After surgery, Kona is way too skinny.

  • Hello all–

    My basenji, Kona, is 4 years old. Earlier this year, he started to get skinny although I didn't see it right away. I was petting him and I felt his ribs. I thought maybe I was petting him too hard, but I looked down and could actually see them. He began to have very runny diarrhea, and often. I took him to the vet and they did some x-rays and saw a large pocket in his stomach. He was also dehydrated, so they gave him two sub-dermal fluid injections which supposedly disappeared more quickly than normal.

    I love Kona very much, so I opted for exploratory surgery. Inside, they found stuffing from a dog toy, rotting food, some kind of green cloth, and a few bits of plastic (I assume it's part of a toy, but who knows). All of this blockage was preventing Kona to digest food properly, and he couldn't absorb nutrients either. This is the cause for the dehydration, weight-loss, diarrhea, and sluggishness.

    This mass of blockage was removed and Kona recovered like a normal dog. The doctor took interest in Kona and took the time to personally call me every few days to see how he was doing.

    Kona eats well, is active, has regular bowel movements, and seems brighter-eyed and happier. However, he's still skin and bones. I also have a miniature schnauzer, and she weighs more than he does... it should be the other way around.

    I asked the vet whats going on, and he said that as long as Kona doesn't vomit or lose any weight, everything is fine and it will just take time. It has been 6-months and he's still the same.

    Before surgery, he had also lost some muscle mass as well. I am not allowed to give him any kind of physical activity until he gains weight, so that is a slow re-building process as well.

    Also, Kona also has more accidents inside the house. I am not home during the day and I sometimes work late, so I often come home to large piles and/or puddles on the floor. He used to be well-trained, but when I got my schnauzer puppy, he went into a "if she can do it, I can do it" phase. My schnauzer (Jada) is very very well house-trained, but Kona needs to be re-trained. Its been a long time, and I don't know what to do. As you all know, Basenjis can be quite stubborn. He's a wonderful dog, but I need to get him to stop using the carpet as a toilet. He generally tells me when he needs to go outside, but the problem is when I'm not home.

    Does anyone have any advice on either issue? I could really use some help.

    I attached some pics of Kona and Jada his "sister". You can see how he used to look vs. his skin and bones.

  • If his appetite is good, I'd go with a food with higher fat content, give him boiled or scrambled egg daily, a tbs of olive oil. Increase it slow. I would also get him on a heavy duty probiotic to help him digest his food better… such as Fastrack. I use the liquid dispersible form.

    I disagree with your vet.. that level of thinness is very unhealthy. If he is eating normally and still that thin, something is wrong.

    If however he isn't eating enough to actually gain, ask the vet for cyproheptadine to give him a great appetite. Someone here posted Satin balls... it's a tried and true weight gaining recipe!

    The only good thing is after 6 mos, it probably isn't something horrible like intestinal perforation. But I think if you weigh him tomorrow, up his food and get him on healthy bacteria for his gut, and he hasn't gained some within 2 wks, it is seriously time for a new vet or a specialist.

  • Has he been DNA'ed for Fanconi? Or has he been strip tested for sugar in his urine? May not be a "training" issue … and best to always make sure that there is no health issue

  • probiotics

  • Probiotics and I would also check for EPI. He may no longer be making the enzymes he needs to break down his food. That may also be the reason for the accidents in the house.

  • I would RUN to another vet to get a second opinion. That is WAY too skinny, and there is no way it should take a healthy dog more than a couple months to gain back weight from a blockage surgery. Good luck, he looks like a doll. I hope you get this figured out!

  • Oh poor boy 😞 And poor you!

    Definately get a second opinion, and maybe a thyroid test? I dont know if a thyroid problem would cause such drastic weight loss but its worth testing just to rule it out i'd think. There must be something causing the weightloss and you need a vet who's going to at least try to find out!

  • Houston

    poor baby, he is very skinny. Yes on second opinion, and EPI check..and I wouldn't wait to long.
    Keep us posted.

  • I would also consider a test for diabetes. That can cause muscle wasting and inability to put/keep weight on.

  • yes, that is wayyy to skinny. Get your full records from the current vet and get a second opinion immediately.

    Increase the protein and carbs in dog foos. May require swithcing the food he in on. Here is a good website to compare the content of food. Stay in level one or level two foods.

    Here is a website to look at, view the content of diffrent foods.
    For good weightgain, I suggest switching to Natures Balance Sweet
    pot. and fish- my dogs were picky too, but they love this food. It smells like fish so much they gobble it up. Buy a small bag and test it out first. Feed as treats, then start integratig it into your food.

    Here is a good link for how to switch dog foods if you need it:

    When they are being extremely picky, poke a hole in a fish oil capsule and squeeze over the food. Its great for them, bones, joints, skin, ec…. and makes them eat it all!

    Also- supplement with "Nutrical" a puppy supplement with high protein for muscle growth. I still have to use it on my 5 year old because he just wont eat.

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