Behavior could be sign of serious problem

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There's money to be made in scooping poop

For the past several months, our 9-year-old female
Labrador/German short hair mix has had an upset stomach. In May,
she started eating green grass and later my tomato plants. Within
minutes, she would vomit. By September, she was vomiting regularly
and losing weight; she dropped from 85 to 70 pounds. She staggers
as if intoxicated, stumbles and falls when walking, bumps into
things, lethargic, aloof and trembles.
Q: For the past several months, our 9-year-old female Labrador/German short hair mix has had an upset stomach. In May, she started eating green grass and later my tomato plants. Within minutes, she would vomit. By September, she was vomiting regularly and losing weight; she dropped from 85 to 70 pounds. She staggers as if intoxicated, stumbles and falls when walking, bumps into things, lethargic, aloof and trembles. Blood tests, x-rays and examinations are all normal. She’s been treated with several different medications, including famotidine, steroids and antibiotics, as well as drugs to settle her stomach and intestines. What else can we do?

A:

It sounds as though your veterinarian has been very thorough with your dog. Her tests and treatments have ruled out lots of potential problems. It appears that the diagnosis could be one of several less common anomalies. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one. It causes the same kind of irregularity in many patients. And IBD can be controlled with dietary adjustments and medication.

But I’m worried there might be something more aggressive than IBD. One possibility is neoplasia. A tumor of the intestinal tract, whether benign or malignant, could be at the root of your pooch’s problems. Intestinal tumors are treatable, but we all hope it’s something simpler and less aggressive than that.

I’m really concerned with her apparent weakness and stumbling. This could indicate some kind of metabolic problem. Several conditions, including Addison’s disease, can cause neuromuscular signs along with vomiting and diarrhea.

It’s time to ask your veterinarian for a referral to an internal medicine specialist. An internist will be able to look over all this information, exam your pooch and recommend further testing. This may include an endoscope exam of the stomach and intestines (gastroscopy and endoscopy). If needed, a biopsy of the lining of the bowel can be taken to help determine the real problem with your pooch.

That elusive diagnosis is still out there, but with a specialist’s help, you can find out what really is wrong with your girl.

Q:

We agreed to take in a feral kitten from a local rescue group. He is about 3 months old. Suddenly I realize that we may be in over our heads. He will be an indoor-only cat. But can we expect him to be a mellow housecat if he is feral? Will this be a wild animal in our house?

A:

Relax. If this kitten is really only a few months old, he’ll lose most of his feral behavior after just a few short days of human contact. These kitties are very impressionable and love attention, just like any other kitten. And most can be easily “won over” with a little affection and food.

Remember to have your new kitten checked over for health problems. And above all, make sure a stool sample is examined for worms. You won’t want your new family member to bring home any unwanted stowaway parasites. Enjoy!

Q:

Is there a Guiness record for the biggest dog. I heard there was a huge dog that was almost 4-feet-tall. Don’t know what breed it is, but probably a great Dane? And by the way, what’s the oldest living dog on record. Was it a large or miniature breed?

A:

Recently, we recently heard that a great Dane named Gibson had passed away. Guiness Book of Records said he stood 42-inches-tall on all fours, and he was 7-feet-tall standing up on his back legs. That’s one big dog! The oldest dog? The Guiness people tell us that Otto, a crossbred dachshund living in England is the oldest dog alive. He’s just under 21 years of age, and replaces Chanel, another old doxie who recently passed away in New York. But the oldest dog ever on record? Well, that honor belongs to an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who lived to 29 years and five months before he was euthanized in 1939.

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