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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24345
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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8 to 9 year old dog eats food, eats dirt then throws up. Has

Customer Question

8 to 9 year old dog eats food, eats dirt then throws up. Has been urinating and having bowel movements .
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
This is DRB and I would be happy to help you. Are you available for online chat right now?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
Ok, how long has your dog been eating dirt?
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
Days,Weeks,months?
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
Are you there?
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
Did you still want help?
Expert:  Dr B replied 7 months ago.
Ok, since I am not hearing back from you I have to assume you no longer need my assistance. I am going to opt out but if you need help you can reply back and another expert can help you. Sincerely,DRB
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Eating dirt is considered a form of pica - the ingestion of nondigestibles which can be caused by gastrointestinal disorders, dental and oral disease, encephalopathies such as brain tumors or inflammations, electrolyte imbalances, metabolic diseases, and toxins such as lead. Picas may also be caused by excessive restriction of calories (i.e. weight loss diets) and any medical condition that could cause polyphagia (increased hunger). Similarly, numerous medical conditions from Cushing's disease to diabetes insipidus might induce polydipsia (increased thirst). Licking, chewing, polyphagia, polydipsia, and picas can also be a side effect of drug therapy. In geriatric pets, repetitive behaviors including licking, chewing, and picas might be associated with brain aging and cognitive dysfunction. It would be prudent to have Coco's vet perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests. A gastrointestinal diagnostic panel including a TLI blood test (looking for an exocrine pancreatic insufficiency/lack of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas) and serum folate and vitamin B12 levels (looking for a malabsorption disorder) is likely to be most cost-effective for you. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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