Unhungry Bear
September 2, 2011 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Old dog losing weight, can't get her to eat more volume; what can I safely add to her food to help her gain weight back?

Saedy Bear is losing weight again, but her tests come out as normal as can be expected. Among her various other issues, she has a jaw condition that means she doesn't like to open her mouth or chew. I give her as much canned food as I can get her to eat, but she gets tired of eating after a while, and what she will eat over the course of a day is clearly not enough now.

She's got some food allergies (primarily beef); this is about the only canned food I can get on a regular basis that won't make her sick and lose even more weight. I checked, and the senior and puppy varieties have fewer calories than the adult, dratitall, so I can't just switch to a higher-cal version of the same thing.

Is there a good oil, perhaps, or powder maybe, that I can add to her food to help her gain weight back? What's good for old dogs? If it's too hard to eat she will just walk away, so it can't make the food too soupy or too chewy or sticky. I tried giving her some peanut butter yesterday--she used to like it--but it's too much trouble now.

She's in reasonably good shape all things considered, has even been playing more since we adopted another dog a couple of weeks ago--I think maybe the additional activity is burning too many calories.
posted by galadriel to Pets & Animals (37 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We sometimes use gravy on our dogs' food, though we had to cut back when our chihuahua's weight skyrocketed because of it. Granted, our chihuahua's tiny and hasn't been very actively lately, so I'm not sure how much it will help a larger and more active dog. Looks like the chicken version doesn't have beef in it, though, so it might be worth a shot?
posted by lilac girl at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2011

Raw eggs. (Dogs do not get salmonella.) Grated cheese. Cream cheese. Sour cream. Full fat cottage cheese. Olive oil.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

My dear friend, a student at an Ivy veterinary medicine school, swears by Easy Cheese (yes, the processed cheese product-in-a-can). She moistens her old, food-challenged dog's food with chicken broth and tops it with a generous pile of Easy Cheese. Other, less objectionable kinds of cheeses would probably also work.
posted by Spinneret at 8:34 AM on September 2, 2011

What about meat-based baby food? It's pureed find enough that she should be able to swallow it easily.

My 13-year-old lab is loosing weight, too. He likes eggs, cheese, and breakfast sausage. Perhaps some cottage cheese would appeal to your adorable dog? I love the picture of her with the horse, by the way.
posted by Ostara at 8:36 AM on September 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Vanilla yogurt! My puppy goes crazy for it
posted by torisaur at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Vanilla yogurt! My puppy goes crazy for it

Or plain yogurt also, if you're concerned about sugar. If not: vanilla ice cream! (We give our dog her own Ben & Jerry's on her birthday.)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:44 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, ah, she's never dealt well with dairy products, even yogurt. Sorry, I'd have mentioned, but I didn't think of it as something people would recommend for dogs :)

Dogs can and do get salmonella, even die from it, unfortunately. Some dogs do just fine with raw food, sure. But my understanding is that it is very risky to give raw foods that may contain salmonella to elderly dogs who've never eaten them. We looked into it several years ago when we had chickens and LOTS of eggs. She was elderly even then...

Her current food is pretty pureed, requires no chewing, just opening her mouth and picking it up. I'm really hoping for something that I can add to it that will add calories without any more volume at all.

It looks like Gerber baby food (hey, easily searchable, I know there's more but it's a start) does have a slightly higher cal/oz than her current dog food (420 Cal/13.5 oz). It might be worth trying to replace some (or all) of her food with that, maybe. Yeah.

But I really need to be adding several hundred calories a day, at least, as much as I can get; I need something that has almost no volume but is extremely calorie dense AND easy on the stomach. Does something like that exist? In a horse I'd give her corn oil, peanut oil, or rice bran, for example, but I have doubts about the digestibility of these for a carnivorous pet.
posted by galadriel at 9:12 AM on September 2, 2011

Puppy formula is pretty high-fat and I assume would smell compelling to a dog. It's not cheap, though. You can also get very high calorie gels which are for pretty much exactly this kind of situation (I don't see any beef in the ingredients, you might double-check that).

Like other people said: cottage cheese or yogurt or ice cream if he can tolerate the dairy (go slow - the last thing you need is for him to get the runs). Gravy, but be careful because packaged gravy is very high in sodium, so you're better off making your own - and it doesn't have to be thickened, just cook down meat in water. Baby food, or pureed meat which is probably one of your cheapest options, especially if you go for offal like chicken livers.

