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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23812
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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We were away weeks and our little jack russel/chihuahua

Customer Question

We were away for two weeks and our little jack russel/chihuahua mix stayed with an individual who coordinates the foster program we work with. She's a lovely woman, and I trust her explicitly.
When we picked him up today, it was clear that he'd lost a great deal of weight. His ribs and backbones show and his face is drawn. Of greater concern is the tremendous loss of hair he's experiencing. He seems uninterestedin going out for walks (used to be his favorite thing to do), not very interested at all in eating (unless it's striaght up chicken), and is just so lethargic and sad.
Any advice?
Thanks in advance,
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.
Sally, I'm more concerned about a patient who has lost such a profound amount of weight and is inappetent and lethargic. Hair loss is another symptom of illness but doesn't indicate the kind of urgency that those other symptoms do. Your JR/Chihuahua needs to be attended to by his vet at your earliest convenience. Something very wrong is present and only a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests +/- imaging in the form of X-rays or ultrasound will clarify why he has become cachexic (wasted) and experiencing such deterioration in his haircoat.How old is he, please? While his symptoms are important they're not pathognomonic of any one particular disorder. In my older patients I would be most concerned about chronic degenerative conditions such as hepatic or renal insufficiencies or neoplasia (cancer).
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks so
Much for this. The dog is about two and four months. We're currently fostering him. After further conversation with the gal that took care of him for two weeks, it's sounding more and more like severe stress. He was crated most of the, there were lots of loud and boisterous dogs in the home. He guarded his food bowl even though he wasn't eating... So there was a lot of tension and noise. He's accustomed to a quiet house where he's the only dog and has some separation anxiety as well...who wouldn't be stressed! I just took him on a brief bedtime walk and he seemed a bit perkier! Thanks much for your sage advice!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for the good update, Sally. Please watch him carefully to make sure that his appetite returns and he then fills out again. I'll attribute his decline to stress and won't argue with success if these things occur. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.