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Our dog wonít eat
Old 05-22-2019, 01:17 AM   #1
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Our dog wonít eat

Sorry for the long post, but Iím worried about our dog and wonder if anyone has been through something similar.

We were out of town last week and our pet sitter contacted me concerned that our dog didnít eat the first day we were gone. I asked her to hold off and see what happened on Day 2. By the end of Day 2, he still hadnít eaten so we agreed that sheíd feed him chicken & rice. He gobbled it up for a day or two, but then got very sick - vomiting and diarrhea. She took him to the vet last Friday. They rehydrated him, did a complete blood work-up on him, and gave him anti-nausea meds, as well as prescribed an intestinal antibiotic and an antacid.

He hasnít vomited or had diarrhea since being treated at the vet, and his energy level and general demeanor are back to normal. However he is not eating much and has to be coaxed a lot to eat at all. The vet said a possible next step is exploratory abdominal surgery to see if there is an obstruction in his digestive tract. The X-rays and barium test he had last Friday were inconclusive and while no obstruction was apparent, the vet said itís possible there is one. He said an Ultrasound could also be inconclusive, while exploratory surgery would produce a more definite answer.

I hate to have surgery done on our dog when he has no symptoms other than a low appetite. OTOH, itís very stressful feeding him and realizing he isnít going to eat meal after meal. He will eat treats but even rejected cheese today.

If this were your dog and he continued to refuse food, would you have the surgery done? Or what else might you try? I did try making fresh chicken and rice, which he ate with gusto for a day but then began to refuse it.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:24 AM   #2
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If it's just appetite, I'd hold off the surgery until I got home, but I don't know how long you are going to be gone.

Is the dog otherwise doing good; regular activity, etc?
If Pup is drinking water, give it broth with salt and other electrolytes to keep him hydrated.
How's his stools? I realize his eating is down, but are they otherwise normal?
Pup may just be missing you!
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:39 AM   #3
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How old is your dog?
Has he ever had periods of listless appetite in the past?

My inclination is to hold off on surgery with an older dog (8+) for a bit, and agree that broth would be a good idea.
How are his teeth?
Good luck with this, I know you are worried, and I hope he gets back to normal soon.
Surgery is a big step to take, and Iím inclined to wait and see with my own dogs.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:29 AM   #4
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Sorry for the long post, but I’m worried about our dog and wonder if anyone has been through something similar.

We were out of town last week and our pet sitter contacted me concerned that our dog didn’t eat the first day we were gone. I asked her to hold off and see what happened on Day 2. By the end of Day 2, he still hadn’t eaten so we agreed that she’d feed him chicken & rice. He gobbled it up for a day or two, but then got very sick - vomiting and diarrhea. She took him to the vet last Friday. They rehydrated him, did a complete blood work-up on him, and gave him anti-nausea meds, as well as prescribed an intestinal antibiotic and an antacid.

He hasn’t vomited or had diarrhea since being treated at the vet, and his energy level and general demeanor are back to normal. However he is not eating much and has to be coaxed a lot to eat at all. The vet said a possible next step is exploratory abdominal surgery to see if there is an obstruction in his digestive tract. The X-rays and barium test he had last Friday were inconclusive and while no obstruction was apparent, the vet said it’s possible there is one. He said an Ultrasound could also be inconclusive, while exploratory surgery would produce a more definite answer.

I hate to have surgery done on our dog when he has no symptoms other than a low appetite. OTOH, it’s very stressful feeding him and realizing he isn’t going to eat meal after meal. He will eat treats but even rejected cheese today.

If this were your dog and he continued to refuse food, would you have the surgery done? Or what else might you try? I did try making fresh chicken and rice, which he ate with gusto for a day but then began to refuse it.
I personally almost died from an abdominal surgery that was supposed to be no big deal, so there's no way I'd subject my dog to that risk unless I knew it was necessary.

I'm also a bit suspicious of how quick the medical community is to resort to either pills or a knife. That's more true of human doctors than vets, but it bothers me that they default so quickly to those approaches.

Is he pooping? If there's an obstruction -- I mean, if it's a serious obstruction (one that is potentially life-threatening), it would be blocking his intestines. He would be in pain, if that were the case. If it's a smaller obstruction, one that allows the food to pass, I can't see how that would interfere with appetite.

I would consider getting a second opinion. Seems to me there are a lot of possibilities here. If he's got no other symptoms besides lack of appetite, there's no rush. I wouldn't put him through a painful and potentially risky surgery, just to explore. There are more benign explanations that should be ruled out first. Maybe he just had food poisoning from something he ate in the yard, and it's taking a while for his system to bounce back (just speculating). It's good that his energy and mood are normal.

