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Last week, on Thursday, I brought home an approximately six month old dark sable male GSD puppy from one of my local shelters. Long story short, I went to do a temperament test on a two year old 80 pound adult and found a six month old 44 pound puppy instead. He came home with me and we went straight to my vet. Lungs were clear, stool was full of whipworms and hookworms, which were treated immediately. He was depresesd and very "hollow" looking initially. By Friday afternoon, he was much improved already and began to look so much better in spite of beginning to have a slight cough. I started him on an antibiotic and Mucinex, which seemed to help him as well. As he has improved daily in his affect, energy level and spirits, his appetite is not enough to sustain life in the long term.

I have gotten him to nibble on pieces of boiled chicken, roast beef, eggs and puppy kibble throughout the weekend. He only nibbles small amounts and never eats a decent meal even with the cumulative total of what I am feeding. I have struggled with this all weekend and there has been no improvement, no matter what he has been offered and what the temperature of the food has been (i.e. warm or cold).

The story on this puppy (from the shelter) is that he arrived on March 15th after a drug raid. His owners went to jail and he and the other dog in the house with him were seized and brought to the shelter. The other dog broke with parvo and was euthanized. This puppy did not get parvo and was in quarantine for the next ten days. He was then released to the general adoption floor on the same day that I had been planning on assessing the adult male GSD, only to find this puppy in the same run.

The puppy has documentation of a six in one vaccine, worming with Panacur and intranasal kennel cough beginning on March 15th. When he arrived in my home, he was so weak that he would collapse. Throughout the weekend, he gained strength, became brighter, initiated gentle play with my dogs and his overall status is greatly improved. His appetite has not improved one bit, however.

His stools are firm, brown and normal in spite of everything that he has been through. It took him 36 hours to have a BM once I got him home, but he has been drinking and urinating well too. He is now having two small BMs each day and they are better than I would expect with food changes, environment changes and a health change.

He has no fever, only a very minimal cough once in a while and no nasal discharge. His kennel cough is very minimal and does not seem to have an impact on his general outlook and disposition at this point.

Any thoughts on how to encourage this puppy to eat or what else I can feed him that he might want to eat? We are going back to my vet tomorrow afternoon and already have the appointment scheduled. Thanks in advance.
 

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I haven't had a problem with my dogs not wanting to eat, but their favorite occasional treat is sardines. I mix them with their dry food, they love them. Hope he's better soon...
 

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Kennel cough seems to kill the appetite in GSDs. I've gone through worrisome attempts to coax anorexic, sick dogs to eat many times -- it's important to get them eating, it will help their immune systems recharge.

I think for them, nothingtastes good when they have kennel cough (similar to the way many of us feel when we have a cold!). Try to feed very high value, high odor food -- open up a fresh can of food nearby to see if the smell tempts the dog.

I've heard some foster homes have good results by cooking up some chicken or beef liver. Personally, I've sometimes resorted to feeding multiple cans per day of very high quality, expensive canned food (liver-flavor seems to be the most attractive to anorexic dogs) -- a spoonful at a time. For the sickest dogs, I've fed the wet food without any kibble at all, just to get them through the first few days of being sick and get some food in them, if they are refusing kibble.

Taking food with the antibiotic can be very important to avoid nausea with some antibiotics. The nausea will only make the anorexia worse, so if you can get the dog to at least eat a few tablespoons of wet food with it, it might help.

As the antibiotic (Doxycycline?) kicks in after a few days, the appetite should come back, if it's due to the kennel cough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Magwart: Thank you for the reply. I have offered this puppy boiled chicken, roast beef and eggs cooked several ways. No difference in what he will eat. He does not want canned food at all.

With previous rescues and foster dogs, I have had much worse kennel cough present several times. Just never had any of them stop eating, which is what this boy is doing.

I also called the shelter and spoke with one of the workers who took care of him in the quarantine. He reported that this puppy barely ate for the entire ten days that he was quarantined.

Will keep trying and hope that his appetite improves with each passing day.

Many thanks for your suggestions and advice.
 

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See if he will take some coconut oil. Will help boost his immune system too. Make sure you get the raw organic coconut oil.
 

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Second the coconut oil, as well Seacure and/or Bovine colostrum to assist the immune system - once he starts feeling better will probably want to eat

Seacure for Pets 100g powder by Proper Nutrition

also a product that is combo form of seacure and colostrum call "SeaVive"
 

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I wonder if tinned cat food would do the trick? I know it would be a bad choice as a regular diet, but the poor guy has to eat something. Thanks for bring him home!
 

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Will he drink chicken broth or beef broth? When Fiona is feeling down and not eating, she will always eat bacon. She eats some raw and sometimes cooked. I know it is not the best, but maybe it will get him going.


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What kind of drug bust? Thinking of exposure to meth making or something could make a dog sick, take a while to clear the system.

Sometimes they want what they are used to - so cheap, flavor enhanced foods like Ol Roy. With dogs that are having trouble eating, I try to find something that they find palatable, even if it's eating Scooby Snacks for a while until their appetite picks up.

