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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20549
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My puppy who is 18 weeks old has not been eating very well

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Hi my puppy who is 18 weeks old has not been eating very well over the past few days. He either eats a small amount or nothing. Yesterday morning his tummy made loud gurgling noises for about 1 hour. It calmed down when he ate a small amount. He is on a diet of dry food (royal canine mini junior) and puppy junior nature diet chicken,lamb and rice pack twice a day. I am worried that he is not eating enough. Any advice.
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 he had any retching, gagging, lip licking, grass eating, or vomiting?
Can he keep water down?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?
Has he had any diarrhea?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi thank you for the quick response. The answer to your questions are largely no. He has runny and somewhat yellow poo this morning. He is keeping water down and appears largely healthy otherwise. It is possible he could have eaten something out on a walk. We live in central London.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
"No" to those most serious signs are always good. :)
Still, based on Tayto's signs, we can appreciate that we have an ongoing issue that is causing both upper and lower GI upset. While its good that he isn't vomiting, that appetite loss and gurgling you heard are highly suspect of nausea. And all his signs in mind, our main concerns would be a bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, dietary indiscretion, parasite/protozoal infection, or ingestion of something potentially harmful (ie toxins, non-edible items).
Now as long as he can keep water down, we can try some home supportive care to see if we can settle his stomach. To start, you can consider treating him with an antacid to settle his stomach. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to use are:
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac)
* Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium hydroxide; 0.25 teaspoon every 8 hours)
*Calcium carbonate (120-240mg every 12 hours; this can be bought at the chemist or there are pet versions in our larger pet stores)
These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your wee one has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Once that has had time to absorb and is more steady on his stomach, you can consider starting him on a light/easily digestible diet. If you do so, start with a small volume to start. Chicken/rice is great but if he isn't keen you could also try rice or pasta with cottage cheese, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). The aim of the easily digestible diet is that it will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset and diarrhea. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until the signs are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.
Since loose stool and anorexia can lead to dehydration, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check his hydration status to make sure he is 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 (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, since he is young, then you do want to have him seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for him .
Finally, as long as you have not seen blood in those stools, you can consider trying him today on a dog safe anti-diarrheals here. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if the diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent. Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p/page1.aspx). This is available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber, Canikur, or Propectalin (which is available OTC at vets, pet stores, and even online) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the latter have the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means of trying to soothe his upset GI.
Overall, GI upset of this nature can be triggered by a wide range of agent. Therefore, in your Tayto's case, you can start supportive care to settle his stomach at this stage. Of course, he doesn't settle over today or is appearing dehydrated, then we'd want to consider getting his vet involved tomorrow. They can assess his hydration, rule out any fever, and just make sure there is nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on the exam, his vet can treat him with an injectable anti-vomiting medication, antibiotics, +/- appetite stimulants if need be to address this for him, settle his stomach, and get him back to eating for you.
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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