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Discussion Starter #1
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
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You know, usually when I am cooking, he sitting at his mark, waiting for me to offer him a bite. As I shredded the chicken, he was not there. He was laying on his bed.

I sat in the floor with a plate of shredded chicken, he got up and came to me. He slowly took 3 bites. Then turned and walked away. Oh my, what am I going to do? Makes me cry.

He just followed me into the office and is at my feet. I guess I will call the vet in the morning and take him back.

They will draw blood. But then what, we have to wait for results. He can't wait to long. What do they do when the dog won't eat? What if the blood work comes back normal? How many days do we wait? Do you give a dog an IV when he is not eating? Until you find a problem? This is a long weekend. Don't want him left in the vet over the weekend.

Crap, crap and more crap.

I know you can't answer my questions. I am just thinking out loud. Because in my mind, I think maybe he is dying. Or maybe he will starve himself. I don't know.

Forgive me, just scared.
 

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I believe that is last years Menu recall
 

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Discussion Starter #15
When he only ate those few bites earlier, I decided to put the rest in his bowl. At this point, he can free feed for a bit.

A few minutes ago, he went to his bowl and ate the rest of the chicken. Woo Hoo. I put a small bit more in the bowl and he ate also. I thought about giving him more. But decided against it.

He ate, lets keep it down. Eat more in the morning.

I know its a small step forward, but atleast he got a bit of food in his belly.

I feel better.
 

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This is what I would do.

I would ask for a full senior blood panel. I see that he had a surgery, with bloodwork done last month? Did she share those results with you?

I would ask for an x-ray. I would ask that they check the chest as well as the abdomen. This to me would be key.

Has he had a Heartworm test run recently?

I see others suggesting a fecal and urinalysis and that's a good idea too (stuff I never think about).

---->But to me bloodwork and x-rays are top of the to do list ASAP-like you said it's a long weekend. <--------

In the meantime, encourage him to stay hydrated. That is huge. Dogs who become dehydrated stop eating. He COULD be dehydrated even if he doesn't look it.

I would also not want to give him a lot of masking things-shots etc to cover up stuff-until I knew what was going on. My vets are really good about that-until diagnostics are done they don't give meds.

I would stop with the Rimadyl for now. There could be a reaction to that as well.

I know you are scared-I would be too. Maybe we should move this to the senior section-it's one of the best places on the board because we all hover around like mother hens, and if necessary mama bears! I hope he's okay. Take care of yourself too.
 

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I'd be checking his kidney & liver functions. Then I'd just worry. I've got one that will suddenly decide to eat, insist on more food on occassion. If I give in too much to that, we get bacterial overgrowth in the gut. But then she will also have spells of not eating and if I entice her too much and get her to eat, again we get bacterial overgrowth.
I feel your pain.
When my now deceased old girl was loosing interest in food, I cooked for her. I made up a huge recipie, froze some and fed some fresh. This and an occassional frosting of pureed meat baby food kept her going for about 9 more months.
 

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I like the idea of an xray. Although, I like ultrasounds in this situation better. Is there an internist in your area? (. Your vet can give you a recommendation, but I do like Board Certified specialists.) I'd like to get him into a specialist asap. They have the coolest equipment and move fast. But sometimes, they're hard to get in to see, and it may take a week or more to schedule. That's why I tend to push for specialist consultations. You can always cancel your appointment if you end up not needing it. But if you do, it's scheduled.

I love general practice family vets. But once things get weird or really scary, I run (and encourage others to run) to a specialist. They seem more expensive, but they usually have a laser-sharp focus that our family vets don't have. So instead of returning again and again to our regular vets (and spending more money each time), the specialist often says "hmm. It's probably either X or Y" and they go after X and Y with a vengeance...whereas my family vet would still be stuck at M, N or maybe O (if we're lucky). So in the long run, less time and less $ spent because we didn't dink around at the regular vet's office.