When I was fostering, I used Missing Link powder, which we called "fuzzy butt" for its remarkable fur-regrowing powers, on any dogs who'd been malnourished because of disease or life circumstances, but I don't think it's particularly high in fat.

There are certainly many fish oil/omega 3 supplements flavored for the canine palate (read: extra stanky), and that will give you nutrients and calories.

If you needed to, you could probably ask (my favorite charity) Rolling Dog Farm what they feed Travis, the dog with the fused jaw. He'll suck up liquid food, and they probably use/make something that gets maximum nutrition for volume.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:15 AM on September 2, 2011

How old is the dog?
posted by Max Power at 9:19 AM on September 2, 2011

Liver is also calorie-dense and full of iron and vitamin A. You could give it a whirl in the blender with some broth to make a liver smoothie.

Good luck with your dog.
posted by Ostara at 9:21 AM on September 2, 2011

Raw eggs. (Dogs do not get salmonella.)

What about meat-based baby food? It's pureed find enough that she should be able to swallow it easily.

He likes eggs, cheese, and breakfast sausage.

Yes, but dogs do get hepatic lipidosis from stuff like this.

What tests has your vet run? Have you ruled everything out including a foreign body, addisons, cushings, diabetes? Cancer?

What is the cause of the jaw pain?

My point is, it could be for alot of reasons- you should get a better handle on why the dog isn't eating before trying to shove him full of human food that could make things even worse.
posted by TheBones at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2011

I'd also recommend turkey meat loaf, adding in generous amounts of eggs, bread, cheese and plenty of vegetable oil. It's soft and easy for a dog to chew, plus it can pack quite a bit of punch calorically.

My future mother-in-law made meat loaf with great success for an older dog with chewing and weight issues.
posted by glaucon at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2011

Green tripe, for most dogs, is the most insanely irresistible food on the planet. It stinks like hell, and is reputed to have great health benefits. It's very likely that adding some of this to whatever else you're feeding will make her gobble it all up, while also adding calories on its own. There are a few brands available; Google around for "canned green tripe."
posted by HotToddy at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2011

The experts on the greyhound forum I used to frequent often suggested Satin Balls for putting weight on too-skinny dogs. It calls for raw meat and eggs, but I have heard of people baking them, or you might consider pre-packaged raw food for dogs.
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:52 AM on September 2, 2011

I lived in Alaska for a while, and knew some serious dog sledders.
When they were really training their dogs for long journeys, they needed to give the dogs super high calorie counts everyday. A few of them would mix movie theatre butter into the food.

I am no dog expert - and I have no idea if that is the healthiest approach or not - but, it is certainly increased the daily caloric intake - and the dogs seemed to like it.
posted by Flood at 10:02 AM on September 2, 2011

Response by poster: Saedy is 14 now. She had a stroke two years ago that left her with progressive dementia. She has had bad joints since the day I adopted her at 8 months old, lately to the point of losing some coordination in her hind end. She's partially blind due to luxated lenses,, and hypothyroid, and has multiple food sensitivities. She doesn't like to open her mouth at all due to a jaw condition, and has an absolute maximum volume that she will eat in a day.

But as long as she thinks she is top dog and she wants to play after meals, I think she's happy and wants to keep living. It's up to me to figure out how to make that work, when I can't get her to OPEN HER MOUTH to take food down it! It's not chewing, it's opening her mouth at all--even for drinking water. She already has food that requires no chewing, just picking up and swallowing; it needs to somehow have many more calories in it.

Puppy formula, puppy formula, what a good idea. Let me look into the ingredients and see if I can find one she'd tolerate. I'll email Rolling Dog too, Lyn Never, thanks--I believe Saedy has a milder form of what Travis has. (It sounds right but I can't find my notes right now.)

Sigh. Hypothyroid dogs are supposed to GAIN weight. Somehow I've had two! whose main symptom is weight *loss*.
posted by galadriel at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2011

Baby food is my go-to treat for bribing a dog or cat who won't otherwise eat. Buy a selection of different kinds, and for dogs be sure to include a few of the vegetables too. Some of them go nuts for pureed carrots!

