Advice sought re: poorly dog (sorry, rather long - as is the dog!) panicking a bit

(53 Posts)
SearedChestnut Tue 01-Dec-15 08:38:59

Hi, I was hoping some more experienced dog owners might be able to offer some advice regarding our dog, which we adopted at Easter. He's a lovely male uncastrated 4 yr old lh daschund.

We are going to the vet in two hours time but I am panicking a bit in the meantime. I've been around lots of dogs growing up but never been responsible for one of my own before.

Context: the dog had a very difficult start in life. He came from a seemingly well-off household and we were told that the reason for him being offered for adoption was a marital break-up and a new baby etc. His owners admitted that he had spent most of his puppy-hood alone in their garden and they hadn't taken him out for walks. But the male of the household seemed genuinely affectionate towards the dog and sad to see him go. And the dog, when looked at superficially, seemed well cared for and friendly.

But when we had him checked over by a vet on adoption, it turned out that the dog had been badly neglected. He hadn't had the correct injections as a puppy and in the instances when he had, they hadn't been followed up with any boosters. His teeth had been neglected to the point where he had a horrible infection and had to have an operation. His ears were disgusting to the point of not being able to hear properly. He was underweight and had bad patches of scurf on his skin. It also became apparent that he didn't know how to walk on the lead and was scared of bicycles, other dogs, large men in hats, tall women in hats etc etc etc. He gets fearful if anyone leans over him too much or walks past with a remote control or book in their hand sad And the vet, having followed the paper trail (we live abroad) thinks that he had probably been bought from a puppy farm.

[Sorry for long ramble but background details significant I think]

Anyway, to cut a long story short; dog has never been a good eater. Every dog I have ever known has been a walking dustbin but adopted dog frequently needs to be cossetted and cajoled in to eating. He eats well for a few days and then just eats a very little or not at all for a couple of days. It is a constant struggle to keep weight on him.

I should add that he is of course now up to date with injections, his teeth are no longer hurting him, he's been wormed, had flea/mite treatments and we've changed from the poor quality dog food to much better quality kibble (he also has rice and chicken and rice and mince - anything he is fed has to be fairly delicate because of his stomach). But with every change, although he has put on weight and his coat has improved immensely, he never seemed quite 'at ease' with eating or enthusiastic about it.

We put this down to his nervous temperament and initially to the pain of his teeth and after the op, possible 'remembered' pain.

But he has had 3 bouts of vomiting (mainly clear gunge like wall paper paste) since Easter. He's often refusing to eat. And last night he was up all night vomiting again - the worst it's ever been - he's cross and grumpy and whimpering today sad

I'm really worried now. I'm afraid the vet is going to say that his early neglect has left him susceptible to some horrible illness or that there is something more sinister going on?

Does anyone have any ideas as to what this could be? We put it down to his nervous temperament at first, but it is becoming obvious to us now that there is something more serious going on.

What will the vet do? What questions should I ask?

UnGoogleable Tue 01-Dec-15 09:04:13

Sorry just wrote a long reply then lost it

First things first - is he bringing anything up when he vomits? Is he pooing? Will he accept food - try a little treat to test him?

If the answer is no to those questions - especially the first, then it's an emergency and you should go now. It could be twisted gut.

If it's yes, then it's less of an emergency.

Veterinari Tue 01-Dec-15 09:05:03

Hi OP Please don't panic.

It could simply be that his lack of socialisation and poor breeding have left him with anxiety causing his chronic food issues (I have a dog just like this) and on top of that, he's got a bit of a tummy bug. The chances are that this short-term bug will settle.

Re: his more longterm food issues - does he use a crate or have a 'safe space'. If he has food anxiety issues (for example he may have been punished for taking food from people/children previously) then he might need a safe undisturbed space to eat without feeling as if he's 'being watched'

You may also want to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication. Used in conjunction with lots of positive reinforcement, it can help to develop social skills and confidence, and also help with dietary issues such as vomiting/diarrhoea that may be related to stress.

UnGoogleable Tue 01-Dec-15 09:13:08

Here are the symptoms of bloat - twisted gut. I very nearly lost my dog to it, but we caught it in time.

pets.webmd.com/dogs/gastric-volvulus-bloat-dogs

Hopefully he's not showing these symptoms and you can wait to see your vets.

So the fussy eating - that's not that unusual. My dogs do that. They'll eat really well for weeks, then suddenly decide they don't want it. We try to vary it a bit by mixing in sardines or dog meat into their kibble to keep it interesting for them.

It sounds like your poor dog has a sensitive stomach. What I expect the vet will do is give him a jab to stop the vomiting (if he's still vomiting today), then tell you to starve him for 24 hours before introducing bland food like boiled chicken and rice to rest the gut.

