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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16889
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My great pryenesse has not eaten in 4 days. Well, he ate a

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My great pryenesse has not eaten in 4 days. Well, he ate a few bites of a ham and cheese hot pocket last night, not eating again this morning. He started out throwing up 4 days ago and drooling a lot. I took him to a local vet and they ran test on him and could not find anything, and now they are just guessing what could be wrong with him to include his back is sore. They want me to bring him back and run more test. I have paid $550.00 (not concerned about the cost), but I don't want him to keep getting test he does not need. The vet also told a dog can go 30 days without eating. I know that is wrong.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?
Customer: He has never been sick before. He usually loves to play and now he is just kind of laying down. He didn't bark for 3 days and just sleep. He is barking today, but still does not have a lot of energy.

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.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Are you there?

I am sorry to hear that your fellow was vomiting and drooling and now has refused to eat much of anything the past 4 days, and seems lethargic.

It's hard to know whether his lethargy is weakness from not eating and from dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that occur with vomiting or if that is part of the disease process that is making him not want to eat.

I understand that it is frustrating to run tests and have everything come back within normal limits, especially when your pup obviously feels poorly. But it is very important to know what isn't wrong to know to look next.

In most cases vomiting is triggered by eating something they should not, too much table food, too many treats or something they find outdoors.

More serious causes of vomiting include toxin ingestions, viral or bacterial infections, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, inflammatory bowel disease, internal organ failure (kidney or liver disease), pancreatitis, or a full or partial gastrointestinal obstruction. If he is a middle aged to older pup then an abdominal mass is also a possible cause.

In a young dog, especially if he never finished his vaccine series, a viral infection such as Parvo virus, toxin ingestion, or a foreign body leading to a partial or full gastrointestinal obstruction would be the most likely causes.

There are some things we can try at home, but if he's not improving quickly he should see a veterinarian for another examination, some further diagnostic testing, intravenous fluids and injectable medication to settle his stomach.

To try and settle his stomach at home you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one half of a 20mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and may help settle his stomach and get him feeling better and hopefully get his appetite back. Either one can be given for several days if need be as they are very safe medications.

In a couple hours when you give him water make sure it is in small amounts only. If he drinks too much too quickly that can lead to vomiting. You can also offer ice cubes to lick. To get some electrolytes in you can offer him a 50:50 mix of pedialyte and water.

If there is no vomiting for 2-3 hours after drinking offer a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow. If he refuses that you can offer a little meat baby food. If he refuses both then he needs hands veterinary care.

But if things go well and he does eat and doesn't vomit feed him the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in his regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert him back to his regular diet.

If he continues to not eat or vomit even with the acid reducers, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), or has a lower then normal temperature (less then 99F), has a tense painful belly he should see his veterinarian for another examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

While back pain could cause a loss of appetite I would not expect vomiting and drooling with that. So I would be looking further into primary intra-abdominal issues if his symptoms continue with testing for pancreatitis, (canine specific pancreatic lipase blood test), or an abdominal ultrasound.

I am sorry I cannot help with a phone call. The states/province I am licensed in do not allow me to communicate via phone calls, unless I have previously physically examined a pet. I could lose my license for doing so. If you would like you can reply in this venue however and ask any follow-up questions and I will be happy to respond to them here.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He has not thrown up since day one. They have ran test and ex-rays on his stomach and they are fine. She said his stomach does not feel sore. She says his back seems sore and wants to give him muscle relaxers. What does that have to do with throwing up and not eating? Like I said earlier, she claims dogs can go 30 days without eating. I read it is 5 days. I don't know if the muscle relaxers will help him eat. I don't see that his back is sore.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Still waiting on the call that I paid for.

I am glad that he isn't vomiting. But 4 days of not eating isn't ok. Theoretically he may have the body mass to survive 30 days without eating, but that is in no way normal, and is horrible for his health/organ function.

Did they check a complete blood count and biochemistry profile?

Did they check a urinalysis? Back pain can indicate a kidney infection and that certainly could make him nauseous.

In a big fellow like this it can be hard to get them to show back pain with palpation if you don't know exactly how to examine him and look for pain. He has a lot of musculature along his back.

Radiographs let us see bony changes, organ size and placement. But to see foreign material in the intestinal tract that is not of bone or mineral density, and organ architecture an ultrasound is much, much better.

I too would not start muscle relaxers until I have made certain we don't have something else going on in his abdomen.

I'm sorry about the phone call, that is an automatic by the web site that I cannot fulfill due to licensing restrictions. It is possible you may hear from another veterinarian that is licensed in states that allow calls.

Or I can ask that the call charge be cancelled if you prefer.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I paid for a call and did not receive it.

I understand, do you want me to contact customer service and ask that your phone call charge be refunded since no one called?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
please I don't want to paid for the call I did not get. Also, should I take him to another vet? Kind of scared to take him back there.

I think it is fine to ask for copies of the results of the tests he has had so far and get a second opinion. It never hurts to have a fresh pair of eyes take a look when things aren't clear cut. And since he isn't improving that may be the best route to go.

It will be important to have the test results so far to understand what tests still need to be done, or as a comparison if tests (like a urinalysis or blood count) need to be repeated to look at trends.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
What do I do if I can't get him in the vehicle today? My husband is deployed and I can't lift him myself. I tried earlier and he won't walk up the ramp to the truck. Any suggestions?

I'm so sorry I was unable to respond until now as customer service locked the question while they were looking into your request for a refund for the phone call.

If you cannot get him into the car yourself and don't have a friend or neighbor to help perhaps a mobile veterinarian is the best option.