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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.


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Great news.......and well done Rhonda for suggesting Slippery Elm.

Hi Tom 

Wonderful news about the slippery elm. Lets hope you have turned a corner, have everything crossed for you and Carly.

I too will be jotting this down as you just never know and sounds like a great homeopathic remedy.

Keep us posted on the outcome and all the best for 2013 

Yes, well done Rhonda you have helped  more than just Tom, as I shall also make a note just incase. Thank you

I am just wondering how Carly is going Tom. Is she still comfortable with her eating?

Hi Rhonda, and thanks for the follow-up! Carly started the Slippery Elm on 1/4/13, and 2 weeks later she has clearly put on a few pounds, filled out some, and has generally been eating very well - The Slippery Elm works wonders, and has done it's job in coating the burn in her esophagus so she can eat. The root problem (regurgitation cough, acid reflux, etc.) still exists however, despite the Pepsid AC, Prilosec & Calafate that she has been on - The past couple days have not been as well for eating due to this, and I'm exploring holistic alternatives to the meds she is on - All tests show no significant issues, so it's a bit perplexing - I don't want them going in with an Endoscope as she is older now and I don't think she will tolerate the anasthesia to well - Overall however she is much better thank you, exercising & spirited - If I can only get the root problem taken care of, she will be back in full vigor! Thanks for the thoughts and inquiry!! Tom

Wonderful that she has gained some weight. and has her setter spirit back.  Fingers crossed that you can sort through the cause so she gets back to her old self. It is a worry when they get older with surgery, you do have to be comfortable with your decision to go ahead. Let us know if you find something that helps her. Hugs to Carly and thankyou for the update. 

Hi Tom! My old girl Eja (13½) often refuses eating her dry dog food after she has been in season. Changing her dog food may help for a few days... But in the end she refuses eating the new dry food... I spoke to my vet and he gave me the advice to give her left-overs from our dinnertable with a spoon full of cod liver oil... It worked! Two weeks later she was back on her favorite dry food... gained in weight, and was her old self again...

Kind regards from Denmark



Good Day Peter! 

Well thanks for the advice, and I'm glad to hear that Eja is back on her food.  As for Carly, she is doing great, putting weight back on exercising regularly and in good spirits!  I tried other foods and finally found a good high quality food made here in the States called Back to Basics - small kibble and almost no additives at all and she really likes it - I let it set in water for a few minutes to soften it, mix in a little cat food for the tempting smell and she is eating it everyday with no qualms!  I also give her 1-2 boiled chicken breasts per day so she has a good balance of protein, and of course extra sharp cheddar cheese which she adores - now I just have to make sure she doesn't pack on too much weight over time as she is looking real trim and athletic - she was a tad overweight for a while there. 

The Slippery Elm works wonders, and although she still has the occasional acid reflux cough, it is not nearly as bad as it was.  I have also re-introduced Nordic Natural Omega-3 gel tabs and Cosequin DS tabs for joint/hip strength - I'm confident this positive trend will continue, and I appreciate your feedback/support -

Best to you and Eja for CT-USA!!




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