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Hi Everyone,

I'm reaching out to the Irish Setter community, as my girl Carly, who just turned 12 y/o this past Christmas is having something of a tough time - She has lost 20 pounds over the past 9 months, going form 88 lbs. to her current 66 lbs (she has always been a big girl).  She is almost totally off her food, and has had pretty serious acid reflux since last August - She is being treated for the past 2 weeks with Pepsid AC, Prilosec and a med for potential ulcers - She has 3 superlative vets monitoring her, and over the past month they have done x-rays, blood & urine tests, and most recently an ultrasound - All of these were cross-checked by her vets, and they are all clean, they can't find anything wrong - It is something of a mystery, and we are baffled because, despite her weight loss/lack of appetite (anorexic), she is still spirited, generally healthy for a 12 y/o, walking twice a day and acting like a  typical Setter.    

I'm at wit's end trying to get her to eat, I've tried wet dog & cat food, dry cat food, boiled chicken, boiled beef liver, anything just to get her to eat - she will initially take some, but only a handful and then turns away - She is getting thinner by the day, and won't be around much much longer if the trend continues - The vets mentioned it may a hidden cancer they can't detect, or simply a serious case of Acid reflux which is causing so much discomfort in her esophagus, that it's too painful to eat - they prescribed Tramadol pain reliever for that, but she doesn't do well with pain meds

Has anyone experienced this unusual situation with their current or prior Setters??  Any holistic/homeopathic suggestions??  I appreciate any and all advice as I just don't know what to do anymore, and she will have to be put down if the situation gets worse.  Thank you for any advice, it is greatly appreciated.

Tom

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So sorry to read this about your girl, I am far from an expert so anything I write is just ideas.I would try raw mince in small quantitys to start.There are very knowledgable people on this site as well as vets,so take their advise over mine. Wishing your lovely girl a speedy recover, keep us informed.

I am really sorry to read this....I lost my old boy Peter last year ( he was 13 and nearly 9 months) with the same symptoms except he did have cancerous growth in his jaws which had been removed Christmas 2011. I hope Carly improves soon....have you tried roast chicken.....this is what Peter was most happy to eat. I am sending my best wishes and thinking of you

Thanks Catherine, she does love chicken, but I've never tried roast chicken - I shall try that as I'm pulling out all the stops!  Happy New Year to you & yours!

Thank you Angela I appreciate your thought!

Perhaps Slippery Elm and a probiotic Tom. My boys eating and tummy has improved since I have been using this. It lines the stomach and settles it. The probiotics are to help his digestive system. I mix both together with a little water till it forms a soft ball. This goes on the back of his tongue and down it goes. 1/2 hour before food. He eats very well now but runs off any weight I get on him. Thinking of you both and hope she starts eating soon.

Thanks Sue!  I just went and bought some Nutrical paste supplement, they say it works wonders so I will give this to her tonight - Happy New year!

Thanks Rhonda for all your wonderful advice - I've never heard of Slippery Elm, so I will look into it - I appreciate your support! Happy New Year!

Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. It also contains antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. Slippery elm also causes reflux stimulation of nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract leading to increased mucus secretion. The increased mucus production may protect the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity.



Source: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/slippery-elm-000274.htm#ixzz2H2p...
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Tom you may want to mix the slippery elm with more water and put a little on her tongue for her to lick and swallow. I have never done this but it would help her mouth and throat more perhaps. I buy human grade slippery elm from Price line which is a very large chain chemist. Have brought it from health food shops but it is more expensive. Paws crossed for Carly.

Hi Tom......Carly may be associating the awful pain with many different things, for instance, the bowl you feed her from, the room you feed her in, the time you feed her and even you being present in the room at the same time.  She may also be stressing out over you stressing out trying to get her to eat (and lets face it, we all get seriously stressed when there is anything wrong with our dogs).  Spread a little smooth peanut butter or fish or chicken paste on her front paws and then leave her, she may well try to clean herself up as many dogs hate dirty paws.  Make food into a game and lighten the mood this can have a positive effect. Throw tasty morsels around the garden and encourage her to find them.  Little and often is better for her than a normal sized meal as she wont make so much acid this way.  If she is drinking normally, boil a chicken and leave it in the cooking water until completely cool, remove the chicken and give her the liquid the chicken was cooked in. Just put it in a bowl next to her drinking water and leave it for her to drink when she feels like it.  I would only give her white meats which will be easier on her digestive system.

Big hug for Carly x

Thanks Torie - You are right on about the stress thing - she is wildly sensitive, like most setters, and I have lost my cool a couple times - It's almost like she has anorexia nervosa, not sure if dogs can have this - I am trying new dishes, different feed locations, like Sue said too, a little over the course of the day instead of one lump sum.  I will also try the boiled chicken water - I appreciate your feedback, and Happy New Year!

I would steer away from steroids.  One of my previous girls (9 years old) was given them to kick start her appetite...which it did for one whole day then she started vomiting her food back up and it did more harm than good.

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