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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20625
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have a male English Pointer - 12.5 years old, poor ps but

Resolved Question:

I have a male English Pointer - 12.5 years old, poor hips but keen to do a morning walk of 3 miles or so (slowish "potter"). Normal weight range 29 to 31 Kgs. Fed on Hills mature food plus Butchers tripe. Three or four weeks ago he started to reject his normal food and became very "picky". I am beginning to lose the battle to keep his weight up in the normal range. Only environmental issue I can think of is he has been separated from a couple of Retriever running mates as they are now in season. I will take him to his normal vet on Monday, but in the meantime any suggestions would be welcome (he is on Rimadyl medication but is regularly checked for any issues).
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.

How long has he had these signs? How long has he been separated from them?

Any struggles when he eats (ie dropping food, chewing on one side of his mouth, etc)?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking, vomiting, or diarrhea?

Any changes to his drinking?

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

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

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Maybe six weeks building up to now.Separated from bitches for approx. 10 days.Only that he "chomps" at large biscuits, eating only approx. 50% of the food.Diahrrea over last four days but suspect caused by my attempts to get nutrients into him. Previously on Hills diet, virtually never any bowel problem.Seems to be drinking and peeing as normal.Pink (probably a little pale) but moist.He is one of life's wimps so prone to complaining if poked. But no sign of discomfort during his morning run!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Understand about phone call and look forward to online conversation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No obvious retching, gagging or vomiting but does regularly eat grass and regurgitate it. This is a long term habit, not something new.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

While females dogs being in season can lead to odd behaviors and appetite loss in males; the time frame doesn't sound like it fits here. As well, if we are seeing weight loss and 50% of his food is soft, then dental issues or oral discomfort would also be less likely. Therefore, we do need to tread with care.

Now reduced appetites in older dogs can occur for a range of reasons. We often see them with underlying nausea, but also secondary to underlying metabolic diseases, organ issues (ie kidney, liver), and when we have cancer. So, it is worth having a check up once his vet is open.

In the meantime, we can try supportive care. If you suspect any nausea, you can try an OTC antacid with him. Common OTC pet safe options would be: Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac) or Milk of Magnesia (0.5tsp every 8 hours). These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet before use if your wee one has any pre-existing health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.

Afterwards, we'll want to tempt him to eat as you are. Though also consider a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too.

Or we can even try calorie rich diets (ie Hills A/D, Royal Canin Recovery diet, even canned puppy food), a liquid diet (ie Clinicare, Dogsure), or there are even paste supplements (ie Nutrical) that can also be used. Each of these have more nutrition per bite, so we can get more in even if cannot get much in. And we often use this as a sneaky way to counter weight loss.

Overall, I am concerned about your lad's appetite. It is a vague sign that raises many concerns. But we'd want to cover as many bases as possible just now and monitor. Once his vet is open, it is worth a check up +/- geriatric bloods to pinpoint the root cause and nip this in the bud for him.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your thoughts, I think I will try to contact the vet immediately.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.