Thank you again,
Now I have to say that I am quite concerned about your lass.
With all her signs, it is a case of teasing out what is related to the primary issue and what are side effects of it. If her thirst has only increased since the appetite has dropped; then this may not be clinically significant. We are likely see her lack of water intake via food translate to drinking more. Again, as I noted, the stools are also likely a secondary issue.
With this all in mind, we have to appreciate that the cough is likely related to our main concern for her. And while we can see coughs with infection, the extended duration of her signs, distension (especially if she feels like a water balloon and isn't just fat) and her elevated labored breathing make me worried that this condition is coming to a head. And these signs raise concerns that this condition may be related to her heart. We can often see all of these signs with heart disease
. Other potential issues we'd also have to consider would be heartworm infections, lung worm, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and tumors
involving the lungs.
In this case, I would be most concerned about the above and suspect that the more visible issues are just a result of this getting her down. Therefore, I have to say that it'd be best to have a check with her vet as soon as possible (as long as her gums are pink and she isn't having breathing distress, you can monitor her until her vet is open). Her vet can listen to her heart and lungs +/- xray her chest to see what is present. Depending on their findings, it may be a cause of antibiotics (if infection is suspected), bronchodilators, or heart medication if her heart is enlarged. And if we can address the triggering cause for her main signs, we can hopefully get her feeling better and back to eating, passing normal stools, and being generally more active for you.
In the meantime, I do want to outline some supportive care if she is not eating well. Further to the hamburger/rice diet, I do want to note some other light diet options. Alternatives would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken
, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs
(made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity).
Further to this, if tempting doesn’t work, then we do have to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food into her. In that case, you may want to try Hill's A/D or Royal Canin Recovery from your local vet. These are critical care diets that comes as a soft, palatable pate. Both are calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into her even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. As well, for syringing food, you can use the animal version of Ensure (balanced for animals dietary requirements) called Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (which this could be a sneaky way to get food in if she will drink). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription. And if you cannot get ahold of these right now, you can also use wet puppy food as a substitute (either watered down to syringe or to feed directly). This way it would a means of getting food in, and buying you time to uncover the reason for her signs.
Finally, while she is drinking well, I would advise monitoring her hydration. Some of these conditions can cause increased thirst but compromise the hydration at the same time. To check her hydration status to make sure she 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 she 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 (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html ). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have your wee one seen by her vet before this gets out of control for her.
Overall, I am very concerned about your lass. I suspect her current signs are just side effects of a bigger issue. And with that chronic cough, distension, and changes to her breathing; I would be concerned about the state of her heart and lungs. Therefore, do consider the above to continue to support her but do consider having a check once her vet is open to pinpoint which of the above is a concern and whether there is anything we can do to help get her more stable and feeling better.
Please take care,