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Quinny74
6th August 2010, 01:44 PM
As some of you may know I adopted a 10 year old Tri Can called Charlie at the end of May. Charlie has been fantastic and my wife and I have really fallen in love with him over the short time we have had him.
When we got him he had quite a severe heart murmur and was a little chunky monkey so we put him on senior food and controlled his weight.
Recently Charlie has had no interest in his own food but will beg for ours. We put this down to him being a fussy bugger so we tried him on a different brand his previous owner used to give him. He ate this for a couple of days but then would turn his nose up at it. His weight has fallen from 11.5kg to 9.5kg which is alarming.
In the last week he has became very lethargic which at first we put down to him not eating enough so we gave him boiled chicken and rice with vegetables. He would eat it for a day or so but then nothing unless we hand fed him.
Yesterday however he had diarrhoea which was strange for him as he has never been the best pooer. He would struggle to do a couple of pencil thin stools. The vet checked him and said he was ok though. The diarrhoea was green water and very mucusey. He was also vomiting up all he had been hand fed.

We took him to the vets last night and they told us it might be cancer. They gave him an antibiotic injection, an anti-diarrhoea injection and some Noroclav. They told us to see how he was over the weekend and if he was no better they would begin the tests on Monday.
When we adopted him we were told that when he was castrated they found a lump which they removed at the same time but it was benign. I have contacted the rescue to see if they have the test results to see what he was tested for at when they found the lump. The vet said depending on what they tested for cancer is less likely if he was given an all clear but not impossible and we should prepare for the worst.

Charlie is a bit brighter today and did eat his breakfast. He is still a bit lethargic but he is an older dog with a murmur so it's to be expected. It's the other symptoms I'm worried about.

Does anybody have any thoughts what his symptoms may be other than cancer? Also what advice can you give me regarding caring for a dog with cancer. What treatment are they given, how quickly can it develop (he was clear in May), what do I need to do to care for him, what is the prognosis/success rate, what can I do to help prevent my other dogs from getting it, what is the cost of treatment etc etc.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks

*Pauline*
6th August 2010, 02:02 PM
I'm so sorry Charlie isn't well.

It seems to me a bit of a wild guess by the vet that he has cancer. icon_nwunsure

I adopted Poppy at the same time as you adopted Charlie and she has lost 2kilo and I'm not worried, neither is my vet. Is Charlie really underweight now?

So many changes in diet could cause the upset tummy. Did you make each switch gradually? I wouldn't give into a dog turning his nose up at food. There was nothing wrong with the food the first time he ate it, he is just testing you. Turning his nose up is rewarding to him because each time you have given in to him.

Quinny74
6th August 2010, 02:12 PM
Hi Pauline.

At first I thought exactly the same. He was just being a fussy bugger who wanted human food and we gave in to him every time. We put a little of the new food in each feeding time so as not to upset his stomach and have tried garnishing his meals to make them more intersting (scrambled egg, cottage cheese etc) and at first he was fine with it but then would walk away from it. Annoying this is if I put a roast dinner or shepherds pie in front of him I know he would scoff it down. He has lost quite a bit of weight but he does look pretty good for it. He now has a lovely shape to him and his cost has improved no end.
It's the vomiting and diarrhoea that I'm worried about. They started yesterday and it's not like him.

Pat
6th August 2010, 02:27 PM
Pauline is correct, that appears to be a guess not based on anything concrete unless there is much more that you haven't reported. I presume the vet just thinks a combination of older dog and weight loss equals cancer.

There could be many things wrong - chronic kidney disease, liver disease, GI disease, I could go on and on but there would be no point.

I don't know your access to specialists, but testing would include baseline full blood chemistry (about 35 values) with a CBC and urinalysis. Radiographs (x-rays) might be done depending on what disease was suspected, along with possibly an ultrasound. I would use a bd. certified internist if cancer or other serious illness was suspected. An appetite that waxs and wanes (comes and goes) or lack of appetite is a classic sign of chronic kidney disease or chronic GI disease.

This is a huge subject so I won't attempt to cover it now since you really have no clue as to what might be going on.

I have lost several Cavaliers to cancer - one to intestinal lymphoma, one to a perianal adenocarcinoma with mets to the lungs and brain, and one to presumed liver cancer.

First thing I'd do is full blood chemistry and urinalysis.

