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Ask the Vet About Weight Loss in Dogs and Cats

Weight Loss in Dogs and Cats
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment
Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet About Weight Loss Causes in Dogs and Cats
MichaelDym, V.M.D.
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
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As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Showing 1 - 15 of 41
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Showing 1 - 15 of 41
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Date: Jun 1, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Overweight Beagle

Question:I have a 3 1/2 year old beagle which weighs 62 lbs. Yes I know he is very overweight. He stays inside and the only exercise he gets is when we take him walking each evening. I have been feeding him 4Health Healthy Weight Dog Food for over a year. He gets one cup in the morning and one cup in the evening along with a couple of treats during the day. Yet he continues to act as if he is starving all the time. Can you please give me some suggestions on how to get some of his weight off?

Answer:Depending on how many treats he gets and the caloric content of them, he isn't eating that many calories, so that makes me worry about his thyroid gland. He may be hypothyroid, which isn't the end of the world - in fact, most dogs that I test, I almost want them to be hypothyroid because I know they will feel a better and lose weight nicely when I get them started on medication. Testing for hypothyroidism is quick and easy - just a blood draw at your veterinarians. If he isn't hypothyroid, then you are stuck with what you probably already know - decrease his calories and increase his exercise. Also, just to be clear, we are talking about an 8 ounce cup, not a 16 or 32 ounce cup/tumbler - and make sure nobody else in the house (or neighborhood) is feeding him other calories.

Date: May 21, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Weight loss

Question:He is losing weight in his hindquarters and barely eating at all. Drinking plenty and nothing different with his poop or peeing

Answer:Dogs with chronic higher thirst, picky appetite and weight loss need a complete medical evaluation and likely workup including CBC/Blood chemistry profile, as well as urine analysis, etc as many possibilities here, including kidney disease, diabetes, etc

Date: Apr 29, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Cat has diahrrea for last three days.

Question:My cat has been getting skinny over the last two months. Cat has diarrhea for last three days. Eats and drinks normally. Had a bad flea infestation recently. I used Advantage on him three weeks ago and it has stopped a lot of the scratching. He is in good spirits and will play and purr.

Answer:Many things can cause weight loss (almost any/every disease process) but with the diarrhea I would start by doing a fecal exam on him at your veterinarian. Taking them a fecal sample is ideal because it will give you a better (larger, more representative) sample and he won't have to have the fecal loop shoved up his poor booty.

Date: Apr 1, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: FIP and euthanasia.

Question:Hello Doctor. I've never been heartbroken in my entire life. My 8 month old cat has been diagnosed with FIP. Do you think it's better to put him down? If so how should I spend my last hours with him? And please provide me ways to comfort him. Thank you. Allie, 16, from Kuwait.

Answer:I'm so sorry you are going through this. FIP is a devastating disease. Without seeing your cat and assessing his condition, I cannot advise you to euthanize him or not. Work closely with your veterinarian and veterinary technician that diagnosed him.

Date: Mar 23, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Mass found on my dog's liver

Question:Hi. My almost 13 year old dog (mixed) recently started picking at his food. I took him in for a blood test, and he had extremely high ALT levels (1400). His T4 levels were low. They've been low since I took him in October. He's been on enalapril for protein in his urine. So he's been eating a kidney diet food by Purina (NF) since November. They did x-rays and an ultrasound in which they did an aspirate of the mass they found on the right side of his liver. The results however appear to be inconclusive. He said it is possible that it could be benign, but cancer couldn't be ruled out completely. The next step would be a CT scan. He has been eating wet dog food without a problem. And doesn't appear to be in any pain. But he does look a little bloated to me. And he's more sluggish since he's gained six pounds in six weeks, which is really unusual. He went from 38 to 44 pounds. He only eats 2 cups a day. And carrots for snacks. I take him for walks as well. Would a CT scan be the best course of action in your opinion? Also, what could I try in terms of trying to get rid of any bloat and weight? If surgery were possible, would that be effective in prolonging his life, or is that basically different for each animal? I just want to do what's best for him. I've included the notes from the aspirate below. Thanks! -Chris SOURCE: Liver Mass; 5 slides examined. DESCRIPTION/MICROSCOPIC FINDINGS/COMMENTS: Microscopic Description: Cellularity is moderate to high consisting of clusters of well-differentiated hepatocytes which display vacuolar change consistent with lipid admixed with blood. There is mild anisocytosis and anisokaryosis. The frequency of binucleation is mildly increased. Trinucleate cells are few. The hepatocytes only rarely contain blue-green pigment consistent with bile or lipofuscin. There is an increase in nondegenerate neutrophilsm, small to intermediate mature lymphocytes, rare macrophages, rare plasma cells, and rare lymphoblasts seen intimately associated with hepatocellular clusters. No infectious agents are seen. INTERPRETATION: Hepatic lipidosis with neutrophilic/lymphocytic inflammation and mild hepatocellular atypia. Comment: Lipid accumulation can be seen with pancreatitis, endocrinopathy, hepatocellular insult, neoplasia, idiopathic, and other rare conditions. The etiology of the inflammation is uncertain but it may represent underlying cholangiohepatitis, pancreatitis, or reactive hepatopathy of unknown cause. The hepatocellular atypia is mild and could therefore be seen with sampling an area of hyperplasia or with well-differentiated neoplasia. Hyperplasia and well-differentiated neoplasia may appear cytologically similar. If clinically warranted, consider liver biopsy with histopathology for additional information.

