library/cushingsdisease.html
Once on medication (Lysodren) Minuets appetite became more normal, the poop was normal again, and she started to lose weight and her coat looked healthier. Although the condition cannot be cured it can be managed. The vet we use now says Cushing’s is recognized more often these days and she has a patient with two Boston terriers and they both have Cushing’s.
Both dogs traveled well on long drives – Minuet in the co-captain seat – Taz either in my lap or in the back asleep. When we passed cows or horses I would tell Taz “Horses” or “Cows” and he would jump up and look out the window and start barking at them! It annoyed Tom but I thought it was cute!! Minuet had her favorite rest stop and knew exactly where it was. When we would be getting close she would start sniffing the air vent and intently staring out the window making sure we didn’t drive past it! How she knew every time is beyond me. We have a little place in Colorado that we had hoped to build a home on at one time. Plans have a way of changing and right now we just use the place to go camping. I’m not a fan of letting my dogs run loose – but with 10 acres way up in the mountains with no neighbors around I relented and let Minuet and Taz run loose. Minuet was good at minding and coming back to the camp site when called – Taz not so much but he did tend to follow his big sister so all in all it worked out ok. Taz loved sticks and was in heaven with all the sticks around.
As I mentioned before Minuet was Tom’s dog before he met me. Minuet was a very dominant female and was quite cunning also. She was a great big personality in a small Boston Terrier body. When walking her or taking her to the pet store we had to be careful of any dog that came near her, because if it was a big dog she wasn’t sure of, it wasn’t going to be pretty! She would jump up and grab their upper lip and hang on. This way that dog couldn’t bite her and she let them know who was boss. In most cases she was sweet and loving to all people, dogs and cats. It was just the bigger dogs that she wasn’t sure of. Better to let them know whose boss right at first so there would be no questions about it.
Minuet also suffered from seizures. Usually only one or two every 12-16 months. In those times she was completely vulnerable and it would break my heart to see such a strong girl complete helpless. All you could do was stroke her and talk to her and keep her safe until the seizure passed. Mostly they lasted only 20 seconds or so but if they dragged on any longer it seemed like they went on forever!! If you have a dog that has seizures you know what I’m talking about.
Minuet was a great big sister to Taz. She would play with him and keep him entertained and his roughness was no problem for her. After all she was a bossy female and you played her way or she didn’t want to play at all!
By now Minuet was 6 years old and Tom was concerned that Taz Mania would be too rambunctious for her and she might get hurt. I looked at sweet little Taz Mania and wondered why would he think that??? Now, look at Minuet’s face and tell me she doesn’t have plans for this sweet little pup, who clearly adores her!!
Yea right…. I’m more worried about sweet little Taz.
I don’t think it is Minuet that I need to be worried about!!
I’ve had dogs most of my life. When I moved away from home for a job in Texas, I was living in an apartment. I got one cat, and then another, and then one adopted us by just showing up. I’m not really a cat person but they were company and they kept each other company while I worked. Then I met this guy and his Boston Terrier (Tom and Minuet) and nothing has been the same since.
Things started out rough because Minuet chased my cats and nobody chases my cats! The first night visiting somehow a window got broken during all that chasing around. My cats, Topper, Nikki and Toby, were not used to dogs either so it took a while but they did eventually learn to get along.
After a few years I decided that I wanted another Boston Terrier – My own pup! We found one that someone had already purchased at 6 weeks and at 10 week they decided they didn’t have time for him so they were selling the pup! It was love at first sight! I named him Taz Mania! Oh Please…. don’t let this picture fool you!!