Pat

Quinny74
6th August 2010, 03:21 PM
Thank you for the information Pat. I do totally agree that the vet may have just given the easy option. I'm really hopeful that it isn't what the vet said and perhaps he's just feeling a bit 'funny' at the moment and basic meds and TLC will make him feel better.
'IF' I was to try giving him a little human food to try to see if he will eat that what would you recommend? I want to see if he is being fussy or is genuinely off his food.

Pat
6th August 2010, 05:01 PM
I would offer something bland and low-fat - probably some boiled chicken breast along with some pasta shells or baked potato. Rice is an option, but most of my own dogs hate rice. But I really would get full blood chemistry and urinalysis asap for any senior dog who lost his appetite. I'd want to rule out chronic kidney disease (requires a low phosphorus diet), pancreatitis (requires a low fat diet), liver disease (requires an ultra low fat diet) etc.

Pat

Quinny74
6th August 2010, 05:22 PM
Thanks Pat. Tried the boiled chicken and rice and he eats the chicken but not the rice. Hadn't tried pasta but I will give it a go.
Strangely enough there is one food he will eat. Puffed wheat breakfast cereal with very watered down skimmed milk with a little bit of ham broken up and mixed in. He will eat that and he isn't sick on it.
Is he ok to eat this every now and then?

Pat
6th August 2010, 05:50 PM
Thanks Pat. Tried the boiled chicken and rice and he eats the chicken but not the rice. Hadn't tried pasta but I will give it a go.
Strangely enough there is one food he will eat. Puffed wheat breakfast cereal with very watered down skimmed milk with a little bit of ham broken up and mixed in. He will eat that and he isn't sick on it.
Is he ok to eat this every now and then?

That's what all my dogs do with chicken and rice - eat the chicken and not the rice. I think that many dogs don't like rice. Mine will readily eat baked potato or sweet potato or pasta shells with chicken or fish.

I can't say what is okay for Charlie to eat since I don't know what is wrong with him. Ham is very high fat so would not be recommended with liver disease or pancreatitis. I think it's also high phosphorus so wouldn't be used with kidney disease either. In fact, I think I'd skip it altogether and aim for white meats. I will say that I think home cooked meals are fine for senior dogs with certain illnesses, and there are yahoo groups (I'm one of eight moderators on K9KidneyDiet) where you can learn to home cook and how to balance meals. For the short term, you don't need to worry about balancing meals, but you sure do for the long term. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but most pet owners can learn and become comfortable with home feeding. It's a big topic - too big for a general message board like this.

Pat

Haydss
6th August 2010, 11:33 PM
I'm sorry I can't answer any of your questions but I just wanted to say that Charlie and I at this end are thinking of you both.... and hope that your Charlie gets better soon :) I hope that wasn't too cryptic!

*Pauline*
6th August 2010, 11:46 PM
I'm going to be boring repeating myself here but you are still pandering to his fussiness, regardless of the vomiting and upset tummy.

Put dog food down, if he doesn't eat it after 20 mins, pick it up. Put it back down at lunch time, pick it up after 20 mins, same at dinner time. (I'm not saying feed him 3 times a day but I think you'll worry if you leave him till dinner time if he missed breakfast). He may skip a days food, too bad. He won't refuse it the next day. Stick to one food so he knows you won't tempt him with "better" food. You wouldn't give desert to a child who refused dinner, same principle.

Have you tried fasting him for his upset tummy?

Pat
7th August 2010, 12:53 AM
I'm going to be boring repeating myself here but you are still pandering to his fussiness, regardless of the vomiting and upset tummy.

Put dog food down, if he doesn't eat it after 20 mins, pick it up. Put it back down at lunch time, pick it up after 20 mins, same at dinner time. (I'm not saying feed him 3 times a day but I think you'll worry if you leave him till dinner time if he missed breakfast). He may skip a days food, too bad. He won't refuse it the next day. Stick to one food so he knows you won't tempt him with "better" food. You wouldn't give desert to a child who refused dinner, same principle.

Have you tried fasting him for his upset tummy?

