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Discussion Starter #1
My 5yo boy, Blackjack, is exhibiting some troubling eating behavior and our vet is at a loss. Hoping someone here has an idea!

It all started about 6 weeks ago when Blackjack stopped eating after a bout of vomiting. He has always been an enthusiastic eater and counter surfer but now refused everything, even high value treats. Fortunately he continued to drink water. On Day 2 we brought him to the vet and had an x-ray, ultrasound, blood urine and stool tests. All came back clear. On Day 3 he resumed eating on his own. A week later the cycle started again. We brought him to the ER this time and he was admitted for observation, more tests and an IV. After two days he started eating again and was released without a diagnosis. Another week went by before he stopped eating AGAIN! We took him in for an ACTH test to rule our Addison's and he came home starving, possibly from the Cortosyne hormone injection. The test was negative so still no answers!

Since then, the cycle has continued two more times. He stops eating, often consuming copious quantities of grass which he regurgitates, and always drinking normal amounts water. He becomes very lethargic, refusing walks and sleeping in the sun most of the day. After two or three days he spontaneously starts eating again and is like his old self, gobbling down meals and begging for treats. After 5 to 7 days he stops eating again.

When all this started we fed him high quality kibble. The vet recommended home cooked food after the first incident and I've been preparing gourmet meals ever since. He loves them on the days he isn't "fasting" but turns his head on the days he is not.

Could it be an eating disorder? Depression? We are at a loss!
 

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Is it possible he has reflux? Is he passing stool normally when he does eat?
 
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When he is eating his bowel movements are normal. When he isn't eating they are runny and very dark, almost tar-like and eventually stop.
 

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What did they xray? The mouth? The throat? Can you post a picture of the blood panel test? I would want to see the kidneys and that they are functioning correctly. Perhaps he has an ulcer(s)?
 

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The vet did not provide a copy of his test results but I will request and post. I know he had slightly elevated white blood cell count so we did a full round of antibiotics, which did not seem to make any difference.
 

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I would talk to your vet about 2 things here -

1. Copper Storage disease - Our general Vet over looked it , it was not till we took her to a internal Medicine Vet did we find out what was wrong .

2. Did they do a good check of his intestinal area - feel for anything that is not suppose to be there ? I really hate to bring this up here , But this has me bothered = runny and very dark, almost tar-like stool - We had a dog do just like this and it was cancer in her intestinal area - a very aggressive tumor . I would check and see where the x-rays were taken and if they missed anything .

BTW- I'm no Vet either

Good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had two different vets and a radiologist review the X-rays and Ultrasound reports. Will add Copper storage to the list. Also going to ask about Canine Anaplasmosis (tick borne) as I found a post on this forum where that was the cause of anorexia. Thanks for the ideas!
 

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Where are you located? There is something called Valley Fever which mostly only shows up in dogs from areas around Arizona, New Mexico sometimes Southeast California. Like some of the tick bourne diseases it can produce an array of symptoms that get missed if you and your dog don't presently live in those areas.

That dark liquid stool that you are seeing between the times he's eating and when he's not sounds an awful lot like intestinal bleeding up high in the colon or in the small intestine.

I wish you the best of luck tracking down what is going on with your boy--these mystery ailments are just the pits.

dobebug
 

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I have seen vets going in and do exploratory surgery when they can’t find the obvious. While in the dogs abdomen they will take biopsies of the intestines for analysis. I realize it’s surgery but perhaps it’s warranted to go have a look see? I had an older dog that loved food but would go on bouts of not eating. We did testing couldn’t find anything ( her stool was still normal tho ) turned out it was the food. Acana original, was too rich for her and would cause a pancreatitis but didn’t show up on lab work. Got rid of the food problem gone. ( that was just my personal experience not saying it’s your issue) hope you find your answers and get some resolution.
 

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Thanks so much. As an update, Blackjack’s bowel ruptured early Saturday morning. He was septic by the time we arrived at the ER but they were able to rush him into surgery and he made it through! They found chunks of a rubber ball (the indestructible kind, of course) in his stomach and one that had made its way to the lower intestine. There was no foreign object visible when we first brought him in 6 weeks ago so we still don’t know if the ball was the cause of all this or if he has inflammatory bowel syndrome and ate the ball to “self medicate”.

Long story short, he had the exploratory surgery and we are waiting on the results. In the mean time he is recovering.

Thanks for your continued help!
 

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Oh dear, that's not the way you wanted this to resolve I know--sepsis and peritonitis in a dog can be very serious and the recovery/healing time if they make it through the surgery can be prolonged.

Best of luck--keep us posted.
 

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Serious serious surgery. Wishing you success with his recovery. I was going to 2nd what ECIN said. My vets overlooked the copper storage issue on my 2nd doberman. Had to change to a script diet but she did great on it.
 

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I am so happy that Blackjack made it through the surgery. I hope heals quickly.

A ingested ball also caused our recently passed senior to have bowel surgery as a young dog. We never did figure out how he got the ball (it wasn't his) or when he ate it. The upside was that he was watched much more closely after that, and never experienced a similar situation.

Best to you and your guy.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 
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