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German Shepherd not eating.

Species: Dog
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 11-15 years
I have a 13 year old female german shepherd. She is currently taking Proin and Rimadyl. For the last two days she has refused her food. We finally got her to eat some rice, but then she proceeded to have rust-colored loose stools (about 8 times) and then threw the rest up. Can you give me some insight?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Reina is not doing well. The symptoms you have described do have me concerned. Any time that an older dog does not want to eat, there usually is some type of medical issue.

I won't be able to tell you exactly what is going on but I can give you a few ideas.

It's possible that Reina has a problem with her liver. Rimadyl doesn't cause liver problems but it is processed through the liver which means that if there is a liver issue it can be that much harder for the dog to fight it. The reason why I am wondering if there is a liver problem is because you mentioned the rust colored stools. This reddish-orange color could be caused by bile pigment which often means there is a liver problem.

Have a good look at the white part of her eyes. Is there any hint of yellow in there? Or what about her gums? Do they look yellow at all? If so, then I am worried about a serious liver problem such as a liver cancer. The yellow would be jaundice.

There are other possibilities. German Shepherds can be prone to other types of cancers such as a spleen cancer. This could cause the body to destroy red blood cells and can cause some jaundice as well.

If Reina was a young dog with some loose stools, a little bit of vomiting and not wanting to eat it could be possible that this is simply some mild gastroenteritis (i.e. stomach and intestine upset) which can happen because of a change in food, or the introduction of a new treat. But, because of her age, this type of mild problem is less likely.

Do you think there is any way she could have a vet exam? The most important thing that they will do is some blood tests to determine what the problem is. Their physical exam will tell you a lot as well.

I wish I could give you a more concrete (and more positive) answer. Please let me know if you have more questions.

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.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

thank you for your response. I checked Reina's eyes and gums and there is no sign of yellow.

We can get her into the vet, but here is my question for you...if we get blood tests done, what are the possible things that might turn up and what would the possible solutions be? We are clear Reina has had a long and wonderful life and we are not going to take any extraordinary measures to keep her alive. That is very hard for me to say, but we have talked about this at length and we have been doing the Rimadyl and Proin to keep her comfortable, but we aren't able to do much more...

thoughts?

thank you,
Christine


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I understand what you are saying. I face this type of situation regularly. I would still recommend the tests. One of the main reasons is to help us with decision making. For example, let's say we do the tests and find out that she has a very serious liver or kidney problem. Then we know that it is not wise to let her suffer and that we should consider euthanasia.

However, it is possible that this is not a life-ending problem. It's possible that she has a condition called pancreatitis. While some dogs get pancreatitis from eating something fatty, sometimes we don't know why a dog would get it. Pancreatitis is a treatable condition.

Or, if we see that there really is no serious problem with the bloodwork then the vet can prescribe some anti-nausea medication and something to help settle the intestines.

One other thing to consider - does she get chicken jerky treats at all? If so, you may want to read this article - Chicken jerky making dogs sick.



Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

No chicken jerky...but good to know...

You make a good point about the blood work. We will get her in as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time!

Christine


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome. I really hope she is ok!



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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.