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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30298
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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We have an 11 lb. shih Tzu who is 6 years old and a VERY picky

Customer Question

we have an 11 lb. shih Tzu who is 6 years old and a VERY picky eater. Do you have any suggestions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Linda, I would first check for a medical condition that might predispose to such selective eating. A thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of a gastrointestinal panel of blood and urine tests should be considered. That panel should include a specCPL blood test which is the most sensitive of the tests for detecting the presence of pancreatitis, a TLI blood test which checks for maldigestion, and serum folate and vitamin B12 levels which check for malabsorption of nutrients. Presumptive worming should be considered as well in case occult parasitism exists. Over the counter fenbendazole (Panacur) available in many pet/feed stores is a good choice because it addresses all of the nematodes (roundworms, hookworks, whipworms) as well as the protozoan Giardia. Three consecutive days of the fenbendazole should suffice.Should testing and worming reveal no abnormalities, testing for a food intolerance would be reasonable. Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Dolly's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from her vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.Are you seeing any other worrisome symptoms such as increased thirst and volume of urine?