Weight Loss and Chronic Disease in Dogs
Cachexia in Dogs
When should your dog’s weight loss concern you? The standard is when the loss exceeds ten percent of normal body weight (and when it is not due to fluid loss). There are many things that can cause weight loss, including chronic disease. It is important to understand this because the dog's entire body will probably be affected by the weight loss, and it ultimately depends on the cause and severity of the underlying medical condition.
Your veterinarian will begin with a variety of diagnostic tests to find the underlying cause for the weight loss. After an initial health assessment, the following are some tests that might be recommended for your pet:
At times your veterinarian may recommend treating your pet's symptoms, especially if they are severe. This is not a substitute, however, for treating the underlying cause of the weight loss.
Once the appropriate treatment has been assigned, make sure a high-quality diet for your pet is provided. It may be necessary to force-feed, with nutrients given intravenously as necessary. The diet must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Appetite stimulants are also used occasionally to get the animal to start eating again.
Living and Management
A proper medical follow-up is vital, especially if the animal does not show improvement quickly. Monitoring during this period is also critical. The underlying cause of the weight loss will determine the appropriate course for home care. This includes frequent weigh-ins for the animal. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment. And if your pet does not respond to the treatment, contact your vet right away.
The term used to describe how much an animal will like a specific taste or food
A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions
An increase in the number of bad white blood cells
The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
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