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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 12219
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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I have a 6 yr old boxer that has virtually stopped eating.

Customer Question

I have a 6 yr old boxer that has virtually stopped eating. It's been about 3 weeks. He's lost over 20+ lbs. He's been to two vets and I've racked up over $1k in vet bills with no answer as to why he won't eat. Occasionally I can get him to eat a little bit of canned ID food. He's on antibiotics. When he does eat he acts like it's hurting him. I see nothing wrong with his teeth or gums. Any thoughts?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry to hear about Tanner. You sound very worried.

My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

I see you have done a number of tests. What blood tests were done? A basic panel of chemistries and complete blood count I am sure, but were any other specific tests done to check for intestinal and pancreas problems ( not part of the regular full chemistry panel)?

Any biopsies taken when the ultrasound was done?

Any medication been tried: appetite stimulants, anti inflammatory medication?

I do not want to suggest trying anything that has already been tried, so this is an Info Request, to help me answer your question about Tanner.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This may sound weird, but all of Tanner's vet visits where managed by my pet sitter as we were on a cruise traveling in the middle of the ocean. Perfect timing, right? Since I was not at these visits, I called both vet offices to inquire on what was done and to follow up on your questions. First vet/1st visit, thought it was an upset tummy. Prescribed an anti-biotic and sent home with canned ID pet food. When he still refused to eat the canned food, the pet sitter went to 2nd vet, which has more diagnostic tools and capability. When I called these guys today, they wanted me to do a walk in emergency appointment today and charge me for the visit and to review the test results. After almost $1k in vet bills and a very sick dog on my hands I refused this and requested they send the test results to first vet. I have a follow up appointment scheduled there for tonight again. In the meantime, I can tell you what the "bill" says they did as far as testing goes. Looks like a Gen. Health Prof. with CBC/17 Chem for blood work. Gave him subcutaneous fluids and electrolytes. Barium test with 8 X-rays. Venoset? IV Fluids for 12 hours. 2 Injections - Does not say what for. A fecal test, an Ultrasound and sent him home with 500 MG of Cephalexin. This dog has lost 22 pounds in 3 weeks, refuses to eat or drink and they send him home and want me to pay to get the results. Both vets are affiliated, but different locations, different vets.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for getting that information. I am a little surprised they would charge you for helping to interpret the tests you already paid for!

17 chemistries would be good information about the liver and kidneys, blood glucose and electrolytes, but would not tell anything about the function or inflammation in the pancreas or intestines. The ultrasound would show internal organs and should pick up abnormalities.

The Barium test explains your bill being so high; you take several Xrays after administering Barium, to see if there is a blockage in the intestines.

In a breed like a Boxer, more prone to cancer than other breeds, in a dog that lost so much weight and will not eat, I am afraid I would be looking for a tumor. The ultrasound can be very good for this, but there still could be cancer in the lining of the intestines, or in the lymph nodes, that may not be picked up on ultrasound.

If this were my dog, after reviewing the results of the tests already done, I would consider endoscopy to look at the lining of the digestive tract, and to get biopsies of any abnormal looking areas.

I would also consider trying appetite stimulants like mirtazapine, and possible a course of prednisone to try to stimulate him to eat.

I hope you are getting some answers from your regular vet tonight. If there is anything else I can help with or answer, please let me know.

Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 12219
Experience: More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
Rebecca and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the great rating. I hope Tanner is doing better soon.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Hello Tabatha,
How is Tanner doing?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Rebecca,


He is hanging on. The vet we went back to thinks his issue may be related to an allergic reaction he had to food about 1.5 months ago. That the food left a residual trace in his intestines. Ultrasound was good. X-rays were clear. She gave him a two week steroid injection, and put him on Endosorb, Metronidazole and Cephalexin. The steroid has helped to improve his appetite, but I guess we have to wait till it runs through his system to see if he maintains his appetite. We won't see that happen for another 5-6 days. He started out at 97lbs and is not about 68lbs. Thanks for following up! Great service you guys offer here!

Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I am glad to hear you are happy with the service! Thank you for the update, and let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Please keep me updated.


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