I also have a dog with thinning fur but I am afraid that it may be symptomatic of a deeper problem. I would like some advice as to whether it does pinpoint a deeper problem or if it is most likely a coincidence.
Pete is a 17 year old blind chihuahua. About a month ago he started becoming ambivalent about eating. He acted as if he wanted the food but then he couldn't bring himself to eat it. This coincided with thinning of the fur on his back and the skin taking on a maroon color. He'd had problems with a fungus infection there about a year ago but I don't remember it looking quite like this.
Two weeks ago his appetite had decreased to the point that I decided to take him to the vet.
The vet said that his heart sounded good. I was offered two options: $300 worth of tests on liver and kidneys or "something to make him feel better." I said, I think if you could just give something to stimulate his appetite and we could get some good nutrition into him, he might be okay. The vet gave him a steroid and antibiotic shot, and some Hill's Prescription Diet a/d.
I asked him about the thinned, discolored area on his back. I told him that when he'd had a problem there a year ago I had used anti-fungal shampoo on it. (I had hoped to get a new bottle of it.) He advised me not to put any more of that on there; he suggested Neosporin.
Pete has recovered a lot of his strength and body-mass largely because I have been force-feeding him what they gave me.
A few days ago I recollected that Pete had a lot of digestive noise and he'd had a lot of flatulence and a little vomiting. His stool was also very dark. I arrived at the hopeful theory that maybe his problem was an ulcer.
I started giving him a daily dose of live-culture yogurt. A couple of days later somebody suggested giving him milk of magnesia, which I did. The day after I started giving him the milk of magnesia he started eating again (at least one meal), but he will only eat Cesar, which I have to say, he devours as heartily as ever.
Now I am noticing a peculiar odor in his breath, though. It's rather like horse manure.
I still worry that it could still be a deeper problem than a stomach ulcer. I would appreciate any informed opinion. I have this suspicion that an experienced old-time veterinarian could probably just look at him and smell his breath and tell what the problem is without $300 of tests.
(The vets' office has wasted some of my money already on pointless tests. When I asked if they could test for an ulcer they offered to do a stool test, which gave no relevant result. When I complained that I had wanted to know if he had an ulcer they tried to sell me a blood test. When I asked if that would show an ulcer I got a very vague response. Again, they were trying to waste my money.)
I would like advice on what to feed him as well. I had him on vitamin E until a few months ago and I have started giving him that again. The only things I've found that he eats eagerly are Cesar and ground turkey. He doesn't seem to dislike yogurt too much; it's easier to get him to eat that than the Hill's Prescription food.
Last edited by Nephelocentaur; July 22nd, 2010 at 04:30 PM.