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Suspicious Weakness/Starvation in Middle-Aged Chihuahua

2447 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Eltekie
I got a neutered Chihuahua who's almost eight years old. I've had him since he was a few months old. He's a very reserved dog who's never attacked me. No past experiences of abuse.

His appetite, up until recent months, had been normal. He's never been overweight, but he still ate often.

It all began about last year with me noticing him struggle a bit to climb up the stairs of our old house. This was usually after a good walk. My other dog is the same age and is a similar breed, although he's far from vulnerable.

After selling our house several months ago, we relocated to a temporary apartment in another city. After a few weeks, I started noticing his health taking a nosedive. He was refusing his dog food. I'll admit that I made the mistake of purchasing a cheap brand, but even the other dog still eats it just fine. In some instances that I fed the dog in question a handful of dog food, he'd sometimes throw up. A few months later, we moved back to the city that we used to live in. We found an apartment that was a few blocks away from where we used to live. Even then, he's still not doing great. In fact, I'm already noticing outlines of his ribs. He's not even looking forward much to walking anymore, although he still goes out for a bit to urinate and defecate. Rest assured, the stools are generally normal. He's had diarrhea in recent months, though.

I assumed that there was an underlying health issue, but just in case things got any worse, I went ahead with vaccinating him and the other dog. This was a few days ago, but he's still showing symptoms of tiredness and lack of appetite. The other dog didn't even show any symptoms. I'll admit that I haven't really been too involved in vaccinating them and always checking with the veterinarians, but my only excuse is due to having a tight budget. For personal reasons, I'm not employed and get very little money from programs that distribute them. I can barely buy myself a good pair of jeans with that kind of money.

Anyway, I'm currently at a loss as to what to do for my friend. His hair has been graying since a few years ago, but I don't think that it's simply age. Again, he's not even eight years old yet, but he's definitely appearing ill. I've considered donating both dogs to local shelters, but after hearing just some of the inhumane practices, I'm keeping them until it's time for them to go. I also don't want to risk giving them to potential animal abusers.

Even then, I'm still screwed. I don't want to put him down, since he's still showing that he's not yet done with life. I can see it in his eyes and the way his ears jump up that he just needs proper medical care. The best veterinarian with the best prices has asked me to consider a blood test for him, which will cost me nearly two hundred dollars. I don't have that kind of money, especially after breaking the bank to get both dogs vaccinated and the other one with some antibiotics and medication to relieve his itching.

What should I do? I'd appreciate all kind advice from the fellow dog lovers on here. I really care about that little piece of poop, so to even imagine having to put him to sleep would be a nightmare that would last a whole year for me. Both dogs are my pride and joy, and they've done only so much to comfort me in the last several years of depression and loneliness that I've personally experienced.

Many thanks.
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You ever seen a dog slowly waste away due to loss of appetite and not eating? I have, I watched my beloved dog go through it at the age of 17 yrs 8 months, and that's after taking him to the vet and doing everything I possibly could to get him eating again. The last trip to the vet was on a Wednesday, the vet gave me some medicine to try and get him eating again, He still hadn't eaten by Friday so I called the vet and asked if it was safe to just let him die naturally or would it be painful and should I take him in and have him put down. The vet said letting him go naturally should not be painful so I opted to not take him in. To this day I REGRET that decision. My poor boy never ate again, he slowly started shutting down. He developed barely controllable diarrhea, and could barely stand up to potty. He got weaker and weaker and no longer responded, at all, to my voice. I don't know why but he howled a couple of time that last day. He finally passed away on Sunday at 9AM. I could have ended it on Friday and I would have if I had really understood what would happen!

Do you want that for your dog? That's what you and he are facing if you do not get him to the vet to either get the test done and figure out why he's sick, or have him humanely put to sleep. You say you fear he'll be abused if you bring him to a shelter, well I hate to tell you this but not seeking medical help for an obviously sick dog is abuse and it is punishable by law. I'm on a fixed income myself, I put Shadow's final vet visits on my credit card, and I went without to get him the care he needed. I never denied him medical care, and my choice of not taking him to the vet Friday was because I knew how much it stressed him out to go. I STUPIDLY had visions of his gently dying in his sleep. He died in my arms as I was taking him back in from a final potty break, he stiffed up, howled, then went completely limp, he was gone. Please don't let that happen to you and your dog.
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Here's a link to my last thread about Shadow, it concerns his not eating,
I'm sorry I came across as uncaring, but if you don't get him to eat it's what you and he are facing.

I tried everything to get my boy to eat. If it was a food item, and wasn't toxic to dogs, I tried it. I even tried home cooking for him, but slowly he stopped eating till he would eat nothing. You can try doing that, and it may not may not work. You can try canned cat food, most dogs find it irresistible, but if he's nauseated he may not eat it, or if he does he may throw it up. Come to think of it, canned cat food may be to rich and you may do better with plain, boiled chicken and rice, or meat (it comes in beef and chicken) baby food. If you try chicken and rice you need to boil the chicken till it's cooked then in that water cook the rice. Debone the chicken and feed 1/2 chicken 1/2 rice (I run it through the food processor to make it even easier to digest.

You can try honey on the gums to try and get his blood sugar back up, which may or may not counteract the nausea if he's nauseated form not eating. Another thing to remember is that if he hasn't been eating at all then don't feed him a full meal at once. Feed him a little every hour or so, to much food all at once is bad.

Honestly though your best bet is going to be the vet, and if you can't afford treatment and can't get him eating, spare yourself the heartache of having him slowly waste away and have him put to sleep.

I totally understand not wanting to loose him, not wanting to give up, and wanting to try every last thing you can possibly try. Have you tried CareCredit?
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I'm so sorry that he didn't rally and get better, but you did the right thing by letting him go before it got any worse. You're right, he's free now and sometimes that is the best gift we can give our beloved pets.

When you've grieved some maybe he'll send you another little dog to love and keep you company.
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