Ask the Vet About Weight Loss in Dogs and Cats

Ask the Vet About Weight Loss in Dogs and Cats
Dr. MichaelDym
Dr. Michael Dym

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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Date: Mar 11, 2021
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Very Thin Cat Breathing Heavily for 4 Months
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Question:At 5 mo., my cat stopped eating and drinking, became very lethargic, his coat looked constantly ungroomed, and began breathing with difficulty. He was like this for the entire 2-4 days it took for the vet to see him and sometime during the second or third day of him not eating or drinking, I began syringe feeding him mashed up hot-dogs with chicken broth and water, as well as giving him plain syringes of water. At the vet's, I was told he had pneumonia. He was given some medication (an IV for dehydration, antibiotics that would last 10 days, and a pill of which I can't remember the purpose). He began eating and drinking the day after he saw the vet, although I was syringe feeding him and giving him water until then. He has been given antibiotics twice now, has had multiple rounds of liquid roundworm dewormer and a tapeworm deworming pill just in case, and he still won't put back on the weight he lost and he still breaths with difficulty. It's been four months now that his breath has been labored, his coat still doesn't look completely healthy, and he remains scarily thin. He eats well, plays well, sleeps well, has regular BMs, has no potbelly, has no discernible lumps, grooms his coat, etc.. He acts like nothing is wrong and his body appears fine from the outside except that he is practically emaciated, his coat doesn't look all that healthy despite him grooming it, and his breathing is still just as bad as it was when he had pneumonia. 

Answer:I would really need access to all of his medical records to really help you: has he been tested for FEVL & FIV, has he had multiple fecal samples analyzed, what does his cbc/profile look like, what do x-rays of his chest look like, etc etc. so consult your veterinarian, who has access to all of that information, for the best advice. If all of the above and other tests have been normal, you can ask for a referral to a specialist.

Date: Mar 9, 2021
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: She Won't eat
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Question:Our 14 year old female Irish Setter stopped eating about a week ago. A few weeks ago she had a bladder infection and was put on medicine and she appeared to be ok. Our vet did blood work and said everything looks ok and he cannot explain why she is not eating. He now wants to send us to a specialist to do more invasive examinations. Does not make sense to me why she will not eat but there is not reason for this. Got any suggestions?

Answer:Just not eating is a VERY nonspecific clinical sign but usually means something is going on, so yes, more tests are probably ideal.

Date: Jan 19, 2021
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: was 10 now 15 pds
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Question:has small hard poops. She eats her dry snackies whole and likely the dry food.

Answer:I would need to see her to determine how overweight she is at 15 pounds - depends on her frame. There are many lower calorie foods available. The prescription diets will work better but are more expensive. BUT, overall, there is no secret to weight loss (with them or with us) - weight loss occurs when you reduce the calories and increase the exercise, even if you work with the food you are feeding, but you usually need to dramatically reduce the amount to get weight loss because cutting it just a little will be a maintenance amount and will allow them to maintain their current weight.

Date: Dec 13, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: feline infectious peritonitis
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Question:Hello, Me and my wife adopted a cat recently after having had a painful loss not long ago. Our kitten is loving and delightful but has been constantly losing weight. Our vet suggested and is going to test her for feline infectious peritonitis. If that is the case what can we do ? We are in horrible emotional pain, self blame etc. What can we do?

Answer:There are MANY causes of weight loss, so don't worry too much until you have a diagnosis. Here is a link to our article about the various causes of weight loss: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/causes-weight-loss-dog-cat-37.html Then here is a good article about FIP, written by another veterinarian from a site that I trust: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951549

Date: Oct 23, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: weight loss. vomiting.loss of balance
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Question:i beleive it has to do with the change of her flea and tick treatment . which i changed 4 months ago

Answer:Many things can cause those clinical signs (kidney disease, liver disease, toxins, cancer, severe parasite infestation, etc.) - they are all treated very differently so have your veterinarian check her out so you can make a plan for her.

Date: Oct 12, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: I'm seeing my female dog ribs
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Question:I have a female dog mixed a family member gave her to us. She eating health through out her whole life but now I see that she getting skinny and her ribs is showing. She was a chunky dog and now she is skinny what should I do. They are some foods that she likes and some of the food she doesn't like. She eats wet dog food. Sometimes she will eat the dry food but I have to put wet food inside the dry food so she can eat. The last thing she been trying to eat dirt and rocks and I dont know why.

Answer:There are MANY causes of weight loss in a dog - everything from intestinal parasites to cancer and about a million in between. Intestinal parasites are easy to treat, but you need to know which one(s) she has - there are many - if you start just guessing, use a broad spectrum dewormer that covers whip worms, like Panacur - there is a link to Panacur in this link about causes of weight loss and potential treatments, both over-the-counter and prescription: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/causes-weight-loss-dog-cat-37.htm

Date: Sep 15, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Overweight by 10 pounds
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Question:My male Yorkie is overweight and it is causing medical issues on joints and energy etc He does not want to move much. Acts depressed. How many calories should my medium size Yorkie consume. He weighs 23 pounds. I find conflicting info. Please Help,I feel so guilty for him getting so big. It doesn’t seem like we feed him that much. He has had blood work to check for medical conditions.???

