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dog has distemper

September 10th, 2003, 05:40 AM
Hi All,

My 5 months old Weimaraner has distemper. He's doing much better after much care and giving him natural medicine after much research on the net. However, he's lost a lot of weight and although he eats, he's not eating enough and this is making him very weak.

Anyone has any suggestions to open his appetite up besides what they sell at pet stores. I have purchased one of the pastes called Nutri Cal to open appetite but it doesn't seem to be working much. Also, is there any homemade food I can give him that he might find more appealing than the dog food? (he's also losing his teeth:( and doesn't seem very interested in puppy food )

September 10th, 2003, 07:08 AM
Cooked meat NO COOKED BONES!!. Canned fish (like mackerel, salmon, etc.) Cooked liver. Cottage cheese. Omelettes - honest, I sometimes make omelettes for my dogs with weird stuff like mackerel, bananas cheese & garlic. Dogs love garlic. Mix meat with cottage cheese, yoghurt, eggs, etc. You can mix any of these things together; serve them slightly warm or at least room temperature because the aroma will be more tempting.

This is probably the best dog nutrition site I know of:

Best of luck, and wishing your dog a speedy recovery! Poor thing, distemper is nasty.

By the way, my dogs never eat commercial dog food and are extremely healthy. That site has a fair bit on info & book suggestions on learning about home-cooked & raw dogs eat raw, but I would not suggest that for a dog recovering from a serious illness. Just see what good stuff he'll eat and go from there.

Just no cooked bones, and chocolate or onions are not good for dogs either.

September 10th, 2003, 09:24 AM
Wow...I didn't know they could eat eggs, that seems kind of heavy. I know that dogs can eat meat and such just like humans. I was raised outside the USA, and there are no commercial food for dogs, they eat what you and I eat. My childhood dog was very healthy and never had any problems.

I cooked for him this morning some ground beef and white rice but he ate only a little bit of that. I'm at work now, but left him the food out so that he'll eat it if he gets hungry. I hope that Nutri-Cal will work and get him hungry. He looks very very skinny. I'll try the eggs later tonight if he didn't like the beef. I give him no bones though, I've been buying the boneless chicken breast.
Thanks for all your info.

Lucky Rescue
September 10th, 2003, 10:32 AM
Agree with Carina - try very smelly foods to get his appetite going - things like canned salmon, liver, cheese, etc.

High quality canned dog food may help too - something like Wellness or Innova. Dogs eat according to how things smell.

Rice and ground beef is very bland and is usually used as a remedy for diarrhea or upset stomach.
Nutri-cal is very good for,as the name indicates, nutrition and calories, but is not an appetite stimulant.

Try feeding your dog many small meals instead of a few big ones.

September 10th, 2003, 10:35 AM
The guy at the Pet Store said that would open up his appetite as well....perhaps that's why it's not working.

Thanks for the advice. I made the rice and beef as I had nothing else at home and didn't know what if anything else he could eat.

Any kind of cheese is good? What about cold cuts, too processed?

Lucky Rescue
September 10th, 2003, 03:57 PM
People at pet stores generally are not very knowledgeable and I would not take any medical advice from them. (Apologies to any knowledgeable pet store employees here!;) )

Dogs seem to LOVE string cheese, but most cold cuts have too many additives and salt and I would not give them.

Another option is baby food - chicken and rice, turkey, etc. Few dogs can resist that. You may have to open his mouth and put some on the roof of his mouth to get him started.

No-salt chicken broth or beef broth added to his food may help. Hope he's feeling better soon.

September 10th, 2003, 04:13 PM
THanks for the baby food tip.

He does have swelling in his joints which gives him difficulty to walk. I am not giving him anything that has any type of sodium as to reduce any risk of retaining any liquid. So regular cheese is OK then? I was checking the cold cuts and saw they were very high in sodium.
THanks again. I will try to give him anything he will eat that will nourish him and give him some energy as well.

September 10th, 2003, 05:50 PM
Regular cheese is fine - IMHO cold cuts (or hot dogs etc) are just fine too as occasional treats or meals...but you may want to hold off on those if he needs to have restricted salt.

Another good thing is nuts, if he'll eat them. Peanut butter is good; get the natural stuff with no salt. You can mix up weird things like peanut butter and high quality canned dog food and cooked meat etc...just get creative. :) Heck, try a little canned cat food - it's usually higher in fat & protein than dog food, if he won't eat canned dog food. Of course none of these things should be a regular part of his diet, but just to get him eating and get weight on him they won't hurt.

Make sure the baby food doesn't have onions, many do. Onions are toxic (can cause a form of anemia) if fed in large amounts, or as regular food. Oh - and make sure he's getting enough water, so he doesn't get dehydrated.

September 11th, 2003, 12:31 PM

for lunch yesterday made him 3 eggs omelette with some low salt turkey mixed in. He ate it up even though I had to feed him by hand as he is so weak.

For dinner, purchased a can of mackerel and some chicken w/rice and veggies baby food (no onions) and he loved that. Gave him as well a couple of slices of cheese. He ate all of it until he couldn't anymore. Gave him some water, he wasn't too thrilled with the water (I think he misses the pedialyte).

This morning he seem to have way more energy, walked about 1 block and couldn't get him back in the house which is a good thing ;) I gave him some cottage cheese this morning and a couple of bites of canned salmon and another jar of baby food. He seemed a lot more alert and happy.

I used to feed him twice a day before he was sick, but right now the schedule is crazy. I feed him whenever he'll eat as he wasn't eating much.

I have one question though, the mackerel and salmon, do I need to remove the spines? I did remove them as I wasn't sure if I should or not.

Thanks to all for your great help. I think he'll make it after all, as long as he eats and gets some energy going and some meat on his skinny body. He's lost about 15 lbs in 1 month!
Below is a picture of him as a puppy, about 2 months ago.