Merrick (specifically) canned, baby food, Nupro powder on the food have all worked. However, those intense amounts of worms can really make them feel off.

Mucinex is great but can make me a little nauseous as can antibiotics like Magwart said if not taken on a full stomach - which, if he's not eating, is difficult!

Even if he's drinking well, he may be a bit dehydrated from everything and some fluids might help to stimulate the appetite. I would also ask if a touch of Cerenia tab might be good or - the worry - is there a bigger reason for him not eating - something like blockage or intuccusseption.

Good luck!
 

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Is the dog drinking water? If not, or only minimally, I would ask your vet about the possibility of giving the pup some IV fluids with vitamins -- that sometimes works wonders in very sick dogs, and brings the appetite back. A friend had a foster go through that recently.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
We are going back to my vet this afternoon. He is no better and no worse other than he now has a slightly yellow runny nasal discharge. The cough is still present, but minimal. I got some Puppy-Cal (similar to Nutri Cal) in to him last night under protest and I also got some yogurt and a spoonful of peanut butter. Offered him wet cat food, chicken and beef with zero interest.

He is drinking lots and urinating and having small stools in spite of everything. Will ask about a bag of subcutaneous fluids for tonight at home in hopes that it might perk him up. It did perk up my very senior fourteen year old recently when she stopped eating.

His spirits seem good in spite of this and he is being picked up by my friend on Saturday. He will have an appointment with his new vet next Tuesday as well. The family that he is going to have a German Shepherd, a Belgian Malinois and a Dutch Shepherd. Very aware and conscientioius. When Gabriel feels better, he will be introduced to the search and rescue team members with the hope of joining and training with them.
 

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I wonder if he has pneumonia? It sounds like he is still sick. The move plus all of the vaccinations and dewormers can put a lot of stress on an already weak body. He could also have pain from the worm load.

Can you give him some organic kefir?

If he gets a thumbs up (lungs clear, blood work good, etc.) from the vet then you could start assist feeding him. You might also ask for a B12 shot and you could give him some slippery elm about a half hour before you feed him because he might be feeling nauseous.

Good luck and thanks for fostering this guy!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We went back to the vet yesterday afternoon and Gabriel's temperature was 104F. His antibiotic was switched and I also decided to start him on satin balls. Since he is already fifteen pounds underweight and is refusing all food voluntarily, I changed the game plan.

Last night, he was force fed twelve small satin ball meatballs with an antibiotic pill. Three hours later, he got yogurt and a probiotic. At 3 a.m., more satin ball meatballs and another dose of antibiotic. His temperature was still 104F this morning. Before I left for work at 7 a.m., he got more satin balls and another dose of probiotic.

My hope is that I see some improvement in another 24 hours or so.

Many thanks for the suggestions. Gabriel is up, bright eyed, alert, wagging his tail and urinating well. His nose is running with a yellow discharge, but other signs are still hopeful. This is a really nice puppy and he has a really bright future waiting for him.
 

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Oh I hope you see some improvement as well. He's a fortunate pup, having you on his side!

Jack wouldn't eat when I first brought him home, either, but it doesn't sound as severe as Gabriel's case.

We started with low sodium chicken broth and gradually added in the kibble, a few pieces at a time, and then weaned off the broth. We did the satin balls for a while, too, but I didn't have to force feed those. You are an angel for that pup!

Jack's the reason I researched and ended up putting my dogs on a raw diet, as I was desperate to have him keep some weight on.

I hope that temp is down when you get home! Keep us posted.
 

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I rescued several dogs that had silent pneumonia without significant URI symptoms. The only symptom was lack of appetite. These dogs completely refused any form of dog food, I first got them to eat KFC or burgers first. IV antibiotics may be good in this situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Gabriel is back at my vet, today (Thursday) for more/different antibiotics, subcuatneous fluids and nebulizer treatments. He has pneumonia with a temperature last night of 105F. I made a humidifier tent at home for him last night and got his temp down to 103.8F before I went to bed. It was 104F this morning and back to the vet's office we went. He was laboring to breathe too. In spite of this, he was bright, alert, interactive, wagging his tail and following me around when he was out of the humidifier tent/crate. He has also kept all of the satin balls and fluid down for the past two days :) until he got in to the car this morning :(.

One day at a time.
 

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Bless his heart. Sending positive thoughts to the little guy.
Unfortunately it has been my experience that if they are not eating, it is usually pneumonia. Often it comes without major URI symptoms. Most dogs inhale their food if they are healthy. Pneumonia is really common during the cold season, last year all cats and dogs I pulled from area shelters had pneumonia. Hand feeding with yummy smelly people food worked best ( not bland and not dry). They eat better at home. I filled my bathtub with hot water and dissolved vapor rub in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just called the vet and we are going to add nebulizer treatments to his regimen at home. He will also be getting Doxycycline added to the current antibiotic. My vet gave him a Penicillin injection today and subcutaneous fluids. I will go pick him up in just a little while.
 
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