Q. Our 2-year-old dog has not been eating very well for the last month. We have been to the vet and emergency clinic several times, but no one can figure it out. He has lost 7 pounds, and we cannot get him to eat much of anything. We recently found some old feces in the backyard that appeared to have some house insulation in it. Could this be the problem? His blood work has been normal, and he has no fever.
A. This sounds like an interesting case, but I wish your dog was eating more. Seven pounds is a significant weight loss. I would recommend some non-invasive diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the weight loss and decreased appetite. You are absolutely correct: If your dog ate some fiberglass insulation, it may have created a partial obstruction or some ulceration in the wall of the stomach or intestines.
Your veterinarian can perform these tests one at a time until he or she finds something. First, consider a contrast study, in which your dog swallows some barium, followed by a series of X-rays to look at the passage through the intestines.
Secondly, you may want to consider endoscopy, in which a scope with a camera is passed into your dog’s stomach and small intestines to look for any abnormalities and to take biopsy samples.
Finally, laparoscopy is a noninvasive way to look at the inside of the abdomen with magnification, to make sure all is normal.
These tests are not inexpensive, but they are all noninvasive, so they have minimal side effects and cause minimal discomfort.
Jon Geller, DVM