Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.
Now if Bella has been vomiting, then it will be her nausea that is affecting her appetite. And if she is getting less nutrition in and feeling unwell, then she will have low energy and not be herself. In regards ***** ***** causes for this, we do have a few concerns. Common causes we need to consider include bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, general dietary indiscretions, and ingestion of harmful items (ie toxins, plants, non-edible items).
Now if her owner lets this linger, then we could see Bella develop dehydration and weight loss with this. And if that is allowed to become severe, she will become collapsed and likely cost her owners more as she may need hospitalization for IV fluids and intensive care. So if costs are an issue, they should look into taking her to an RSCPA or charity hospital or check if they are eligible to have her seen for free by the PDSA.
Otherwise, at the very least, you can speak to them about supportive care for her to try to at least help her here. . To start, if she hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest her stomach for a few hours first), then you can try an OTC pet safe antacid like Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with her vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention. As well, her nausea just too severe to keep it down, then that is usually a red flag that we need the local vet to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication.
After that has had time to absorb, we can start small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. The rice/chicken is fine but you can also have them try her with pasta or boiled potato instead of rice. And boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free) are alternative proteins we can use. There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. When you offer these meals, give her 30 minutes after to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset and less diarrhea. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until her signs are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.
Since dehydration is a risk, we need to keep a close eye on her hydration. To check this and ensure she’s not becoming dehydrated, there are a few things you can test. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure her eyes are not looking sunken and that she doesn’t have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you do find these dehydration signs, then that would be our cue to have her seen before this becomes an additional issue (especially as it is often dehydration that makes them feel unwell).
Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the signs we are seeing. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to settle her stomach. If she cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get her vet involved to get this settled before it can worsen. They can assess her hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, your vet can treat her with injectable anti-vomiting medication +/- antibiotics to get her back feeling like herself.
Please take care,
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