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Golden Retriever Losing Weight.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retreiver
Age: 11-15 years
Hi my dog is 13 years old ,and tough he acts fine ,and goes walking everyday,he has lost an incredible amount of weight in the last couple of months and while he eats very healthy ,the food doesn`t seem to make any difference,his coat is very patchy too and sheds alot.
He shares his space with a 4yr old border collie,who I think he tries to emulate actively.
I`ve found him at times eating feces.
Tough he acts like a younger dog his look and weight is perticularly bad,he was lame for a while about 3 or 4 years ago but recovered fully with the help of joint care supplements and injections he recieved from a vet over a 6 week period,would his history of these injections have any connection to his present state,and what should I do,
with thanks,Joe.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Joe and thanks for your question.

Sorry to hear that Patton is doing well. A significant amount of weight loss in an older dog can often be a sign of something serious.

Have you noticed if your dog is drinking more than usual? Dogs with diabetes can have significant weight loss.

Similarly, if your dog does tend to drink a lot another possibility is a condition called Cushing's disease. This can cause changes in the hair coat and a decrease in muscle mass. Cushing's is treatable but can be expensive and difficult to treat.

Unfortunately another possible reason for weight loss in an older dog is cancer. There are a number of types of cancers that are possible. In a Golden, Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) is common. There are good chemotherapy protocols for lymphoma and most dogs tolerate them well.

Another possibility is some type of kidney or liver disease...possibly due to aging changes.

It is unlikely that these symptoms are related to the injections or treatments that Patton received previously.

I wish I could give you some advice for things you could do at home but it really does sound like a vet visit would be the best thing for him. If I were seeing Patton I would be running a blood profile to look for the things mentioned above as well as a good physical exam.

If he is losing a lot of weight, you may be able to help him maintain his weight by feeding him a puppy food as these are higher in fat and protein. However, it really is best to have some tests done first because if he has kidney disease the increase in protein could make things worse.

I really hope he is ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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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.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.