Answer:Ugh, yeah, this is a tough case. I know you are trying to avoid anesthesia at his age. You ideally need a biopsy, but if it has been a couple months, you could try submitting another fine needle aspirate. Whoever did the first one got a great sample. If it is cancer, the cells will probably be more "angry" now that some time has passed and the pathologist may be able to make a definitive diagnosis. The bloat and the weight may be directly related to the mass causing fluid to accumulate in his abdomen - it may also be because he is hypothyroid. You treat these entirely differently, but to differentiate, your veterinarian would repeat the ultrasound (which he would have to do to aspirate the mass) and/or run more specific tests for hypothyroidism (TSH, T4 & T3 autoantibody, etc). If the protein in his urine has improved you may want to try a different food - our carnivore children aren't crazy about low protein food sometimes. As far as if surgery will prolong his life - it entirely depends on the cell type of the cancer - just like with people, some act more aggressively than others, so if you can get a cell type with another FNA, your veterinarian can go over the odds with you. Good Luck!

Date: Mar 15, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Underweight but always hungry

Question:Since she was always hungry, could it have been hyperthyroidism? If so, could I have prevented her death? I just feel so bad that I neglected her and never took her to the vet. In all the years I had her, she never got sick. I have other older cats to worry about in the future. What bothers me is that she did not look or act sick. Eyes were alert and her coat was groomed. She was even climbing cat trees the night prior to her death. Could she have fallen, but not on her feet? Please help!! Worried cat mama!!

Answer:Yes, she could've been hyperthyroid if she was always hungry = hyperphagia is what we call that. Pretty much all of the other diseases that cause weight loss (cancer, kidney disease, etc) cause the opposite = decreased appetite. Hyperthyroidism is treatable but don't beat yourself up because it really sneaks up on owners because they maintain pretty normal energy levels and like we are talking about their appetite increases - they also rarely show other clinical signs of illness like coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc.

Date: Mar 15, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: death

Question:My 10 year old cat was losing weight but eating and drinking as usual. The night before she died she was climbing high on cat tree and being very vibrant and vocal as usual. I don't understand why she died. Please help me find a hopeful answer.

Answer:With her only clinic sign as weight loss, it is hard to say. As you can imagine, most disease processes cause weight loss. Some of the most common in a cat are cancer, kidney failure, and hyperthyroidism, but there are many other causes.

Date: Mar 14, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Very smelly bowel movements

Question:She is an older cat, has hyperthyroidism (on medicine). I have also been giving her "Missing Link" and "OptaGest" and recently "pumpkin". The "pumpkin" has given her stool a little less smell, but it still is pretty bad. It did work the stool is less runny.

Answer:Maybe try Fortiflora next. It is also a probiotic, like Optagest but they are all very different - have different strains and numbers of bacteria, so some work better than others. Here is a link if you want to read about it: http://www.1800petmeds.com/Purina+FortiFlora-prod10376.html

Date: Mar 6, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Help

Question:Hello I have a three year old English bulldog and he is always thirsty and has been using the restroom quite often and has accidents in the house and he seems to be losing friends weight. He eats like a pig though so if you could I could use the help on what the problem could possible be.

Answer:A quick blood panel will rule out conditions like Diabetes and kidney disease and a few others that cause them to drink more. At his age, he hopefully doesn't have any problems but middle age is a great time to run blood work on him to establish what his normal values are.

