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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16296
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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She won't eat, and is throwing up Shih tsu about 15 years

Customer Question

Hi, she won't eat
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: and is throwing up Shih tsu about 15 years old
JA: Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did the dog eat anything unusual?
Customer: this has been going on for some time. Took her to the vet and they said to give her this antacid which I have done
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Bonnie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Bonnie?
Customer: just that this has been going on for about 2 months and Bonnie's lost a lot of weight
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 8 months ago.

I am sorry to hear that Bonnie has had rapid weight loss, is vomiting, and refusing to eat, despite treatment with an antacid medication.

Was any testing done at the time of her veterinary examination?

Of course without testing I cannot tell you for sure what is going on with Bonnie, but I can give you some possible reasons for what is going on with her.

Organ failure (kidney or liver disease), or ketoacidotic diabetes can lead to a build up of metabolic wastes that lead to nausea, vomiting, and a loss in appetite and an inability to process the nutrients she does take in.

A gastrointestinal foreign body, or an abdominal mass/tumor placing pressure on her gastrointestinal tract can lead to loss of appetite because she feels full. If she isn't eating normally she will lose weight. And cancer increases an animal's metabolic rate, thus burning calories at a faster rate, and can cause increased amounts of metabolic waste and inflammation, both of which affect her appetite.

Systemic infections can also increase her metabolic rate, burning calories faster and the toxins from an infection will cause a decrease in appetite.

Inflammatory bowel disease causes an inability to digest and absorb food, and the inflammation affects appetite.

Bonnie needs to see her veterinarian for a recheck examination, complete blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis. In many cases this can point toward a diagnosis and direct treatment. But with many cancers bloodwork and routine radiographs may not be diagnostic. In those cases an abdominal ultrasound can be helpful.

In the meantime at home you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours


2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of ¼ of a 20mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.

These are acid reducers, are very safe, and may help her feel better. I understand that you have tried one acid reducer, so if one of these didn't work perhaps the other will be more helpful. They can be used as needed.

You can also try a bland diet with increased fluids to perk her appetite and get her better hydrated. A homemade diet for this is 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger or boiled, white, skinless chicken, all fats and juices drained off the meat, and 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Add low salt beef or chicken broth to her meals as well to improve palatability and get more fluids in which should help as well.

In an older girl with these sorts of symptoms it is likely she has some sort of serious disease process going on if she didn't respond to simple supportive care. She needs diagnostic testing to further evaluate her.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.