Pauline, I absolutely agree with you for a HEALTHY dog. What hasn't been determined (unless I'm wrong) is whether or not Charlie has some underlying illness that has caused the weight loss and anorexia. I can't determine from the info if Charlie is simply a picky eater looking for better fare or if he has a poor appetite from some medical condition. If he's healthy, I agree with you. If he has an underlying illness, then that issue should be addressed, and it's often best done with a homemade diet rather than a prescription food that often isn't very palatable.

I don't know the time period over which he has lost that weight, but heavy dogs usually don't voluntarily reduce their intake of food but rather they lose weight when we reduce their portion.

One of my girls who had always been a good eater developed a waxing and waning anorexia with no other symptoms. After some months, she became emaciated, losing from 13 lbs down to 8 lbs. She had intestinal lymphoma. Two of my teenaged boys became picky eaters when they went into kidney failure. If a senior becomes a picky eater, I always want to rule out an underlying medical condition. Heart failure will also result in a poor appetite and loss of muscle mass.

Pat

Claire L
8th August 2010, 10:05 AM
I'm so sorry to read that Charlie is so unwell. Sometimes fasting for a day can help to settle the tummy but it sounds like Charlie is in need of a full blood check to determine what the cause of the vomiting and diarhoea.

With regard to Charlie's diet, I would have to disagree with Pauline in this instance (sorry Pauline :hug:) Charlie is now ten years old and assuming you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment then I don't see why Charlie can't be fed the sort of stuff that he likes........all in moderation of course.

I'm with you on this one Charlie. Hope you get well soon little man :hug:

Quinny74
8th August 2010, 10:17 PM
Update

Charlie is bit better and has been eating. He seems to like the chicken and pasta. We have also been giving him a little ID food too. His diarrhoea has cleared up and without wanting to sound gross his stools are looking good. He isn't 100% but is a lot better. He is now begging for human food a lot though so I have to be careful as he may be ignoring food so he gets tit bits.
I honestly don't know if he has cancer but I think it is more and more unlikely. I'm beginning to feel like the vet went for the easy diagnosis without knowing all the facts.
Over the last couple of days I have noticed little mushrooms in our lawn. I've now removed them all but for all I know he may of eaten one and poisoned himself as he is a grass eater.

Karen and Ruby
9th August 2010, 10:04 PM
I'm going to be boring repeating myself here but you are still pandering to his fussiness, regardless of the vomiting and upset tummy.

Put dog food down, if he doesn't eat it after 20 mins, pick it up. Put it back down at lunch time, pick it up after 20 mins, same at dinner time. (I'm not saying feed him 3 times a day but I think you'll worry if you leave him till dinner time if he missed breakfast). He may skip a days food, too bad. He won't refuse it the next day. Stick to one food so he knows you won't tempt him with "better" food. You wouldn't give desert to a child who refused dinner, same principle.

Have you tried fasting him for his upset tummy?


I have to say that when Ruby was around a year old she did the whole- I will eat that today but not tomorrow! Every day I gave in to her pathetic little ways and she used to make herself ill im sure. Pretty much every month for 6 months I would be at the vets with bouts of 'Gastrointeritus' Diaharia, sickness starving herself. She would be on anti sickness medication and all of the above!

I had to be harsh with her and she has not once been ill like that since being on a good balanced dog food.
Yes- she refused food for a whopping 6 days BUT ever since she has eaten whatever she gets and neer refuses a meal!

Zoe bowie
10th August 2010, 03:46 PM
Sorry I am only reading this now, but that sounds like what happened with Penny, although Penny is young, she is only about a year old, she got really picky with her food, constant running poo with mucus deposits, then she would be fine, then it would kick off again! This was ongoing for 8 weeks, eventually she passed alot of blood, so my vet decided it was time to see what was going on as all other tests were coming back clear, and no obvious signs of what was going on...we were still assuming it was something to do with gastric; he had to sedate her to get a camera down and that when he realised her tonsils were SEVERELY infected, he kept her in for 3 days on IV fluids and antibiotics, and then she came home and was on antibiotics and steroids for a month, with no improvement, so we decided to take the tonsils out to see what was going on, they are at a lab being tested at the moment, but the difference in Penny is unreal, she is happy, her poo is 100% normal, she is eating all around her & she is back on her proper food, not chicken and pasta...so what I am trying to say is you know your dog, if the symptoms return get all the tests done that you can afford to do, to find out what is wrong, sometimes it is not the obvious.

Sending you both big hugs :hug: