Rebel has not been eating since he arrived here almost a week ago. He was too skinny then, and worse now. I’ve tried several varieties of dry kibble, canned dog food, and various combinations of rice, premium canned dog food, chicken soup, and milk. Nothing tempted him … except one. A small tub of chicken in gravy cat food that I had on hand. That he he licked clean and wanted to eat the lid. But it came back up an hour later. And the vomit was bright yellow: that’s bile and indicates a stomach problem.
I’m taking Rebel to the vet in a few minutes so, of course, he decides to eat this morning. I tried him on one baby food hot dog (they’re labeled as “meat sticks”) and he scarfed it. I gave him the rest of the jar (minus the oil they were packed in) and he scarfed those. To make a proper meal would take 6 or 8 jars – which I didn’t have and wouldn’t do anyway. Better to stay with a small meal that stays down (and it did) than to stuff him and have it all come back up.
So, what changed? I’m afraid I did not hold to the scientific method at all here because I changed several things all at once.
- I brought him inside the house yesterday afternoon and let him over-night in a crate. My thinking was that he may be feeling lonely outside by himself since I take his two outside companions in the shop and crate them at night. They don’t do well in the cold. It wasn’t cold last night, but they’re accustomed to going to bed at night. Rebel did well in his crate, waking me only once at 3:00 because he needed to go out and pee.
- This was his first time on the baby food meat sticks. These were recommended to me by another rescue person, so I picked up a jar as part of an assortment of foods to try.
- I have been using a stainless steel bowl for his food. I feed all of the foster dogs in stainless steel and wash each dish after every meal. I don’t remember whether Rebel’s bowl at “home” was ceramic or plastic, but it wasn’t stainless. So I got out a hard plastic bowl and tried that this morning.
Which of these –or maybe some combination — broke through his resolve I cannot say. But he ate a little bit this morning and I’m glad of that. We’ll see what Doc Sandra says and go from there.
At The Vet
Rebel was well behaved at Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital. They examined him and their initial prognosis was not good: Megaesophagus. I took the doctors comments to mean that. if this was indeed the case, we’d be euthanizing him. But they wanted to keep him for the day and perform a barium G.I. series.
I came back that evening and Tessa took me in to see the x-rays. As I watched the progression, it was obvious (even to me) that he did not have a distended esophagus. And there was no blockage of the bowels. There was an issue in the stomach – perhaps a foreign object. But that can be dealt with.
Each staff member I spoke with commented on what a pleasant, good-natured boy Rebel is, especially for a Husky. They said Huskies can get cranky and nippy when forced to do things they don’t want to do (like undergoing multiple x-rays and enduring a rectal exam), but not Rebel, he took it all in stride. All except having to lay on his back on a table for the X-rays. But he is SO skinny that there is no fat in his skin, he’s just bones, and that hurts. Once they put padding under him he was far more tolerant of the process.
They sent Rebel and me home with a case of prescription gastroenteric dog food and a follow-up exam appointment for next week.
This evening Rebel is resting comfortably in the house, on a pile of blankets with plenty of food and water at hand. He did eat a small amount of the dog food when we got home. He played in the yard with Blondie and came in all bouncy and happy. I love seeing him that way. With Cedarwood’s help, we’ll get this precious boy healthy again.
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