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Deconditioning


Guest ponyiq
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Guest ponyiq

Hi all,

I may seem new for many of you, but I used to be very active under a different screen name. I took time away from the internet for nearly two years for the most part other than email after rough family losses and a serious injury to my daughter. I never took time off from my critters though. Anyway, Sparkle is nearly 13 years old now. She will be 13 in less than a month. Over the last six months she has gone down hill, deconditioning would be the way that both myself and the vet describe it. She has a great vet, has had lots of blood work, ultrasounds, ekg's, and x-rays. He is familiar with and tries to stay current on the treatment of greyhounds. He diagnosed her with a heart murmur two years ago that has gotten progressively worse but her blood work is still dead on for her age and breed, her health over all by bloodwork, ekg and x-rays is good.. but she doesnt have an appetite. I am free feeding ( i have tried every food under the sun and have come full circle back to iams mini chunks.. she wont eat a lot of the higher end food.. she eats this better than most food) she also gets turkey necks, rice, veggies, chicken and a product that my vet recommended for me to order ( he makes nothing.. he does not carry it, he just likes it..) called Vet Balance..

 

She looks bad though, she has lots of energy, but I can not keep weight on her, she has dropped 10 pounds in the last two years. She is dewormed, on heartworm preventative, flea control ( although the vet had me back off to every six weeks) She has as much energy as to be expected of an elderly dog, she runs around a couple of times a day.. she wags her tail, follows me around etc

 

but she is like an elderly person that is deconditioning.. and while I know it is to be expected, I am used to my older animals living longer. My horses I can generally keep alive well into their mid thirties despite the average age being closer to twenty. cats into their mid to late teens.. and dogs usually into their mid teens.. so I am stumped.. I want to keep her happy and comfortable

 

I have tried making ground beef for her, ground turkey etc.. she will eat a couple of bites and walk away, we are free feeding because it seems she does best and gets the most calories this way

 

I give her the left overs of whatever that is not chocolate.. cereal, milk, eggs, pasta, whatever we eat for each meal i give her the rest.. much to the unhappiness of the rest of the dogs..

she is not stressed.. that i can tell. she seems perky and happy.. she does chew but that is the iams, she did not chew on eukanuba but she did not eat enough to maintain.. she dropped.. she wont eat solid gold at all, she wont touch nutro ( any of the formulas) i can get her to eat bil jac sometimes dry or frozen.. it is just the most constistent food that she will eat( well she likes one other food more but i can not bring myself to feed it to her.. she will gorge herself on walmart hipro - a friend of mine feeds it to her farm dogs and sparkle will literally gorge herself on it.. when she goes over there with me.. but welli cant do it.. )

I give every dog in the house yogurt at least three times a week

any ideas

nicole

 

 

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Guest ponyiq

no.. i guess i am not using my head.. as I could crate her and let her eat it mixed in the crate

i am alway just thinking safety.. i hand feed her the scraps

 

nicole

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Guest david_42

I'm really puzzled, if there is a food she'll eat why not feed it to her? If the choice is letting her starve herself or feeding walmat hipro, I know what I'd do. It may not be great food, but calories are important too. Cougar's lost 10 pounds in the last month & I'd be happy to feed him a generic, if he would eat it.

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I'm really puzzled, if there is a food she'll eat why not feed it to her? If the choice is letting her starve herself or feeding walmat hipro, I know what I'd do. It may not be great food, but calories are important too. Cougar's lost 10 pounds in the last month & I'd be happy to feed him a generic, if he would eat it.

 

 

I agree. Like Sparkle, Foxy is almost 13 and very skinny, but full of energy and life.

Foxy lost quite a bit of weight in about 6 months and we tried everything we could think of. In the end we gave up and let her have what she likes 1/2 a can of cheap smelly canned food with her good kibble. She gets Missing Link and fish oil caps plus chicken necks and backs plus veggies and pasta a few times a week. We also treat with a lot of peanut butter. I will also mix a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter with her kibble. Anything to get enough calories into her. Since feeding her what she likes, I am starting to see less bone. At this point I'd like her to gain about 5 lbs, so here's hoping.

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Janet & the hounds Maggie and Allen Missing my baby girl Peanut, old soul Jake, quirky Jet, Mama Grandy and my old Diva Miz Foxy; my angel, my inspiration. You all brought so much into my light, and taught me so much about the power of love, you are with me always.
If you get the chance to sit it out or dance.......... I hope you dance! Missing our littlest girl.

