He won't eat - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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He won't eat

Once again, I come to you guys for advice.

My baby is 12 years old and doing fine. Until, about a week ago. He has been on the same food (Nutro) for several years. No problem.

One particular Saturday, he decided he didn't want to eat. Ok. I pulled it up and reoffered in the evening. Still nope, not gonna eat it. I pulled it up.

Next morning, again. I decided to put an egg in it. Nope, not gonna eat it. He seems fine. Smoking and joking. Just not eating.

I wonder if he is just being stubborn and all the sudden doesn't like this food. Or if there is a problem.

I go buy a small bag of a different brand. He eats that. So I mix the new bag with the old. Next meal, nope, not gonna eat it.

I separate the two foods and try to feed him again, (next meal). Nope, not gonna eat it.

Now, all this time, he is fine. Drinking water, doing his business.

Finally, I call the vet. We go. Temperature is good. She listens to his heart. She feels his body. Looks in his ears, eyes and mouth. I had mentioned maybe a tooth issue. She said his teeth looked fine.

She went and got a plate of wet dog food and brought them to him. Yes, he ate it all.

She told me that he is a senior and to feed him what he wants. He looked fine and seemed healthy.

Great, so I go to the store and buy several cans of wet food. I mix about 1/3 of a can with his dry. He eats it. Whew. I do this for a couple of days.

This morning, I feed him, wet and dry. Nope, he ain't gonna eat it.
Off I go to work. Come home, its still in the bowl.

I offer him only wet, nope. I tried the egg in the dry, nope. I boiled some plain rice, nope. I boiled a piece of chicken, mixed it with a bit of rice, yes, he ate it.

At this point I don't know if he is playing me or if something is wrong. So my question to you is:

Do you think it will be ok, if I just offer him his next meal, and if he doesn't eat it, put it up and reoffer at each meal time?

How long can I do this before I take him to the vet? 2 days? 3 days?

Ideas?

Thanks,
kathy

Kathy
Bear - 1996-2008 - RIP big dog
Ruby - NSR foster
Nena - NSR foster
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 07:43 PM
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Re: He won't eat

As long as the veterinarian is 100% sure he's healthy and nothing is wrong, it sounds like he's being picky. But hey, he's 12 years, he deserves it. =)

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 07:52 PM
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Re: He won't eat

Did the vet do any bloodwork ? Ask the vet to run Geriatric bloodwork. At his age not everything is picked up by just looking at the animal. Good luck.

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 07:52 PM
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Re: He won't eat

Well, this should probably be moved to the Seniors section, because we tend to give a little bit different answers there. Regular adults, I'd say, they can go several days, a week even. Let them work up a good hunger. I don't tolerate pickiness very well. As long as the vet says they're healthy, then they're healthy and they can just hang out til they feel like eating.

A senior? I don't let them go that long. Why? Things happen with seniors, even seniors that appear healthy, that we can't see, and they happen FAST. A senior that just stops eating for no reason, IMO, is a candidate for closer inspection. I would want a full blood workup (CBC and full panel), fecal and urinalysis. Your regular vet can do these preliminary tests.

But if your pup still doesn't regain his appetite while you're waiting for the results, I'd be talking to your vet (and checking out this website) about a consultation to an internist: http://www.acvim.org/index.aspx?id=174

It appears that something isn't quite right. Maybe he's fine and it's just that the summer heat is getting to him. Hopefully, that's all it is. But my experience is that it's better to bring a senior who stops eating in to the vet/specialist early than wait it out. Often, it's nothing, or rather, nothing serious. But there is nothing more agonizing than an older pup that doesn't eat. It's easier on me, and him, when I just take a deep breath and bring him in.

Meanwhile, Whole Dog Journal (www.whole-dog-journal.com) has a great (informative and compassionate) article about how to feed a dog that has lost his appetite in the March 2008 issue. You can order back issues at the website.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

Lori
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: He won't eat

I apologize about putting it in the wrong section. Just wasn't sure.

I know I have not helped by giving him so many choices. But with his age, I am a bit more lenient, and more worried.

At the vet, he ate that bit she gave him and she really did put my mind at ease. But I guess, if he had come home and continued to eat the wet food, I would not be here. I would have just switched him to the wet. But that was not what happened. Yes, he ate the wet a couple of times, but now won't.

No, blood work was not done. And I am going to say the reason was, last month he had a growth removed and blood work was done at that time. The growth came back as "pilomatrical carcinoma". She said she took the growth and a large area surrounding the growth. The results came back.."she got it all".

