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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16209
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Dr. Dan. I have a 17 year old Cocker named Buddy. He is

Customer Question

HI Dr. Dan. I have a 17 year old Cocker named Buddy. He is an English Cocker full bred. He has been in excellent health until about 6 months ago when my younger Cocker ran into him and took out his ACLs. Since Saturday night he has laid on the floor and cannot walk, no drinking water, no eating and eyes are very cloudly and infected with green. He looks sick but is not barking or moving. Could this be dog cancer or simply old?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Can Buddy stand at all?
Can he move his back legs?
Are his gums pink or pale/white?
Has he shown any changes in his breathing, thirst, appetite, and stool/urination habits?
Any coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or increased respiratory noise?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes he can stand for a few minutes. He cannot get up off of his dog bed though but if I pick him up and take him outside he can stand for about 1-2 minutes. Yes, he can move his back legs but barely. He does not wince bite or cry out in pain when I move them
Yes major changes in thirst (none), appetite (none)- typically he eats everything in site and will not eat anything. I tried to give him some human food (bite of steak which he would have gobbled up in five minutes and nothing...) His stool is very loose like water and he pooped on his bed. Like a watery substance but definitely stool.
No coughing , wheezing or respiratory noise but eyes very cloudy and green mucus all over them.
He is not responding to anything.
I will need to check his gums.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His gums are white and gooey. Just a small bit of pink. He is sitting up now and drinking no water
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
If you can check his gums that would be grand, as changes away from that normal pink would be a red flag of circulatory/heart/lung issues.
Now despite his ACL issue and the likely arthritis that will be lurking in Buddy's joints at his age, I would be concerned that his inability to remain standing and being generally down is due to the weakness he will have associated with his anorexia and refusal to drink (as they will be triggering dehydration and low energy due to self-starvation). And these complications will be even more worrisome for him if he diarrhea, as this will increase his losses of each on top of his refusal to take them in. Therefore, we need to tread with care and act quickly if he is declining this fast.
As well, I would note that the eye signs are likely due to bacterial conjunctivitis but I do suspect this is a minor issue caused by a secondary opportunistic infection that is taking advantage of his body being bombarded by something more sinister internally. And in regards ***** ***** we have to appreciate that we do have a GI issue causing visible signs (anorexia and diarrhea), but it may again be secondary to something else (ie metabolic disease, organ troubles, and even cancer).
In this case, as he is so weak, I do have to say that it'd be ideal to have him seen by your vet at this stage. This way we can get the root cause diagnosed, so that we would know if this underlying issue is as treatable as the infectious issues that are present. If it is, then his vet can start treating for that and provide symptomatic care to address the bacterial eye infection and diarrhea.
In the meantime, I do want to note some supportive care we can start here to see if we can get his stomach settled, diarrhea slowed, hydration helped, and get him eating.
To start, since we have a loss of appetite and this is often related to nausea (even without vomiting), we can start by trying to settle the stomach. To do so, you can try treating with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to recommend are:
* Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine-pepcid/page1.aspx#.VGJLgsn9XPg) or
* Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/ranitidine-hcl-zantac/page1.aspx)
* Tagamet (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/cimetidine-hcl-tagamet)
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 gut signs.
Once that is on board, we want to tempt him to eat again. You can offer favorites or consider offering a small meal of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be cooked rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese . There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity).The easily digestible diet will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut and should get some nutrients in and result in less nausea and less diarrhea. You can also feed this as small frequent meals to further decrease the volume of diarrhea he is producing. I usually advise that the diet be continued until the signs settle, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.
Now if you found he still would not be tempted, since we have no vomiting, you can syringe feed him to get some nutrition into him. When doing so, its idea to use a critical care diet (ie Hills AD, Royal Canin Recovery) or at least wet puppy food. The reason is because each has more nutrition per bite and a little will go a long way in getting some energy back into Buddy.
Further to all of this, we need to monitor his hydration if he isn't drinking. Dehydration is something older dogs will be more at risk of developing in these situations. Therefore, at this stage, do consider checking his hydration. Further to checking gum moisture, you can test this via checking that his eyes do not appear sunken, and whether the pet 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 that is another indicator that it'd be best to have him seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue.
Otherwise, I would note that since you have not noted any blood in his stools, you can consider trying him today on a dog safe anti-diarrheals. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if his diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent (ie bacteria will require antibiotics, parasites or protozoa will require anti-parasitic treatment, etc). Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the ones we most commonly use in dogs are:
* Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p/page1.aspx)
This is available from your local pharmacy ( I would avoid Pepto Bismol since he is not eating and the aspirin in it could irritate his stomach more). Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber or Propectalin (which is available OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the last 2 have the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means to slow his losses via the diarrhea.
Overall, I am very concerned about Buddy. His signs suggest that he is being bombarded by a few different issues that may be taking advantage of his elderly immune system. And I would be concerned that he is down because of dehydration and energy loss from his GI signs. Therefore, we do need to tread with care. In this case, you can try the above while monitoring him closely. But it would be ideal to consider a check with his vet at this stage to pinpoint the underlying cause for his signs and get this addressed for him as quickly as possible before he just fades away.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I have just seen your second note about gum color. If they are gooey, that is a sign of dehydration. But even more worrying is the white gums. As I briefly noted above, this is a serious signs for Buddy. We can see paling with poor oxygen uptake (less likely if his breathing is fine) but also if we have underlying heart issues or anemia (low red blood cell levels). Therefore, if you are seeing this, it is a major red flag of trouble and we'd need to think about getting him seen urgently.
Please take care,
Dr. B.