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It sounds as if this is just an age-related thing and you're doing pretty much all you can ... but I too am puzzled as to why you won't feed her the one food she'd gorge on. :P

 

You don't have to feed it to her as a meal, just as an extra - any extra calories would be good for this purpose. A low-grade food might not be ideal, but hey, if she'll eat it, I'D feed it!

 

The other thing I'd just mention is that greyhounds do usually lose weight as they age. If she's otherwise healthy and her bloodwork etc is good, then personally, I wouldn't worry too much about appearances, especially since she is happy, alert and as energetic as age allows. What you have to remember is that these dogs are built to be athletes, and much of their body shape depends on muscle. Sparkle is now the equivalent of an eighty-year old person, and you wouldn't expect an eighty-year old ex-athlete to carry the same amount of muscle as when they were competing, or even when they were middle aged and still working out. What she has lost is most probably muscle bulk and no matter what you feed her, unless she's exercising properly (which she can't possibly be at thirteen years old) then you can't make her replace it. It's likely that even if she were exercising properly she couldn't replace it at thirteen years old, simply because of the ageing processes which cause changes in the way the body works.

 

If greyhounds loses muscle bulk, they lose weight rapidly, even if they replace some of it with fat, because inch for inch, muscle weighs more than fat, being a more solid tissue. Also, when a greyhound loses muscle, they lose a lot of what makes them the shape they are, and you are left looking at a fairly skeletal creature simply because they are long-limbed, narrow chested animals. There may be absolutely nothing to worry about in Sparkle's weight loss at all. Other animals, including horses, can lose much more muscle before they look similar .. although I'm sure your thirty year old horses have got rather sway-backed and hollow-looking by the end. It's just what happens to elderly mammals. Greyhounds tend to show it more, that's all. :)

 

And of course, you don't want her just carrying excess fat because that causes its own health problems - although a little doesn't hurt because if they get sick they can tend to go downhill fast.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest ponyiq

I will try it

my vet got me all wigged out about.. I was going to give it a try when he came by to pull some blood and saw a 20 pound bag of it stacked admist the 100 pounds of iams and he asked what iw as going to do with it.. i told him and he kind of very nicely read me the riot act.. so i gave it to my friend

 

nicole

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no.. i guess i am not using my head.. as I could crate her and let her eat it mixed in the crate

i am alway just thinking safety.. i hand feed her the scraps

 

nicole

 

I was thinking she could just be a little spoiled from the table scraps and keeps wanting

them instead of kibble. Some dogs are pretty talented at seperating the two when they

are mixed! :lol but it might be worth a try anyway.

 

Aside from that, I think the Walmart hipro sounds fine but she may even grow tired of that

if you continue to free feed. This could actually be the reason for her lack of appetite. She

may eat more if it is not always there.

 

Jenn

 

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Is she able to go on walks? I've found my dogs eat their food in 30 seconds on days when they've had good walks, but are not as interested on hot days (and we've had a few weeks of those) when they get little or no exercise.

 

It was cooler today, and Monty had a good long exciting walk, Katie didn't (she has back problems.) Monty ate his dinner and then hers when it was clear that she was rejecting food today. I've worked to get his weight back up to 63 pounds (he's 12 and has some medical issues) so always happy when he eats! But I do see a correlation with my own dogs eating habits and the amount of exercise they get, so thought I'd mention it.

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My 13 year old is very picky over food and also has mild MegaE. At her age I'm happy to give her just about anything she will eat that doesn't actually make her ill. Maybe poorer quality food could shorten her life some, but at least if she will still eat and seems happy and healthy, I'll settle for that at this age.

Sue from England

 

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Guest david_42

"he kind of very nicely read me the riot act"

 

Every dog I've had has refused to eat "Vet" food. My problem with Cougar right now started with Prescription D/I that the Vet sold me to help with Cougar's diarrhea. He ate a cup, went outside and puked his guts out and now suspects kibble is poison. Katie wouldn't even touch the stuff & she eats deer droppings!

