dog doesn't keep weight on

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Kill 'em with- cuteness!
Barked: Wed Apr 20, '11 8:24am PST 
I've had Stormy 2 years (got him when he was 1 year old, so he's 3 years old now).

He's always been a little skinny and doesn't keep weight on well. I have always attributed it to him being an "energize bunny"; he's in motion non-stop.

He's gotten on the skinny side again (I left him with my parents for a week while I was on a business trip, he may not have eaten well since I was gone).

He eats raw, and he's already eating at about the 5-6% mark. This week I started him back on a spoonful of peanut butter twice a day, so that's about an extra 150 calories a day. And also an extra meat in the morning. That will bring him up to eating about 8% per day.

My dog trainer suggested I get bloodwork done on him. We're going in this weekend to have it done.

What things could cause him to not keep weight on. I know thyroid is one, what else?

Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Wed Apr 20, '11 9:33am PST 
A parasite could be another reason...how are the stools?

Instead of peanut butter, maybe eggs would be betterthinking

The problem with the thyroid tests is that they can show negative, but really be positive. You might want to check out hemopet.com I mean if you are going to pay for a lab to check the thyroid, this is the best one, Dr. Dodds has found something like 75% of negative thyroids to be positive.

Edited by author Wed Apr 20, '11 9:35am PST


Kill 'em with- cuteness!
Barked: Wed Apr 20, '11 9:41am PST 
His stools are normal.

I don't think it's a parasite because he's had trouble with his weight ever since I got him, and fecal samples have never shown anything.

I thought about adding eggs, but they give him cannon butt, I can only give him an occasional tablespoon.


Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Wed Apr 20, '11 8:22pm PST 
I just read on the raw forum someones dog (I think Chloe) eats 8-10%!! Small breed too like yours. Fast metabolisms maybe that's all.
Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
Barked: Thu Apr 21, '11 1:49pm PST 
OOPS - Stormy I posed some questions for you in the nutrition thread but guess they are better asked here so I am going to do something I rarely do and (sshhh) copy and paste my response from the other thread here.............

I am just curious?

Is there any negatives to his "skinny" body condition? Have you scored him by this method? If you have then were does he fall in your opinion?

The health risks to a slightly underweight (read 3-4/9) dog are actually not as bad as a dog who is slightly overweight (read a 5-6/9). A dog who is self controlling its intake, unless suffering from a medical condition or severe anxiety/fear/coping issues, is generally not going to "starve" themselves. For your dog, this may be normal and there may be no reason to adjust. Once we start adjusting food intake we risk tipping the scales in opposite direction which is risky.
____________________________________________________________ _______________________

So since you report he has always been "skinny" and moves a lot/energetic I would be really interested in your scoring by the above method for his body condition.

Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for dogs to decrease their eating in times of stress, especially when they are staying away from home or their owners have left. However there is usually no reason to adjust their intake significantly upon your return as they often return to their "normal" once back in their normal routine.

As far as health concerns, I would start with determining if he has lost his appetite, or it has decreased (for you) in the last couple weeks. Do not count the time he was with your parent's. Will he refuse foods he normally loved? Does he eat as many treats as you provide but is then picky about his regular diet? Does he start eating with enthusiasm then slowly stop with some left? Do you think the amount he leaves is equal or about equal to the amount you increased? Is he drinking, urinating and having normal stools? Do you train with treats? Have you increased training time (and subsequently treats) recently?

OK now about bloodwork.....

1-DOGS RARELY GET HYPERTHYROIDISM meaning I suspect your dog does NOT have a thyroid issue and would focus my money and efforts towards other areas of testing. HYPERthyroidism, is a condition (very common in cats) where the body produces too much thyroid hormone. It results in increased heart rate, increased appetite but decreasing weight and muscle mass, poor skin and coat, increased thirst and increased urination. HYPOthyroidism, is a condition (very common in dogs but rare in cats) where the body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone resulting in sluggish feeling, lethargy, increased weight despite decreasing portions/calories, mental dullness and poor coat/skin. It tends to be more common in medium to large/xl breeds and pretty rare in toy breeds.

2-Although blood work is always a good thing to have as a baseline I don't know how much it will tell you regarding this specific case. If the eosinophils are elevated on the CBC then you can confirm intestinal parasites which may be present but not shedding at time of fecal exams. Fecal exams can be unreliable due to the parasites cycle and methodology. Another area that can become inflammed and cause inappetance and weight loss is the pancreas. Blood work would show if he was suffering from pancreatitis which in turn was causing a decreased appetite leading to weight loss BUT what you are describing doesn't overtly suggest that to me HOWEVER this is why you can't give a diagnosis over the internet!

