My Dog is Sick
November 21, 2005 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me figure out what is wrong with my dog? He is sick....

Ten day ago he started throwing up all that he ate and he had bad diahrea. We withheld food for two days but when he still didn't get better we started feeding again and when he would eat he would vomit. He also still had diahrea. A trip to the vet showed that he is well hydrated and his temperature is normal. We walked out with 10 each of Metronidazole (500 mg) and Metoclopramide (10 mg) and gave Bailey two of these a day for five days. We thought he was improved but with the medication gone there has been no improvement. He has vomited once. We now have an appointment to take him to the vet tomorrow. They said that the next step would be "bloodwork", xrays, and / or exploratory surgery to see if he has a blockage. I rule out a blockage because his bowel movements seemed fine when he was on the medication. His general symptons now are greatly a reduced energy level and he seems "weak", and he has a greatly reduced interest in food. He doesn't want to be left alone. He just doesn't feel good. His ears a down a lot of the time. Am I worrying too much? He has never been sick before and twelve days seems a long time to be feeling bad. He is a 6 yearer old German Shepherd mix. Any ideas on what might be wrong with Bailey and any suggestions to help him feel better are appreciated.
posted by snowjoe to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
IANAV. Does he have a tendency to eat things he shouldn't? Shoes, toys etc? In my experience, if a dog starts throwing up for a long period of time (days). It has always been a blockage. Even if they are still able to have normal seeming bowel movements. I would go the X-Ray option first.
posted by ill3 at 5:28 PM on November 21, 2005

Sounds like it might be a thyroid problem.

Such a problem usually manifests itself gradually, but it could also be something with similar symptoms because the ones described tend to cross over into many disorders. Make sure to suggest the possibility to your vet just in case.
posted by frankie_stubbs at 5:54 PM on November 21, 2005

Have you tried different food?

My dog developed an allergy to the food we were feeding him, that resulted in lots of little piles of doggy vomit around the place, we switched him to more expensive food, and he was fine. We switched him again to another slightly more economical brand, and he's fine with that too.

His symptoms were less serious than your dog's, but it can't hurt to mention it.
posted by The Monkey at 6:14 PM on November 21, 2005

Please consider visiting another vet -- just to get a second opinion. I'd avoid mention of the first visit and allow the second vet to work up his findings from scratch. I think it would be a great thing to do for the pooch.
posted by hodyoaten at 6:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Here's my wife's take on it (she's a Vet Tech):

Yes, x-rays are a good start, however, you can not see many things on x-ray that could be causing the problem. If your vet has not done bloodwork yet, I don't know how they could assess your dogs hydration. Dogs become dehydrated very quickly and often require IV fluids even after a couple days with diarrhea. With the history you have given it sounds as though you could have a case of IBS (irritable bowel syndrom). Some dogs do fine with a permanant bland diet change. Your vet may recommend a "perscription diet" such as Hill's I/D. A thickening of the intestine could be seen on ultrasound. So, that would be my thought, if bloodwork doesn't reveal any obvious problems with basic body function, an ultrasound may provide you with some answers. No, you are not worrying too much. Kidney and/or liver disease can manifest itself in this manner also. An obstruction shouldn't be ruled out however, because animals can get a partial obstruction and have semi-normal stools. It is less likely however. Reguardless, if you are concerned about your pet, your vet should be too. If they dismiss you on this matter, I would look for a new Doctor. Good luck, I wish him well.

She knows her stuff, what can I say.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:21 PM on November 21, 2005

I'm going to second the x-ray / blockage advice only because our own dog had what seems like the same thing. She had eaten a good chunk of the blanket that we put in her crate with her. Good luck.
posted by booth at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2005

Poor doggie.

The Vet tech wife of Rock Steady seems like she has a pretty good handle on things.

Just for comparison, we had a similar issue a couple of years ago with our rescue dog. The "rescue" wasn't from a super-bad place - just a family that didn't know what they were getting, and so gave him up to us. That wasn't necessarily the reason for our dog's troubles.

But a couple weeks after he was home, he started to have symptoms somewhat similar to what your describe, except accompanied by quite explosive diarrhea as well (mmm).

When we took him to the emergency vet they checked him in immediately and put him on an intravenous drip to rehydrate and then monitored him onsite for 2 days. He seemed to stablize after the first day and then they tried him on small portions of a Hills bland mixture, and when that went well we took him home. We started him on Hills for about 2 weeks following.

Then, for the next four months, I cooked him meals day and night - rice with either eggs or boiled chicken. Later we slowly tried introducing kibble, and eventually it "took" and he was fine with that and has been (loves it, actually) ever since.

We never did find out definitely if it was a blockage, but we think not. He had a slightly prolapsed anus, though that could have been symptom, not cause. Generally, we think (and both the emergency vet and our own vet we consulted later concurred on this point) it was a serious case of nerves mixed with general poor health prior to our taking him home.

Hope your dog gets better - but I think there is reason for a great deal of optimism. Dogs aren't like humans - when they get into such distress, it can come on quickly but can also often be cured effectively, or so I've read. I guess the Vet Tech could speak more to that issue!
posted by mikel at 8:32 PM on November 21, 2005

Parvovirus? We lost a little pup to it. Came out of no where. But it showed up on the blood work, just too late. Sad.

A good vet will check for it. Our vet had a "health plan" for pets which basically covered the costs of the tests, good if you have a sick pet, but like all health insurance, a bet against bad things not happening.

If it does turn out to be parvo, follow up on the stuff. We had other pets and took extra cautions for them.

And, pedialite is a good thing for them too.

Hope things work out for you guys!
posted by jeribus at 9:19 PM on November 21, 2005

IANAV but I do not support the suggestion that your dog has IBS. (I don't actually believe that any dog can have IBS, but that's another story). He sounds like he has had an infective diarrhoea, and I hope he gets over it soon. My last dog used to eat chicken bones he would find in the street, until he got partially obstructed. Luckily he never required surgery (for that), it would always pass on its own.
posted by roofus at 5:20 AM on November 22, 2005

My last dog used to eat chicken bones he would find in the street...

Ack. Chicken bones are the worst, especially for a dog with a sensitive stomach (my dog [Husky] cannot be fed table scraps of any kind because she gets diarrhea from them, especially chicken bones). Could your dog have gotten into the trash and ate something he shouldn't have? What about contracting a case of worms of some kind? Does he like to eat cat poo?

I hope you are able to get a definitive diagnosis. Ten days of diarrhea is a long time.

To help with doggy diarrhea, I have found that liquid Kaopectate works wonders, as does cooked plain white rice.
posted by cass at 7:35 AM on November 22, 2005

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