my paper thin old man - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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my paper thin old man

Hello folks

We recently adopted an 11 y/o sweetpea who along with a few medical ailments is paper thin at 80lbs. He's a long boy and large boned boy but skinny to the point hes like a skeleton ( his coat hides his bony body ). No history other than stray. Most of the bw (cbc & chem panel ) normal ( yay! esp after losing our last boy to late stage renal failure ) except thyroid low ( dealing with the thyroid post antiobiotics ). Had cyst removed from eyelid. Biopsy of nose/lip as well as severe crusting/ulcers on nose & lips. Pathologist believes it not to be DLE but possibly mucocutaneous pyoderma. Is now on 3x/day chloram 1000mg for 3 weeks. Crusting / ulcers almost gone. We homecook for him as he refuses all kibble ( softened not appealing, mixed with homecook not appealing ). He refuses all carbs ( even a hint of calorie dense yam or potato or rice and he will refuse an entire meal - even tried masking some coconut oil and somehow he knows its there and refuses whole meal ). I puree the veggies & soak them in the broth made from baking some ground beef and syringe him them to ensure he is consuming greens. He will eat most protein sources ( so far he refused salmon, tripe, organ meats ) though all meats are pureed down for him at mealtime as he will not eat cubed piece meats ( likely due to ulcerations on lips but since theyve almost disappeared he still refuses ) . His vitamins include : gluco/Bcomplex/vit e/calcium carbonate/niacin/coQ10/omega 3/6 oil. I crush the vits down and mix into an unsweetened apple sauce slurry for him. I feed him 4-5 small meals/day. He occasionally receives a tramadol as his hind end can be quite weak at times & will occasionally lightly drag his back right. Am I missing anything in his diet that he may require ? He is my big , tender terminator so do not want him wasting away. He has only gained 200 grams (!) since joining our home ( approx 3 weeks ago ). We will return to the vet once his chloram course is completed is there any further bloodwork ( other than of course thyroid panel we're having done ) he should have done ? Xrays ? Anything ?

I apologize this is so long just wanted to be as informative as possible.

Thanks for any & all advice.

Senior dogs are indeed the best dogs.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 08:46 PM
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You are doing such an awesome thing for this senior dog. While I am not nearly knowledgable enough answer your question, you are doing a great thing for this older pup. Wish you and him all the best.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 12:15 AM
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At his age and condition, I would feed him anything he wanted just to get him to eat and not worry about balancing his diet until after he's eating better.

It's possible that the antibiotics are squashing his appetite and it might pick up once he's off them. I would be feeding him as many small meals throughout the day as possible to help with digestion.

Have you talked to the vet about his poor appetite? Maybe he's nauseated or just doesn't feel good and maybe something like an antacid would help.

Elaine and the herd
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 12:52 AM
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You are doing a wonderful job it sounds like.

I would try and tempt him with different things, while
it's true the antibios might be affecting appetite, still
you might hit on something that you'll be surprised and
will work really well.

One old dog I had only liked that imitation crabmeat blend
stuff (I think the base is whitefish?) anyway, that's
what she got.

Other things to try are scrambled eggs, maybe with a
little cheese in them, and some plain yogurt. Some old
dogs like their food warmed a little in the microwave.

Good luck!


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately we found two large swollen submandibular lymph nodes. Aspirated to confirm our worst fear. Stage 2 Lymphoma. Immunophenotyping indicating T Cell type. Xrays showed no mets yet. No other exterior node involvement. Onco pushed only the MW protocol indicating all other options ( chop/single/etc ) ineffective. Minimized potential side effects. Started MW protocol. After first round the old boy was vomiting blood, diarrhea w/blood, very weak ( he was pretreated w/benadryl and antinausea ). To the ER - hydrated & given shot of anti-nausea. Husband and I decided not to continue chemo much to our onco's disappointment. Currently on daily pred to be tapered over the course of several weeks. Started acupuncture. Including K9immunity, vit e/d ( not C yet due to ongoing GI issues ), calcium, omega 3, coQ, selenium, milk thistle & on homecooked ' cancer ' diet ( no starches/sugars ). Unfortunately we are seeing rapid deterioration - evening nausea ( the lip smack/chomp but no vomit ) & panting - unable to sleep. Fighting with onco who refused to prescribe us ondansetron for his nausea ( thankfully GP vet gave us script for onda & tramadols ). Onco reminding us we made this choice for him and its not the pred causing the nausea. He is eating well yet has lost 1kg. Ugh. Not sure heart is emotionally prepared for this. Can any other much wiser members offer any advice on how else/what else can be done to keep him comfortable ? During the day he will break into a gallop after his sister chasing squirrels for short sprints and accepts any/all love/hugs/kisses. At what point do we make the decision for him ? What signs should we look for ? Do not want to wait until hes barely able to breathe. He came to us for a peaceful retirement and unfortunately has **** to fight so our goal is not quantity of life but quality. Thanks for any/all advice.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 03:27 PM
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I think you are probably the kindest people ever. It is the hardest decision we all face when our beloved dogs are terminally ill. I think you will know when the time has come.

For us, when our girl refused to even eat her absolute favorite food, and gave us a look that said "I am ready to go", we let her go. Still makes us terribly sad, but we know it was time.

Bless you and I hope you know what a wonderful thing you have done for this dog.

Scarlett WGSD 2/07 CGC TDI(retired)
Paige Husky/GSD mix 2/95-12/08

If you are going through hades, keep going!
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