Vet has no idea whats wrong

trinigeminiJuly 21, 2009

My mom has an english bulldog. The old girl (the dog not my mom) is 13 years old. This is a dog who loves to eat...or used to. For about two weeks now the dog has refused to eat anything. I have not seen the dog as mom is in NY and I am in FL, but from what they tell me she fine in every other way. She has been eating a little people food, but even that she is picky about now. She has been to the vet and has had blodd work, x rays and who knows what else. They vet says nothing is wrong...but the dog won't eat? Something has to be wrong right? Dog is at the vet today to have a sonogram, she is fixed and has been so since she was a puppy. This dog used to be about 80 pounds and she is now less than 50. I know she is old, my mom says that's why she stopped eating, I don't think dogs stop eating unless something is wrong. Any ideas?

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You are right, not eating plus weight loss = something isn't right.

The dog has lost almost 40% of its body weight... alarming.

Is the dog still drinking water, pooping and peeing normally?

Any vomitting?

What area are they sonogramming? Looking for a bowel obstruction?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:03PM
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You wrote that the dog is fine except it is not eating. Clearly the dog is not fine. Im glad to hear the dog is getting a sonogram, this could be a multitude of issues, none of them good. I hope you post with the results of the sonogram

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:13PM
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The dog was vomiting. And she still goes pee and poop if she has too. Diarrhea mostly. Mom just called after the sonogram. Vet says she has stomach cancer. The lining on her stomach is 10 times the size its suppossed to be, and also some abnormal spots on the spleen. But they took blood tests weeks ago...shouldn't something have shown up? Mom has been giving her pedialyte? instead of water to drink. She has been drinking fine. its just the eating that been the problem. I've been telling mom to go get some pumpkin and raw marrow bones to get some nutrition into her, but mom says she does not want to force her to eat. If she does not eat anything in the next couple of days they will have to put her to sleep.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:16PM
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I'm so sorry.

At this point, an easy exit may well be the kindest thing.

As a 13-year-old English bulldog, she's enjoyed a really long healthy life.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:46PM
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Sylvia I agree with you...but neither of us are there to see the dog. Mom says she is acting normal, except when she either eats and throws up or does not eat. Mom says she will give it a couple days and see...I think she is hoping the dog will die so she won't have to make the decision.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:58PM
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I would guess the dog is in terrible pain. They cannot convey this to us so we have to be the ones to realize when it's time. It's time for this dog. Hope your mom can find the courage to relieve it's suffering.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:49PM
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My first husky Aleksander had similar symptoms, perfect bloodwork, perfect radiographs, only very mild changes on ultrasound, nothing found with ultrasound-guided biopsies of the mild changes in his stomach. After trying a variety of medications for bilious vomiting syndrome, deworming, and misc. other treatments based on symptoms, he had endoscopy which revealed gastric adenocarcinoma. He was dead within 2 weeks of diagnosis, not without trying to get the cancer out of his stomach, but it was too late.

I suspect cancer, that kind of weight loss is almost always caused by badness. But it may be difficult to find it. Endoscopy can't reach anything but the stomach maybe a bit of duodenum but not jejunum. If Aleksander hadn't had obvious problems in his stomach, he would have needed exploratory surgery to find out what was wrong. Sometimes that's the best way to go- you have a chance to remove the disease.

I only share because it's not necessarily the vet's fault that there isn't a diagnosis yet. It's a matter of doing the right test and frankly getting lucky. The only reason we saw Aleksander's cancer is that it caused an ulcer in his stomach, which we biopsied. However his entire stomach was actually affected, even though it looked normal on radiographs, ultrasound, and endoscopy. There was no way to tell how extensive his disease was without surgery. I wasted 2 complete CBCs and chemistries, 3 ultrasounds with guided biopsies, numerous treatments that didn't work, and could have found out everything if we had just done an exploratory surgery right off. And he wouldn't have been as miserable as he was while I was waiting for results. As soon as the biopsy showed that the cancer was everywhere, I euthanized him. But I would have earlier if I had known earlier.

I've seen stupid things cause bad weight loss, things that were totally fixable. Just because she's 13 doesn't mean she is dying. It could be, but for me at least, having the diagnosis was the information I needed for making that decision to put him to sleep. I couldn't have been comfortable putting him to sleep without knowing for sure that his condition was hopeless. That's me, some people are OK knowing the pet lived a good life and are not comfortable putting them through surgery when older. It's individual.

Good luck with everything.

This is Aleksander and me 2 days before he died. We were on a 3-4 mile hike- he still was acting normal except not eating and vomiting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alesander and Me

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Thanks everyone. Meghane its good to know that the vet didn't mess up. Thank you. I just couldn't understand how he couldn't find anything, now at least I know.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:37PM
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Meghane, I'm sorry about your Aleksander. You must have missed it but they did get a diagnosis of stomach cancer for this dog.

Trinigemini I'm sorry you're Mom's bully is going through this. As advanced as it sounds you Mom might not have much choice soon. She doesn't need to force her to eat but I'd still offer her some yogurt or pumpkin like you suggested. We know that bullies are famous for not showing their pain so I hope she takes that in consideration for the poor gal. My PB Jessie and I send good thoughts and sympathy to your Mom and her EB. Always sad.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 12:48AM
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Thanks everyone. I had to make the decision for my old girl last October. I understand what my Mom is going through. I only hope she is as strong as I was and do the right thing. I don't see how she can keep saying everything is fine when its so obviously not. Mom is currently giving the dog honey. I've been telling her for days now to try pumpkin. But mom is hardheaded and thinks I don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 3:18AM
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I did miss it, I'm so sorry.

Aleksander was eating beef jerky and fried chicken until he wouldn't eat anything any more. That was about the time the biopsy came back, so I had to let him go. It still wasn't easy especially since he looked so good and would still go on walks and chase critters and everything. Aleksander hadn't lost any weight though...

My thoughts are with your family and the doggy.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:41PM
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Sorry about your Mom and her dog. She will have some tough choices to make in the future... my thoughts and prayers go out to you, your mom and her fur baby.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:31PM
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My old girl's last meal was a reese's peanut butter cup....she had also stopped eating (some kind of degenerative spinal disease...spinal disco something or other)....DH would go out everyday and buy different meats and cold cuts to try and entice her to eat. The vet gave her some kind of shot and told us to wait a week and see what happened. By the time the weekend came the vet was closed and I was wishing we had put her out of her misery sooner.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:35PM
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Just an update. Mom put the dog to sleep this morning. Apparently she had a bad night last night.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 1:31PM
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I am so sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:41PM
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So sorry for your mom. I can't even imagine how hard that decision had to be for her.

Sending good thoughts to you and your mom.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 11:08AM
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Thank you everyone for your sympathy. My mom's dog is who made me fall in love with the breed. I got my first Bulldog shortly after she got hers. I was away at college and leaving the dog was the hardest part about going away. I'll never forget we got her over the summer, and I had to leave in about a month to go back to school. I came back home for Thanksgiving and the puppy I had left turned into a big fat whale of a dog. She was the sweetest, wiggly dog I had ever met. Well as soon as I got my own place, I also got an english bully. She stayed with me for 10 great years. After we had to put her to sleep, I had to get another dog immediately as the house was too empty without one.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 12:36PM
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