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5 Causes Of Dog Weight Loss

5 Causes Of Weight Loss In Dogs


Unplanned or rapid weight loss may be symptomatic of something serious. Here are the most common reasons for unwanted weight loss in dogs.

1. Parasites

Cases of weight loss related to parasites aren’t as common as they once were because many dogs are on monthly heartworm protection drugs. However, not all products are equally effective against all worms.

Whipworms, in particular, aren’t killed by a lot of products. These are more common in dogs and they will contract these by ingesting contaminated food or water. Along with weight loss, symptoms of an intestinal parasite in dogs can include include vomiting (intermittent or persistent), soft stool, diarrhea and/or decreased appetite. Using a broad spectrum de-wormer is one of the first things vets might do to help a dog with these symptoms.

2. Cancer

Intestinal cancer (lymphoma and/or lymphosarcoma) is one that causes weight loss in dogs. While it’s more common in older dogs, it’s a serious diagnosis.

The tumor may appear in the stomach, intestines, or rectum and other symptoms include vomiting, poor appetite, and abdominal pain. Additionally, any type of cancerous process can cause weight loss, including cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder and kidneys.

3. Kidney Disease

Unlike some of the other conditions for which weight loss is a symptom, dogs with kidney disease won’t start dropping pounds right away.

If they’re only getting diagnosed after they’ve started losing weight, they’ve probably had the disease for a long time.

4. Advanced Heart Disease

Like kidney disease, dogs with heart disease won’t start losing weight immediately. In fact, some dogs may gain weight, despite a loss of appetite (the cause: bloat).

Generally speaking, loss of appetite is the easiest way to tell if your dog’s weight loss is concerning or not. If you’ve noticed a small amount of unplanned weight loss, try adding calories to their diet. If they eat more and gain weight, they’re probably okay.

5. Dental Disease

Oral pain, may lead to weight loss in dogs and they will have a hard time chewing hard kibble when they’re dealing with an abscess or other gum problem.

Treatment for the underlying condition should address the weight loss problem, but monitor your dog’s appetite closely to make sure it’s back on track.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372

Why Does Spaying a Dog Cost So Much?

 I used to work in a general veterinary practice in a wealthy part of Wyoming. Despite the fact that many of our clients arrived at the clinic driving cars worth more than my annual salary, the question “Why does  spaying a dog cost so much?” seemed to come up on a daily basis. I think the ready availability of spays through nonprofit organizations has skewed owner perception of the true cost of this surgery absent support via donations, tax-exempt status, and a focus on maximizing the number of surgeries performed.


It’s impossible to itemize the cost of everything that goes into a high quality dog spay, but I thought that an overview of what’s involved in spaying a dog might provide some insight.

  • An examination by a veterinarian prior to anesthesia on the day of the surgery.
  • Laboratory tests prior to surgery. Exactly which tests should be run depends on your dog’s age, breed, and health history. For example, a six month old mixed breed dog who has never been sick a day in her life may only need a check of her hematocrit (red blood cell count), total blood protein level, and an Azostix (a quick and dirty check of kidney function) while a dog with an increased risk of disorders that make anesthesia and surgery riskier would require more extensive testing.
  • “Pre-meds.” Sedatives and pain relievers that help dogs to relax and can reduce the dose of anesthetics that are subsequently given.
  • Placement of an intravenous catheter after the site is shaved and prepped with antiseptics to prevent infection. Catheters allow multiple injections to be given with only one “stick,” the administration of intravenous fluids during surgery (more on why this is so important next week), and ensure access to the blood stream in case an emergency arises.
  • Administration of injectable anesthetics allowing the dog to be intubated (placement of a breathing tube into the trachea).
  • Administration of oxygen and inhalational anesthetics through the breathing tube throughout the procedure.
  • Shaving and multiple applications of antiseptic solutions to the surgical site to prevent infection.
  • The use of several monitoring devices (e.g., blood pressure, blood oxygenation, pulse and breathing rates, and temperature).
  • A specially designed room used only for surgery complete with all necessary equipment (oxygen delivery system, surgical lights and tables, etc.).
  • The use of special devices to hold the dog in the correct position and keep her warm.
  • Application of sterile drapes (newly sterilized ones for every surgery) that leave only a small area around the surgical site exposed.
  • Caps, masks, surgical hand scrub, and sterile gowns and gloves (new ones for every surgery) for the veterinarian and anyone else who might assist in the surgery.
  • A sterile equipment pack containing scalpel handles, needle holders, hemostats, a variety of clamps, absorbent gauze, etc. A new sterile pack should be used for every surgery.
  • Sterile, individually packaged scalpel blade(s).
  • Several different types of individually packaged, sterile absorbable sutures.
  • Sterile nonabsorbable sutures, tissue glue, or surgical staples to close the skin.
  • Close monitoring while the dog recovers from anesthesia in a warm and soft location.
  • Pain relievers to go home and clear instructions (both written and verbal) regarding what owners should be monitoring for during the postoperative period.
  • The veterinarian’s, veterinary technician’s, and support staff’s time/salaries.
  • Expenses to cover costs associated with the running of the veterinary practice (e.g., equipment purchases and maintenance, utilities, rent/mortgage payments, etc.)

