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 Dr. Bruce Your Own Question
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19296
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Bruce is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog is a 10-year old male Siberian Husky. He has severe

This answer was rated:

My dog is a 10-year old male Siberian Husky. He has severe diarrhea for 1.5 months, since mid Aug. His poo is watery and is freuqent, he has no appetite at all and only drinks water, and has lost weight, and he is tired all the time and seems to be in pain. He used to suffer from diarrhea as a young dog but was able to recover by himself or after taking medicines from the vet. Since beginning of this year, the frequency of diarrhea increases and situation gets worse. We stop giving him chicken that he has eaten for years because the vets believed he is allergic to it. Now we only feed him with prescriptive food. Since mid Aug, we have brought him to the vets a number of times, and our dog has done poo sample test, blood test (and very low protein level was found), been given needle-injections (for treating some bacteria), anti-biotics and other medicines. Last test was ultrasound scan in his intestine but nothng is found. The vet said next would be putting him through operation to take out issue from the intestine for cancer test. He is 10-year old already. I don't know whether this is too much for him but think we have done everything we could so far and see him suffer so much is heart-breaking. What else can we do?

Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 12 years. I'm very sorry to hear about all these issues that Jack is having. I want to help as much as I can at this time. Are you asking if he can do well with the surgery to take biopsies for testing for the cancer? Has your vet done any steroid therapy on him? Did they check for pancreatic enzyme levels screening for pancreatic insufficiency?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr Bruce,


Thanks for the quick response. I think the vet has prescribed steriod on Jack a while back and it should have worked at that time. The vet has mentioned about pancreatic test at one point and asked if Jack also vomitted. The answer was no at that time. Recently he vomitted once a few weeks ago, not serious and that was just one time.


I want to know: is there anything we could do to stop his diarrhea and get him to eat again as he is losing weight quickly? Must we put him on the operating table to find out the cause? He is 10 years old already. If really cancerous, is it the beginning of the end?


Thanks a lot!

I'm glad to help again here at this time. I consider myself a very straightforward and honest veterinarian. I try to help owners understand the situations their pets are in to the best of their ability. With the chronic diarrhea, a pancreatic enzyme insufficiency may be at hand. This is something that can be easily screened for with a specific blood test that your vet can send out. I would check this first as it is totally non-invasive and easy to do. If it is the situation, then enzyme supplementation on the food at the time of feeding is needed to correct this. Nothing else will fix this but that specific enzyme supplementation. Those with it do extremely well once it is treated.

Given Jack's low albumin levels, there has to be a strong suspicion for also inflammatory bowel disease or a protein losing enteropathy which could be due to lymphatic issues or due to intestinal lymphoma (cancer). As far as finding out the cause, if it isn't the pancreatic deficiency, then the only way is through biopsies being evaluated by a histopathologist. These biopsies can be obtained by endoscopy or surgery. Usually surgery is needed as the endoscopy doesn't get sufficient depth to the samples to reveal the answer. So the operating table is the situation that is needed most likely to get the answer. As far as if it is cancer, it may be controlled / treated for a period of time. It all depends on the exact one and what course of chemotherapy is chosen for it. I wouldn't say that cancer is cured in these cases but treated to give the pet the best quality of life for the longest period of time after it is found.

As far as what can you do for him at home again? The only thing that could be tried is aggressive steroid therapy. This may help him to improve. But, it would make further diagnosis harder to perform and him less responsive to further chemotherapy if it is chosen.

Please let me know what questions this brings up.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr Bruce,

Your reply is helpful. Just to be clear, do you mean the blood test for pancreatic anzyme level? He had blood test in Apr this year, revealing very low protein level, and low RBC (red blood cells I think) that I can recollect from the vet's conversaton. Also high BUN level and low PLT, whatever those mean.


One medicine from the last vet visit made him "dry up", no poo at all during the two to three days, and it seems to dry his mouth to the extent that it couldn't move his tongue for drinking water -- he had to struggle for about 10 mins before he could drink water. Is it the steriod therapy?



The blood test for the pancreatic enzyme function is the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. There is a very specific blood test for it. It wouldn't be in the normal CBC and chemistry profile screening. Here is a link on it.

The high BUN is blood urea nitrogen and it can be that way due to dehydration, stomach ulcers or chronic kidney insufficiency.

That medicine making him "dry up" as far as no stools may have been metronidazole, an antibiotic, or a steroid like prednisone. These may have helped with the stools, but they shouldn't have done anything as far as drying the oral cavity.
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19296
Experience: 15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
Dr. Bruce and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr Bruce,

We decided to let Jack have the operations and do the biopsis. Quick test on the pancreative matter did not show any definitive result but his albumin level was zero on last Sat. The vet said he was in a critical condition though he looked lively.


Jack will go throug the operations in another two hours today. The vet just called and prepared us that we may have to make a decision, in case it'd turn out to be cancer, whether to let him go or to stitch him up. For latter, he may live for a while with chemo or other treatment, but given his poor condition (low albumin), his internal wound may not get healed, and he would continue to suffer.


When I visited him yesterday, Jack was still very lively, wanting to chase cats in the pet hospital.... I can imagine he would go in just 24 hours....


What is your suggestion or view? Thanks.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
The original person may be offline and I want a reply as soon as possible.
Hello! My name is Lisa, and it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

I'm sorry to hear that you're having to face such a heartbreaking decision with Jack today. As someone who lives with a Siberian myself, I know how wonderful these guys can be.

I will be completely honest....I think that this comes down to quality versus quantity. Yes, you could subject him to chemo and/or radiation...however, there's no guarantee that will help him...also, with all the possible complications in a geriatric dog who may have cancer, I'd be worried that it will all be very hard on him.

Bottom line...would I want my Ivan to maybe live 6 more months, but be sickly feeling and possibly painful during those months? Absolutely not.

Sometimes making the heartbreaking decision to let them go is absolutely the right decision.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Lisa,

Thanks for the quick answer. It'd be indeed a heart breaking decision. We are hoping for the best.

God bless him.




I agree.

Ivan and I will be sending our good vibes your way.