What questions should you ask? Ask what they recommend you feed him. Ask them to weigh him, and remember to check his weight every time you visit (I always put my dog on the scales even if we're only there for a booster jab).

Finally - well done OP. Your little dog is lucky you found him. You're doing the right thing flowers

SearedChestnut Tue 01-Dec-15 09:19:15

Thank you both!

Ungoogeable He is bringing up mainly water when he vomits, but with a sort of thick white gunge that looks like wall paper paste (or that stuff you get in little packets from the florist to keep flowers fresh once it is mixed with water).

He pooed yesterday morning but not last night and he is normally a very regular poo-er. But it was complicated by the fact that it was pouring with rain all day and he hates the rain and although we still go out in it, he sometimes refuses to poo in the wet. He is refusing food (but that's not unusual.) He is drinking though.

Leaving for vet's in 30 mins. He doesn't seem lethargic but is whimpering and cross and obviously unwell. But is still barking at door etc.

Veterinari thank you; I feel better now knowing that it could be something related to anxiety or just a short term tummy bag. I have noticed that he sometimes cringes or cowers when someone comes towards him while he is eating. Will mention to vet!!

SearedChestnut Tue 01-Dec-15 09:30:34

Thank you for that link Ungoogleable. His symptoms don't seem to correspond with that list. His stomach isn't bloated for example and he's not pacing or drooling. Plus when he tries to be sick; he is (although it's mainly water). Will check with vet though.

Thank goodness you caught it in your dog in time! That must have been frightening.

I thought bloat only existed in sheep and cows so very glad to be informed about this.

Hopefully the vet will be able to reach a definite conclusion.

Is it usual for a dog to be vomiting with such regularity? Every three months or so atm (and last night and today of course). The dogs I was brought up with (pointers/retrievers) only seemed to vomit every five years or so if that.

SearedChestnut Tue 01-Dec-15 09:31:26

Thank you again - will report back!

UnGoogleable Tue 01-Dec-15 22:25:43

How did you get on today OP? Hope he's ok

SearedChestnut Wed 02-Dec-15 13:24:21

Thanks UnGoogleable and apologies for getting back to this thread only now

Hugely relieved because the vet doesn't think it is anything too serious. He has a virus apparently (slight temp) and she gave him two injections (one an anti-emetic and one an antibiotic). Following up with tablets today. She said if he didn't improve by Friday then we should take him back for a blood test, but he is already much, much better and back on his regular cat patrol in the garden. He ate a tiny bit of food last night and that stayed down and ate again this morning and is fine so far!

The only thing she said that worried me a bit (and I am translating from the French here) is that he has pancreatitis. This is puzzling to me because he never gets fed fatty treats or biscuits and is not a dog who goes around guzzling things from bins or trying to eat off plates and his recall is so poor currently that he is never walked off the lead, and responds to a firm 'no' if he is interested in anything unsuitable he finds dropped on the ground. May go back to vet when she is less busy (yesterday was an emergency appt although we were there a good half hour) for further info about diet. Don't want this to be a regular occurrence.

Oh and he has put on weight overall so that is good smile and the vet said his muscle condition is much better too than when she last saw him.

So overall hugely, hugely relieved! Thanks again for your reassurance, I was imagining all sorts of awful things ... !

SearedChestnut Wed 02-Dec-15 13:30:42

Just thinking about this, he did come to us with a pkt of very poor quality dog food (the one in the yellow pkt wink which the behaviourist (who assessed him on arrival) said was the equivalent of eating a Big Mac a day. Perhaps that has something to do with pancreatitis? He had been fed on it since puppyhood.

He's on a much better diet now but may have to investigate further ... .

UnGoogleable Wed 02-Dec-15 21:32:30

So glad to hear he's ok. Must have been very worrying for you.

Yuck, sounds like he was suffering the effects of the crappy food. I've no experience of Pancreatitis in dogs.

Hope he's resting up and on the mend now

SearedChestnut Thu 03-Dec-15 08:27:08

Thank you Ungoogleable smile

He's much better this morning and we are happily in engaged in the "how to pretend I swallowed a tablet" game grin

SearedChestnut Tue 22-Dec-15 17:32:46

Oh dear.

Revitalising this thread because furry had another bout of vomiting yesterday (just a bit of hardly digested kibble) and is out of sorts. He's been off an on his food for the past week. I just don't understand it.

Been to vet this afternoon. His temp is raised again. She has administered more antibiotics and she has taken a blood test and ordered an ultrasound.

[Do vets normally have ultrasound equipment in their offices btw? We're being sent somewhere else.]

He didn't have a poo yesterday (very unusual) but he did have a poo this morning which looked fine.

She says he might have a blockage in his stomach such as a sock, but he really isn't the sort of dog that eats or shreds things. (He does have a toy ferret that he likes to chew on but he spits any woolly/furry bits out and not many bits come off it ifyswim.)

