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Please help me with a newly adopted dog...

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  • Please help me with a newly adopted dog...

    I recently adopted a 4 year old rat terrier and he is not doing well. I took him in knowing that he has some eating issues (not wanting to) and peeing in the house and I'm really worried about him. I have an appointment on Monday with my vet but I would love some input so I can go to the vet with some ideas as so far it's been a dead end with the former owner's vet. He just won't eat but he definitely seems hungry. He will occasionally eat some yogurt and some meat, but not very much. He absolutely won't eat any dog food. Yesterday after refusing to eat anything, he finally had about a 1/2 cup of yogurt and then started shaking. He also has a dry cough very similar to the type of cough a cat has who has hairballs. He used to have a skin condition where he would scratch and bite himself all the time but that is actually gone now. Could he have a hair ball that is causing him stomach problems? I know dogs don't usually get hairballs, but he sure sounds like he has one. The other issue which may just be a symptom of not eating and drinking enough is that his urine is VERY dark. He is a very miserable little guy and I feel so bad for him. Does anyone have any suggestions as far as what I should ask the vet to test for?? I would REALLY appreciate some advice....

  • #2
    How kind of you to take this guy in.

    Have the vet run a full blood panel, and also ck for Heartworm, and Erlichia.
    Does the dog have a fever? The coughing thing may be kennel cough which is treatable. If you do the boiled chicken and rice, you can save some of the chicken flavored water, let cools and offer it to him to drink. may be more appetizing than regular water, and get some fluids into him.

    To encourage him to eat boil some deboned, skinless chicken and rice, and feed him that in small meals. It's easy on the stomach and usually appetizing.
    You may also want to try baby food. Just get the stuff for the youngest babies, that almost looks like a soup/gravy/applesauce texture. It is mildest on the stomach.

    Some dogs can be sensitive to dairy products, so be careful w/the yogurt.


    • #3
      I have a rat terrier and some of them are not very good eaters.
      Mine is not either, sometimes goes two days without eating.
      Since she is a little overweight, I don't worry.
      Sometimes eating habits are formed a certain way because of the way the owner feeds, but your dog may truly have something wrong that keeps him from eating well.

      The frequent urination and it being dark seems a big red flag that something may be wrong, from an UTI to other more serious.
      His previous vet should have some ideas and a second opinion is sure important, so maybe see if your vet would consult with the old vet.
      Be sure your vet will put your dog on VIN, if it is something he also can't figure, as there will be vets all over the country then offering ideas of what to do next.

      Are you sure your dog is a rat terrier, or is he mixed with something else?
      If your dog was a basenji or basenji mix, something that would be rare, as there are not that many of those around, I would check out for Fanconi, a kidney problem that breed is known for and has similar symptoms.


      • #4
        I'd run a UA, run a stool sample, get him tested for heartworms, and run a CBC and chem panel.

        Boil up some rice and cook up some lean ground beef or chicken for him now. It's what my vet recommends when my dogs have tummy/intestinal issues. With the skin issues you describe, I would just assume he has food allergies and keep him off of wheat, soy and corn. California Natural is an excellent, high quality kibble that's great for allergy dogs.

        I'd also get as much fluids into his as possible. Will he drink chicken broth?

        I'd also ask your vet about omeprazole or ranitadine. I've known lots of little dogs that have reflux issues that make them not want to eat.


        • Original Poster

          Oh my goodness, I've tried ALL these suggestions for getting him to eat. I've boiled rice and chicken, tried straight chicken broth, cut the food into little tiny bites, I've even tried the antacid. He's lost so much weight that I'm really worried. I have an awful feeling there is something more serious. I'm wondering if he has some kind of blockage as pooping is a problem for him as well. How would one check for a blockage? He's been tested for heartworm, and had bloodwork done which showed high liver enzymes. His previous owner did spoil him with food, but while I think he is very picky he's also definitely got something else going on. He shakes a lot and just seems miserable:-((( Thanks so much for your replies so far!


          • #6
            If you suspect a blockage, then the vet will do abdominal radiographs and a barium swallow study if the rads are inconclusive.

            Has he been shaking and refusing to eat for a long time, or is this something new? How long has it been going on?

            How are his teeth?


            • Original Poster

              I've only had him since Christmas. He's kind of been shaking since I've had him, but it's gotten worse in the past few days. The other thing is, he tends to keep his back in a slightly hunched position which makes me thing there could be some sort of obstruction. His teeth look fine from what I can tell, but bad teeth also crossed my mind. Thanks again for taking the time to help me, I really appreciate it.


              • #8
                Any sort of belly pain can cause that hunched appearance.

                Did your vet have an explanation for the high liver values? How long ago were those labs?