Date: Feb 8, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Weight loss

Question:I have two black labs. One of the is loosing weight rapidly. She has not lost energy or her playfulness. She is eating the same amount or more than usual. My other lab has shown no signs of this. I was thinking it could be a tape worm.

Answer:Hi Matthew, There are many things that can cause rapid weight loss, including metabolic issues. I recommend having this issue looked at by a veterinarian. You can book a vet house call at http://bit.ly/2k0cWop. Regards, Tiffany Veterinary Assistant

Date: Jan 29, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Severe dehydration weight loss

Question:What causes this

Answer:Lots of things actually: kidney disease is probably at the top of the list, but cancer, diabetes, severe intestinal parasites(worms), gastrointestinal virus (like parvovirus - puppies usually), hyperthyroidism (cats), Addison's disease, etc etc. Some of these things are very treatable (intestinal parasites), some are only manageable. Your veterinarian can help decide which and determine the best course of action.

Date: Jan 15, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Others
Topic: Over eating

Question:Will a squirrel eat itself sick or to death? I had one eat a whole cob of corn and I hesitate to put out any more

Answer:I doubt squirrel will eat itself to death

Date: Jan 12, 2017
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Over weight cat

Question:I have five inside cats. One is extremely over weight. He is just a lumpy walking football. When I pet him, all his belly and sides are is a tight wad of lumpy fat. I am so worried about him, because I have never seen a cat this fat. He has trouble getting onto the couch and bed. Every time I walk to the kitchen, he leads me to his food bowl to show me he is out of food. I do keep food out at all times, and the other cats have done fine with that. I use Purina One and do give them Tuna several days a week. He is my rescue kitty with only one eye and I love him dearly...what should I do?

Answer:I would first recommend a veterinary exam and possibly blood work including thyroid profile to make sure no metabolic causes of weight. In my experience and opinion, processed low carb dry food only diets to cats is biggest source of weight gain. I would consider a starch free diet like Wysong epigen diet from 1800petmeds, as well as even considering a proper meat based home diet, which I have seen amazing results in cats. See the book The Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier to learn more about home made meat based diets

Date: Jul 16, 2016
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Hair Loss

Question:Our 7 Year Old Black Lab Is Excessively Losing Hair. Big Clumps. There's No Bald Spots. She Is On A Special Prescription Diet For Pancreatitis And Seems To Be Doing Much Better On It. She's Lost Weight And Has No More Gas. we Had To Put Our 8 Yr. Keeshond Down On Thursday And They Were Very Close. He Had Advanced Stage Liver Disease. I Know She Is Very Depressed Over Losing Him And Has Stopped Eating Too. Do You Think The Hair Loss Could Be A Result Of The Pancreatitis Or Should We Take Her To The Vet For Blood Work? Any Other Suggestions? Thank You.

Answer:Best To Take Her To Vet For Evaluation Of Underlying Metabolic Issues, Including Pancreatic Issues And/or Hormonal Issues Like Low Thyroid, Or Adrenal Gland Issue Involved Here. I Would Also Supplement With Naturevet Enzymes From 1800petmeds And Lecithin Granules From Health Food Store.

Date: Jul 12, 2016
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Small Liver

Question:I Have Recently Moved And Switched Vets For My 5 Yr Old Male Lab. I Needed To Update His Shots And Was Concerned About His Weight Loss As He Is Extremely Active. following Many Blood Tests, Identification Of An Elevated Liver Enzyme And An X-ray...($700 Plus)... my Lab Has A Small Liver. May Have Shunts...next Step Is Ultrasound. I Love All Of My Animals From Canines To Equines To Orphaned Critters... i Would Like To Know If There Is A Liver Support Food Or Supplement. thank You!!! alyssa Bellows bellows.alyssa@yahoo.com 386.679.0420

Answer:Hi Alyssa. I Am Sorry To Hear Of Your Pet's Recent Diagnosis. There Are Many Possible Excellent Liver Supplements And Support Nutritionals, Diets, Etc, As Well As Constitutional Homeopathy That May Be Helpful To Your Pet. Please Dont Vaccinate Him Further, As That Will Only Stress His Immune System More, And/or Accelerate His Current Chronic Disease. You May Want To Consult With A Holistic Veterinarian Who Can Hopefully Work With You To More Chronically Treat This Moving Forward, If Diagnosis Is That Severe, In Order To Enhance Quality Of Life And Longevity. To Learn More About Holistic Veterinary Medicine See Www.doctordym.com Many Holistic Veterinarians Do Offer Phone Consultations, But You Want To Make Sure They Are Properly Trained


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