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My sick little puppy - liver shunt?

November 27th, 2006, 03:57 PM
My 12 week old JRT won't eat. We've had problems since the second week we had him - he just won't eat. No matter what the food or treat, he will eat only a couple of bites and then walk away. I've tempted him with tuna, hot dogs (yeah, I know they're bad for him!), mixed wet/dry food, every treat under the sun... same thing every time, he eats a few bites and leaves it.

We've had him to the vet twice to try and figure out what's going on, and they're baffled. The vet has examined him pretty thoroughly and says from what he can tell, Tommy's a very healthy boy. He's still gaining weight, but slowly - he's put on just under a pound in a week and a half. He's been peeing every few minutes the last few days, so he might have a bladder infection, but of course he wouldn't pee at the vet's office so we need to take a sample in tomorrow! That wouldn't explain the eating though.

The vet took blood samples today and we should have the results by Wednesday. He says the only thing he can think of is a liver shunt - that the blood isn't clearing properly, so Tommy feels sick when he eats. If that's the case, he's not very hopeful for his future.

I'm heartbroken. I just want Tommy to be healthy. I want to see him grow up happy and strong.

Has anybody had any experience with this? Is there anything we might be missing that I should bring to my vet's attention? My little boy is lying right now, fast asleep, beside a nice plate of mixed wet food/kibble, without even having taken a bite. He's eaten maybe 1/8 cup of food today, and even ignored the treats that all the vet assistants tried to give him.

Any ideas or advice out there? I know vets don't know everything, there might be something we're overlooking?

November 27th, 2006, 07:36 PM
Sorry to hear about your puppy. Good luck with his urine and blood tests. :fingerscr

What brand of kibble do you give him? Have you tried Merrick's canned food?

November 28th, 2006, 09:43 AM
Thanks for the good wishes, we're keeping our fingers crossed too!

I've tried several foods (I know it's bad to switch a lot, but he needs to eat!). I've tried good foods, like Nutro, Performatrin, Wellness... I've tried canned foods by good companies AND not so good ones, although I haven't heard of Merrick. I've tried crap like hot dogs too, just to see if he would eat - I mean, I know he needs good nutrients, but they're not good if he won't eat them! Everything is the same, he takes a few bites and then leaves it. I got some Nutrience canned food and he'll eat a little of that, more than he's eaten of anything else, but still not enough.

He IS still gaining weight so I wonder if there really is anything wrong, or else he's just a picky eater? Maybe he just wants to graze all day when he feels like it? Who knows. I guess we'll find out tonight or early tomorrow when the bloodwork comes back.

All we can do is wait. I just read on another message board about somebody who just had to have their puppy put to sleep because of the very same problem, diagnosed too late. I'm so heartbroken, and worried... in just 4 weeks this little boy has become the centre of my and my husband's world. It's going to be a longgggggg day of waiting.

November 28th, 2006, 10:22 AM
I have two rescue russels and one has recently had an attack of pancreatitis (this would show up in bloodwork as high lipase levels, I believe). She was really reluctant to eat since it made her feel cruddy. I now make a big pot of veggies (50% potato with skin, 20% carrot, 20% celery, 10% broccoli or soemthing like that) and boil the crap out of it. Then I either mash it (for a chunkier consistency) or throw it in the food processor to make a soupy concoction. Let me tell you, I could top a bowl of that in dirt and pine needles and the dogs would still eat it.
Its a bland meal (shouldn't upset their tummies) and should give your dog some fiber intake.
If your dog will eat this, you can top it with chicken or beef, sardines, cottage cheese or other things.

But, I have found that the veggie base is the trick to getting my russel to eat just about anything.

Good luck and I hope that everything turns out.

November 28th, 2006, 04:22 PM
Thank you very much... I'm going to try that recipe tomorrow.

We got the blood results back from the vet, and while they do show a slightly irritated pancreas and some anemia, they really don't show enough elevated or low levels of anything to give a diagnosis. They of course suggested their food, which I gave in and tried, and Tommy won't even lick my finger with that food on it! I really don't know what to do... the blood levels are off, but not bad, so I'm not even sure that getting a second opinion will do a darn thing at this point.

Hopefully your recipe will work... my poor puppy needs to eat!

November 28th, 2006, 04:28 PM
Tommysmom.I am so sorry about your pup,I can feel the desperation in your post.
I hope you'll have some answers soon:fingerscr
Did the vet take any x-rays??Maybe he has some sort of blockage??

November 28th, 2006, 06:49 PM
Sooo sorry for you and your puppy:sad:

Hopefully things will soon start to get better:fingerscr :grouphug:

November 28th, 2006, 07:42 PM
Thank you everybody for the good wishes! Everybody on here is just so very kind. I've taken down many of the suggestions from here, not just this thread but from many of the others too. So many good ideas, something has to work! Besides, your recipes are all soooooooo much better than that awful vet food they tried to have us use, too - why on earth they keep pushing that stuff is beyond me! At least the can they gave me was free, so I didn't have to pay to watch Tommy literally turn his nose up, hahaha.