Long term, there is a super high-calorie canned food that you can buy from vet's offices. It's Science Diet, obviously, which I know is a contentious issue among many pet owners. I'm not a fan of the brand myself, but I don't know of any other brands who make an equivalent.

The stuff costs a fortune, but it's extremely palatable, and really packs a caloric wallop. It's designed for pets who are sick, recovering from surgery, etc.
posted by ErikaB at 10:07 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Baby food might get expensive for a dog, but I use it with cats, and have also remarkable success with mixing bacon fat into the pet's food. (makes the bf happy when I produce it, too!) For short-term use, of course. I'm wary of the sugar-based weight gainers potentially destroying my cats' teeth.
posted by Sayuri. at 10:09 AM on September 2, 2011

Not sure this is a path you want to go down, but Hills makes a food called A/D that we have used to feed a bitch who would not eat. It's a quick and simple way to get some nutrition into them. It's the equivalent of the SD stuff ErikaB mentioned.

The stuff comes in a can that looks like a catfood tin. You can mix it with some water to make a slurry. Load the slurry into a big (needleless) syringe body, and s-l-o-w-l-y squirt it between cheek and gum in the very back corner of the mouth. The dog will swallow to clear it. Go slow or it will dribble; let the dog swallow; you get a feel for the rate your dog can keep up with. It's fairly unattractive stuff, but actually our girl seemed to like it well enough.

It's not really 'eating' in the sense you're after, but it might be a way to get some extra calories in.
posted by cairnish at 10:23 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Peanut Butter: make sure its organic - though with her jaw that might not be a great treat ... Bananas... cooked and cutup Steak ... Sticks of Butter ... Bacon fat... boneless sardines in Oil/Water...
posted by mfoight at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2011

posted by wayward vagabond at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2011

Response by poster: Argh. For a dog who gets an upset stomach eating cheese and yogurt, is a "non-lactose casein" puppy formula going to work, or just make her sick? "Dried milk" is probably right out of the question. Rats rats rats, how do I know?

Oh, the SD and Hils super-high-density prescription foods unfortunately all have beef. It's terribly unfortunate! We looked into them a while ago :(
posted by galadriel at 11:27 AM on September 2, 2011

I add a bit of Pacific chicken broth to my geriatric dog's food, and this usually causes more of it to get eaten.
posted by Danf at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2011

Boiled eggs if you are worried about salmonella, peanut butter, pour some olive oil on her food before serving (full of good fats).

I've found tinned dog food tends to be more fattening, you can get high calorie tinned dog food through your vets, though it can work out pricey it would mean she would have to eat less bulk. (I fed my dog a science diet brand version when she was going through chemo and was off her food and it was very effective). You can also pick up high calorie supplements. There are a lot of feeding options out there and it would be well worth discussing the problem with your vet, if you are worried about the cost of a visit, if the vet knows about the dogs jaw condition and wouldn't need to see her they could most likely be able to suggest products over the phone.
posted by wwax at 12:01 PM on September 2, 2011

My friend's dog goes totally ape for this salmon oil. It's easy to mix in with food; my friends are using it to help with some of the dog's skin/allergy issues, but it seems to be promoted for appetite enhancement as well. Looks like there are a few other brands as well.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2011

Nutri-Cal is a food additive with a lot of calories. My Petco stocks it. Nurish-UM is another brand. This recipe for home-made high calorie dog food might be a good option if you replace the beef with ground turkey instead.
posted by juniperesque at 12:15 PM on September 2, 2011

For my older baby who also had tummy troubles, the vet recommended I give her Science Diet i/d: "Highly digestible protein and fat to help repair tissues and assimilate nutrients faster." But now that I think of it, it kind of gave her loose stools for a bit, but that's all i was feeding her (per the vet's recommendation). Then i dialed it back and was mixing it with other stuff and then her poos were normal.

I've also given my baby meat-based baby-foods. Since babies have no teeth, dogs make quick work of swallowing it. You can also boil, grill or roast chicken breasts and grind up the pieces in a food processor (with some chicken broth) so they'll be easy enough for your dog to swallow. Since the baby food will be expensive, you can use some of it to mix in with cooked chicken. Chicken is highly digestable. So is plain old white rice.

You're just going to have to play around with different combos to get her to continue to eat. I would avoid anything with oils - they can wreak havoc with a dog's GI system. The last thing you want to do is give her the runs.