                I wonder if he's in liver failure. It could certainly explain the inappetance, the shaking, the painful posturing...

                Any chance you could take him to an emergency clinic tonight? It sounds like he's declining.


                • #9
                  Do you have an emergency vet clinic that you can call tonight? This sounds like an emergency to me.

                  Dark urine, lack of appetite, and abdominal pain (hunched back, and possibly the shaking) suggest a possible kidney infection or kidney failure.

                  I don't mean to panic you, but it's possible that these are poisoning symptoms. Any chance that he's ingested antifreeze, rat poison, or any other toxin?

                  He does not have a hairball (cat-style, that is). Dogs don't get hairballs like cats do, though of course ingesting hair from excessive licking could cause an impaction or obstruction.

                  Please call an emergency clinic and ask them if the symptoms point to an emergency that should be seen immediately or if they think it can wait until Monday. I may be wrong, but it sounds like this has been going on for a while and is getting progressively worse. A poisoning from something like rat poison can take days to kill a dog and once it's well underway, it may not be reversible.

                  Sure hope I'm wrong!!!!!


                  • #10
                    Well, that arched back, not eating and other could be liver failure.
                    Our toy poodle had a bad liver the last two years of her life and the vet euthanized at 13 1/2 years, very sick from liver failure.
                    When she had an attack, she would have that "I just don't feel good" and have that arched back and not eat.

                    If he is having an attack now, you do need the emergency clinic looking at him and in treatment asap.


                    • #11
                      It sounds like you have a seriously sick dog that needs immediate veterinary attention. Please go your nearest emergency clinic.
                      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                      • #12
                        I once read a story about a rescue dog who wouldn't/couldn't eat, they finally checked her mouth and she had something lodged in her mouth/throat which made it nearly imposible for her to eat or drink. You might want to take a look just in case.

                        Poor guy sounds in a bad way, I second the getting him to vet asap.

                        Best of luck, I hope your new guy will be better soon.
                        Horses, Art, Frugality + Elegant Communication


                        • #13
                          Have him check his pancreatic function..Dogs with chronic pancreatic insufficency or acute pancreatitis often have very poor appetites and abdominal pain. I would also do any xray to make sure that he does not have a blockage..The dark urine is very worriesome to me..


                          • #14
                            I'm with everyone else... emergency clinic. Not sure this dog will make it to Monday. Something is really worng with him.


                            • #15
                              It does sound like something is definitely wrong with the cough, dark urine, not eating, etc. Please take him to a vet and get a workup.

                              As far as blockage, one of my dogs once ate a plastic pot scrubbie. I knew when he drank some water and promptly threw it all up. That was fun - not!

                              Tempting appetite - after the surgery for the blockage and recovery to the point where he could eat, I used Satin Balls. They're pretty good at putting weight on quickly and dogs really like them.


                              I vary this by adjusting for volume, hardboiling and chopping up the egg content. You can divide it by 10 to adjust for the smaller dog or quantities.

                              It does sound like his condition is serious enough to get him to a vet right away. My vet clinic used to have Sunday hours - unfortunately they no longer do this, but perhaps one in your area does?

                              PS - the cough could be a sign of congestive heart failure.
                              Delicious strawberry flavored death!


                              • #16
                                No speculations here but agree that you shouldn't hesitate, just get in your car and go to an emergency hospital immediately.

                                Our thoughts, prayers and jingles are with you all.
                                "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston


                                • #17
                                  The other issue which may just be a symptom of not eating and drinking enough is that his urine is VERY dark.
                                  Your dog sounds as if he may be dehydrated! Have the vet check this--he may need an IV drip. If he's not feeling well he's not going to want to eat and when an animal is dehydrated it won't eat either.

                                  The second thing I would do is an x-ray of the abdominal cavity to check for any blockages. They can also do a test to check for blockages.

                                  Don't mind me--I've been watching too much Animal Cops. But I am learning a lot!

                                  I would definitely do some bloodwork! You might want to get some chewable vitamins for this guy until he starts eating right again. Chicken and/or lamb is supposed to be good for dogs that are not good about eating, brown rice and steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli, squash, etc.) are helpful for dogs that need nourishment.... There are also supplements you can give dogs to stimulate an appetite--I'm sure your vet can counsel you on these--one would be Lixotinic. But I wouldn't give it without the vet's okay and the results of the bloodwork.

                                  Good luck!
                                  "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


                                  • #18
                                    Check his gums too - if they're pale, that's not good.
                                    Delicious strawberry flavored death!


                                    • #19
                                      He might also have irritable bowel syndrome.


                                      • #20
                                        Bumping for an update on this little guy. Hopefully she got him to an emergency vet. Any news, Saxony? Jingling that it's good...
                                        "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                                        <>< I.I.