3-Obviously when looking at a pet who is losing weight we look for other signs of illness or GI problems or whatever.
-->Is there a problem with the food getting from the mouth to the stomach to the intestines and out again? Obstruction? Broken tooth? Ulcer?
-->Is there an issue with the absorption of nutrition from the food-IE food goes in but cannot be properly processed by body? Most likely not the cause if the stools are normal. Excessively runny stool would potentially suggest this.
-->Is it a food issue? Most likely not since raw is pretty digestible and bio-available for use by body unlike a highly processed kibble or whatever.

4-Weight loss is defined by two few calories in to support calories burned. If he is active all the time he may need access to more calories HOWEVER if he is not hungry this would suggest to me that his body is at its optimum for him.

To be perfectly honest with you, I would take some time determining his BCS with the link above and see how he fits. Then I would speak with his regular vet about their concerns or issues. Blood work is not wrong to see how things are but be prepared for it not to provide a glaring answer.

Kill 'em with- cuteness!
Barked: Thu Apr 21, '11 2:55pm PST 
I would say he's about a "3" on the chart. Currently a low-3, typically a high-3 or low-4. He's never been a 5.

He doesn't act like anything is wrong with him, he's just always been underweight.

His eating habits haven't changed (other than possibly when he was with my parents for a week, they told me he didn't always eat all his food when he was there, but nothing alarming since he was probably stressed). He never refuses to eat (unless he doesn't like what I'm feeding him that day, but I'll get him something else and he'll eat it just fine), just stops when he's had enough. Unlike my other 2 dogs who have no sense of when to stop.

This isn't something new for him. I'll realize he's gotten skinny again, I'll feed him extra for a while, he'll get closer to ideal weight, then I'll stop trying to calorie-stuff him and his weight will drop back off again.

Here's a video from back when I fed kibble (which even back then he would drop weight and I had to feed satin balls to try to fatten him up), you can see how spazzy and hyper he is.

Edited by author Thu Apr 21, '11 3:11pm PST


Kill 'em with- cuteness!
Barked: Thu Apr 21, '11 3:13pm PST 
I would like him to be at least a solid 4-4.5.

Edited by author Thu Apr 21, '11 3:13pm PST

Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
Barked: Thu Apr 21, '11 3:36pm PST 
"I'll realize he's gotten skinny again, I'll feed him extra for a while, he'll get closer to ideal weight, then I'll stop trying to calorie-stuff him and his weight will drop back off again. "

This sounds like all his issue is that he isn't getting enough food.

No matter what kind of diet you feed, the suggested amounts are just that-suggestions!

Do, my Daisy eats almost half of what is recommended for her on TOTW. I guess her metabolism is next to nothing. Your dog might just need more food. This might mean you have to feed more meals a day. Or use some of your boneless parts of meals for snacks or treats.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Thu Apr 21, '11 5:00pm PST 
I fought with Toto for two years about his eating habits and weight. He only ate what he needed...no more, no less, and would not eat ANY treats, not even chicken or steak or liver. I did the whole satin balls, canned food, raw food, WINSTROL (didn't work either!), and finally just gave up. I picked a good, high calorie grain free food and if he ate it, fine, if he didn't I didn't stress.
I also had to give up showing him because he was just TOOO skinny for the judges to accept, they all made nasty comments about me not feeding him or get him to a vet, etc.! He was SUPER healthy, great muscles and great stamina. He had food in his crate and was crated every evening for a couple of hours and again for two hours in the afternoon. Sometimes he ate, sometimes he buried it. I also had him neutered thinking that would help... it didn't!!! Now, he is six years old and FINALLY in the last few months gone from 16 lbs to 20 lbs. He is still skinny, but not emaciated like he was. Interestingly enough, he now eats ANY human food and most any treat such as zukes, cheese, raw bones, etc.
I worry that next I will have to diet him, BOL!

Edited to add, after re-reading title post: He didn't have a problem keeping weight on, he wouldn't PUT any on to keep!!!
Also, to add: He was a definite 2 probably a -2 and is now a 3 or 3 ... all bones still are visible even with a poodle coat. But, they are now "softer?" with NO fat padding at all.

Edited by author Thu Apr 21, '11 5:05pm PST


Kill 'em with- cuteness!
Barked: Fri Apr 22, '11 3:12pm PST 
Well, went to the vet today. He says Stormy doesn't need bloodwork done. He says he'd rather have him on the lighter side than on the heavier side, and while Stormy is underweight, the vet isn't concerned about it being something to worry about. Vet says some dogs are just below-average on weight and as long as everything else is good and this isn't something new that happened, just keep feeding him more and if he gains weight, that's fine, if he doesn't, not really a concern. (Stormy was actually heavier today than last year's visit, today he was 6.06 lbs, last year he was 5.13 lbs.)
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