I would leave my dog at the vet's office over a long weekend IF it's staffed by vet techs at a minimum, with veterinarians on call (many vets only staff their offices with kennel workers). My vet doesn't staff with techs, so I know where the best Emergency Clinic is (it has a critical care department because it's affiliated with my veterinary internist's office). The phone number is programmed in my cell phone and the location is programmed into my car navigation system and Dh's Garmin (so I can get there even if I'm totally freaked out in the middle of the night).

And I'm ready to bring my dog in at any time. I long ago made a deal with myself that I wouldn't second-guess myself even if it were 3am on a Saturday night. I've only been wrong once, wrong in that I really didn't need to bring my dog in, and I kind of overreacted. The rest of the times, it really was a true emergency, and I'm glad I did.

BUT, I will leave my dog at the vet's office or the emergency clinic if she needs to be there, no matter how long. It sucks for her and for me. She'll hate it. But one of the major risks is dehydration. Hydration is way more important that most pet owners even begin to understand. If you don't clearly understand how to see the signs of dehydration in a dog, then you need to read up on these signs (pick up a good veterinary first aid book at the library or Barnes and Noble). Ask your vet to explain them to you, and show you EXACTLY what to look for.

You can boil up chicken or extra lean hamburger and offer the broth as often as possible to help stave off dehydration. But with a dog that has no appetite, this only works so well.

When I had a senior that didn't eat, I tossed all reasonable ideas about what a dog "should" eat out the window. I started cooking for her. Sometimes, she would eat baked chicken and whole grain pasta with carrots. So that became her staple. Sometimes, she'd eat other cooked veggies, so I always tried mixing those in. Somedays, it was ANYTHING I could get her to eat. Half of Dh's steak that he planned to have for dinner (with lots of ketchup for extra calories). Arbys might work. Tuna. Cheese pizza. When she really wasn't feeling well, I might be able to convince her to eat a tacquito (Whatever brand they sell at Costco. She liked those well enough to overcome her complete lack of appetite.) I sprinkled or melted cheese on anything I fed to her if I thought she would eat it that way.

The Whole Dog Journal article is very helpful with suggestions. When I read it, I cried. I wished I had it when Grover was sick. It truly is that helpful.

Leave his bowl of regular kibble down. Put down another bowl and toss "surprises" in there, so he starts stopping by to see what you've added. Sometimes, things smell so good, he might take a bite, even when he's really not able to eat more than that. One bite is good. Two bites is better. Think small but steady.

We're here.
We mama bears are here, hovering. Mixed metaphors and all...
 

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Just another bit of information to do with kidney problems - again, not saying it is - but the vet, that diagnosed my dog, said that people with kidney problems feel very unwell a lot of the time and even feel nauseated at the taste or smell of food even though they are hungry. He thought it was probable that dogs felt the same way. It explained that hunger would make them want to eat but that the act of eating made them want to stop eating due to those feelings of nausea. Flushing the blood via rehydration often made the symptoms disappear but it was only temporary - like dialysis for humans.

I hope you get some good news soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
He would not eat chicken this morning. I offered him a piece of cheese, nope.

He is still drinking water.

We go to vet. I left him there. They are going to do the senior blood work. And x-ray his abdomen and chest.

They will call me.

So I sit here, with thoughts of my dog. My wonderful baby.

Please don't yell at me, but I do have to think of the financial aspect. He is 12 years old. I have known for a long time, his hips are bad. He has trouble getting up and down.

Now maybe they will say, oh my, he swallowed a golf ball. We would get it out. And he would be fine.

But lets say they can't find anything.

He is my dog. Everytime I think about it, tears come to my eyes. Now, it may be nothing, and he may be fine, and he can get an easy fix. And we have more time together.


But, it might be time, I have to make the decision, that we all dread. I have to tell my self, I am his mom, and I will take care of him all the way through. That is my job.


Again, I am just rambling outloud (sort of). Because at this point I know nothing, so no decision has to be made yet.

You guys have been wonderful with the advice and opinions. I do appreciate the things you have said.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks for listening,
kathy
 
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