Answer:There is no set amount of food because all dogs ahev their own metabolism. Cut whatever you are feeding him in half. Be sure your veterinarian has specifically checked his thyroid. There are many lower calorie foods (with and without beef) available. The prescription diets will work better but are more expensive. BUT, overall, there is no secret to weight loss (with them or with us) - weight loss occurs when you reduce the calories and increases the exercise, even if you work with the food you are feeding, but you usually need to dramatically reduce the amount to get weight loss because cutting it just a little will be a maintenance amount and will allow them to maintain their current weight. Dogs usually enjoy the second part of the weight loss equation = exercise - even if it's just daily walks.

Date: Sep 1, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Eats but not gaining weight. Has never been a big cat always skinny. No urinary or GI symptoms
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Question:

Answer:I really need to know a LOT more about your cat, do a physical on him/her and run some bloodwork, so see your veterinarian if it continues or worsens. If your cat is over 10 years of age, you are kind of describing hyperthyroidism, so that is one (of many) possibilities - it is easy to diagnose and usually pretty easy to treat.

Date: Aug 21, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Weight
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Question:My dog is a Dachshund mix that the vet says ideally he should be 15 to 17 lbs. he's slightly more anywhere from 17 to 18 lb I already have him on a weight management diet we exercise regularly and he's even had his thyroid checked which came back normal is there anything else I can do to help him

Answer:There are many lower calorie foods available. The prescription diets will work better but are more expensive. BUT, overall, there is no secret to weight loss (with them or with us) - weight loss occurs when you reduce the calories and increases the exercise, even if you work with the food you are feeding, but you usually need to dramatically reduce the amount to get weight loss because cutting it just a little will be a maintenance amount and will allow them to maintain their current weight. Dogs usually enjoy the second part of the weight loss equation = exercise - even if it's just daily walks.

Date: Aug 7, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Weight loss
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Question:My 3yr old English bulldog has been coughing an spitting out clear liquid and has had weight loss. I was thinking he might have worms his vet won’t be able to see him until 2 weeks because of the pandemic

Answer:Coughing can have MANY underlying causes so I'm glad you are seeing your veterinarian as soon as you can. In the mean time, yes, go ahead and deworm him with a good broad spectrum dewormer that has FENBENDAZOLE as the active ingredient, like this product: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Safe+Guard+Canine+Dewormer-prod12324.html

Date: Aug 1, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Weight loss
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Question:I have a 2.5 year old Bernese mountain dog. In December 2019 he weighed 108 at his heaviest. He now only weighs 97 pounds, however he is eating and acting normal. Is this something I need to worry about or is it normal for him to fluctuate in weight from time to time. We did switch his food admirer learning of the weight loss to something a little higher quality

Answer:I would need to see him to really be able to say for sure if this is acceptable: like to see if he is a normal weight for his frame at both weights. Since he had a diet change and no clinical signs (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) it may be normal but definitely contact your veterinarian if it continues.

Date: Jul 19, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Weight gain
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Question:How to help my Yorkie gain weight and keep the weight.

Answer:There are MANY causes of weight loss in a dog - everything from intestinal parasites to cancer and about a million in between. Intestinal parasites are easy to treat, but you need to know which one(s) she has - there are many - if you start just guessing, use a broad spectrum dewormer that covers whip worms, like Panacur or Safe Guard - there is a link to Panacur in this link about causes of weight loss and potential treatments, both over-the-counter and prescription: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/causes-weight-loss-dog-cat-37.htm

Date: Jul 2, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Incontinence
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Question:Ginger is a 72 lb Belgian Malinous mix. She’s on 50mg of Proin twice a day. She still leaves small puddles of urine. Suggestions? Thanks

Answer:Occasionally they will have a chronic urinary tract infection that is adding to their incontinence so have your veterinarian screen her for that - usually pretty easy to treat. The usual Proin dose for dogs is 0.4-0.8mg/pound every 12 hours so she's pretty maxed out on that. If she has no UTI, ask your veterinarian if adding an estrogen derivative like this one might be right for her - will need to be based on her blood work, but will probably help: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Incurin+Tablets-prod11742.html

Date: Jun 12, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Calories
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Question:Hello, so I went to the vet today and the cat I adopted is obese. She said I need to start feeding him 330 Calories a day, however I cannot figure out how much food that is. I feed him the Hills Science Diet for Sensitive Stomachs. Thank you.

Answer:That's kind of a lot of calories - I bet she won't really lose eating that much, but it looks like it has 524 cal/cup. IF she were mine, I would start her on 1/4th of a cup twice a day - that's not quite 330 calories but I fell like she'll lose weight better. Certainly if she's losing too fast, you can increase her a little.

Date: May 3, 2020
Category: Unexplained or Unhealthy Weight
Pet Type: 2
Topic: Unexplained weight gain
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Question:I have a nine year old lab catahula Mix. She seems to have gained a lot of weight in a short period of time. Her diet has not changed in any way. Other then this she's a happy and healthy dog

Answer:Have your veterinarian check her thyroid, especially if cutting her calories and increasing her exercise doesn't help her lose weight. Here is a link to our article to read about hypothyroidism: https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/hypothyroidism-in-dog-13.htm

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