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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24467
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Male lab that normally eats me out of house and home. Not

Customer Question

Male lab that normally eats me out of house and home. Not eating but runs and plays
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Harley 8 yrs old. Will be 9 end of april
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Harley?
Customer: No. No other problem
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Such an abrupt change in behavior shouldn't be discounted, Beth, and so I'm pleased to hear that you're aware of it. Unfortunately, anorexia is one of the least specific clinical signs and will not in itself direct the clinical evaluation. Anorexia is purely an indication of underlying disease. For the truly anorexic patient, the causes may be legion. It's vital to differentiate between a patient disinterested in eating and one who experiences difficulty or discomfort while eating. Thereafter, routine laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging complement the history and physical exam for elucidating the cause of anorexia. Here is a synopsis of the differential diagnosis for anorexia:

Disinterested in food altogether (true anorexia): systemic disease, infection/inflammation, neoplasia, food aversion

Reluctance to eat (pseudoanorexia)

Associated with pain/discomfort

Painful prehension or mastication, odynophagia (repeated attempts at swallowing) as seen with: retrobulbar abscesses from apical/tooth root abscesses, e.g., intraoral masses/foreign bodies, mandibular fractures/temporomandibular joint disease, masticatory myositis (inflammation of the muscles of chewing), periodontal disease, salivary gland disorders, oropharyngeal dysphagia, esophageal disease (masses, foreign bodies), nasal disease affecting sense of smell.

Associated with nausea

Gastrointestinal inflammatory disease Ileus (paralysis of the GI tract), delayed gastric emptying, vestibular disease, side effect of medications; many drugs have GI tract side effects.

The initial database for pseudoanorexia is a neurologic examination, oral, dental, and cranial examination (sedation or general anesthesia); radiographs of the teeth, mandible, or nasal cavity may be required. Thoracic radiographs and/or endoscopy to evaluate the esophagus and gastroesophageal sphincter for any obstruction (e.g., strictures, masses, foreign bodies) or mobility problems. The initial database for true anorexia involves laboratory testing and imaging as suggested by history and physical exam findings.

I understand that the above was quite a pedantic response but neither of us have much to go on at this time. Did anything above ring a bell with you?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No. I've checked his mouth/teeth. Nothing seemed to hurt or looked different. He still runs and plays. Nothing seems to hurt.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. You have little recourse but to have Harley's vet perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.
Hi Beth,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin