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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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I have a 12 year old Lab mix that has suddenly stopped eating

Resolved Question:

I have a 12 year old Lab mix that has suddenly stopped eating and drinking for the past 24 hours - he has had no bowel or urine output during this time either. No other symptoms and very lethargic. Any idea what can cause this - as with everyone else funds are limited and I can't afford a lot of tests
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 2 years ago.

Dr. John :

I'm sorry to hear that Thunder is not feeling well. Has there been any vomiting, diarrhea, rapid or difficult breathing, etc? Any other symptoms aside from the lack of appetite and reluctance to drink?

Customer:

He has refused all food and water for the past 24 hours. His breathing is labored - but not more than usual. Nothing unusual happened that we know of to make this change.

Dr. John :

Thank you - any distention to his abdomen? Are his gums pale that you can tell?

Customer:

Okay what does distention mean? and I will check his gums

Dr. John :

Larger or more full appearing than normal

Customer:

Yes - his abdomen does seem fuller - but his gums look normal.

Dr. John :

Okay and when you say his breathing is labored but no more than usual - what do you mean? Because labored breathing isn't normal

Customer:

He is a "heavy" breather - I have asked our vet about this previously - she said there was nothing abnormal. He seems to be like a kid with an upset stomach - not in pain just kind of sad and miserable. He won't walk much at all and is very much outside his normal behaviors.

Dr. John :

Has he ever lost his appetite in the past? Is he typically a very good eater?

Customer:

Typically an over eater. The only other time was about 2 years ago - he had eaten a rawhide bone and had a blockage in his intestine. Of course after that he has had no rawhide - other than that he is usually looking for food continuously.

Dr. John :

Does he ever eat things he shouldn't, chew up toys, etc?

Customer:

Sometimes he gets into the trash - but no toys etc.....He does have a persistent cough - ( for several years) but the vet has checked this before and can find no reason for it - she thinks its anxiety - he is not coughing as much right now as he usually does.

Dr. John :

Have you tried to offer anything more enticing, such as chicken or something he really likes?

Customer:

Of course I think thats' because he is not getting all excited when people come and go or when we have a thunderstorm (yesterday) as he usually does - that's normally when he coughes.

Customer:

Yes - he won't even acknowledge when we are feeding the cat and he usually is very interested then. How long can he go without wateer?

Dr. John :

It has been 24 hours now?

Dr. John :

Or how long?

Customer:

We first noticed yesterday morning that he wouldn't go out or eat/drink. We watched him all day so it has been at least 24 hours

Dr. John :

24 hours is certainly about as long as we want to go with no hydration

Dr. John :

When he had the rawhide blockage, was he vomiting?

Customer:

Yes - that was part of how we figured out what was the cause of his problem.

Dr. John :

Okay, since there is no vomiting here I think it is much less likely of ingestion of something foreign or something causing intestinal upset

Dr. John :

I understand your financial constraints but I'm afraid this can be something very serious. Dogs with a great appetite typically don't refuse all foods entirely unless they are pretty darn sick, and even less commonly entirely refuse water...

Dr. John :

Ideally he would start with some routine blood work and perhaps abdominal x-rays (and/or chest, if the attending is concerned of the breathing)

Dr. John :

If this is not possible financially, at the bare minimum he should have a thorough physical examination and subcutaneous fluid administration to help battle dehydration for the time being

Dr. John :

This shouldn't cost much more than $100 for these two things, even at an ER clinic (since it is Sunday, that's probably where you will have to go)

Customer:

That was my next question - I should go ahead and take him to ER today and not wait to see his regular vet tomorrow correct?

Dr. John :

One of the main things we concern ourselves with when we have sudden acute illness and an older pet is cancer, so hopefully they can rule this out. There is a certain cancer called hemangiosarcoma that causes bleeding into the abdomen and acute illness - but the gums typically are pretty pale and you reported they are not for him, so hopefully we have mostly ruled out this possibility

Dr. John :

Yes, I would definitely take him today. Pursue diagnostics if you can afford them, but at bare minimum he needs fluid support, we definitely do not want to wait 48 hours on that

Customer:

Okay - I will see what I can do - thanks you for your help.

Dr. John :

You are welcome, sorry for the situation you are in and good luck with Thunder

Dr. John :

Please let me know if you have any further questions

Dr. John :

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Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience: significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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