Be careful so you don't put too much weight on her, I was concerned that my older girl was too skinny and the vet said that extra weight is hard on older dogs' joints and it sounds like your baby already has joint problems.

Best of luck to you. It's hard when they get old. You just gotta be thankful they are there to bless us with their presence. They add so much to our lives.
posted by ATX Peanut at 12:21 PM on September 2, 2011

If you're concerned about salmonella, couldn't you buy pasteurized egg products, like these safest choice eggs, or pasteurized egg sold in cartons?
posted by rossination at 12:53 PM on September 2, 2011

I truly hate to be the Voice of Doom, but Saedy's behavior reminds me of my late, great greyhound Trailways when he was 13 (and I'm told my many "experts" that 11 or 12 is considered to be "very old" for large-breed dogs).....he started showing signs of pain when trying to get up from his bankie (his doggy bed); the vet determined it was arthritis of the spine. Still, once Trai was on his feet (with assistance from me), he'd trot around happily and still go outside for his toilette. After a few months, though, his appetite seemingly diminished and he started losing weight. The vet said his teeth might be bothering him, and I didn't want to risk anesthesia for an ultra-sonic cleaning, plus it probably hurt him to stand and lower his head. Raised dishes didn't help, and I tried some of his soft favorites, like peanut butter (which he wouldn't even lick off my finger) and mashed potatoes and gravy. He just pretty much stopped eating. He'd still drink water, though. Seven months after he first exhibited the spinal pain, he'd only drink water if I brought his dish to him as he lay on his bankie. He could still walk fine unaided (after being helped up to a standing position), so it pained me to have to make that fateful decision ("He's not that bad, if he'd only eat more he'd feel better").... Maybe he was trying to tell me something? Maybe eating and drinking and then having to get up and go to the bathroom as a result was just too much trouble for his aging self? I was probably anthropomorphizing, but Mr. Adams finally confronted me and said "I know it hurts, but be honest - are you keeping him alive for his benefit or yours?"

Again, this is a most heart-wrenching situation for a pet owner, especially when it comes to a fur-baby you've raised since puppy-hood. My advice is to try some of the suggestions mentioned above food-wise, but don't aggressively prod Saedy to eat if she's not interested. Let her meander and eat or not eat as she pleases. She's been through a lot what with her stroke and all. If she won't open her mouth, maybe you can dip your thumb into baby food or whatever and let her lick it off? My heart goes out to you, best of luck. {{{hugs}}}
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:59 PM on September 2, 2011

Response by poster: Saedy does not have hunger problems. She is hungry. She'd eat more. It hurts to eat, and so she will simply stop eating when she's used her jaw as much as she can tolerate. Her food doesn't require chewing, but she has to open her mouth to pick some up in it. She will absolutely not eat more than her limit, no matter how appetizing or enticing. Tempting her to eat more would be cruel teasing, as she doesn't want to open her mouth again, which is why she walked away from good food already. Appetite is not the problem.

She's been like this for several years; the amount she was eating was fine until she developed the thyroid issue earlier this year, and then she started losing weight. Again, argh! Hypothyoidism is supposed to make them *gain* weight!

More volume of anything will not get more calories down her throat; she's not going to eat eggs, for example, in addition to her current food. If I feed her something instead of her current food, it'd have to have more calories/volume than her food already has, at 31 cal/oz of food. This is a pretty high number for a meaty slurry that doesn't require chewing, really; the dog food companies are already trying to pack the calories into a small space. She currently eats 840 calories in 27 oz of food a day, and refuses to eat any more. I need 27 oz worth of food to somehow contain 1000 or 1200 calories.

Consider, for example, the egg. Suppose I boil a large egg: that's 75 calories and about 1.75 oz. Okay, about 43 cal/oz. But I'm going to have to add liquid and blend it up so she can eat it without chewing, like her current food. Am I going to end up with at least 30 cal/oz when it's something she can get into her stomach? Probably not; this is not an improvement.

Consider chicken liver. Okay, looks like about 50 cal/oz when cooked, good good. Again, going to have to add liquid and blend it up; will it be more than 30 cal/oz when it's finally done? Going to have to add a lot of liquid to make liver into slurry. If she has to chew, she'll eat even less; limiting factor is how many times she has to open her jaws.

