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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16751
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My newly adopted dog ran away, and was recovered 48 hours ago

Customer Question

My newly adopted dog ran away, and was recovered 48 hours ago by microchip. She was gone for 7 weeks, came back skinny, but bright eyed and seemed to be okay. Now she is turning down all food and water. The vet saw her and said she is okay but she is lethargic and won't eat things like hot dogs and cooked chicken. Ideas? Back to the vet?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Gracie was lost for 7 weeks but that she got back to you via her microchip information.
I am concerned that she is turning down even water. Of course we don't know what she got into or what sort of horrible things she was eating while she wasn't with you, that alone can lead to stomach upset and loss of appetite.
Is she passing any stools? Urinating normally?
My concern is that she ate something that has led to a gastrointestinal obstruction, or organ failure, although those dogs are generally vomiting and often are drinking lots of water.
Starvation can also change the metabolism, cause organ damage and lead to a lack of appetite.
It is possible that she is just extremely exhausted or stressed.
In case this is related to something she ate not agreeing with her, or stress you can give an acid reducer to try to settle her stomach, either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours
These are both acid reducers and should help her feel better. They are quite safe and can be used long term if necessary.
In a couple hours offer her water in small amounts, or to get some electrolytes in you can also offer her a 50:50 mix of pedialyte and water.
If she seems to feel better offer a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white, skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, plain, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to increase palatability, fluid intake and make it easy to lap up and swallow. If she refuses that you can offer a little meat baby food. If she refuses both and won't drink then a recheck is in order.
You can also ask your veterinarian for a pate type, highly digestible, and nutritious food called Hills a/d diet. This food is used to provide nutrition after surgery or recovery from severe illnesses and may be just what she needs.
But if things go well and she does eat and doesn't vomit feed her the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in her regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert her back to her regular diet.
If she continues to not eat and drink even with the acid reducers, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), has a tense painful belly or if she gets very lethargic she should see a veterinarian for a recheck examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care. Although she is young if she was exposed to spoiled food or toxins that can lead to organ failure and infectious diseases can lead to loss of appetite too.
Please let me know if you have other details or a particular question based upon my response.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hi Gretchen,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Gracie. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara