Although I was hoping the big guy would have some more months of easy retirement, today I sent him on his way, after only two months with us.
I believe the technical term for his condition was “a mess.” I took him in on Friday for blood and urine tests and they indicated a few issues (early Cushings, thyroid deficiency, etc.) His mobility had decreased recently, although he did lose 11 pounds since I adopted him and was “down to” 138 pounds. But he no longer wanted to go on a walk, and had trouble lying down and getting back up. Vet said he thought there was cruciate ligament damage (maybe due to being overweight?)
He also continued to poop in his sleep every night, and leaked urine constantly. Near the end he slept on “gigantic” pee pads which he almost always stayed on overnight. I thought this was an early indication of DM (degenerative myelopathy) — one sign of which is incontinence. He also stumbled sometimes and his rear legs shook.
Yesterday I discovered that he had chewed off (and ate) the tip of his tail. That meant a visit back to the vet, during which we talked about all the above issues and I decided his quality of life was diminishing; I held him as he died. (The vet said his tail was mostly dead tissue, so he probably didn’t feel pain chewing it off. Plus there was not much blood at the wound site; another indication of dead tissue.)