View Full Version : lack of appetite in MVD dog-Gizmo

26th December 2006, 03:02 PM

I'll try to make this short. Gizmo is will be 10 at the end of January. His mumur is as high as it's going to get (5/6???) He's on lasix, vetmedin, enalapril, thyroid medicine and potassium bromide (for fly-catchers). He's been taking all of these except vetmedin starting in the summer (some before that--the thyroid meds and potassium bromide). He was on digoxin through October when we switched him to vetmedin.

He's been up and down since August but his breathing and coughing got worse a few weeks ago. We upped both the vetmedin (2 capsules, 2x/day) and the lasix (1/2 tablet, 3x/day) about two weeks ago. His coughing is sometimes not bad but he's still having trouble with it.

New problem--he won't eat. This dog always was a total food fanatic. But I never could get him to eat the Hills Heart diet when it was prescribed.
We were able to get by with a combination of Hill and Nutro senior but he's off that. He won't eat the Nutro wet food. Last few days about all he has had is cheese (with his meds) and some bananas with peanut butter (to try to keep his potassium levels okay with all that lasix).

I've read several suggestions but I wonder if anyone has advice as to what might be interesting for him and not too bad for him at the same time.

My current thought is cooking some chicken and adding plain rice to see what he does with that. Another thought is just to give him anything that he would eat...this might include cat food even though I know there are long term problems with dogs eating that.

Any suggestions????

Thanks for your help.


Cathy Moon
26th December 2006, 04:33 PM
Chicken and rice is a good idea to get him to eat. I hope he feels better soon! :flwr:

Do you have any shops that sell Evo, Pinnacle, Innova, or Wellness? These foods are avaliable in kibble or canned, and my dogs love them. Especially the canned 100% beef Evo, which I sometimes mix into their kibble. These brands can often be found at retail shops in vets, grooming, or training centers.

26th December 2006, 05:04 PM
cat food is pretty rich I believe. If he will eat chicken/rice , add some carrots, a green veggie, yams, squash, etc to get extra nutrients in him. A multivitamin would also be good. For the last 6 months of my Lhasa's life, all she got was home cooked meals, she was in renal failure. You may want to join k9kitchen at yahoo groups for further advice on diet.

26th December 2006, 05:08 PM
also, the meds are probably killing his appetite. Ask your vet if it's ok to give him 1/2 Pepsid before meals.

26th December 2006, 06:06 PM
One of the vets I work with says when dogs with severe heart problems stop eating it is in part because their body is trying to place as little strain on the heart as possible. That's why MVD dogs can get quite thin. It is really important to try to keep their strength and noruishment level up, though. It also could well be the mix of medications or a bit of both.

There's a recipe in the Library section (Caring for your Cavalier I think) near the top for satin balls -- these are a meatball recipe designed to put weight onto dogs and this is a well-known recipe amongst breeders.

I'd be looking for something a lot higher in calories than just rice and chicken, if at all possible -- this is mroe something to feed for stomach upset than to entice a dog to eat or put on weight. He probably would be enticed by something more tasty too. Cat food IS richer and higher in protein so dogs do tend to like it more than many other things, as Nancy notes, and is one option. To be gently blunt here, I think you need to be thinking his immediate and short term to medium comfort; don't put more pressure on yourself by worrying about long term nutritional effect of something like cat food. I'd be looking for anything that he will eat at this phase -- ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, anything to get some nourishment in him. I'd definitely make up the satin balls recipe and try that as it is very rich. If you are relly squeamish about feeding raw then you could lightly saute it.

I wouldn't worry too much about potassium levels -- a bit of banana a week is likely more than enough to counter any potential potassium loss and many dogs never have any loss anyway (mine never did while he was on frusemide for syringomyelia). If he likes banana that is fine but he will be getting virtually no calorie or nutitional benefit from it as dogs cannot really digest fruit and veg very well (that's why it makes good low cal treats and rioughage though).