Lucky Rescue
September 11th, 2003, 04:05 PM
YAY!! So glad to hear your baby is doing better!!:) He is very very cute!

I'm just curious - where did you get your puppy? I'm wondering if any vaccines were administered before you got him?

And BTW, you need not remove the soft bones in the canned salmon. I don't know about the mackerel, as this is something I have never bought.

September 11th, 2003, 08:50 PM
Alright! :) He is VERY cute! Wow, 15lbs is alot to lose in one month, poor thing. Is he on any medication? Thankfully I've never had a dog with distemper; I don't know what the treatment is. I did have a puppy survive parvo once, I was sure she was going to die...

The bones are fine, they are so soft and almost crumbly in either canned mackerel or salmon. And the calcium is good for him too!

I hope he continues to improve!

September 12th, 2003, 11:11 AM
Well, when I got him I was told he had his shots, but I am now wondering if he had all the sets. I took him to the vet and he recommended we start the sets just in case and we did, but 2 days before his appt for the last set he got sick.

Today he's not doing so well. I am still feeding him which I still have to do by hand but he cannot stand on his back legs and cannot really walk much. I just don't think he is really eating enough for his size and looks very very thin. I'm hoping is just from being so weak but I am afraid that is because of the distemper. He has good days and bad days. I just wish I could do more. :( I've already given him all of the Nutri-Cal, which I don't think it really helped, maybe gave him a little bit of energy if anything.

Is there anything to open his appetite and/or to give him more energy? I mean if he doesn't eat enough, he'll never get strong again.

Thanks to all for your advice and kind words.

Lucky Rescue
September 12th, 2003, 01:56 PM
Oh, dear - sorry to hear this.:( I know how hard it is to watch this and be unable to help, but you are doing everything you can for this little guy.

There is really no treatment and no cure for this horrible illness - just supportive care.

Hope to hear some better news.

September 12th, 2003, 09:08 PM
Hoping for improvement here too...the only thing I can think of is to maybe see another vet - I am sure there's moree than one treatment protocol.
Keeping my fingers & paws crossed, it must be so tough to have a real sick puppy.

September 12th, 2003, 09:44 PM
Thanks guys. I really apprecite the support.

All his ribs are showing. You guys are going to think I am crazy but I just fed him some energy drinks for older people kind of like Ensure. We noticed that he will only drink liquids or very liquidity food like the baby food, so we realized that he's been teething as well and his gums are very irritated. I think that's playing part of his not eating.

So, I purchased a few of those drinks and he's had 1 1/2, non stop. So, we'll see if that works...I'm just going out of my mind trying to get him to eat. He goes tomorrow to the vet, so we'll see what he says. Thanks again.
Here is a picture I took of him last night. His name is Diesel, BTW>

diesel (

September 13th, 2003, 02:59 PM
Well...if it's any consolation, I've seen puppies looking MUCH worse than him who have survived serious illness!

Good luck at the vet - do let us know what s/he says.

September 16th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Thank you guys. The vet didn't say much, he's thin, he's's up to me. I am right now looking for a new vet, I'm not too pleased with the current one.

On another note, I started Diesel on the drinks friday night and he seems to enjoy them and has already gained 4 lbs. I am also well pureeing all the food I am feeding him. His gums and teeth are still bothering him a lot and I noticed last night his gums are very swollen and have some blood around his molers. He's walking around and seems a lot better but not quite well yet.

Definitely, the energy drinks have helped him a lot and hopefully he can continue to get better. I am trying to find right now something to ease the pain on his gums. Last night he was chewing on his blanket, it was actually more like he was massaging his gums and fell asleep like that. I've never had a dog that has gone through that while they've been teething.

Anyways, I will post regularly as I like to read back and see his progress and what has worked for him as time has gone by, it's sort of my diary posting here. Plus it is also therapeutic.

Have a great day...:D

Lucky Rescue
September 16th, 2003, 10:09 AM
Glad to hear Diesel is picking up a bit. Yes, keep us posted. He is so cute, and looks pretty good in that pic!

There really isn't much your vet can do, but if another vet has some sort of treatment I would be interested to hear what it is.

September 16th, 2003, 10:45 AM
I am actually trying to find a homeopathic vet. After much money spent hospitalizing Diesel (over $600) I ended up doing much research on the net. I found an immune system booster (not sure if I can say here the brand) and I am as well giving him some homepathic pellets. So far, that has been working. The IS booster I found on a site that mentioned it had helped a dog that has distemper, so I figured I'd try it. He started getting better after a few days on it.

I took Diesel out for a walk yesterday to the park and he was so happy playing in the grass. I am so glad I didn't listen to the vet when he thought that he should be put to sleep.

WEll....we'll see. ;)

September 16th, 2003, 05:29 PM are the best dog parent! Diesel is very lucky to have you. I'm wondering if there could have been some sort of vaccine reaction...this page:
has a bunch of vaccine related links. Dr Jean Dodds has been a leader in the field...vaccine protocols are changing - well I'll let you do some research! You can also do a search on her name - I communicated with her while writing my book and she's very knowlegable. Anyhow, good luck finding a homeopathic vet - the AVMHA link has a directory of homeopathic/alternative vets.

Very best of luck to you and Diesel! I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for you guys.

September 24th, 2003, 09:25 AM
Well, I've been taking care of my baby boy all this time. He's gained quite a few pounds. However, he spends 4 or 5 days doing well and then relapses for 1 or 2 days and then the same cycle begins. The only thing that really happens when he gets ill is that from his waist down he becomes very weak to where he cannot support himself. After a few minutes of walking he does a little better but not well enough.

I am not sure what else to do. Anyone has dealt with Canine Distemper before?