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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10219
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My 13 year old Yorkie has had a loss of appetite. He's

Customer Question

My 13 year old Yorkie has had a loss of appetite. He's eating but is not as interested in food as he normally is. My main concern is that he will not drink. He's had nothing to drink in the past 48 hours. He has also grown completely inactive, just lays on his blanket all day.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.

Did your vet run any blood work on him?

Any vomiting or diarrhea?

Does his abdomen seem distended or painful?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The blood work came back normal.No vomiting or diarrhea; his stool is a good consistency.No pain or distended abdomen.The week before this change in him, he was drinking excessively.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

Thanks for the information. I am hoping that your vet ran a urinalysis with the blood work as well. There may be some things they can pick up from there, such as a urinary tract infection. I do have a concern that it may be something that he ate or swallowed. Make sure your vet ran a CPL test with the blood work. This more specifically evaluates the pancreas. If after the fluid therapy from your vet, he is still not eating well or drinking; you can talk to them about prescribing an appetite stimulant, such as mirtazapine, but I would seriously consider getting an abdominal x-ray and/ ultrasound done. I would want to make sure there are no foreign bodies he could have swallowed or any potential masses in the abdomen. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.
Hi Carri,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Grover. How is everything going?
Dr. John
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
His appetite has increased as well as his level of activity but he still will not drink. I've tried giving him coconut water, gatorade, and diluted low sodium chicken stock. He seems to drink the chicken stock but only after much coaxing and only very little. He does not voluntarily drink. All blood work, X-ray (of his heart, stomach, liver, kidney, spleen), and stool sample came back normal. I'm beginning to think his sense of smell has diminished.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

What diet is he eating?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Up until he developed this condition I fed him about 1/2 cup dry dog food, Blue for senior small breed dogs, with a little bit of boiled chicken breast shredded in with his food. Since he has shown little in interest in food I've been feeding him rice with boiled chicken breast and chicken stock. He will eat this but I must bring him to his food. He's not asking to eat as he once did. He normally begs for what I'm eating even after he's finished his food. He has completely stopped this behavior. He shows little interest in eating and absolutely none for drinking.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I hope you can tell me what's wrong with him. I am heartbroken seeing my little fella this way. He was always so active. He walked 4-5 miles daily and would swim all day. Now, he just lays on his blanket with no desire to do the things he once did. It was such a sudden change in him; it did not occur gradually.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

Well, I think there is still some lab work that probably needs to be done before determining the exact cause. You mentioned the x-rays, but that doesn't always rule out a mass in the abdomen. If a mass is large enough and causing the size of the organ to enlarge, it may be seen on an x-ray, but smaller masses within the organ itself, won't be visible on an x-ray. I think the next step would be to pursue an abdominal ultrasound. That way they can see the inner architecture of the organs, which would include evaluating the lining of the intestinal tract, which you cannot do with an x-ray either. You also cannot evaluate the gall bladder or pancreas very well with an x-ray. With normal blood work, I would even consider getting him on something to stimulate appetite. Mirtazapine would be a good choice, but you can also talk to your vet about prednisone. That usually increases appetite, but can also treat for a variety of immune system issues that may not show any abnormalities on blood work either. This can include an immune mediated arthritic condition to something going on in the brain. I would also make sure they did a full thyroid panel on him with the blood work as well. Please let me know if you have other questions or concerns.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Would you recommend an X-ray of his sinus cavity? Could this be caused by a sinus infection that has affected his sense of smell? I'm just confused by his total lack of desire for liquids. He will eat but refuses to drink. He did walk 3 miles yesterday and again today. Even after walking he showed no desire to drink. I don't understand how he cannot be thirsty. Today I took him to the river just to see what he would do. Normally he dashes for the river and tries to drink from it. I have to prevent him from drinking the river water. Today he approached it, sniffed, but showed no interest in drinking as he usually does. His energy level is not what it used to be. Could it be that he's not receiving enough hydration?
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

An x-ray of the sinus cavity may not be very useful, unless he is very congested or has nasal discharge. Measuring sense of smell is just about impossible with dogs. At least there is a test for measuring hearing in dogs (although it is not a widely available test). There isn't anything like that for sense of smell, but it also tends to be the sense that they never loose. If he had lost his sense of smell, though, it would affect his eating more than drinking. They don't really rely on smell for drinking. What I find odd is the fact that he was previously drinking excessively before this started. If he is eating a food with more moisture in it, whether it is a canned food or you are adding it yourself, they will drink less water because they get more moisture with the food, but he should still be drinking. My concern is that there is something that is affecting his thirst centers in the brain. Usually that ends up being a tumor, but you won't be able to diagnose it without an MRI or head CT. It would probably be a good idea to have your vet check his hydration status and see how well he is concentrating his urine. If he is truly not drinking all this time, he should be a lot more sick than he seems like. Is it possible that he has been drinking from somewhere else, whether it be a potted plant or a puddle in the backyard? Is water out for him 24 hours a day? If so, could he be drinking more at night? You should notice that the water level was lower in the morning but just checking. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have been adding more chicken stock and water to his food since this began in order to give him some hydration. So, yes, his liquid intake has increased. I keep water for him both upstairs and downstairs. He is definitely not drinking from any other source. He sleeps on my bed and in the past, has gotten me up so I can help him down to get a drink. He no longer searches for water at night. I put fresh water in his bowls daily and it goes untouched.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

Well, he may be getting enough water with his food, but I think that getting his hydration checked by your vet would be very important. If he is well hydrated clinically, then he probably is getting enough with his diet. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for your analysis...much appreciated. Just concerned that his personality and energy level has so drastically changed. It just doesn't make sense. Have you ever known this to happen to any other animal?
Expert:  Dr. John replied 9 months ago.

Just a sudden change in personality and energy level? All the time. The problem is finding the underlying cause because it is not a specific sign for any certain disease process. You can see it with many, many ailments. That is why your vet may need to run multiple tests to find the answer. You won't always find it with routine blood work, fecal sample and an x-ray. That is just a start. Let me know if any further questions arise.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.