Truth is, most veterinary clinics greatly undercharge for spaying a  dog. They consider providing high quality spays a necessary part of patient care and are willing to take a loss on the procedure to avoid scaring clients away with the actual cost of the surgery.   Dr. Jennifer Coates

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372

Canine Cancer: Lymphoma

Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this common canine cancer.

Lymphoma is a common form of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, a network of vessels, nodes, and organs that are part of the circulatory system.

“The lymphatic system produces B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, disease-fighting white blood cells that travel through the blood in a fluid called lymph,” says Mona Rosenberg, D.V.M., a board-certified veterinary oncologist and founder of Veterinary Cancer Group, which has four locations in Southern California. “Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes grow uncontrollably, forming tumors in the lymph nodes that can spread to the organs, tissues, and bone marrow.”


Symptoms of Dog Lymphoma

The most common sign of early-stage lymphoma is enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, located near the front of the jaw, in the armpits and groin, at the front of the shoulders, and behind the knees. “Many owners discover the enlarged nodes when petting their dogs,” Rosenberg says.

More advanced signs include:

  •  Anorexia, or lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

Risk Factors for Dogs with Lymphoma

Although any dog can get lymphoma, certain breeds are genetically predisposed, including:

  • Boxers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Retrievers, including Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • St. Bernards

Lymphoma occurs equally in males and females, with middle-aged to older dogs most often affected.

Diagnosis of Lymphoma in Dogs

The first step of diagnosis is typically a fine needle aspiration, during which the veterinarian inserts a tiny needle into an enlarged lymph node to extract a cell sample. The cells are viewed under a microscope to determine if they are abnormal.

Other tests include:

  • Core needle biopsy to check for tissue abnormalities
  • Blood work to look for cancer in the organs
  • X-rays to check for cancer in the lungs
  • Ultrasound to look for cancer in the gastrointestinal tract and surrounding organs

Lymphoma is classified by stage — ranging from 1 to 5 — and the type of lymphocytes affected. “Dogs at all stages can respond to treatment and go into remission,” Rosenberg says. “However, dogs with B-cell lymphoma statistically live longer than those with T-cell lymphoma.” About 75 percent of canine lymphomas are B-cell.

Treatment for Dogs with Lymphoma

Since lymphoma travels in the bloodstream, veterinarians use chemotherapy drugs to target the entire body. Rosenberg says that a typical protocol involves a combination of pills and injections administered over a six-month period.

“Ninety percent of dogs treated with chemotherapy go into remission, and most don’t suffer any adverse side effects,” she says. Untreated dogs typically live only four to eight weeks from the time of diagnosis, while the median survival time for treated dogs is about one year.
Rosenberg advises that owners discuss treatment options with their veterinarian and a veterinary oncologist to determine the appropriate protocol.

Cancer Prevention

Although no known prevention for cancer exists, Rosenberg recommends a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate exercise, a nutritious diet, and avoidance of unnecessary environmental toxins.


We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372



Top Ten Signs of Heart Disease in Dogs

Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference when it comes to heart disease and your dog. As a dog owner, you should be aware of the signs of heart disease so that you can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible.

#10 Coughing

Coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, one of those being heart disease. Minor coughs will not last more than a few days. If after three days your dog is still coughing, or is experiencing other symptoms, seek veterinary care.

#9 Difficulty Breathing

Changes in breathing relating to heart disease may include difficulty breathing due to shortness of breath, labored breathing, or rapid breathing.

#8 Changes in Behavior

If you notice behavior changes in your dog, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression, these are all signs of heart disease.

#7 Poor Appetite

Loss of appetite is almost always a symptom of something. If combined with any of the other symptoms on this list, it could be a strong indicator of heart disease.

#6 Weight Loss or Gain

Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be as well. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance.

#5 Fainting/Collapsing

If your dog faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help. It may be a sign of many different serious illnesses, heart disease being one of them.

#4 Weakness

Weakness may be seen as a general sign of aging, but be sure to seek veterinary attention if it is combined with other symptoms.

#3 Restlessness

If your dog gets restless, especially at night, it may have heart disease.

# 2 Edema

Edema is the swelling of body tissues. In regards to heart disease, your dog may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.

#1 Isolation

If your dog suddenly starts to isolate itself or is keeping its distance from other pets and/or you, this may be a sign of heart disease.