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Senior Sheltie won't eat

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by Isabella, May 22, 2018.

  1. Isabella

    Isabella Forums Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    Hi Dear Sheltie Friends!
    Lucky was YOUNGER than I believed.She was 13 years old, would have been 14 in fall. Just forgot what year she was born, as I got her as a 12 week old puppy.
    We had her put to sleep on Monday, June 18. It was hard... of course. All the things that made it rational (illness, pain, cancer on her face, etc). were good reasons to do it... also arthritis and heavy breathing which for me was the sign she had come to an end.
    But she didn't seem to WANT to go, and this made it harder. She snapped at the vet, and then the tranquilizer did not seem to work very well. She kept her eyes open, watchful, even after she was tranquilized (and I understand, paralyzed(!) with ketamine). I asked the vet for a second shot of valium/ketamine and this was done, but she never stopped blinking or at least LOOKING, it seemed to me. I felt so guilty.
    My husband said her heart was not beating wildly-- he kept his hand on her chest-- and he does not think she was afraid. She leaned back against my legs. But it was really difficult.
    I guarded her eyes from seeing the vet when she came to put the needle in for the med that would stop her brain and heart. It was then over quickly.
    I guess we did the best we could, and I thank EVERYONE for all your caring. We live in n. New England (Central VT) and would be interested in possibly fostering a Sheltie or maybe adopting another at some point.
    Thanks for all your caring messages!

    My 14 year old Sheltie, Lochiel (Lucky) hasn't been willing to eat for perhaps the last week or so. She has occasionally eaten the very best food that comes in a little tin, but then won't eat agaithn later. She may simply be nearing the end, but I would be grateful to know if anyone has thoughts.
    She has arthritis in her legs and takes Tramadol and Gabbapentin for pain, and has for a while.
    But till recently she has been happy to eat (as ever-- she was always a foodie, and often overweight). She seems content with us and does her "happy dance" (play-running and catching while lying on her side on the floor). She has always done that when content-- when hse whole family is home, for instance.

    Is the lack of appetite a sign of pain?

    She was recently checked by our vet for cancer (she coughs a lot) and other ailments. Nothing serious. Dr. said she was "not ready to check out." ????
    Thanks all. Isabella
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  2. Isabella

    Isabella Forums Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    PS I'm not really a novice. I have not been in for a long time! When Lucky was young I wrote in about her a lot.
  3. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Isabelle, I really feel for you. Have you tried making your own home cooked meals? When my Mr. Chance would not eat at 14 I would make him white rice and boiled chicken. Also, a cough, from what I have experienced was either doggie bronchitis that my Logan has or a collapsing trachea which is what our little Jasmine had when she was a senior. Onc can be controlled by medication but the other can not.

    I do believe a lack of appetite can be a sign of pain. My Mr. Chance had bone spurs and he was 14 taking Tramadol and Gabapentin for pain also. I made so many home cooked meals to get him to eat. It is so tough on owners of seniors dogs to make sure that their beloved dogs eat enough to sustain themselves.

    My little Logan is 13 now and has been diagnosed with kidney failure so I have to be extremely careful now on what I a feeding him. Please consult your vet before changing the diet! Good luck to you and we pray that Lochiel (Lucky) regains his appetite!
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
    Isabella likes this.
  4. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    Hi Isabelle and welcome back. I do hope it is a sign of her arthritis.

    How long has she been on the combination of Tramadol and Gabapentin and how often does she take them?
    And does she have any liver issues?

    I ask because my 12 year old has severe arthritis - he's had for 10 years. So I've become pretty expert at arthritis drugs in dogs. She may be feeling pain because of the mix of drugs. I'm not sure you know much about the use of these drugs so I'll just give an overview so you get the gist. Sorry if you already know this.

    There's 3 main types of drugs that are used to treat arthritis in dogs: NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories); pain-killers (eg Tramadol) and neuralgia drugs (eg Gabapentin). Strong pain-killers like Tramadol are often opioid based and dogs, like humans, can develop a tolerance. Lucky may be developing a tolerance to Tramadol so may not be getting the same level of relief.

    I tried Gabapentin with Deska. Even though it's used for nerve pain Vets are increasingly using it in the hope that it may also help chronic pain. Deska was on it for about a year, but took him off when he developed 'doggy dementia'. The dementia went and his pain levels didn't change.

    If Lucky's liver tests are fine you can try an NSAID. If the vet's worried about his tummy u can use a stomach protector. You can alternate it with the Tramadol and start with a half dose. Deska is on daily Previcox (half tablet) with Carafate (tummy) half hour before he takes it. He has a couple of breaks from Previcox each week where he only has pain killers. This way he doesn't build up tolerances.

    So maybe ask your vet if you can add in an NSAID when he does eat. All you can do is see if it works.
    ghggp likes this.
  5. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Thanks, Caro! I did not know the details about these drugs nor the build-up of tolerance! Thanks for the education!
  6. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Premium Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    I would suggest Lucky would benefit from a blood panel to see what is going on. A dog that isn't eating, especially a "foodie" is a sign something is wrong, and lab work is a good place to start. Her kidneys may not be working well and she may feel nauseated, or it could be something else, like Caro suggested. Honestly the minute one of mine won't eat they go to the vet - it is a big red flag for me with my chowhounds who live for food. Good luck and keep us updated. Big hugs to you and your sweet senior.

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