I have a 7 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. About two months ago he started being really picky with food. We didn't think much about it at first because our last Ridgie was notoriously picky the last 5 years of her life, i did handstands to get that tough old broad to eat, but she lived to be 15. With this dog it started out that he was not eating a particular type of kibble, then no kibble at all. Right now he'll only eat canned dog food & people food. If I find a canned dog food he'll eat, he'll eat it for a day or two but then turn his nose up at it. I've tried making my own with rice & canned meat & veggies..same thing..he's good for a couple of days, but then decides he doesn't like it anymore. He was previously a tank of a dog, and has lost considerable weight. I think he's drinking more than usual...but vet says tests for diabetes and kidney function are normal, teeth and mouth appear normal. He does tend to be an "emo" type dog so I wouldn't be surprised if it was emotional, but my gut tells me it's something physical. Right now we have him on Pepcid 2x daily to see if it's helpful. I can't just throw $$$ at it with diagnostics. Our financial situation is stressed, hubby is self employed in the building trades & having trouble finding consistent work so $$$ is a absolutely a factor.
Additional factors to consider...I have horses at home & a German Shepherd who is on meds for a Pancreatic Insufficiency. The vet says that if the Ridgie ate some of the GSD's food it shouldn't cause a problem.
Any one have any ideas what this could be?
"You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.
I would be looking at a GI issue. Pancreatic issues, ulcers, liver, etc. Is it possible to run a full chemistry profile? If everything is normal, how about accupuncture?
I personally have a 6 year old female Shiba Inu who was grossly underweight and refused kibble. We tried everything with that girl. Ended up doing accupuncture on her for about 3 sessions. Night and day difference for her. We were at the point of "It can't hurt" when we went in. Our vet was proud of himself the day he told me she needed to be cut back because she was a little heavy.
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2012
Member of the Asthmatic Riders & "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" cliques
If you could put money toward anything, I would do an abdominal ultrasound. Weight loss in an older dog, drinking more/peeing more, and picking at food can point to a GI issue but it also raises red flags in my mind for cancer, especially if the bloodwork comes back normal. A full abdominal ultrasound can fully evaluate the GI tract and its architecture, look for cancer or abnormalities in the spleen, liver, adrenals, and kidneys, etc. It would give you far more information for your money than trying random treatments without any idea really of what is going on.
I switched to raw green tripe for all of the dogs and they love it. It's available online, or some pet supply and feed stores carry it. We still feed some dry food (Wellness Core) and some canned, but mostly use the tripe.
The old farmers here always advise boiled cabbage. I had an old Chihuahua (lived to be18 years old) and he would wet food with boiled cabbage juice everytime it was offered.
BTW I just had a Chihuahua ultrasounded and it was $1200.00.
When my 8yo Bernese Mountain Dog went through similar symptoms it turned out to be Splenic Hermangiosarcoma. He "acted" healthy through his last day (he was still perky and jumping around like usual), but he quit eating a couple of weeks prior to our vet visit and lost quite a bit of weight in those 2-3 weeks. Of course it's worth repeating the fact that he was a BMD, and they're kind of known for falling prey to various cancers. But after a similar story for my mom's golden (they lost her to bladder cancer at age 6), it would still be my first worry.
Good luck to you and I hope that it's nothing more than a picky eater.
I've had bladder ultrasounds done on my dog, and they were only between 100-200. I don't know if it is different for an abdominal ultrasound, but I think you can do it more cheaply than the PP. If it will really provide that much information, I would think that you could save money in the long run by jumping right to that over doing a lot of other diagnostics/buying a million brands of food that he won't eat, etc.
chism, talk to your vet, state your financial situation and see if there is something they can do to help, perhaps a reasonable payment plan.
One of my girls had a problem that sounds similar last fall, after an ultrasound they found a spot in her intestine that they believed to me a bacterial infection of some type and treated her appropriately. She was quickly better, weight gained back and was eating normally again. No it wasn't cheap but it wasn't a huge sum of money. However if you are already stressed financially then it can always seem like the last straw.
If your vet can't help you with a payment type situation, maybe get some referrals from other dog friends and check with their vets, someone out there should be flexible and willing to help.
In the mean time do you have access to a low cost vet clinic in your area? Maybe look into that also. I wish you the best of luck with your dog, I know how hard it is to look at a sick animal and have to put a financial limit on your care for the animal.
You may want to try feeding low cal cottage cheese for a bit. Most dogs adore this and will wolf down any food coated in it. Worth a try. Good luck and keep us posted.