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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14570
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a 12 year old American Hairless Terrier. He has been

Customer Question

I have a 12 year old American Hairless Terrier. He has been on borrowed time for a bit as two years ago, he went through a phase where he lost weight and was weak, couldn't get up and down stairs well...I figured he was on his way out with a cancer of some sort...the vet and I have known each other sometime and we both agreed that we feed him a bland diet but aim at putting his weight back on. he since then has gained weight and been pretty healthy only had one other short episode of weight loss, which I was able to adjust the diet and increase his weight.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the terrier. What is the terrier's name?
Customer: I didn't say lethargy
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the terrier?
Customer: I have a human medical background so I am not without knowledge. His weight has been dropping sharply again so we went into action to compensate with gradually increasing his food again, and then he has had a bad weekend. He began by vomiting on fri morning all his stomach contents. He began behaving as if he had a delirium or dementia (sudden onset so the former) walking into odd corners tight spots between furniture, not responding with recognition to the family, decreased mobility/weakeness falling over unable to get up and down a couple stairs to the back yard without falling. He was not drinking or eating. if I put water to his lips he would lick it off my finger or from a syringe but not from a cup.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 month ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 month ago.

I'm not sure what your question is at this point, perhaps you are wondering why he is behaving the way he is or what can be done to get him back to the point where he can hold down food, return to more normal behavior and regain some weight.

I suspect he has some sort of internal organ disease that waxes and wanes, interferes with his appetite and leads to weight loss. At this point whatever organ is affected is not able to clear metabolic wastes and that is affecting brain function.

I suspect that he has liver disease because with support the liver can heal somewhat and compensate, and so there may be episodes of improvement. But depending upon the cause and type of liver disease eventually no matter what support is given the liver fails and we can see the symptoms such as your fellow is displaying.

I do think your fellow needs to see his veterinarian for an examination, some bloodwork, fluids and injectable anti-nausea drugs. It may be that his condition has progressed to the point that he cannot be helped but perhaps with treatment he can get back to a good quality of life with medication and diet.

Given his inability to take in significant quantities of fluids orally, and his change in mental status I believe he is beyond home care at this point.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.