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I have 4 setters a neutered boy age 11, a rescue spade bitch age 10 and 2 intact two year old brothers. It is the two young ones who have eating problems. Up until the last week of May all ate together 4 meals a day, they were enthusiastic about eating and all considerate of each other and no grumbling or pinching each others food - no issues at all. The last week of May first one young boy went off his food and couldn't be tempted with anything. I checked him over and noticed that his tonsils were red so we went off to the vet. He hadnt got a temperature and his glands werent up but as we were due to go on holiday at the end of the week (with the dogs) the vet erred on side of caution and gave him some antibiotics. The next day his brother wouldnt eat either. The situation continued but we went on holiday anyway leaving just the bitch with her old family (long story). As soon as we arrived there they would eat anything, back to their old selves. This got me thinking the vet had said therer could be a bitch in season which might account for their behaviour but we had asked around and No. But the bitch living with us had just gone on INCURIN for incontinence , which I believe is HRT for dogs. I mentioned this to the vet but she didnt think it could possible be involved.
We had been back from holiday for two weeks when the eating issue unfortunately started again. Its been a further two weeks now and neither has eaten properly. I have tried everything and it is upsetting (to me). They will readily eat a plain dog biscuit or human ginger biscuit but offered proper food they will either turn away or take it off me and then spit it out.
On occasion if I can get them started to eat with a bit of cheese or something then sometimes I keep adding a bit more and they keep eating until they have had a proper amount but this is not even once a day. Only sometimes do they seem interested but smell the food and look away. I have tried butchers tripe and terrier meal, a number of good dried food both soaked and dry, natures harvest, raw chicken wings, boiled rice and steamed white fish, tuna, pilchards etc. etc.
I stopped the Bitches HRT 5 days ago and am due to swap to Propalyn for the incontinence but at the moment am giving her no meds in case they are the problem. I must say the boys are excessively smelling her and also where she has pooed and urinated but are not trying to hump her at all or each other. In fact I would say they seem depressed. they dont have any signs of illness no diahorrea or vomitting or eating grass.
The only thing I havent mentioned is that coinciding with the start of this last not eating episode two weeks ago one of the young boys caught his foot under a gate and has ripped off two back paw nails completely. It is a mess and he has had to have meloxicam (anti inflammatory) and antibiotics.After a couple of days the anti inflammatory upset his stomach and he vomitted up the antibiotics so we stopped the anti inflammatory and changed the antibiotics. So he is depressed that he cant run free as they are taking a long time to heal. He is having regular check ups inc urine test and there doesnt seem to be any infection.
The two young boys are very close, could this be a depression thing with the one with the paw and the other is in symapthy.
The vet has taken a sterile urine sample from the bitch to ensure she doesnt have an infection as they think this could affect the boys ????
Im booked in at the vets on wednesday and dont know what to ask for next. The vet just says " a dog wont starve itself"
Help !! Does anyone have any idea what could be going on here and how I can break this cycle.
I forgot to say historically they have been on Bob and Lush a good quality dried food which I soak for a few hours before feeding. They used to love their food and both weigh around 28kg
Could it be hormonal. Has anyone had experience of Doggy HRT. The associated medicine leaflet just says it could deem the bitch "interesting" to other dogs.
Sorry for rabitting on here I just thought best to give all information up front when asking for advice
Thank you Julie, I have looked at the web page it looks very interesting I think I will send for the trial biscuits and some of the wet food..x
Just a bit of an update. Well they are both still not looking for meals but I have bought some frozen raw tripe and its the only thing they have not immediately turned away from (or spat out) and with a bit of coaxing are just about eating it. Im trying to introduce other food with it and so far they have had some rice and chicken.
Lucy has now been off the hormone 18 days and though they still have a quick smell at her they are leaving her alone. The really weird thing is that her incontinence has nor returned and the urine culture showed no infection??
My gut feeling is that its a hormone thing going on between the young boys (maybe because they are so close and that we dont have a dominant boy ). Teddys foot is alot better (just the nails to grow now) and his "mood" has lifted. So fingers crossed we will getter there. Ive tried the raw chicken wings but only Lucy is interested (and loves them). Thanks for all your help. julie
Glad they are at least eating something now, think this warm weather is not helping, Finlay is always ready to eat and looks for his food all the time but since we have had this hot weather he's not bothered and sometimes doesn't look for his food for a couple of hours after he would normally eat, (",)
So pleased to hear that you are managing to get them to eat a bit,this has been quite stressful for you especially with it having been ongoing for quite a few weeks now,so fingers crossed that things will continue on a positive note.
Great news also that Lucys incontinence has settled down and Teddys foot is on the mend.Hope they are managing to find a cool place to rest in all this heat.Give Lucy and the Boys a big cuddle from me and remember im just at the end of the phone if you need to chat xx