Based on Pearl's history, we do need to tread with care. Her shakes/shivers were likely related to fever or just not feeling well; but her anorexia is a major worry. Especially if she is losing weight. Now in a dog her age, our major concerns for anorexia would include grumbling bacterial infection, viral disease, pancreatitis, metabolic conditions, toxin and/or foreign material ingestion (hopefully these last two will be less likely for her)
Now if she is licking her lips and refusing food, then we'd be suspicious of nausea despite not showing any vomiting (often nauseous animals go off their food rather then eat/vomit). To rule out nausea as an anorexia differential, you can try her on antacid therapy. 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 @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid)
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac)
This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if she does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset stomach.
Once this has had time to be absorbed (20-30minutes, you can try and see if you can get her eating (as you have been). Favourite foods are allowed or you can tempt her with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, 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.) Offer small volumes to start (just a spoonful) and if she eats, let her have 30 minutes before giving anymore. This will ensure we don't overfill her and risk inducing vomiting.
If you find that tempting isn't working, then we need to consider intitiating syringe feeds to get food into her. To do so, we often will use Hill's A/D or Royal Canin Recovery diet. These are critical care diets that come as a soft, palatable pate. They are calorically dense, so a little goes along 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). 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 (some pet stores may also carry it). Otherwise, if you cannot obtain these, you can use meat baby food or wet puppy food (watered down into a gruel) as a short term option to syringe feed her. These would be a means of getting food into her, halting the weight loss, avoiding nutritional deprivation side effects, and buying you time to uncover the reason for her anorexia.
On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on her hydration. To do so and make sure she is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. Further to testing her gums, we also can check to see if her eyes appear sunken or 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 (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html) here.
In regards ***** ***** you can do to help stave off dehydration at home (though do note that if she is already then she will likely need more the oral rehydration), encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. As well, wet foods(as mentioned above) are 35% water, so getting her to eat will help us deal with water intake as well. If she isn't amenable to drinking, you may wish to offer unflavored pedialyte via syringe feeding. While we cannot do this if they are vomiting, it may be an option for this situation. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal 48mls per kilogram of her body weight a day. If you do give syringe pedialyte, this should obviously be divided up into multiple offerings through the day rather then all at once. This value will give you the total she needs for the day and is a good starting point to give you an idea of her daily requirement. If she does vomits if you give pedialyte,I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want her vomiting because of our intervention).
Overall, when a dog is anorexia, losing weight, and lethargic, it can mean a wide range of underlying issues.Therefore, at this stage, we want to use the above supportive care and monitor her. If you try the above and do not see improvement in 12-24 hours or she worsens (vomits, etc), then you do want to get your vet involved once they are open. They can assess her hydration, check her signs of any sinister lumps/bumps or internal issues. They can also cover her with antibiotics,anti-nausea/vomiting medication by injection and even appetite stimulating drugs if necessary. Depending on the findings, the vet will be able advise you on what is likely our culprit and what can be done to get her back on track before she just fades away on us.
I hope this information is helpful.
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