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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2818
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Our 2-year-old toy poodle (3 kilos) hasnt eaten in 4 days.

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Our 2-year-old toy poodle (3 kilos) hasn't eaten in 4 days. Will absolutely not touch food. Drinks water. Threw up a lot the first couple of days. No stools the last two days. No fever. Lethargic. Is mobile. Have been to vet three times. Last two times IV in neck for glucose and vitamins. Vet (in Tokyo) seems stumped, referring us to larger pet hospital. Any ideas?

Dr. Jo :

Hello,

Dr. Jo :

My name isXXXXX and I would be happy to help you with your questions about your poodle. Please let me start by saying how sorry I am you are having this problem. I know what it's like to worry. What is your dog's name?

Customer:

KC

Dr. Jo :

Something in particular that strikes me about this case is how young KC is. That makes a lot of the more complicated diseases a lot less likely.

Dr. Jo :

Usually with a young dog KC's age, it's something fairly simple and straightforward to diagnose.

Dr. Jo :

The top possibility to make him this sick would be that he has swallowed something that is stuck or binding up his intestines.

Dr. Jo :

It could even be something like string or cloth that doesn't show up well on x-rays, so that can make it difficult to diagnose.

Customer:

X-ray was negative. But plastic wouldn't show I suppose.

Dr. Jo :

Has KC had blood tests, a urinalysis, and x-rays yet?

Dr. Jo :

Were the x-rays just regular x-rays, or did they make him swallow barium first?

Customer:

Blood test showed a low white blood cell count but nothing else. We haven't done the barium yet.

Dr. Jo :

Sometimes the barium step can be skipped, especially if they are sending you to a hospital good at doing ultrasounds.

Customer:

Our dogs really do eat their toys.

Customer:

Ok

Customer:

Is Addison's disease even a possibility?

Dr. Jo :

Barium studies have significant cost (comparable to an ultrasound) but aren't as conclusive as an ultrasound. Do you know if they do ultrasounds? When I read your question about KC, the first thing I thought of was Addison's, but then I looked at his age. He's too young.

Customer:

I don't know where we are going. My wife has the dog and I am at work. I will check into the ultrasound. Good idea.

Dr. Jo :

It would be really, really rare for such a young dog to have Addison's, but it could fit everything else about the picture - Addison's dogs even typically get diagnosed with some kind of GI problem first.

Dr. Jo :

A foreign body is much more likely, and not always easy to diagnose.

Dr. Jo :

It's not unusual to pursue an exploratory surgery to look for a foreign body, as alarming as that sounds, simply because surgery is necessary to fix it once you find one.

Customer:

OK.

Customer:

I think I got it. Anything else?

Dr. Jo :

The nice thing about ultrasound is it's not at all invasive. For a little patient like KC, that's especially nice. It's a lot easier to be cavalier about proceeding directly to surgery with a big, stoic dog like a Labrador, not a poodle.

Customer:

Ok. I will find someone to do an ultrasound.

Dr. Jo :

Do you know if they did a test for parvo? Any type of viral enteritis will cause the white count to go down. Two years is kind of old for parvo, but not unheard of.

Customer:

I don't know. I will ask. It's hard because everything must be done in Japanese.

Dr. Jo :

I understand that would complicate everything. Viral enteritis problems can be tough because they just have to run their course, but can make the dog pretty sick in the meantime: vomiting, diarrhea, not eating. In that case, the kind of treatment KC has received (mostly fluids) is the right plan.

Dr. Jo :

Regardless, you're on the right track pursuing the referral.

Customer:

So your No. 1 suggestion would be to get an ultrasound and that is is most likely something caught in the intestines? I won't hold you to this, but I need to tell my wife something.

Dr. Jo :

Yes. That is my best recommendation. My top two differentials are a foreign body and a viral enteritis. A referral to a hospital good at doing ultrasounds is the best plan.

Customer:

OK. Thanks much. I feel (a little) better. Take care.

Dr. Jo :

Good luck with KC and I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good outcome. Please remember you can always post more to this thread, even after you've clicked ACCEPT. I'm happy to help. Thanks for using Just Answer!

Dr. Jo and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dr. Jo,

KC had his operation today. The vet removed junk from his stomach and intestines. Looks like he is going to be OK, but has to spend three days in the hospital for observation. I've thrown away all their (we also have a 3-year-old 3.6 kilo Yorkie female) soft toys--the ones they haven't chewed up already. Our last dog stopped chewing up her toys after puppyhood, these guys seem to never grow out of it. No more. A dangerous and expensive (200,000 yen) lesson. Thanks for all your help.
Wow. I'm so glad he got the surgery he needed, but sorry for the difficult time experienced by you ALL. Here's to KC's speedy recovery, and glad I could help!