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Dog wouldn't eat - serious problem

December 8th, 2005, 08:41 PM
Hi everyone!

First of all our dog is safely being treated at a veterinary hospital tonight.

Thanks to this site and the members who answer questions. I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who don't initially register, but still greatly appreciate the forums and the advice.

Our dog, Hank is a 45 lb. mogrel runt-of-the-litter. Today is his tenth birthday. About two weeks ago he got some canned dogfood as a special treat while we were traveling. He usually eats a good brand of dry food. The next day he would not eat anything. That went on for three days. The vet said to "wait him out." Then Hank ate a half bowl of food and continued to drink water. He ate another half bowl the next day and then stopped eating again, but kept drinking. Another couple of days and he ate another half bowl. Then he quit again. The vet repeated that the dog was just waiting for special food.

Last Friday out of desperation I gave him some more canned dog food which he picked at. I found this website and read the info about mixing foods to get a dog back on regular food. Most importantly I read about other symptoms to watch for. Hank wouldn't eat Saturday or Sunday. Monday he ate some dog food and about half the water he normally drank. Tuesday he didn't eat or drink. Overnight he tried to vomit. I had him at the vet's office first thing Wednesday. Hank now weighed 37 lbs. (His activity level had never declined.) The vet prescribed two medicines for his stomach, took blood samples and gave us some special low fat dog food. I took off work Wednesday and had to use a bit of liver cheese as a covering for the pills. He took the pills. However he couldn't keep them down and vomited at about 9:30 p.m. A call to the vet at home and we were told that the medicine might take a day or two to work. He got more pills at midnight but kept them down only until about 3:30. Then he started dry heaving. That went on several times through the night. There wasn't much I could do other than offer him some ice which he licked and tried to keep him comfortable. I got him to the vet this morning. Thankfully the blood work was back.

Hank is having kidney problems with extremely elevated urea levels and a very high phosphorus reading. The vet immediately admitted Hank and began and IV and catheter. He's getting liquid and some medicine to settle his stomach and let him rest. As of a couple of hours ago he is doing fine. The initial treatment is to try to flush out his system to see if his kidneys will respond properly. I'm praying eveything goes well.

The vet did mention a couple of things that I missed over the last couple of weeks. First of all Hank's breath got really bad. I incorrectly assumed that it was because of his food intake. I also assumed that the dry heaves was entirely due to stomach distress. The vet told me that the sudden onset of bad breath combined with the change in eating/drinking habits was an indicator of kidney problems and/or pancreitis (sp?). The dry heaves and bad breath he felt was the dog's body's attempt to expell toxins through the stomach and lungs. I wasn't familiar with these symptoms and I would have had Hank at the vet's office at least a few days earlier if I'd known.

I'm sure this is a long post, but I thought I'd pass along to anyone who's dog has changed eating habits, etc. that a call to a vet is always a good idea. This site has wonderful information and great support. However, I made the mistake of simplifying Hank's condition. I should have mentioned the bad breath to the vet and every other detail of his change in eating/drinking habits. Both the vet and I assumed was that Hank was just being finnicky. That was wrong.

December 8th, 2005, 08:45 PM
How is he now?

December 9th, 2005, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the heads up techpuppy, I'm sure Hank thanks you for being persistent in finding out was wrong with him :) I hope he's ok and to echo Prin, how is he now? Any better with treatment?

December 9th, 2005, 09:13 AM
I hope your old guy comes out of this alright. Your vet was right that with the info he/she had the guess would have been that your dog just wanted the other food. It is when you add in the other symptoms that the diagnosis changes to something more severe.

It is nice of you to let others know that you need to be aware of all changes in your dog and when your dog is not acting normal you need to look at everything that is different with them in order to get a proper diagnosis and as you did you need to be persistant in finding out.

Doing daily handling checks with your dog is a good way to know right away when something is not right.
Start with their head. Check eyes to see that they are clear and free of discharge. Look in the mouth to make sure that there are nothing wrong with the teeth, gums, etc as well as any foul odor. Check the ears to see that they are clean. If they are dirty what does it look like and does it smell, do they look red or irritated(don't pour cleaner directly into the ears).
Once the head is done move your hands over their body checking for anything like lumps, tender areas or rashes or possibly missing patches of hair that are unusual.
Go over their feet checking their nails, pads to see that they are normal and not cracked, cut, nails broken, etc.
Doing these daily checks only take a few moments but they will let you know what your dog usually looks and smells like so that it will be easy for you to know if something is wrong and by doing them daily you will know how long it has been there.

