How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Doc Sara Your Own Question
Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Doc Sara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Male boxer, a little over a year old. In a matter of 2 weeks

Customer Question

Male boxer, a little over a year old. In a matter of 2 weeks he has lost an extreme amount of weight. Hip and ribs bone showing, he looks like he hasn't eaten in months. Very bloody diarrhea. Lethargic. Our vet ruled out parvovirus, parasites, and addisons, he has been taking prednisone twice daily for a week but it's not helping. He will eat canned dog food. No longer salivating. Will drink water. Uti even and stool sample have come back fine. Waiting 2 more days for fecal culture to come back. I don't think he will last that long
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm so sorry to hear that Jake is seriously ill. I will do my best to help. In a case of "mystery" weight loss and GI signs like nausea, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort or lack of appetite I certainly consider all the things that your vet has looked at first. Likely they did what we call an empiric deworming - meaning that they gave a deworming treatment just to rule out intestinal parasites. A negative fecal alone is not enough. Your vet has put together a really thorough work up based on your description so far. Unfortunately, the more simple things we rule out through diagnostics, the more sinister the remaining possibilities. If they have truly ruled out all the diseases that you've mentioned and he's even not responded to steroids, then there are very few easily "fixable" things left on the list. In a boxer with signs of colitis (bloody diarrhea, small frequent urgent defecations) one oddball disease to consider would be histiocytic ulcerative colitis. I wasn't even familiar with that disease myself until I had a client that took her boxer to the specialty hospital for evaluation of bloody diarrhea that we couldn't get under control. The diagnosis is made by biopsy of the digestive tract, which can be done surgically or by endoscope. Histiocytic ulcerative colitis is typically treated with an antibiotic called enrofloxacin plus or minus the addition of others like metronidazole or clavamox and potentially steroids like prednisone as well. Enrofloxacin can cause cartilage abnormalities in young growing dogs so the benefits need to outweigh the risks of it use. In a debilitated dog who would likely die without it, most practitioners will use the enrofloxacin readily. If an abdominal ultrasound (and plain Xrays) have not been done yet, that is definitely your next step. We are looking for masses, enlarged lymph nodes, or free fluid that can be sampled with ultrasound guidance. Sometimes you can get a diagnosis by obtaining fine needle aspirates of a mass or enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen. Unfortunately, it's less likely to be inflammatory bowel disease if he's not improving with prednisone. IBD is a common cause of chronic diarrheas in dogs, but what you're describing is more acute. IBD can have an acute onset but it's less commonly such a drastic decline. Unfortunately in a case like this I'd also consider cancer as a potential culprit. It's definitely not common in a dog of Jake's age, but your vet has done a good job of ruling out the common causes so far. If you are truly worried that Jake is in critical condition I would suggest getting him to an emergency hospital for IV fluid support and potentially some more diagnostics like the ultrasound. A larger referral hospital that houses internal medicine specialists would be ideal, as they'd be the ones your vet would refer you to for further work up. The results of the culture are certainly important, but if he's declining quickly then he needs intervention before those results are available.Please let me know what questions I can handle for you.~Dr. Sara ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)