A sudden weight loss in dogs marked with weakness is a bad health marker. This kind of weight loss may be harmful for all over health of dog. We should find out the causes for such kind of weight loss. A loss of 10 percent of weight in a dog is considered as weight loss but that should not be related with the fluid losses.
Causes of Weight loss in Dogs
- Thyroid problems: Just like in humans, dogs can experience hormonal imbalance if they are experiencing thyroid problems. This can manifest itself as rapid metabolism and result in extreme weight loss. Thyroid problems can be easily managed once they are detected.
- Diabetes: Diabetes is characterized by insulin deficiency, also known as the body’s inability to absorb sugar from the blood. Diabetes normally causes dogs to have an increased appetite, but they will still lose weight. Diabetes can develop because of genetic or weight factors and is often seen in senior dogs.
- Anxiety: Many times dogs experience nervousness or anxiety which causes a lack of appetite. If they are not comfortable in their environment, they may not feel safe enough to eat.
- Tapeworm or other parasites: A dog with parasites can experience sudden and rapid weight loss. For example, a tapeworm lives in a dog’s intestines and consumes the food eaten by the dog. The dog is then deprived of nutrients and becomes extremely thin.
- Liver Disease: The liver provides the dog’s body with essential carbs and sugars. If the dog is suffering from liver disease, the liver will not be able to provide these crucial nutrients. The body will then start to consume fat deposits and muscle tissues to replace these nutrients.
- Dental problems: If your dog has a dental abscess it will be uncomfortable for him to eat. He may lose weight from lack of eating. The veterinarian will need to administer antibiotics and see if there is a tooth that needs to be removed.
- Insufficient calorie intake
- Poor quality of food
- Taste (palatability) of food
- Spoiled food/deterioration from prolonged storage
- Reduced appetite
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic protein-losing intestinal disorder
- Intestinal worms (parasites)
- Chronic infections of the bowel
- Surgical removal (resection) of segments of bowel
- Diseases of pancreas
- Addison’s disease
- Chronic blood loss (hemorrhaging)
- Skin lesions that ooze and cause loss of protein
- Disorders of the central nervous system that interfere with eating or appetite
- Paralysis of the esophagus
- Neurologic disorders that make it difficult to pick up or swallow food
- Increased physical activity
- Prolonged exposure to cold
- Pregnancy or nursing
- Bacterial infections
- Viral infections
- Fungal infections
A veterinarian will begin with a variety of diagnostic tests to find the underlying cause for the weight loss. After an initial health assessment, the following are some tests that might be recommended for your pet:
- Fecal studies to look for chronic intestinal parasites
- Complete blood count (CBC) to look for infection, inflammation, leukemia, anemia, and other blood disorders
- A biochemical profile that will evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreas function, and the status of blood proteins, blood sugar, and electrolytes
- Urinalysis to determine kidney function, to look for infections/protein loss from the kidneys, and to determine hydration status
- Chest and abdominal x-rays to observe heart, lungs, and abdominal organs
- Tests to evaluate the condition of the pancreas
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
- Bile acids test to evaluate liver function
- Hormone assays to look for endocrine disorders
- Alpha-Alpha Tonic