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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 17141
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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GA-RP My Cavalier ate as pebble size stone just over a week ago. The l

Customer Question

My Cavalier ate as pebble size stone just over a week ago. The last couple of days he had to be persuaded to eat., Today he doesn't want to eat at all and is lethargic., Could this be connected? What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


Has Monty had any vomiting, retching, gulping or lip licking?

Is he drinking despite refusing food?

Has he had any issues passing feces? Any straining?

Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)?


If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He, is still drinking. No vomiting or retching. No other problems. Gums are a nice pink. I have pressed all over his belly, no problems.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Rosina,

Now the reason I asked about his belly comfort, vomiting, and any signs of fecal straining is because we'd not expect a pebble to be causing these problems so long after being eaten. Generally speaking, if a stone is going to obstruct or cause issue, we'd see the signs much sooner and if not, then we'd expect it to have passed within 24-48 hours post ingestion. So, that pebble from last week is likely a red herring. That said, if Monty does eat silly things like pebbles, we need to be aware that there is always a risk of him having eaten something else since then.

Otherwise, as I am sure you can appreciate, we do see anorexia in the dog for a variety of other reasons. When we do, it is often linked to nausea (even if they are not vomiting). Since he is young, we can hopefully put worries like systemic, metabolic or organs disease on the bottom of our list of concerns. And at his age, the most common causes we'd have to consider will be bacterial infection, viral disease, pancreatitis, dietary indiscretion, and again ingestion of toxins and/or foreign material ingestion.

With all this in mind, we do want to monitor him closely and tread carefully. Since he can keep water down, the first step here is to try and see if you can settle his stomach to reduce his nausea and encourage him to eat. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). . We tend to want to use these 20 minutes before offering food to allow it to take effect. And of course, if he has any pre-existing issues or is on any other medications that you haven't noted, you'd want to check with his vet before using these.

Once that is on board, you want to get him eating properly (as I know you have). If he hasn’t been keen to have his favourites, then I would advise also trying to tempt him with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, notably Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity. Whichever you feed, offer it as a spoonful to start. If he can keep that down without vomiting for 30 minutes, he can have more and so on.

Further to this, if he just cannot be tempted and since he isn't vomiting, we may need to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food in. In that case, you may want to try Hill's A/D (LINK) from your local vet. This is a critical care diet that is comes as a soft, palatable pate. It is calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into him even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. As well, for syringing food, you can use the animal version of Ensure (balanced for animals dietary requirements) called Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (More Info). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription. This way it would a means of getting food/fluids in, staving off dehydration and weight loss, and buy you time to uncover the reason for GI signs.

Since anorexia can lead to dehydration in the young dog, even when drinking, so we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check hishydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have himseen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue. (since it is often the dehydration that starts to tap their energy level, depresses them, and makes them feel ill).

Overall, his signs are a bit too delayed to assume the pebble is at fault. Instead I'd be more concerned that Monty has eaten something else or that we have a GI bug lurking. Since he can keep water down and doesn't have any of the worrying signs I asked about, we'd want to take the above steps to see if we can get him back on his food as soon as possible. If you try the above, but do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours, then it would be best follow up with his vet so that they can make sure there is nothing sinister afoot. The vet will be able to have a feel of his belly to make sure there are no hints of pancreatitis or any thingpresent that should not be. Depending on their findings, the vet will be able to cover him with antibiotics and anti-nausea/vomiting medication by injection +/- appetite stimulating medication to help settle his stomach and get him back on track as quick as possible.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 17141
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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