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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My dog has become emaciated. It occurred very rapidly. She

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My dog has become emaciated. It occurred very rapidly. She is ravenous all the time and eats voraciously. She has soft stools, but not diahrrea. She has many bowel movements. Her eyes are bright, but nothing has worked to help her gain back her weight. I feed her every two hours a diet of rice, eggs, white bread trying to make her stools normal again because white bread is contipating, cooked fresh veggies and her dog food. She acts like she is starving and would eat constantly if I let her. She is consuming 4000 to 6000 calories a day. Please help. Does this sound like she could have acquired some type of worm infestation? She is free to roam in large areas of land when I walk her several times a day and thought maybe she found something and ate it that caused this. Please help. I think she may die soon if we cannot figure this out. Thank you for your assistance.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. K replied 8 years ago.
Hi pj,
Does your dog seem to drink and urinate large quantities of fluid?
About how much weight has she lost?
Is her coat thinning, or is she losing patches of hair?
Is she pot-bellied in appearance?
Does she seem to pant all of the time?

Dr. K
Expert:  Dr. K replied 8 years ago.
Hi pj,
I see that you are offline and it is getting quite late here. I must sign off now as well, but I would be happy to help you with this tomorrow if you would like.

Dr. K
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She does not drink any more water now than before she became so emaciated. She does not urinate any more than usual, either. Her coat is fine and no hair loss. No, she is not pot-bellied. No to the panting question. She is literally, and I mean quite literally, emaciated. Only skin and bones. This took place in two month's time. She has energy, but is going downhill rapidly.
Expert:  Dr. K replied 8 years ago.
There are a number of different things that can cause chronic inability to gain weight in a dog. The most common of them is chronic endoparasitism. Endoparasites can include, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, coccidia, giardia, etc... Therefore, I recommend that you submit a sample of your dog's stool for fecal analysis and a Giardia ELISA.
Other reasons that this could be happening include malabsorptive/maldigestive disorders such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and certain forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like lymphangiectasia. The first step in diagnosing these disorders is to have blood and urine laboratory testing to look for changes that may be consistent with one or more of the things on this list.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is a disorder in which the pancreas is not appropriately producing the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down food into the molecules that can be digested by the intestine. These dogs keep eating, but do not gain weight because they cannot get the nutrients from the food. I am concerned that this may be the case for your dog, since you report that she has soft stool and many stools. This is typical of dogs with this disease. This can be diagnosed with a blood test called a TLI assay. If your dog has this disease, it is easily treated with an enzyme supplement called Viokase, which is put on the dogs food about 30 minutes before they eat it to predigest it.
SIBO is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria that normally live in the gut. This can result in chronic diarrhea, and altered malabsorption and maldigestion and gut motility. It is diagnosed with a serum blood test called folate and cobalamine. Treatment involves lifelong administration of metronidazole or Tylan powder to help control the overgrowth. Most dogs do well with gaining weight, once they are being appropriately treated.
Inflammatory bowel disease is diagnosed with biopsies of the inside of the intestinal tract, usually obtained using an endoscope. The treatment is specific to the type of IBD the dog has, but often involves a change to a special prescription diet and a low-dose of corticosteroids to control the inflammation.
Another possibility for rapid weight loss in a dog from this age group is cancer. However, usually dogs with cancer have very poor appetites. So, although it is not impossible that your dog has cancer, I would rule this down simply based on the fact that she eats so much.

I hope that this information is of help to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your dog. Please know that even after you click on the green "accept" button, I will still be available to answer any follow-up questions that you may have concerning this matter.

Dr. K
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