I appreciate all the good thoughts, thank you so much. I really hope that soon I can post a wonderful picture of my baby boy eating!

November 29th, 2006, 06:32 AM
Everyone here sends good,healing vibes to little Tommy:fingerscr :pray:

November 29th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Have you had any luck with getting Tommy to eat yet? :fingerscr

November 30th, 2006, 07:29 AM
Thank you everybody for your care and concern!

Tommy has been eating a little bit, just from my hand. Last night he whined for a piece of meatball I was eating! He's been chewing my kitchen cabinets too, I've never been so happy to see destructive puppy behaviour!

The vet thinks he might have an infection because he's been on antibiotics for a few days and suddenly he'll take food. He's very concerned, and still worried about his liver. He says if Tommy is still eating by this weekend then he's out of the woods - otherwise it's a trip to Guelph to the vet college for more tests on the little guy.

Tommy's eating his second milkbone of the morning though, so that's definitely a good sign! Maybe he'll never be the kind of dog who jumps into his food dish right away at mealtime, but as long as he keeps eating we'll all be happy.

You guys are all so wonderful here, thank you all for your advice, ideas, care and concern! Keep those fingers crossed for us!

November 30th, 2006, 07:40 AM
So glad Tommy is eating,although it seems a bit selective:love: hopefully he'll continue to improve:pray:
My grand-Doggie is a 7yr old JRT,attach a hose to her and she's a vaccumcleaner,she eats anything and everything:D
:fingerscr that Tommy will get over this problem,he must be a tiny little guy,heartbreaking to see him sick:sad:

November 30th, 2006, 03:09 PM
I think somebody's feeling better...:D

November 30th, 2006, 03:29 PM
What an adorable little boy,love his blackish face:love:
Once he is well again and I know that will happen,he will be a regular JRT puppy,eating coffeetables,doorframes,shoes etc...:D

November 30th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Oh I want one of those, how precious! When things have settled down, I recommend you change his food, Iams is not great. We have a number of people here who have done the research and will have alternatives for you. Good luck to your puppy, he is mighty kissable!

November 30th, 2006, 07:40 PM
Thanks, I think he's pretty adorable too! And he's EATING tonight!:D :D

Thank you for the advice, but he's not on Iams... although that's what my mother, god bless her, feeds her little 14 year old chihuahua and keeps trying to tell me to buy, haha! He started off on Nutro, which the breeder had been feeding him, and then he stopped eating it... we tried a few when he started getting sick, both wet and dry, good quality premium brands, vet brands, the works. He's now on Performatrin - he seems to be eating it fairly well right now, for the amount he's eating. His poops are AWFUL on it, but I'm not going to mess with anything at the moment - once he's eating properly and regularly I'll see about maybe mixing a better one in and easing the poop issue. The antibiotics are probably contributing to that, too, I guess.

If it's the cookies you see that maybe look like Iams or something, they're Old Mother Hubbard brand - I'm happy he'll eat treats again, but I'm trying to be careful just to feed him decent ones, so he can fill his tummy with good stuff!

By the way, it's thanks to all you guys that he's NOT on something like Iams... when my husband started talking about getting a puppy, I was looking things up because I haven't had a puppy in years. I found you guys here, and read pretty much every thread on the board. Great info, thank you all!

December 2nd, 2006, 03:46 AM
I also have a 5month old puppy who wouldnt eat properly and like you found this site with all the wonderful advice. I also had the added problem that I live in the UK and some of the foods recommended werent available to me,but through one of the links provided I started an interest in raw feeding.and I started this last week (mixed at the moment with less and less of the food he was on) I cant believe the difference in my little furbaby,he LUVS IT!!!!! I have never seen him so eager for food it makes me feel on top of the world as like yours he would just ignore the food in his dish. People used to tell me not to fuss him and he would eat when he was hungry but its hard to see him not interested and I thought not normal for a puppy. He now licks the dish clean and is ready for each meal,so if you still have problems perhaps you would want to give this a try

December 3rd, 2006, 02:34 PM
So glad to hear he's doing better now, he's such a cutie! I know when my boys are seperated because of shows or competitions my puppy will get depressed and stop eating untill his big brother gets home, but he will still drink. And to keep his strength up I'd replace his water with whole cream, and puppy formula. I would also suggest that you consider starting your little guy on puppy vitamins, they aren't too expensive with small breeds, as they only need 1/4 of a vitamin each day; I'd also look into Omega3 or Cod Liver Oil pills, the cod liver is just as good at omega3, a lot less expensive and available in smaller pills. Another alternative to the Omega3 would be to put a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on his food once a day. It helps a lot with their skin and digestion.

December 5th, 2006, 12:32 AM
Yey! I'm so glad he's eating. What a cutie.:)

December 5th, 2006, 12:54 AM
Awww, what a cute little guy he is and I am so glad to hear that he is now eating. :highfive: