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Candy, Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 11612
Experience:  Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
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My dog is 15 years old, completely lost his sight due to cataracts

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My dog is 15 years old, completely lost his sight due to cataracts about 6 months ago. He sleeps most of the day. In about a months time, since his blindness, his back bone and hips have become very boney. He lost almost half his weight, from 12 lbs to 7 lbs. I switched from dry to canned food and he is slowly gaining weight but, his backbone and hips are still very boney. I let him stay outside for a few hours every day to get exercise to strengthen his hindquarters. Also have him on Chinese herbs to help. Still wobbly (not as bad) and boney. What causes this boney situation?
Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been a veterinary nurse for 26 years.Thank you for allowing me to assist you today.

I am sorry to hear Sully is having some trouble. I just have a few questions so I can better assist you.

Can you tell me when he last had blood work done?

How long has he been on Chines herbs and which ones? Are these something you opted to use yourself or were they given to you from the vet?

Any change in the amount he drinks or urinates?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sully's last blood work was less than a year ago. He has been on the Chinese herbs for about 1 month and they are Empirical Eye Support from for his cataracts and Custom Hind Leg Weakness from the same company, for his hind legs. He drinks and urinates the same as before. Only, as soon as he gets up from sleeping (every time) he has to urinate.

Thank you for the additional information.

The first thing I would suggest with the sudden formation of cataracts and the weight loss is to have new blood work done if it has not been done in the last 6 months. Diabetes is a common cause of both blindness and the weight loss and it is very important that we rule this out.

The boney appearance is due to weight loss and loss of muscle mass, what we need to know is what is causing the weight loss.

When using herbs of any kind it is also important to remember that these are not regulated ( so you have no idea what you are really getting) some herbs can interact with others and some can be very dangerous. Unfortunately we see negative side effects from these types of supplements fairly often.

I would start with a good hands on exam from your vet as well as new blood work to look at the liver, kidneys and glucose levels. I would also suggest if you are interested in using Chinese herbs that you consult wit a vet that specialize in Chines medicine so you are sure exactly what herbs you are getting as well as the correct and safe amounts.

I hope this helps. Please reply back if you have additional questions or concerns and I will be more then happy to continue.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The blindness is due to cataracts according to the vet and the weight loss was due (I think because he was only eating every other day) to the fact that he was eating dry food and the wet food was more interesting. He has eaten dry food his whole life and I knew that the wet food would get him to eating again and it did. He eats twice a day, about a third of a can each meal. His last blood work showed he was very healthy. It was only after his last good eye went completely blind that he stopped playing and started sleeping most of the day.

Ok. If he was only eating every other day then that could have been the cause for the weight loss bit without blood work I can not say for sure.

When they become blind they of course become less active and this can lead to muscle wasting which contributes to the boney appearance.
One thing you can try is giving some puppy canned food to increase his calories. Other options would be to try canned food call max cal or a/d both of which are very high in calories or even adding in a liquid diet such as DogSure 1/4 of a can per day to give some added calories. The a/d and max cal you would have to get from your vet.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Candy for your reply. I do hope my vet has it. Sully is allergic to meat and can only have a special diet. So I will ask the vet if he has any of the products you mentioned.

If he is allergic to meat then going with the Liquid diet may be the best option. The DogSure is similiar to Ensure for humans.

Give Sully a good pet from me and tell him I hope he does ok
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