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my dog won't gain weight :-/

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my dog won't gain weight :-/
  • As you all remember, my dog Leonidas had distemper a few weeks back. Well he's doing awesome now but he isn't gaining any weight. He gained the weight he lost from being sick back but nothing after that. I feed him 6 cups of Canidae a day and he gobbles it right up, but still nothing. I think it might be tapeworm, but I am curious to see if you all think it is something else.

  • Could be.. When Maze was a puppy she looked like I starved her on a daily basis. You could literally count her ribs from a distance. BUT she didn't have tapeworm or anything.. She was just really skinny yet she ate like a horse..She finally started gaining weight about a year of age.

    I'm sorry I don't know how old Leonidas is and I hope it's nothing serious. 

  • VET!!  Distemper can mess with the nerves -- and too much of a dog's digestion has to do with neural transmission of information to the brain ("ok - protein ready to go to blood, ok ... ALL protein gone now, send some of this to the small intestine, ooh, need more enzymes ...")

    I'm no vet, but I do know that when a dog isn't gaining weight and he's eating like a little piggie something might be wrong.

    Tapes are EEE-ZZZZZZZ to treat.  Now they might come back but your vet may simply choose to give him a dose of med (and you can *not* get it over the counter -- tape worm med is a different stuff!) and *see* if that fixes it.  If it IS tapeworm, left untreated he'll eventually starve to death - the tape gets longer and bigger and eats more and more.

    Take a FULL fecal to the vet.  You can't catch tapes on just the little rod that they snag an internal sample with -- they can be tough to 'find' BUT give the vet all he needs to work with.  Watch him, and snag and entire poop in paper towel and put in a ziplock bag.  If you are more than 5 minutes from the vet put it in a bigger plastic bag that zips (double bag it) and put it on ice.  Or keep it in the fridge over night and THEN get to the vet a.s.a.p. in the morning.  Sorry -- that's gross but this would be the cheap way to diagnose this.

    The other thing the vet might suggest is something like Pro Zyme (or ask about it) -- that's enzymes that help the body digest the food better so they get more 'good' out of their food.  But it's no cure if the body is dumping stuff into waste that hasn't been digested properly.

    The vet might want to do some bloodwork -- he's a distemper boy so you'll have to track things a while to make sure there wasn't damage done by the virus that you haven't caught. 

    A puppy HAS to gain weight -- it's part of growth and gaining muscle mass.  If money is a concern, TELL the vet.  Then they can do things in a logical order (and in order of what might be cheapest to deal with). 

    Good luck.  And good for you -- bringing a dog thru distemper is NO picnic and you've done a good thing.  Sometimes it's just figuring out what you gotta do for THIS dog. 

    I wish I could be more specific, but telling me how much he eats without knowing exactly what breed and size he is ... *wrinkling nose* I'm not that good at remembering everybuddy's pup. Sorry!  Good for you for watching him so close!!!

  • With any severe gastrointestinal illness you can damage the intestinal mucosa to the point that it is not able to effectively absorb nutrients as it should. After your vet rules out all the routine things, you can look more into that. It usually gets better by itself with a self limited disease, but you can prove it is the cause by biopsy which will show villous blunting. That is a LOT of calories to be eating and not getting better. Things like cancer and other chronic diseases can cause hypermetabolism and poor weight gain as well, but with a young dog that wouldn't be as high on the differential.
  • Leondias is about 6 months old and is a boxer/pitt mix. He weighs about 38 lbs and you can count his ribs :-(. I'm gonna sound like a bad "parent" but money is a huge issue with me. I am in college so I can't work alot. Most of the money I make is going towards him. His distemper put a huge hole in my bank account and I'm still trying to deal with all that. But it was totally worth it! I think I'm going to do the whole ziplock bag thing and pray that it isn't something serious.

  • Oh yea...he has had a few loose stools in the past few days.

  •  Would your vet be willing to set up a payment plan? I can understand the money thing, I've been there. Most vets are willing to work with you. I would try and talk to them, see what you can set up. And no you are not a bad parent!

  • As ottoluv indicated, there may be damage to the intestinal mucosa---what I have found to be effective (as prescribed by my vet) is the addition of l-glutamine (an amino acid) to the diet--it helps to heal inflammation in the G-I tract.  You can give 500 mg per 25 pounds of body weight. I find l-glutamine at my local health food store.  Also adding a good probiotic to the diet may be helpful, as well. 

  • How long has he been over the distemper?  What weight was he down to then?  How long did it take for him to get to the weight he is now?  How long have you been feeding him this much food? 

  • You could start with just bringing in a stool sample and go from there. My vet will run fecals on my dogs without needing to see the dog and if they find worms they'll prescribe meds ~ they might need a weight, but I can bypass the exam that way and save money. Then if the fecal doesn't show anything, I can make an appointment as needed.