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Guest greytloves

I would have to say that you may want to consider what your expectations are. You mentioned that you are used to dogs living longer in their mid teens. Well, 13 sounds like that number and for a large breed dog, 13 is an old gal. You may want to start thinking that she is getting to the end of her life, and thinking in that fashion, give her whatever dog food she is liking. Maybe her senses have dulled and the cheap food smells and taste better. Maybe give her a senior dog supplement with it?

 

 

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Guest ponyiq

I have never owned a small dog , so I know that she is at the end of her life... I love the old dogs and old horses.. they are very elegant and full of a special grace.. and I think I am not used to seeing a greyhound age.. she is my first elderly greyhound. I have had old german shepherds.. which get thinner as they age but differently.. something someone said made me think

I have had old tb's, old ponies, old arabs.. and the old tbs which i will equate to greyhounds... do age physically differently than the others.. they do look worse over all compared to other breeds at the same age..

I also started reading back over the thousands of post on ideas for feeding the old girl.. and started to notice.. that when i first put out food in the morning, she will eat a few bites.. ( i also found an old post about neck issues and feeding without having to reach down.. and i did have a couple of raised dishes,some on the floor, some in crates.. I put out 10 bowls of food each morning and generally i have a little kilbble in a few the next morning..

 

i have took one of my daughters toys out of her room ( her baby dressing table) and it makes a perfect feeding bowl for sparkle in terms that she can walk up to it and she does not have to reach up or down for it... but I also noticed that she comes to follow me and tries to get breakfast out of me.. which she does.. but anyway, after reading probably 100 or more post about feeding ideas to get picky dogs to eat etc I have some ideas..

 

I am going to pick up twice the normal amount of turkey necks from the butcher monday.. and offer her some everyday instead of every other day.

feed her from the higher level

offer her kibble in a crate that is the hipro.. keep the good stuff out for free feeding but put her in the crate for a couple of hours with the high pro

 

 

she doesnt tolerate walks well.. i took her for a short walk last night and she breathes funny.. which the vet says is just part of her aging, cardiac issues.. she does much better in the winter when it is not as muggy

i walked her at 3 am ( i keep the same schedule generally.. even on my days off.. sleeping in the day up all night) it was 89 degrees at 3 am and 85% humidity.. so it was hard.. we did about two blocks total.. and she was ready to come in..

i did take her for a truck ride earlier and she seemed to have a little appetite improvement after.. so i may need to just take her to the store for a soda or something daily just to get her out of the house until it cools.. she walks around the yard at her own pace..

 

 

anyway, i am going to keep reading all of the old post.. as there are a ton on this topic and see what i can find and see if i can find all kinds of stuff.. because i am willing to do whatever i can for the old girl. we are coming up on three years together.. and i love the old girl

 

nicole

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Guest Snowy8

Snowy will be 13 tomorrow, she's eating less, and losing some inches, but she's still full of energy, gets up as soon as Pipi announces the sun is up & runs in the backyard. I have her on only dry dogfood(with warm water)...no table scraps. A couple of nights this week, she refused to eat, I think its the heat, so she went into Gogh's crate...I put her bowl in there with her and when the others finished & started nosing around close by, she ate all her food. So putting her in a crate with her food is a good idea, maybe she's just not hungry when its feeding time & would rather nibble.

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I would have to say that you may want to consider what your expectations are. You mentioned that you are used to dogs living longer in their mid teens. Well, 13 sounds like that number and for a large breed dog, 13 is an old gal. You may want to start thinking that she is getting to the end of her life, and thinking in that fashion, give her whatever dog food she is liking. Maybe her senses have dulled and the cheap food smells and taste better. Maybe give her a senior dog supplement with it?

 

Good post, but I wouldn't give her senior kibble. They are nearly always designed to keep weight DOWN on an ageing dog. ;)

 

 

I also started reading back over the thousands of post on ideas for feeding the old girl.. and started to notice.. that when i first put out food in the morning, she will eat a few bites.. ( i also found an old post about neck issues and feeding without having to reach down.. and i did have a couple of raised dishes,some on the floor, some in crates.. I put out 10 bowls of food each morning and generally i have a little kilbble in a few the next morning..

 

i have took one of my daughters toys out of her room ( her baby dressing table) and it makes a perfect feeding bowl for sparkle in terms that she can walk up to it and she does not have to reach up or down for it...

