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Golden retriever won't eat.

Species: Dog
Breed: golden
Age: Less than 3 mon
Dr,

Changing Max's food doesn't seem to help.

He went to the new food since last Thursday. Five days of full appetite.

This morning he left his bowl halfway and I had to lead him back.

Tonight he finished his food all except 1/3rd cup.

Sniffed it and walked away.

I tried emptying it on the floor and he slowly ate it.

Ten minutes later I placed 4 successive handfuls into the bowl and he ate those quickly.

But ten minutes after that, I placed another handful and he hasnt eaten it since.

Why doesnt he have an appetite? Is it behavioral? Blood, urine and x ray were normal. No vomiting and perfect stools. Last week he ate some threads that were part of a rope toy and threw those up so his stomach is probably sensitive to anything blocking it (?)

Im at wits end.

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Jay, I am wondering if maybe his baby teeth are connected to the problem? In the picture of deciduous teeth that you sent me yesterday there is definitely inflammation in his gums. Usually that kind of inflammation is not enough to put a dog off of his food, but it certainly is possible.

It may be worthwhile to ask your vet if they think this is possible and ask if you could try him on some pain medication for a few days to see if it makes a difference.

I think you mentioned he is seeing the dentist soon. The dentist should be able to tell you if these are painful.

Here is another thought, but it is a long shot. A few years ago I had a case of a young Golden Retriever with similar symptoms to Max - he just didn't want to eat. I did so many tests and could not find a reason. So, I sent him to an internal medicine specialist. They did a lymph node biopsy because he was a Golden and Goldens can be prone to something called lymphoma.

Sure enough, he had lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancer but in many dogs (including my case) we can treat it successfully.

So again, this is worth mentioning to your vet.

Dr. Marie.



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Customer reply:

I thought of the teeth also.
He still has that one baby tooth about to fall out.
But the occluded lower canines have been leaving a black circle on the upper roof of his mouth where they now reside. And the motion of the canines against the upper teeth has caused the inflamation you saw. The timing is probably pretty close to when the teeth grew to reach the upper roof.

By the way, the handful of food from 7 pm, he just went and polished it off.

I know Goldens are prone to lymphoma and it is not age specific.

Though his history goes back 5 generations with no cancer.

"Often the dog with lymphoma will present with swollen lymph glands somewhere. Early warning signs to look for are: weight loss, disinterest in food, vomiting, fever, and depression. In some cases, there will be additional signs of increased thirst and urination, and an erratic pulse. "

No swollen glands so far. Weight is constant.
no vomiting or fever. No depression.

Of course it could be an early stage. If properly treated, life expectancy is under 2 years.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I think the teeth are the culprit.

I hope I haven't worried you with the mention of lymphoma. The case that I mentioned had no symptoms other than lack of appetite. He didn't have swollen lymph nodes or any of the other symptoms. And he is still alive (he must be 5 or 6 by now).

It really is unlikely to be lymphoma though.

Let me know what the dentist says. I really am thinking his teeth are the problem.



Customer reply:

I thought of the teeth also.
He still has that one baby tooth about to fall out.
But the occluded lower canines have been leaving a black circle on the upper roof of his mouth where they now reside. And the motion of the canines against the upper teeth has caused the inflamation you saw. The timing is probably pretty close to when the teeth grew to reach the upper roof.

By the way, the handful of food from 7 pm, he just went and polished it off.

I know Goldens are prone to lymphoma and it is not age specific.

Though his history goes back 5 generations with no cancer.

"Often the dog with lymphoma will present with swollen lymph glands somewhere. Early warning signs to look for are: weight loss, disinterest in food, vomiting, fever, and depression. In some cases, there will be additional signs of increased thirst and urination, and an erratic pulse. "

No swollen glands so far. Weight is constant.
no vomiting or fever. No depression.

Of course it could be an early stage. If properly treated, life expectancy is under 2 years.



Customer reply:

I have sent more pics.
This time it is the other side of the mouth (without the baby tooth). You can see his guns are also inflamed here.

Its all because of his lower canines that are pointing inward to the roof of his mouth. You can see black circles where they touch the roof of the mouth.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, I see. I have seen dogs have similar issues. The problem is that we really don't know how painful this is. I could certainly buy the story that it is off and on painful and therefore he doesn't want to eat.

The dentist will have a better idea though and advise you on what can be done.





Customer reply:

See I threw down about 30 kibble just now and he polished it off. I went to the computer, them came back and threw another 10 in there and he got up from lying down and polished those off.

Doesn't seem to be consistent with a lack of appetite.

But if his teeth were bothering him, that would be consistent with him only polishing off half his meal and then leaving it, possibly to eat later.

I hope its not cancer. Not yet.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Again, I really, really don't think it's cancer. Let's see what the dentist says!



Customer reply:

Thanks,

Jay


Customer reply:

Brought Max in to the vet for a weigh-in.

Jan 3 weighed 56.8 lbs (when this all began)
Jan 19 weighed 63.0 lbs (which I'm convinced is due mostly to my coercive tendencies).

That's 1.9 lbs a week

Max was alert, engaging, hyper active, jumped on the counter, readily consumed half dozen treats and searched for more.
He's peeing and pooing as normal. No vomit. Drinking normally.

Aside from his ulcer-inducing flakey eating it's hard to picture him as sick.

Pre-Jan 3 he ate so fast I had to add water to keep him from choking. In my mind a puppy should be wolfing down food.

But...
I'm going to try to leave the bowl out 30 min for a number of days and see how it goes.

Thanks for your help

Jay



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're welcome! If Max gained that much weight then there is probably absolutely nothing wrong with him! He's likely just maturing!



Customer reply:

and thats with me dropping him from 6 cups a day to 5!

Good night


Customer reply:

Just thought you may find this interesting.

I brought him to Dr. French today, who is a vet dentist at the VEC.

She said the occlusion of those lower canines was largely due to the deciduous teeth staying around. She pulled the one remaining deciduous upper canine today and put a couple of stitches in.

(by the way do you know what a golden is like when he can't have any of his toys to chew on?)

As for the lower canines, she said instead of surgery she's read studies from Norway that say therapy with a toy is nearly as effective at moving teeth as an appliance.

She's asked me to have him chew on a kong placed between the two lower canines to further angle them outwards as they should be solidifying in the jaw shortly.

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

That is interesting! I'm sure Max will be quite happy to have to chew on a Kong. LOL!.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

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