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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My 12 y/o border collie, who usually has a healthy appetite,

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Hi, my 12 y/o border collie, who usually has a healthy appetite, started going off her food about 3 weeks ago. I took her to the vet and they did a blood test and from this he presumed she had pancreatitis. She isn't vomiting and is drinking fine, she's on tramadol which I'm giving her once a day to help with any pain and it's also helping ease her arthirits. She had loose yellow stools a few days ago, yesterday they were looking more normal but today she had constipation, presumably from the tramadol.
I'm concerned that her appetite has gone so low now and although she's having a little something each day (a little tuna, low-fat home made porridge, crackers), and I've been giving her a vitamin paste, she's far from eating enough for her size. Other than tramadol my vet hasn't prescribed anything else for her such as anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, etc.
She has Cushing's disease, which she was diagnosed with 3 years ago, but is doing fine with that. So I'm wondering if you have any suggestions for things to give her to get her appetite back, how long a mild bout of pancreatitis usually takes to get over and any other advice to get my fur baby back to normal? (I'm in the UK)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today. I'm sorry for this concern for Laney. In my experience, most patients with pancreatitis will recover fairly quickly and their appetites will return to normal; however, there are other patients for whom this isn't the case such that it might be several weeks before they completely recover. I always worry a bit about these latter cases (that I might be missing something) and I'll often suggest that an ultrasound be done to evaluate the pancreas as well as the liver, spleen and other internal organs. But in an effort to stimulate her appetite, I might ask your vet about the following medications:1. Cerenia which has appetite stimulant properties as well as anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory ones. It's primarily used by many vets as a potent anti-vomiting drug but it's been shown to have these other benefits as well. It's available as an injection or oral pills.2. Human Mirtazapine is often prescribed as an appetite stimulant although there are mixed results with its use in dogs (it appears to work slightly better in cats).This drug is tolerated very well by most dogs although sedation might be seen as a side effect.3. Cyproheptadine. This is also a human drug which may work with sedation and dry mouth possible side effects. I hope this helps. Deb
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the suggestions. Are you a UK vet? Just wondering as to make sure these drugs are available in the UK. I asked my vet about anti-nausea pill and she said they didn't really have anything, and the only one they did was very expensive, and didn't seem to pursue it. Would you recommend I try a different vet in my area as they might be able to prescribe one of the above?
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
You're more than welcome.Unfortuantely, I'm not a UK vet; I'm based in the States. But, Mirtazapine (aka Remeron) and Cyproheptadine (aka Periactin) have been around for a long time and I would expect that they should be available there but possibly under the different names that I mentioned. I've had conversations with other pet owners in the UK and I'm fairly certain that they've used these drugs.Cerenia (active substance maropitant) is a veterinary-labeled drug and I just checked online and it would appear to be available there as well. I never think a second opinion is a bad idea especially if you have reason to think that your pet's situation would benefit from it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again for the info. I may consider trying another vet and see if they can offer any of the above drugs and maybe an ultrasound, as that was another thing that my current vet didn't offer, only an xray. If a vet doesn't offer a particular drug, can I suggest it to them and they may be able to prescribe, what if they refuse? Have you had successes with pancreatitis and these particular drugs in getting appetites going and general well being increase? Other than the appetite, she seems in fairly good spirits, and other than her liver being slightly enlarged from her cushing's disease, her bloodwork was good.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
Glad I could help but I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you responded back. Many pet owners spend a lot of time online researching their pet's condition so it wouldn't be unusual for you to mention or suggest a particular drug to your vet. Hopefully, you would have a constructive dialogue about the pros and cons of medication should your vet refuse to prescribe one which you wanted to use. But, at the end of the day, it is your vet's decision whether or not to dispense a particular medication. Appetite stimulants aren't effective for every patient but they can be benefit for some which is why I will use them in my patients regardless of the underlying reason for this disinterest in food. But, I always try to find the reason why they're not eating in the first place if I can.But, I do worry that something else may be going on if they persistently don't eat. Deb
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's great. What about things like anti-biotics and IV fluids? Or is would that not be necessary as she is drinking well enough?
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
The treatment of pancreatitis is dependent on the severity of the disease; I'll treat my acute patients with antibiotics but I don't typically do so otherwise unless a secondary bacterial infection is suspected (usually the cbc would reflect infection). She doesn't sound sick enough to require IV fluids; those are reserved for acute cases, at least in my practice. I might consider anti-pain medication, though, since inflammation of the pancreas is often painful (which is why the patient won't/doesn't eat). Every vet has their own preference as to which drugs they would use.Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for all your helpful information. I'll contact my vet on Monday and hopefully can get them to prescribe one of the above medications and fingers crossed get her eating and feeling better again. And other than that, maybe get an ultrasound or xray if things don't improve.
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
My pleasure and thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.I think your plan is a sound one. Best of luck with her. Kindest regards, Deb

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