December 9th, 2005, 09:54 PM
Hi Everyone!

Thanks for the comments and support.

We visited Hank today. He was still hooked up to an IV but I sat down in the floor with him for a nice visit. He's still a bit sedated and a little grumpy. (I didn't notice the grumpy part. One of the staff mentioned it to me.) On the good side he is rehydrating okay. He still hasn't tried to eat or drink anything...he is still having some dry heaves. He's going to get some more blood tests Saturday and we'll be there for a visit.

December 9th, 2005, 11:27 PM
What a lucky doggy to have somebody who doesn't give up on him.:) :grouphug: Good luck.:fingerscr

December 10th, 2005, 08:41 PM
Hi everyone!

We got bad news about Hank today. He is not responding to fluids well. His blood test showed urea at 140, d[I]own from 160 and I believe the vet said it should be in the 20's. He feels that the best choice is for Hank to be put to sleep. He said Hanks' kidneys aren't doing their job. It is so maddening! His heart is fine, his lungs are clear and he still has the most adorable look in his eyes when he see us. I am not handling this well. The vet said I could make a final decision Monday. Has anyone else gone through this particular problem? Is there a chance that 24 hours isn't a long enough time for flushing his system with fluids or am I just creating false hopes? Hank is urinating fine and the vet is pushing all of the fluid he feels is wise through the IV.

By the way, Hank is receiving medicine to make him comfortable and although the hospital is closed to the public until Monday he is being monitored by staff. I am so emotional about this I just don't know what to do.

December 10th, 2005, 08:50 PM
Renal failure is tough. The outcome is not usually good. I went through this with Shayker my little dog. You have to do what is best for your buddy. :sorry: that you have to go through this.

December 10th, 2005, 08:50 PM
oh techpuppy, I'm so sorry. I haven't had this happen with any of my dogs, but wanted to let you know that I'm keeping you and Hank in my thoughts. It could be that 24 hours isn't enough time and perhaps until Monday, his kidneys will pick back up. Please keep us posted, and again, I'm so sorry you're facing this down :sorry:

December 12th, 2005, 09:25 AM
i everyone,

I'm afraid I have bad news about Hank. The vet called about an hour ago and told me that Hank had passed away overnight. We are devastated. I'll post a tribute to him later. It seems so unfair that dogs are wonderful companions, guardians, comedians, and give and receive endless love, yet have what seems like an entirely too short lifespan. I would say that Hank will be missed more than any other dog, but I know I'd get some arguements about that from all of you who share your lives with your pets.

Hank's kidneys simply couldn't get rid of the toxins.

Thank you to all of you for your comments, thoughts, and support during this time. It really did help and was very much appreciated.

Lucky Rescue
December 12th, 2005, 09:43 AM
I'm so sorry you lost Hank and that he had to suffer so much.:(

Could he have gotten into antifreeze by chance?

December 12th, 2005, 09:50 AM
I am so sorry for you and Hank.

December 12th, 2005, 10:14 AM
so sorry to hear about your loss.

December 12th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Hi and thanks for the notes.

We just got back from the vet to make final arrangements. It was kidney disease. Hank was kept comfortable so he didn't suffer. We made that quite clear to the vet when we took Hank in and from our visits I feel he did everything possible to both help Hank and keep him from discomfort.

We've always been paranoid about anything that the dog could get into both inside and outside. Thankfully he never did tear into anything. If it wasn't a hand given treat or in his doggie dish he simply didn't eat it. We kept all cleaners, solvents, etc. in closed cupboards to prevent any accidents. We know for sure that his problem was not caused by anything poisonous. His only fault was kleenex. If he didn't get to go with us on a car ride every few days we would return and find that he had grabbed a kleenex and shredded it all over the floor. It almost became a game to see where we could put kleenex boxes so he wouldn't be able to get one.

December 12th, 2005, 01:57 PM
I'm so sorry for you and Hank. :sorry:

It's so sad when you lose a friend like, Hank.
Please remember all the good times, the kisses, conpanionship, and the love that you felt for each other. He was as lucky to have you, as you were to have him.