I didn't mention that in my original post because the results came back "they got it all". And his behavior is good and normal. If his behavior had changed, I would have leaned more towards the diagnosis.

Oh well, I could sit here and ramble on and on. It's like talking to a friend who understands you. I am going to try and post a picture, so you can see my boy.

We will go to the vet.

Thanks,
Kathy

Kathy
Bear - 1996-2008 - RIP big dog
Ruby - NSR foster
Nena - NSR foster
Bruno - NSR foster
Blitz - NSR foster
Glory - SCR foster
Leibe - SSR foster
Lessie - CPR foster
Reno - CPR foster
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: He won't eat

Ok, I put a picture in the pictures forum.

I apologize for the picture being so big, I tried and tried to get it right. But quit for now.

Again thanks,
kathy

Kathy
Bear - 1996-2008 - RIP big dog
Ruby - NSR foster
Nena - NSR foster
Bruno - NSR foster
Blitz - NSR foster
Glory - SCR foster
Leibe - SSR foster
Lessie - CPR foster
Reno - CPR foster
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2008, 10:54 PM
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Re: He won't eat

hmm perhaps he's feeling nauseous or has a tummy ache for some reason and is associating each new food with the pain?

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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 01:06 AM
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Re: He won't eat

Kathy,
Oh, I wasn't criticising you for posting the question here. I was actually thinking the mods might move it, that's all. Sometimes, it's hard to know where to post a question; the topics tend to overlap.

Your pup's behavior was normal after surgery? He went right back to eating his normal amounts of food? And he got back his usual spring in his step? Often, that's one of the first things I tend to think of -- anesthesia can wreck a dog's system for a while as the body metabolises the chemicals. (My dog gets SIBO after sedation/anesthesia. It stresses his body that much.) And as Brenna's Mom points out, if a dog feels lousy, he may associate his food as the cause of the lousiness.

When presurgical blood work was done, did they do the basic pre-op blood screen or a full panel? Did the vet go over the results with you? Were any levels particularly high or low?

The pathology report is good news; that the surgeon got everything with good borders. So, that's one thing that we can check off the list. Little by little, I like to rule things out, starting with what I DO know and working with basic diagnostic tests first. It's a process I go through with my seniors. It's easier for me to be methodological. Otherwise, I tend to get a overwhelmed. Especially when I have a kid that won't eat.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 08:55 AM
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Re: He won't eat

Kidney problems can also cause food disinterest and lack of appetite. My previous dog had similar disinterest on occasion and her urine and blood was tested at various vets and appeared normal but after an operation to remove spindle cell sarcoma, a blood sample was sent to pathology (along with tumour samples) and her kidney disease was diagnosed. She was 16yo at that time and lived until she was nearly 17. I am not saying that this is your dog's problem, but it is definitely worth getting full testing - mention both kidney and thyroid testing - so at least you know what you are dealing with - knowledge is often the best starting point.

All the best.

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-02-2008, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: He won't eat

Got up this morning, gave him wet, nope. I offered him his Rimadyl, and he wouldn't take it. Wow, he has always ate, and then gone straight to where I keep his medicine. He loves the Rimadyl chew.

A few minutes later, I notice he is about to vomit. Vomits just white foam.

We go to vet. He has lost 2 pounds since last week.

She looks him over, smells his ears, and mouth. Temperature normal.

Yes, the tumor was malignant, but low grade and they got it all. So we sort of put that to the back.

She really does not want to withhold his food for a day or so. He is a senior. He needs to eat.

She gave him a small hard treat. He ate a piece of it and then left it.

He vomits up the treat. She gave him a shot for the nausea.

She said he could have an ulcer. She gave me some medicine to coat his stomach.

I do believe she doesn't really know. So this is our game plan.

See if he will eat a bit of boiled chicken tonight. In the morning, chicken again. If he eats and holds it down, add some rice. Do that for a couple of days.

If he won't eat chicken tonight or in the am. I will take him back and she will redo the blood work.

He has diarrhea now. But he is drinking water. I am boiling chicken as we speak. I hope he eats.

Just keeping you posted.
Kathy

Kathy
Bear - 1996-2008 - RIP big dog
Ruby - NSR foster
Nena - NSR foster
Bruno - NSR foster
Blitz - NSR foster
Glory - SCR foster
Leibe - SSR foster
Lessie - CPR foster
Reno - CPR foster
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