I am starting to get really worried again in case this is the result of something sinister. He is curled up in a ball looking very sorry for himself. But vet says he is OK just on water and no food for a few days ... .

Just posting all this to vent really!

SearedChestnut Wed 23-Dec-15 14:15:39

Just posting again to calm my nerves ... .

Blood test results are back. Vet is concerned. (Translating from the French) dog's cell count is low and he is missing an important enzyme. She thinks this may indicate a liver problem.

Does anyone have any experience of this?

Furry one seems fairly good in himself but is not eating sad

And we have to wait until Tues 8.30 am for the ultrasound (first slot available).

I will be worrying all over Christmas now.

SearedChestnut Wed 23-Dec-15 14:45:24

Any owners of dogs with liver problems out there? [Looks around hopefully]

KiwiJude Wed 23-Dec-15 19:21:51

No experience of dogs with liver problems but do hope that things get sorted for you and furry. Hard that you have to wait until Tues for the ultrasound, our vets have all xray equipment etc on site and it's just a matter of moving from one room to the next. Try not to worry too much (I know, easy to say).

ChairRider4 Wed 23-Dec-15 20:15:38

Our vets have it here as well as full hospital (why I choose then ) but I know another vet in town does not and you have to go to one of their other clinics for

ChairRider4 Wed 23-Dec-15 20:16:19

But hope get some answers on Tuesday may need follow a special diet after?

SearedChestnut Wed 23-Dec-15 22:40:07

Thank you ChairRider4 and Kiwijude

I originally found this vet for gps and then rabbits (she does home visits which are less stressful for small furries) and then naturally stuck with her when we adopted dog. She is really good but has just set up on her own in a partnership with another vet and so I suppose they don't have funds for all the equipment yet.

Trying not to worry! Dog seems quite OK in himself today (has had more antibiotics) and seems hungry so I cooked him some rice which he had with a slice or two of chopped up lean ham and he wolfed it down. So far it hasn't reappeared and everything good at other end on walk tonight so fingers crossed!

Yes: re possibility of special diet. I suppose I had better start researching this! Know absolutely nothing about it!

leadrightfoot Sun 27-Dec-15 17:09:24

Having had a dog with chronic pancreatitis for 6 years get some Fortiflora and feed daily 1 sachet really helps
Best possible kibble, Burns or Royal Canin or Hills (online is cheapest via Zooplus)
Sensitive low fat and high fibre works
Nothing no cow hide chews at all, these really set mine off
Also I found Golden Paste really helped too (google it)

Hope the furry gets well soon

leadrightfoot Sun 27-Dec-15 17:10:26

Oh and ham was the biggest trigger for mine
Plain cooked chicken and kibble works well

Triliteral Sun 27-Dec-15 19:07:36

It might be worth getting your vet to check for Addisons if the symptoms are coming and going. It probably isn't, but is rare, difficult to spot and can be life threatening if not picked up.

www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/endocrine/c_dg_hypoadrenocorticism

knobblyknee Sun 27-Dec-15 19:41:01

Has he had a complete check for internal parasites? Look for roundworm, tapeworm, giardia and cioccidiosis. Best of luck.

KiwiJude Wed 30-Dec-15 20:12:04

Just checking in for any update? Hope things are okay smile

SearedChestnut Fri 01-Jan-16 12:32:49

Hello everyone, Happy New Year!

Lovely to see so many replies and sorry to be only getting back to them now; have been travelling/hosting.

Thanks for asking KiwiJude!

We came back early from one trip for ultrasound on Tuesday morning (furry one now has shaved abdomen). They told us straightaway that there was nothing obviously wrong; no undigested socks or coins, no suspicious lumps or bumps or inflammation. So really, really relieved about that!

The vet who did the ultrasound is querying Leptospirosis (as he only had one of the four correct injections as a puppy and the one he did have apparently hasn't been in common use for 10 yrs).

The ultrasound disc and accompanying docs have been dropped off at vets ready for further investigation in the new year. And with that, I have sent an e-mail to the vet (thank you Knobblyknee and Trilateral) mentioning those parasites and the possibility of Addison's. (Furry one does shake a lot and seems to be drinking more frequently than usual so that could be a possibility.)

I've said that I want to have all the tests done possible (within reason) to get to the bottom of the problem. If nothing comes up, I can then at least be reassured that we have done everything possible and can go on to exploring a different sort of diet (which is where your helpful advice will come in Leadrightfoot. May get back to you about that if I may?).

Thank you again everyone! Your advice is much appreciated and will update again when there is more to tell!

Hope you are all enjoying a good holiday with your furries!

Oh yes, forgot to say, ddog has been fine with no recurrence over the last few days but we are being very careful with his diet and he has been eating plain kibble and chicken and rice/turkey and rice etc!

Thanks again!

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