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Dog Losing Weight

There are innumerable causes of dogs losing weight, despite eating well. This DogAppy article presents some useful information on the factors responsible for weight loss in dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Has your dog lost a few pounds in the recent past and that too without a known cause? If yes, then you must be wondering about the underlying factors for it. The present article presents a short description on the number of possible causes of dog losing weight even without losing his appetite.

Causes of Weight Loss

There are several factors that can lead to weight loss in dogs. Dogs often contract parasites by eating salmon and trout which are infected with disease causing organisms, or more specifically, dog worms. Some common parasites that affect dogs are hookworms, whipworms, coccidiosis, heartworm, giardiasis, sarcoptic mange, etc. Metabolic disorders may cause a dog to lose weight even though he is eating and drinking well. Some examples of metabolic or nutritional disorders are improper protein to calorie ratio, protein deficiency, and malabsorption.

Malnutrition, like insufficiency of any of the nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, can lead to weight loss in dogs. It might be also due to the presence of foreign bodies in vital internal structures like esophagus or intestine. Sometimes, rapid weight loss and an increase in water intake are associated with each other, when water retention affects the appetite. Additional causes may include:
  • Gastritis
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Paraneoplastic syndrome
  • Chronic active hepatitis
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Addison's disease
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Idiopathic hepatic fibrosis
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Fungal infections
  • Side effects of drugs
  • Allergies
Diagnosis

Dog losing weight is not a situation which needs emergency medical attention. However, it definitely needs your concern. The best idea is to take him to a veterinarian. He will need a review of your dog's former body weight. He will conduct a certain set of physical examinations and diagnostic tests. A thorough examination of the stool is required to determine the presence of micro-organisms and waste products of his body.

The veterinarian will also conduct complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate the composition and concentration of the components of the blood cells. CBC includes red blood cell count, white blood cell count, thrombocyte count, measurement of hemoglobin level, etc. The purpose of CBC is to identify infection, anemia, and chronic illnesses. The vet may conduct a biochemical profile. It is an important diagnostic tool which provides a significant amount of information about your pet dog' s health. A lot can be known about the medical condition of the dog by performing analysis of your dog's urine. He may conduct urinalysis to collect some important data. He may also take help of the image results obtained from the chest and abdominal X-ray. He will also take all the information obtained by diagnostic tests to determine the underlying factor of your dog losing weight even without losing his appetite or thirst.

Dog Losing Weight Treatment

Once the exact cause of weight loss in your dog has been evaluated, the veterinarian will start treating your dog for that health issue. He may put your dog on a healthy diet which has an appropriate quantity of all the required nutrients. If your canine friend refuses to eat properly, the veterinarian may put him on forced eating as well. He may prescribe some sort of appetite stimulants to make your dog eat well. The veterinarian may give your dog some vitamin and mineral supplements, if the requirement is so. In case your canine friend is not in a state to take food orally, the veterinarian may provide him nutrition intravenously.

In addition to the veterinary care, you too need to take care of your dog as well. Give him an environment which is comfortable and free from stress. If needed, make him follow an appropriate exercise regimen. Give him a rich diet and all the prescribed medicines on time. Monitor his medical condition well. Weigh and record your pet dog's body weight in a periodic basis. Follow all the instructions and advice given by the veterinarian to take care of your canine friend in the best possible way.
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