Good luck and hope some of the suggested options encourages him to eat. :flwr:

26th December 2006, 10:29 PM
We've been through the lose of appetite with our beloved Charley.

In the last two years of his life, we cooked anything he'd eat.

IMO, it's more important *that* they eat, rather than *what* they eat.

Charley enjoyed stews, mince, roast beef, chicken....basically "human" food with added nutrients supplied by the vet.

He also enjoyed some of the premium canned dog food mixed with his "human" food.

Good luck with Gizmo. :flwr:

26th December 2006, 10:46 PM
Thanks to all of you who responded so quickly. I stopped on my way home from work and got some cat food and some baby food. Had good success with the baby food tonight. Am going to review some of the other information I have received to see if I can't make something up that will be as appealing. I checked out the recipe for Satin Balls and this sounds like it would work.

He had to be spoon fed the baby food but he ate an entire small bottle which was good.

Again, thank you for your quick responses.


Barbara Nixon
27th December 2006, 01:15 PM
Izzy has very advanced mvd and has been very thin for two years, yet he now eats the best he ever has. He prefers warm food and has developed a liking for warm water on kibble. He wolfs Butchers tripe--Can you get that in the States ?

If Izzy has a rough coughing bout, I give him some warm tea. Perhaps a warm drink in a bowl next to the food bowl ?

Izzy is on Fortekor 5, Vetmedin and Frusicare, which was upgraded last week. None of these supresses Izzy's ap[etite, as mentioned above. However, the increased Frusicare has almost obliterated his cough, for the first time . Is your dog on a 'water tablet' ? I don't recognize the other drug names.

27th December 2006, 02:24 PM
The idea of warm liquid when he's coughing a lot is not something I had tried. I will do that.

The second meal of baby food was a great success. Guess I'm off to the store to get some more.

Lasix is a diuretic ("water tablet") and it certainly seems to move the liquid through him.

Now the quesstion on vetmedin..I was reading on another board about the problems in giving this med to dogs. I've always been in the habit of sprinkling it on something. Does anyone else do this or know of a reason why taking it out of capsule would be a bad idea?


27th December 2006, 05:57 PM
Lasix would be the same as Frusicare -- they are different brand names for frusimide in different geographies. :)

There shouldn't be any problem with taking vetmedin out of the capsule if that is a better and easier way to get him to take it. I just asked my dad -- retired emeritus professor of medicine -- and he says a capsule is only a sterile cup for making a medication easier and tasteless to swallow and to give a precise dose. The capsule dissolves very quickly once swallowed but serves no other purpose. So if it is easier to sprinkle the medication on food and it doesn;t have a taste the dog dislikes than this is fine as a way of giving a medication (as long as the dog eats it all at once, to get the right dosage, and no other animals have access to the food).

I give two neurontin capsules daily to Leo and just put it in a bit of soft cheese like Laughing Cow (a bit of cheese about the size of the end joint of a little finger). He swallows those in a gulp and gets very excited when I say 'time for your pill'. :)

28th December 2006, 05:40 AM
You might also try mixing some warm baby food ( I used chicken, beef, lamb and turkey) in with some of their dry kibble.

Barbara Nixon
28th December 2006, 08:34 PM
Izzy gobbles three medications, including his Vetmedin capsule, in one easy motion. I roll it into a pelllet with pate. He likes the taste, so grabs and it's slippery so slides down quickly. If i try izzy's meds in food (I sometimes do with his 5pm frusicare, I have to watch to be sure that he takes it, as he sometimes leaves a very small amount of food and could leve the tablet with it.

Barbara Nixon
29th December 2006, 12:08 AM
Maragaret, when you say you sprinkle the Vetmedin on something, you do mean titbit sized, don't you, as Vetmedin should be given at least an hour before food, as it needs an empty stomach ?

29th December 2006, 04:45 AM

I give Gizmo his vetmedin in a very small amount of either yoghurt or whipped cream (!!). I give it to him in a small glass bowl so I can make sure that it is all gone.

We're pretty careful on giving it to him 1 hour before he eats even though it drives him crazy.