I'm a little concerned that the tests have been "inconclusive," too. That sort of leaves you in the dark. Maybe repeating the tests or using different tests would be helpful? I'm not a vet, though, so I'm out of my depth there.

Good luck. I know it's worrisome when someone you love is ill. I hope it gets sorted out.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:50 AM   #5
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The exploratory surgery recommendation sounds similar to our ex-vet - the one who accidentally left a drainage tube in our dog's empty eye socket until it came out on its own 2 years later. I would definitely get a second opinion. And ask around for suggestions of a good vet.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:16 AM   #6
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I personally almost died from an abdominal surgery that was supposed to be no big deal, so there's no way I'd subject my dog to that risk unless I knew it was necessary.

I'm also a bit suspicious of how quick the medical community is to resort to either pills or a knife. That's more true of human doctors than vets, but it bothers me that they default so quickly to those approaches.

Is he pooping? If there's an obstruction -- I mean, if it's a serious obstruction (one that is potentially life-threatening), it would be blocking his intestines. He would be in pain, if that were the case. If it's a smaller obstruction, one that allows the food to pass, I can't see how that would interfere with appetite.

I would consider getting a second opinion. Seems to me there are a lot of possibilities here. If he's got no other symptoms besides lack of appetite, there's no rush. I wouldn't put him through a painful and potentially risky surgery, just to explore. There are more benign explanations that should be ruled out first. Maybe he just had food poisoning from something he ate in the yard, and it's taking a while for his system to bounce back (just speculating). It's good that his energy and mood are normal.

I'm a little concerned that the tests have been "inconclusive," too. That sort of leaves you in the dark. Maybe repeating the tests or using different tests would be helpful? I'm not a vet, though, so I'm out of my depth there.

Good luck. I know it's worrisome when someone you love is ill. I hope it gets sorted out.
+1
We had a dog who ate a bait with a number 6 hook inside. Vet insisted they remove it, the surgery a great success. Dog wouldn't eat post surgery, a week went by and she still wasn't eating. The vet insisted that we keep her locked up away from her coop as it was cleaner inside. She hated it. I was going to have her put down because she wasn't eating but DW insisted I move her back to her coop. Dog started eating the next day. She was upset.

I've talked to a couple folks who claim their dogs had eaten a fish hook with no ill effects. I'm not sure what was right, except that dog was really upset after surgery and wanted her world but back the way she wanted it to be. Your dog could be upset.

Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:25 AM   #7
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Since the cause of the issue started with an event (your departure), it seems unlikely that the solution would be a surgical medical intervention, especially given the tests aren't showing anything physical. (i mean would you have a biopsy done if a mamo and ultrasounds showed no lump? no, you'd get another doctor). Of course it's possible the timing is just a coincidence, but still...

It sounds from your post like you are home now, and I know you travel frequently so there may be something else going on, but still, I'd keep pushing for other solutions from your vet, or another vet. If your dog if otherwise healthy, and has enough weight on him to ride through this for a bit, I'd keep looking for other factors.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:15 AM   #8
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I don't have a dog (did as a child) but I foster lots of rescue cats.

Usually when they stop eating its one of the following
1. Pain (often back related in my cats)
2. Constipation
3. Anxiety which comes in all types of forms
4. Eating something they shouldn't

If your dog is drinking water, not constipated, not throwing up, not lethargic I wouldn't stress too much but focus on anxiety and making things as normal and re-assuring as possible.

Please check to make sure your dog isn't straining at all when he is trying to relieve himself as that would be the time to see any physical symptoms if he hurt himself while you were away. The eat/not eat leads me to wonder if he is in some type of pain.

Usually 1 in 5 cats I rescue have these types of issues so I spend a lot of time monitoring their behaviors to figure out which of these it is. Since they can't tell you and vets are just guessing based on what you tell them.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:20 AM   #9
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When my dog lost his appetite, we ended up having to switch up his food. I can't recall what kind but that was the first thing we tried. It worked. I think we tried a couple of kinds to see what he liked best.

The second time he lost his appetite, he was suffering from cancer and had multiple tumors at that point, also had hip problems (golden retriever) and had a hard time getting up from laying. We knew it was time. Fed him steaks until the vet showed up for his final rest.

But switching the food up helped us the first time, not the second. When we first discovered the tumors and were reaching out for advice I remember a friend stating "Is he eating steaks yet" I said what do you mean? He said, our dog would only eat steaks at the end of his life, if he isn't eating steaks, he's 'golden'
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:27 AM   #10
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Hopefully this is not the case, but is worth considering.
When left alone outside, many if not most dogs will bark. Some will bark to a nuisance level, creating disharmony in the neighborhood.
Without strictly enforced laws, these situations rarely resolve amicably.
In this case, a neighbor may feel compelled to act directly by offering an irresistible treat to the dog, not always fatal.
This happened to my sisters dog.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:11 AM   #11
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Thank you for the responses. We cut our trip short and came home Friday night, so we have been with him since then. He is drinking water, pooping fine (not straining). Just not eating very well. He is an indoor dog and the pet sitter who keeps him when we are gone lives in an apartment with no yard. He is never unsupervised or off leash outdoors.

