Weight loss after boarding; intermittent diarrhea?

  • Jibini is going to the vet on Monday, but I wanted to get some thoughts in the meantime.

    Jibini has lost a significant amount of weight/muscle mass & has been having intermittent diarrhea. Even the formed stools are softer than normal and are a light brown/yellow color, occasionally with mucus, gas, etc. He still eats like a horse. Drinking/urination are normal. His activity level has gone down; occasionally he's lethargic, but yesterday morning he was playful. Jibini has ALWAYS been a big food-hog, never picky, and has always tended towards the chubby side of the spectrum- so, to see him eating but not gaining is worrying me.

    Jibini had lost 2 pounds between Nov 2009 and the beginning of Feb, when I took him in to have 4 teeth pulled. I thought it may be related to tooth pain/infection (one tooth was dead & gum inflammed, vet went ahead & pulled all his broken teeth). He was 20 lbs at the time.

    I boarded him for 2 weeks at the end of February. I noticed very significant weight loss when I came home….all of his ribs are very easy to feel, I can feel his spine & the points of his pelvis; he feels like Tana did when I adopted her- not emaciated, but still too thin. He doesn't look that bad because he's in his double-thick winter coat still; I couldn't tell how bad it was until I put my hands on him, and picking him up he barely weighs more than Tana (she's 15 lbs). He's easily lost 3-4 lbs. Muscles in his arms & legs are stringy and wiry when they used to have decent definition.

    I know weight loss is common when a dog is boarded, even Chloe had lost a few pounds. And I know Jibini was a bit stressed. This is the kennel where I work, the owner is the hunting dog trainer who is mentoring me, they are my neighbors & are good people. Dogs are well cared for, kennel is clean, well-kept, warm.

    The girl who cleans kennels is also a good friend (Tana stayed at her house since she climbs fences)- she started upping Jibini's food during the 2nd week when she saw the weight loss. Said she didn't see any diarrhea, and he kept his appetite the whole time.

    It also bears mentioning that in Jan-Feb, I experimented with a food change. Decided I'd try the new Tractor Supply food, 4Health, since the ingredients looked decent. Gave Jib & Chloe gas but poops were OK, but once I saw the weight loss I thought it must have been the food. So I immediately put them back on Blue Buffalo, which Jibini has eaten for the past 4-5 years with good results.

    Switching back was done too abruptly since there wasn't much 4Health left in the bag. Both Jib & Chloe got a bout of diarrhea immediately after I switched them. (Tana eats a diff. food entirely, I never changed hers). Chloe was back to normal in 2 days, Jibini was back to semi-normal within 3 days....but he hasn't really gotten back to NORMAL healthy stools at all.

    I've been feeding him 2 meals a day consistently, double his normal food intake. He hasn't lost any more weight that I can tell, but he hasn't gained any either. He went a week where it looked like he was getting better- 2 or 3 BM's a day (his usual), looking like they were trying to firm up....and then suddenly this morning he's got diarrhea again.

    The simplest explanation (and the one I'm hoping for) is just an extended bout of Giardia; the symptoms match, plus the stress & boarding kennel. He is 9 years old and I had been planning to have a senior blood panel done this month anyway, I suppose we'll add a fecal test to it for good measure.

    I was just wondering if anyone thought I should have the vet look for anything else the fecal, CBC & chemistry tests won't pick up? Thanks in advance, will let you all know what vet says.

  • You might want to look at EPI,

    As I understand it with EPI they eat like a horse, everything goes straight through them… and it can be brought on by a number of different things.

  • Could it be stress related?
    Try canned pumpkin, it can't hurt..and let us know it this gets better.

  • Pat- yes, I did come across EPI when doing some research….i did note the similarities; yet he isn't quite as skinny as some of the photos I've seen of EPI dogs. Hopefully that's a good sign; I do think his weight seems to be at least stable, even if he isn't gaining. I wasn't sure if EPI was a common problem in Basenjis? Most of what I read online seemed geared towards the GSD. If his tests are inconclusive, or a standard treatment doesn't work, I'll be keeping it in mind.

    Sharron- I initially assumed his diarrhea & weight loss WAS a stress reaction, since everything seemed to happen right after I picked him up, and also I knew switching foods abruptly wasn't a big help. Which is why I gave him some time to get better- and it's gone on longer than any other bout of the "ickies" he's ever had. Plus the weight loss....so unusual for him.....More so than fat loss it seems to be a muscle wasting. His skin is loose & pliant, but his muscles seem stringy and have little substance to them. Almost his whole life I have had to carefully watch his weight; he's always gained quickly & taking an extra 2-3 lbs off him took quite a bit of consistent effort! So this just boggles me.

    Pumpkin didn't seem to help; I tried it a couple of times....just makes the watery stool turn orange, and adds volume, but not bulk, to his looser stools. Kaopectate also didn't do a thing. Tried it once, but since it didn't work I figured it's best to leave it alone & let his system "cleanse" if it IS giardia or coccidia.

    I hate that I couldn't get him in on Friday; the vet was booked solid, and not open Saturdays except for emergency calls. Which leaves me the weekend to sit here with a skinny Basenji on my lap & look stuff up...and of course, reading thru the threads here it is all too easy to get OVERLY worried before I even talk to the vet! So I am TRYING to remain calm & rational here. It probably IS a bad case of giardia or coccidia & he's just getting too old to handle it as well as he once did. And probably some Panacur or something will knock it out, and I'll feel relieved & silly for worrying and wasting everybody's time, lol.

    Today he's a little better- stools are back to loose, whereas yesterday they were liquid. Seemed playful out in the yard with Tana this afternoon for a minute or two. Has been asleep on my lap for the last 3 hours; hasn't moved.

    I'll spend Sunday keeping myself busy so I don't worry myself sick & will update you all on Monday when we get back from the vet 🙂

  • I will hope the weekend, he gets a bit better each day. Do let us know how it goes.

  • We have a puppy on the Forum that has EPI… and while not super common to Basenjis have heard of a few on some of the other chats lists when the subject came up. Also I know a person who's Basenji ate an entire cake (frosting and all) that is now EPI

  • How did the fecal and tests come out?

    NEVERMIND just saw your other thread

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