I can't find nutrition information on the various high-cal pastes. Without that I can't tell if they genuinely have more calories than her food, or if they even are safe for her to eat. Beef liver is reeeeeally tempting for anyone claiming "hi-cal" in dog items, as I learned to my dismay looking at the various prescription dog foods.

Fat is definitely more calorie dense, yeah. But I've seen animals get sick from suddenly adding fat to their diets (heh, same as I'd have some serious digestive upset if I suddenly ate all greasy food). Has anyone added straight animal fat to an older dog's diet--any idea how to start and increase in order to minimize upset? As soon as she gets a digestive upset, she ends up losing a couple of *days'* worth of calories, because everything she eats goes right through her.

Is olive oil suitable for dogs? It's been mentioned a few times, but it's a vegetable oil. Can dogs really digest it?

I was really hoping there was something out there for this, a powder or oil made specifically for putting weight on senior dogs...
posted by galadriel at 3:29 PM on September 2, 2011

Former critical care vet tech, current vet student, don't know much about Saedy Bear except that she is adorable.

In our ICU we would place feeding tubes in dogs that wanted to eat but were unable due to some injury to the the jaw or mouth. We had a young Weimaraner who licked a paper shredder, and a border collie that was kicked in the jaw by a cow. We also placed feeding tubes in an old lady dog who was on chemotherapy and was inappetent and a cat that was impossible to pill.

There are a few kinds of feeding tubes. NG tubes go through the nose and are held in by a few stitches to the head. We didn't send patients home with NG tubes; they were typically for inpatients that were very critical. There are also esophageal and PEG tubes. The former enters the esophagus through the side of the neck, and the latter enters the stomach through the abdomen. Both can be left in long-term, and I have seen them stay in happy, healthy patients for months. Here's a link to a pdf about esophageal feeding tubes, and here is another.

If she is still vibrant and hungry, then that is something to think about. Your regular vet might not have the training to consider it an option, but a specialist (particularly in nutrition or internal medicine or emergency or critical care) could perhaps help you. Both types of feeding tubes that I mentioned require general anesthetic to place, and you would need to maintain the tube (keep it clean and flushed) as well as the site of entry. It might get pricey due to the need for anesthesia, follow up care, etc..

If Saedy Bear was my dog, I would probably try to syringe feed her first. In the ER/ICU, we used the high calorie foods mentioned above (Hill's A/D and Royal Canin's Recovery - both require prescriptions from the vet) mixed with a little bit of water. There are oral syringes that have a long blunt tip to make it easier to insert into the corner of your animal's mouth. We would feed small meals frequently (ie. every 3 hours) rather than large meals infrequently. However, most animals get pretty fed up by the process of syringe feeding after a few days. It tends to be a short-term solution because they simply don't like it. Then it could become a question of quality of life.

One thing I don't think you've mentioned is over what period of time this weight loss is occurring and how much weight Saedy has lost. Has she seen the vet recently? You said she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism earlier this year, but has she been seen since she became reluctant to eat and lost weight?
posted by Seppaku at 4:17 PM on September 2, 2011

Am I going to end up with at least 30 cal/oz when it's something she can get into her stomach? Probably not; this is not an improvement.

Use pasteurized raw eggs. Same texture, no worry about salmonella. Whisk them and they're very liquid.

You don't have to add much liquid to chicken liver to make it smooth and creamy. I think it's worth trying- livers are pretty cheap. Cook them just until firm (they should be slightly pink in the middle), then blend (stick blender is good) with a tablespoon or two of olive oil (vets recommend this for dry skin in dogs, you want to give her no more than half to a full teaspoon per serving, though, so she doesn't get loose stools).
posted by oneirodynia at 8:44 PM on September 2, 2011

Response by poster: Saedy has been seen by the vet since the "reluctance to eat" started. She sees the vet every few months, about, and it started two years ago. As I understand it, this is a problem with the muscle in her jaws and is pretty much untreatable. It's just one of her many quirks, not evidence that she's circling the drain.

It wasn't a problem until she apparently started needing more fuel than she could eat. Last year at this time she was maintaining her weight well on 1 1/2 cans of food a day; the maximum food issue wasn't a problem. Now she is losing weight on 2 cans a day and won't eat any more.

