My dog is listless and not eating
by amy136950, Mar 28, 2012
I'm really worried about my 5 year old dog Lucy. She is normally over the top energetic but she is moving slowly, has not eaten for three days and her water intake is slowing down. The vet has done x-rays and not found a blockage of any kind and her blood tests all came back as normal. She was hydrated at the vet's yesterday and given anti-nausea drugs but this has not helped (as yet). His best guess is that she has one of those doggie bugs or ate something that upset her system. How long can this last? She seems worse today to me than yesterday. She had a little side-to-side convulsive head shaking when I was petting her this morning which I've not seen before but it only lasted for a minute or two.
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Member Comments (9)
by tonyb286, Mar 28, 2012
If xrays and blood values are normal, that's good news, but it doesn't discount a blockage somewhere along the intestinal tract as not all things that dogs chew and swallow show up on an Xray. I'm assuming the xray didn't show any twisting of the gut (which would indicate something like a rubber band or string or something similar might have been swallowed)?

Shaking of the head sometimes indicates ticks or fleas in the ear. Have you or the vet checked the ears for signs of inflamation or puncture holes - if you do, do it carefully as inside a dog's ears is often very tender.

My biggest concern are making sure you get both water and nutritional foods inside her, as 3 days is a very long time not to have eaten and - given her water intake is slowing down - she is almost certainly also getting dehydrated by now. Use a syringe (without needle) to get water into her mouth, a little at a time, and repeat this every 2 hours. This will help, even though it may seem difficult and possibly traumatic if your dog is of the unco-operative type.

Next, nutrition ... again feed a little at a time, also by syringe if necessary (just water down her normal food so it can go through the syringe), and again do this every 2 hours. Also try things that dogs normally enjoy, such as boiled chicken or cooked Green Tripe (available in tinned and frozen form from most good pet stores) and boiled white rice.

When a dog has an upset stomach, the normal course of action is to starve them for 24hrs, but this is not appropriate in your case, as she hasn't eaten now for 3 days. It's much more important to get nutritional foods into her system, to give her much needed energy and to keep the intestines and bowels working as they should.

Others may add useful comments here, so please come back often to check. And do let us know how you get on, and whether Lucy starts to show signs of improvement. Thinking about you both. Tony
by amy136950, Mar 28, 2012
Hi Tony,

Thanks so much for your comments. She did have a barium treatment yesterday which passed through her system quickly enough that the vet thought we could rule out any fiberish blockages. We didn't see anything unusual in her x-rays either. It is a great idea to get her some nutrition through a syringe--I can try some chicken bouillion to start and see if it stays down. She has refused every thing I can think of to offer her by hand. I just got a swallow water down her without too much trouble and will keep that up. Many thanks for your concern.
by tonyb286, Mar 28, 2012
The barium would have shown any blockage, so that is again good news - though a diagnosis would be so useful so whatever is ailing her can be properly treated. If she won't accept the chicken boillion, try baby food, which shouldn't have sugars or salt, and can be readily administered in a syringe. Also useful are things like Nutrical or maple syrup - a tablespoon for every 15lbs in weight.

If she continues to refuse food (without using the syringe) for another 2 days, I would certainly get her back to the vet. Anti-nausia meds are useful at this stage, which you can get from your vet or from a suitable pet store (something along the lines of Benadryl might help).

Here's hoping she gets better soon. Best wishes, Tony
by Misfits4MeBlank, Mar 28, 2012
Hi Amy.....What breed and age is your dog?  Is it possible she's being poisoned w/ something? The side to side head thing sounds almost like a Seizure.....
Think about these things:
What does she normally eat? What treats do you give?
Have you just used any flea/tick products on her? Bathed her with any chemical product?
Has she just been vaccinated?
Any injuries that you have witnessed? What does her posture look like when standing? This could be a spinal thing.....Again, what breed is she?
What are you trying to feed her? What foods have you tried?
Is there any vomit or diarrhea?

Any more information would be helpful.......
In the meantime.....Either go to your Vet or a Pet Store and pick up a tube of Nutri-Cal....It's a high calorie supplement for just these situations.....It comes in a paste or jell and you will squeeze some on your finger and then apply to the roof of her mouth....As she licks it, it will be digested....The instructions will be on the tube ....Your Vet should have offered you this.....It will be enough nutrition to sustain her till you can figure this out.....

Come back with anything you can think of.....Thanks, Karla
by amy136950, Mar 31, 2012
Hi Karla,

Lucy is now at the vet's full-time on an i.v. They think it's a neurotoxin as they've eliminated almost everything else they can think of. We cannot figure out what she might have gotten hold of. I don't use chemicals in the house or yard, except for a very few which I haven't used this year and which are locked away. No recent vaccinations and I bathe her with a natural product and it'd been a few weeks since she's had a bath. All the vets in the practice are stumped and worried. Her vitals are fine but her system is so depressed and she sleeps all of the time.

She'd gotten through the better part of a big bag of food with no ill effects so I don't think it's her dog food. I gave her a rawhide bone (something I never do) last week. Maybe? And a friend just told me her dog came home lethargic and not eating or drinking after a weekend visit with us (this was several months ago). She didn't connect it with the visit to us aside from thinking maybe my active girl had just been a little much for hers. I've already scoured my yard but will be doing it again today. I've looked at toxic plant lists but Lucy just does not tend to chew on plants, just grass. Still, if anybody has any ideas, I am wide open. I thought I'd call our local plant extension and see if I can get somebody out here.

Just in short--she's a mix (a rescue) but I think she's largely something we call around here a Carolina dog--muscular, ginger-colored, short-haired, big ears, smart and fast. Thanks!
by Misfits4MeBlank, Mar 31, 2012
Thanks for the report... I've been wondering about her.......I'm hoping for the best for your girl & that she can pull through this..........

Again, what does she eat? Name? Any other treats?  Names? (other than the rawhide).....

Let me know...Until then, I'm praying for her recovery.......Karla

P.S. Thank you for adopting a rescue!
by tonyb286, Mar 31, 2012
Let's hope (if it is a neorotoxin) it leaves her system without complications. It's interesting that your friend's dog seemed to suffer similar symptoms after a visit to you. This could just be coincidence or that the two dogs tired each other out, as you say, but it could equally have some significance. I know it's hard to check and eliminate everything that you have in your house and garden that might have caused this, but keep double-checking, as it seems there is something somewhere that has triggered this reaction.

Karla asks for a list of all foods and treats you are using - please supply it, as there may be some contraindication amongst one or more of the ingredients. Cheap treats and some pet foods can be a particular problem if the same ones are fed regularly. Tony
by ginger899Blank, Mar 31, 2012
Neurotoxin....spider bite? Snakebite? It could be something like that
by TwoBitsMom, Apr 01, 2012
Neurotoxin.....flea and tick collar or drops...?