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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11099
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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Our 12 year old boston terrier has just recently started licking

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Our 12 year old boston terrier has just recently started licking and eating shoes - she *never* did this ever before. She also was licking the hearth around the fireplace and the wood near the fireplace. Why is she doing this?

Dr. Altman :

Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.

Dr. Altman :

When we have an older dog that is now developing this behavior, called pica, there can be underlying medical causes

Dr. Altman :

CLICK HERE for more information on this condition

Dr. Altman :

First we want to rule out medical causes which can include:



  • Behavioral disorders

  • Primary gastrointestinal maldigestive and malabsorptive disorders (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, severe inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal lymphosarcoma)

  • Endocrine disorders(hyperadrenocorticism, diabetes mellitus) cause polyphagia (increased appetite)

  • Iron deficiency anemia

Dr. Altman :

So a veterinary exam, basic bloodwork, and a fecal evaluation are warranted to rule out a medical condition

Customer:

ok thanks. I will make her an appointment with her vet.

Dr. Altman :

Once this has been ruled out we look at the behavioral issue and sometimes need to discuss medication to deter the behavior. If it were just the shoes then I would say this could be more behavioral but with there being a fireplace and its contents I worry about medical causes

Dr. Altman :

Does this make sense? How else can I assist you today?

Dr. Altman :

I have seen Boston's in particular having endocrine causes such as cushing's disease

Customer:

She was just licking the area/wood. That wasn't as prevalent as the shoe eating. She's a very small dog. She ate almost the entire top of a clog, which is quite a bit of material. She also ate the entire top of a leather flip flop last night.

Dr. Altman :

The early signs will show up on bloodwork

Customer:

It does make sense, thanks.

Dr. Altman :

Busy girl! No vomiting I hope?

Customer:

No vomiting, she's eating her meals. Although she tends to skip them sometimes, which she never did, but that has been going on for several months.

Dr. Altman :

Is there any other changes to her appetite, water intake/ urination?

Customer:

She has a very healthy appetite for treats though. :)

Customer:

No, nothing that lines up with the shoe eating

Dr. Altman :

Is her hair coat thinning, swollen belly at all, weight gain/ loss?

Dr. Altman :

Glad she has not developed an obstruction with her antics

Customer:

No fur change. She's got a very thin rear part of her body, but that's mainly because she had a spinal stroke a couple years back and can't really use her right back leg, so there is quite a bit of muscle loss.

Customer:

I'll make her a dr's appointment and see what they think.

Dr. Altman :

Great, please let me know if I can be of any further assistance

Customer:

nope, all set. thanks!

Dr. Altman :

In the meanwhile, write any questions down for your vet and make note of any other changes for your vet

Dr. Altman and 3 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you