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Rescued GW Pointer - very low energy

 
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Franny
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004
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Location: Beaumont, Texas

PostPosted: 01/19/04, 3:53 pm    Post subject: Rescued GW Pointer - very low energy Reply with quote

We rescued a GW pointer from a shelter recently. He's a year or so old, and had been living in a kennel most of his life. He has a sweet, very compliant disposition and gets along very well with my other two dogs.

We took him to the vet and he was in good health, except he has two or three adult heartworms. We will begin treatment for that next month, after his neutering has completely healed.

I am concerned because this dog has NO energy. None. He sometimes lies down on the way to dinner, having walked maybe 30 feet. He doesn't breath hard, and is not in pain that I can tell, but just has to rest all the time. He is very thin (20 inches tall and 25 pounds). His hip bones and every rib show, and his feet are bigger than they should be for a dog his size.

He is on Wysong Dog Food (a fancy-pants mail-order food) with extra meat and veggies, and I put tiny amounts of Black Walnut and Wormwood in his water to help him strengthen his resistance to parasites. He got all of his shots last week, and is now on a heartworm/flea preventative. He shows moderate interest in his food, often leaving it sitting there to go lie down. The only time he doesn't do this is if there is egg in the food - he loves eggs.

I've talked with my vet about all this and she doesn't know what the problem might be, so gives me answers like, "It will all work out." She has only been out of vet school for two years, so she's not the most experienced doctor in the world, but we're in a small town so we take what we can get.

Does anyone else have any insight into this? I'm afraid for this little guy - I want him to have a great life and so far he's been too tired to enjoy much of it.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Franny
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Mom to Zooey, (13-yr-old Lab), Ava (1-yr-old deaf JR terrier), and Fritz (1-yr-old GW Pointer)
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 01/19/04, 6:08 pm    Post subject: Hang in there Reply with quote

Franny just a suggestion: Talk to you vet about the school that she attended and ask her if they have a referral program or some other means that would allow an alumnus to present problems to the school staff for consideration. You have a chance to win twice with this approach; the school, hopefully, will identify and solve the problem, and your young vet has a great learning experience.
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maverickdvm
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PostPosted: 01/19/04, 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heartworm can easily cause all of those signs. Make sure to check a fecal for intestinal parasites as well.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 01/20/04, 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I totally agree. Heartworm, even at an early stage can cause these problems especially in a weak dog. Abandonned dogs usually are weakened by the stress and sometimes the lack of care and/or food.
When a dog present these syptoms I always 1) systematically deworm the dog, using either Lopatol or Drontal Plus as it covers most intestinal parasites. I also check the types of stools the dog has: mucusy? sometimes tinged with blood? This is likely to be coccidiosis. Diarrhea? persistant? Intermitant? Giardia (Beaver Feaver) comes to mind. These are the most likely cause of such symptoms. Both have the ennoying characteristic to be difficult to isolate and unless you get 3 negative test results on at least 3 smeares taken 2 days apart, you cannot rule it out.
If these tests do come back negative and your vet still does not believe the heartworm to be at the origine of his ailement, then I consider more serious problems such as heart disease, malabsorpsion syndrom...

His age is also a factor. Most GWP do not put on weight up until their 2nd or 3rd year. The lack of energy could simply be depression. After all. he was abandonned and he has not been with you for long. GWP are very loyal to their owners no matter how badly they are being treated, so it is only logical that they demand a little time before adapting to a new environement.

Just another thought.
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Franny
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PostPosted: 01/20/04, 8:36 am    Post subject: Good news! Reply with quote

First, thanks for your input, and the insight and experience each of you displayed with your answers.
Last night I got home and Fritz the GWP had about 10-15% more energy than earlier. We fed him as usual, let him play and rest outside for a bit, went to bed, and this morning he was doing even better.
I am definitely going to check his stools though - they were incredibly mucus-ish and unformed when we first got him, which I attributed to his shelter life. I haven't checked them since.
If he doesn't continue on his current course, I think the idea about asking the vet to use him as a case study is an excellent next step.
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admin
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PostPosted: 01/22/04, 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heartworm is a BIG issue... it can really drag a dog down. Also, do not downplay the seriousness of that problem... the treatment is severe and very hard on a dog. It's not like intestinal worms where you just give them a pill or two. But, your vet will go over that with you.

Also, you didn't mention how long you've had your new boy, but you may also be dealing with depression from the shelter/life changes he's had. I STRONGLY recommend the book Second Hand Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin. It covers alot of the "emotional baggage" that can come with adopting a shelter/rescue animal and can be a great help in dealing with the issues that arise from that.

Good luck and keep us informed about how he's doing!
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/30/04, 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franny, as a fellow-rescuer, first let me thank you for taking in your little boy. Lucky Fritz.

Mucousy stools can be a good thing. He can be detoxing from all the crap he ate at the shelter. My girl was at a shelter for 5 wks and was a mess.

I'd also like to recommend a raw diet for Fritz. My girl had a lot of minor immunity issues, energy issues (too much!), and was extremely underweight, losing hair, food allergies, etc. She's been on a raw diet for 8 months now and the changes are phenomenal. I can't imagine feeding any other way now.

If you're interested in raw feeding, I'm more than happy to point you in some directions and different Internet groups as a means of learning and making a decision. There are a few raw-feeders here.

Either way, I think Fritz is in the best hands possible, and no matter what decision you make he is going to be happy, healthy, energetic boy before long. Good luck. I'm going to be keeping an eye on this thread to see how he's doing! Smile

Illona
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