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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14883
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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K, thanks message. Jas here. I'm wondering if I should be

Customer Question

Customer: Hi Dr K, thanks for your message. Jas here. I'm wondering if I should be worried that my 14-year-old dog didn't her regular meals for a day and a half now. She's behaving normally, running, cuddles, curious about stuff we bring home, but didn't want to eat her kibbles and wet food. She did eat like a few treats when I coaxed her last night, but this morning she refused her meal again. Besides that she's fine. There's a small, dry-looking growth on her right eyelid, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her. Do you think it might be the cause?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Hmm... she's generally quite picky about food, and since a few months ago she's been on the skinny side. She has recently recovered fully from a virus infection, and has been gaining some weight back, so it all looks fine and normal. Her health/stamina is actually better than our other 9 year old dog, who's on the pudgy side. So I'm not sure if this is a one-off kind of thing, or should we take her to the vet.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Some extra information:
Some of the treats she ate last night were biscuits and generally food that's harder to chew, and she was fine with it. So I don't think it's a tooth problem as that would have resulted in pain. She's wagging her tail and seems curious/interested in the food presented to her, but she just doesn't eat it after sniffing for a while.Is this just her being picky or is there some other symptom we should be looking out for and might there be an underlying problem?A blood test taken during her previous infection showed a low white blood cell count that the vet attributed to the infection. But the rest of the readings were normal. She has also recovered fully since.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response, but your requested expert isn't online which delayed your question coming up on the list for all to answer. I would like to help if you are still interested in an opinion.

I understand that you are concerned because while your girl seems bright and active, she is refusing to eat her normal food.

I agree that a tooth problem seems unlikely because she is willing to eat hard treats and even dogs with an abscessed tooth learn to chew around the tooth, and that does not stop them from eating.

I don't think that the eye growth is an issue either, because I believe if it were she would be rubbing her face and not active.

I know that she had blood tests done recently and the only abnormality was a low white blood cell count. That can be indicative of a viral infection, but can also indicate a tick borne infection, bone marrow disease, autoimmune disease (body attacking itself) and in some cases cancer. Were all of her blood cell numbers low or just her white blood cell numbers? Was her white count ever rechecked?

In many cases a decreased appetite is triggered by eating something they should not, too much table food, too many treats or something they find outdoors.

More serious causes include viral or bacterial infections, chronic pancreatitis, esophageal reflux, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, internal organ failure (kidney or liver disease), a full or partial gastrointestinal obstruction or even infiltrative cancers such as lymphoma.

If she seems to feel well other wise you can give acid reducers to try and settle her stomach and hopefully improve her appetite. You can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are both acid reducers and should help her feel better. They are quite safe and can be used long term if necessary.

I would pick up all food for now and water for a couple hours to allow her stomach to settle after the acid reducers.

In a few hours offer a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white, skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow. If she refuses that you can offer a little meat baby food. If she refuses both then don't push it. I think it is best her veterinarian recheck her.

But if things go well and she does eat feed her the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in her regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert her back to her regular diet.

If he continues to not eat well even with the acid reducers, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), has a tense painful belly, she should see her veterinarian for an examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care.

I would recheck her blood counts, recheck a biochemistry profile and urinalysis, check for pancreatitis with a blood test called a canine specific pancreatic lipase (can spec PL) and consider an abdominal ultrasound if those tests aren't diagnostic.

Please let me know if you have other details or a particular question based upon my response.