Iím thinking anxiety over our being gone and being poked and prodded at the vet all day Friday are the major causes of his appetite loss. Heís a rescue so we donít know his exact age but we believe heís about 9, and he is already on heart meds so I really donít want to anesthetize him for surgery unless absolutely necessary.

I appreciate all of your feedback. We are holding off on any surgery unless his symptoms worsen. I like the idea of a second opinion too.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:29 AM   #12
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One of my Maltese wouldn’t eat when we would go on vacation so I always cooked up a bunch of chicken that she couldn’t refuse. I am guessing it’s related to your being gone. I bet it resolves itself. Many dogs can’t resist wet food so I would try that.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:32 AM   #13
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Definitely a second opinion is in order. Also, i would consider the ultrasound as it is non-invasive and i think well worth the roughly $300. (with evaluation and exam) that it costs in my area, to either rule out or rule in something like IBD, or pancreatitis or both or even PLE. Your dog's symptoms sound a lot like my dog who has all three. The blood work, if it checked the albumin level, would have revealed the PLE. It should also have shown pancreatitis. IBD can only be shown by ultrasound, but sometimes even then it can occur with a normal ultrasound. treatment of all three conditions is similar, just a matter of working out the dosage that will relieve symptoms: a steroid such as prednisone and an antibiotic such as metronidazole. Both are cheap.

Good luck
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:45 AM   #14
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My story doesn't apply to this situation but my family too has had to deal with this when my brother's dog went on a hunger strike when his family kenneled him for a week. Our dog and my brother's dog were friends. I took our dog to the kennel and suggested that the two of them be kenneled together for the duration. Brother's dog's appetite immediately picked up whether from competition for the kibble or just having a buddy to hang out with. Problem solved.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:49 AM   #15
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Brat, I would have just taken your brother’s dog home instead of kenneling him.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:54 AM   #16
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Thank you for the responses. We cut our trip short and came home Friday night, so we have been with him since then. He is drinking water, pooping fine (not straining). Just not eating very well. .....
Things sound good so far, especially the poop & pee? part working. I am sure this is upsetting, especially as there does not appear to be a clear reason.

Maybe he ate something at the pet sitter's place that was not good to eat, and the sitter doesn't know or too worried to tell. example poisonous house plant.

It could really be a health issue, or depression/resentment/etc.

Animals have feelings (IMHO) and I've seen my cat be mad at me for a week after I left her, it took her about 5 days to finally come near me once I returned.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:16 AM   #17
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Thank you for the responses. We cut our trip short and came home Friday night, so we have been with him since then. He is drinking water, pooping fine (not straining). Just not eating very well. He is an indoor dog and the pet sitter who keeps him when we are gone lives in an apartment with no yard. He is never unsupervised or off leash outdoors.

Iím thinking anxiety over our being gone and being poked and prodded at the vet all day Friday are the major causes of his appetite loss. Heís a rescue so we donít know his exact age but we believe heís about 9, and he is already on heart meds so I really donít want to anesthetize him for surgery unless absolutely necessary.

I appreciate all of your feedback. We are holding off on any surgery unless his symptoms worsen. I like the idea of a second opinion too.
Yep, at 9, I wouldn't put him under unless it was an absolute emergency. Anxiety can be a big deal with rescues, as their fear of abandonment is very real. Good luck and I'm glad you are treating this conservatively for now.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:17 AM   #18
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Brat, I would have just taken your brotherís dog home instead of kenneling him.
That might have worked but DH and I were both working at the time. Our dog was a large Samoyed, his a German Shorthair Pointer. Left alone in the house the two of them would have had lots of 'fun'. Our yard couldn't have kept the Pointer and as his home was only 5 blocks away he would beat paws home. Also, the Pointer needed lots of exercise which we couldn't do in the evening.

The kennel specialized in training bird dogs.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:30 AM   #19
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My DW babysits one day every other week. She is gone from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. During that time our dog has the "mopes". Doesn't eat, doesn't want to go out to do business, doesn't want to be petted. Once wife gets home everything is fine. It is not like she is here alone, I am home. It is just not right to her.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:13 PM   #20
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Brat, that makes total sense. We had a pointer growing up and they can be escape artists. We took him to the county everyday to let him run. Very high energy.
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