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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22584
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My springer was very sick Saturday night and hasn't eaten since.

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My springer was very sick Saturday night and hasn't eaten since. He has been drinking water. Can you help

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

Poor Ben!

Could he have eaten anything he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, socks, trash, plants, etc)?

If you press on his belly, does he seem uncomfortable, tense, or painful?

Are his gums or conjunctiva around his eyes pink or pale/white?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have pressed his tummy and he is not sensitive. He does eat all sorts when we are out on walks.
His eyes are clear and his gums seem healthy.
He is just very lethargic

Thank you Colleen,

Now I am glad that you are not seeing an GI sensitivity or paling gums, as this would lessen worries about obstructions a wee bit. Still, we would want to keep an eye out these as well as monitor for any signs of restlessness, fecal straining, black feces, blood or brown material in his vomit. If you saw these and he is known to pick up all sorts, then we'd want a check with his vet +/- xray to make sure this isn't an issue for him.

Otherwise, when a dog goes off their food with lethargy, these are vague clinical signs that can occur with a range of issues. In dogs his age, this includes grumbling bacterial infection, viral disease, metabolic conditions, pancreatitis, inflammatory diseases, toxin and again our foreign material ingestion

To approach this situation, we must be proactive and see if we can get him eating as quickly as possible. First, as anorexia is often precipitated by nausea, and after his vomiting over the weekend this is certainly suspect. Therefore, it is worth ruling this out. To do so, as long as he isn't vomiting now and can keep water down, you can consider trying him with an antacid at this point to see if you can help 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 two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease his upset stomach.

Further to this, in case we find that he is just too nauseous for the antacids to make a dent, we would need to think about stronger options like Cimetidine (More Info) or injectable treatments like maropitant (Cerenia), metoclopramide (Reglan),or ondansetron (Zofran). So, do try the antacid to start, but if they don’t settle his very upset GI, then do speak to his vet about these other options to try and get him settled and back to being keen to eat for us.

If you find that Ben starts to settle after one of the above treatments, then the next step is to see if you can get him eating (as I am see you have been). Favourite foods are allowed or you can 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 here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.) Further to this, if tempting doesn’t work, then we may need to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food into him. This has only been going ona wee while, so this won't be necessary yet, but if he doesn't start eating then we may need to consider this for Ben.

On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on his water intake and hydration status. Now I am glad to see that he is drinking but you do also want to check his hydration now. To check this and make sure he is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. 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 your lad seen by the vet (possibly for IV fluids) before this gets any further out of control.

Overall, when a dog is anorexic, it can mean a wide range of underlying issues. And if Ben picks up bits and bobs, then we do have the risk of foreign bodies, toxins, and even gastroenteritis from dodgy tid bits. Therefore, if you try the above and do not see him picking up in the next 12-24 hours, then you do want to consider following up with his vet (since he is sounding very poorly with this now). They can assess his hydration, rule out any lumps, bumps or things that don't belong in his gut and start him on strong any-nausea/vomiting medication by injection and appetite stimulating drugs to settle this for him and get him back to normal.

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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