Her weight has been fluctuating since we first observed a problem and got the thyroid issue diagnosed. She last saw the vet in July. At that time her blood tests all came back normal, and she'd returned to normal weight. She's lost 5 lbs since then, and really really did not have 5 lbs to lose.

We tried a powdered puppy formula yesterday, and she happily ate it mixed in with her food. After, of course, the usual questioning pauses and suspicious looks that she uses any time there is a change in her food! I'll see if she can tolerate it and weigh her again in a week to see if it's doing anything :)
posted by galadriel at 7:16 AM on September 3, 2011

If the pain is chronic, then the vet should prescribe pain killers. Most vets don't prescribe the right dosage of tramadol. The best person to ask would be an ER vet about dosing your dog as they usually treat for pain appropriately, whereas RDVMs (day vets) will prescribe smaller doses which aren't as effective.
posted by TheBones at 12:17 PM on September 7, 2011

Response by poster: TheBones, does your veterinarian spouse know how much you blacken her name with either being too aggressive about calling people out for not seeking veterinary care, or slamming other veterinarians? Without, may I add, enough knowledge of the situation to judge? You've done both in this thread. Neither calling out owners nor veterinarians would be remotely professional in a vet or anyone associated with their practice. In a spouse it's merely distasteful and shortsighted, but does she *know*? You've certainly mentioned her enough that if I were her, I'd be rather horrified at your behavior, dragging your association with her into your ignorant and aggressive behavior.

If all you have to say is "get the dog to a vet, you don't know what you're dealing with" (when the question states that the dog has a known condition) or "your vet isn't competent to control her pain" (what kind of an idiot would say that about a pain regimen and a vet he doesn't even know?), maybe you don't have anything useful to say.

Did you miss the earlier comment about another dog with the same issue? Here, I'll link it for you. This is a *jaw disorder*.

What can be more simple than "Hey, doc, it hurts when I do this!" "So don't DO that!" In Saedy's case, it hurts and it is bad for her to open her mouth repeatedly, because there is something wrong with her jaw. So hey, solution: don't DO that. Find a way to keep her from having to open her mouth as much. Simplicity itself.

She doesn't like to open her mouth because it hurts when she repeatedly opens her mouth, because it aggravates the known, diagnosed, JAW CONDITION that I brought up in the original phrasing of the question.

Footnote: Saedy's multiple pain meds are dosed out to control her pain levels, ignoring concerns about long-term organ damage, because hell, this a 14-yr-old large dog with bad joints and dementia. But recommending that owners in general use emergency-level doses of pain meds to control chronic conditions? Wow. I mean, wow.
posted by galadriel at 9:12 PM on September 7, 2011

You asked the internet a question. You seem willing to accept only a very small sub-set of the answers. People make different decisions for their animals than you (apparently) do and are spending their time to provide you with the benefit of that experience. If you are not happy with some of those advice offered, there is no harm as ultimately you are the only person in this thread in control of making decisions for this dog.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:43 AM on September 8, 2011

I don't think that TheBones' "calling people out for not seeking veterinary care" is inappropriate. Asking the internet a question rather than seeking professional help is the most frustrating aspect of pet-related questions on AskMeFi for me, a veterinary professional. I'm sure that's why TheBones is answering questions here rather than his wife.

Your primary concern seems to be about your dog's jaw pain when she opens her mouth, preventing her from consuming enough calories. What I suggested, placing a feeding tube, is not something that a regular vet is likely to suggest. That sort of thing is generally outside of a regular veterinarian's comfort zone. As is typically pain management.

I assume you asked MeFi because you wanted knowledgeable answers. While pet owners might have knowledgeable answers in the context of being a pet owner, only veterinary professionals can tell you that, for example, every day we witness the vast differences in capability from one veterinary practice to another. Some veterinarians vaccinate animals with sterile water. Some veterinarians believe that pain helps an animal heal. Some veterinarians think animals cannot feel pain.

So when you say that your dog has a jaw condition that causes her pain, although she is on pain medications, it is not outside the realm of possibility to consider that her pain is not being adequately controlled by the medication prescribed by your vet. That's not a professional slight upon your veterinarian; that is an observation that what they are doing might not be working.

If it were my dog, I would take her in to work one day and pop a feeding tube in her. She gets enough nutrition, her jaw condition is not continually aggravated, and she would not care a fig if she had the tube in her neck.
posted by Seppaku at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2011

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