And that is an excellent idea! It's quite likely she has some stiffness at her age and feeding her in a raised bowl will help her considerably. :thumbs-up I didn't think of mentioning that because my greyhounds are always fed from raised feeding/drinking stations - about 8-10 inches high. :lol

 

Sparkle sounds like a wonderful old girl who is lucky to be in a very caring home. :)

 

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest longdogs

I find I'm relaxing food rules with William these days. He's only 10 but the last year has been tough on him and he's slowed down a lot. He used to have a very robust appetite, now I'm happy to see him get a square meal and will tempt him with whatever he shows enthusiasm for. That's as likely to be his ordinary kibble mixed with a little parmesan as anything else. I'm with the others. Let her eat a kibble she likes, whatever it happens to be, provided it doesn't disagree with her and make sure she gets plenty of variety to keep her interested.

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Guest ponyiq

OK I wanted to share out good news

I have fed Sparkle for three days now with the following routine

it is nasty but she can not eat enough literally

 

I am giving her iams mini chunk mixed with skippy canned food which i remembered we used to use at the no kill shelter to get really bad dogs ( i.e. the one that had its leg caught in a bear trap and took 3 sps a vet and myself and two other volunteers to get the dog who the vet estimated had been in the trap for five days and had gangrene) anyway, the dog had reached the point of not having any drive for food even after surgery to remove the leg, iv antiobotics etc... anyway we had several like this over the years.. and one of the old timers who had been doing this for like 30 years or so, said use ksippy)

 

so, i am mixing iams mini chunks, skippy chunks with warm water and putting it at shoulder height

she still has access to dry

i am putting her vet balance in the mix

i am giving her meatballs of molassess green beans carrots bananna baked into meatballs for her treats..

and still giving the chicken/turkey necks like always

 

she has been on my bed for the first time in months

so thanks everyone

i needed to get over my food snobbishness and feed the old girl whatever her heart desires as long as it is safe

she doesnt have the nice perfect poop it has loosened but that is ok, no runs

 

her desire to eat is definetly improving as she is following me to the kitchen , the bathroom everywhere now

she had a dental six months ago and the vet said she had the best greyhound teeth he had ever seen.. but i sort of wonder if maybe she likes the softer mix

i still catch her nibbling

but i thank you all for helping me to see the light

nicole

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Maybe another option for you, have you tried giving her Ensure (the weight gain stuff for people)? My grandmother's Vet recommended it for her ailing cats. It's lactose free & the vanilla taste like a vanilla milkshake.

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You might also want to add a digestive enzyme to the mix. Like older people, older animals also sometimes have a harder time digesting their food, and it would be better if she can get the most out of what she is eating.

 

Sounds like things are heading in the right direction though - good luck!

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Guest greytloves

Yippee! So glad to hear she is eating with gusto.

 

I always think that is the most important thing with the older dogs. Most breeds tend to gain weight in the years, but with these guys you have to use whatever works to keep the weight on!

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Some good foods....baked chicken, boiled hamburger, tender roast beef, meatloaf made with ground meat, oatmeal, eggs, etc. You can also add potatoes, pasta, rice. The main thing is to give her yummy foods that she will like. :)

Greyhound angels at the bridge- Casey, Charlie, Maggie, Molly, Renie, Lucy & Teddy. Beagle angels Peanut and Charlie. And to all the 4 legged Bridge souls who have touched my heart, thank you. When a greyhound looks into you eyes it seems they touch your very soul.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more then he loves himself". Josh Billings

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Guest ponyiq

Vet was here today to pull bloodwork on one of the german shepherds and he thought she looked brighter and while this may seem really strange to most.. she had gained 1 1/2 pounds since he saw her last.. and that is in three days of eating other foods

 

I also found by accident that she likes baby food and she really likes cottage cheese. I had to get cottage cheese and baby food for another dog.. and she was stealing it.. she has never stolen food before.. never counter surfed but she counter surfed for the bowl of baby food and cottage cheese.. which was gagging me.. i never fed baby food to my child.. i made my own foods for my child...but it seems to be something she is interested in to

 

Anyway, i am game.. i have had so many ideas given to me by the people here that i have so many things to try with my old girl but it is also really good in timing as i have another dog ( a young gsd that hasquit eating. .vet came and did blood work and exam today.. but nothing was obviously wrong on his exam, we will have the blood work by noon tomorrow.. and if he finds anything he will be back tomorrow afternoon)

 

nicole

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