Help please! Emaciated puppy!

I'm really upset right now, but I'm going to try to be rational. We adopted our 14 week old OES puppy two weeks ago. She *looked* normal and healthy to us, though we knew she had a difficult background. I noticed on the way home that underneath her thick, luxe coat, she was VERY thin. I could feel all her ribs, and the dips in-between, and her hip bones jutted out alarmingly. There was not a single ounce of meat on her bones -- she was just, literally, a sack of bones covered in fur. When she laid down, it sounded like someone throwing a carpet bag full of fire wood on the floor.

I took her to the vet one week ago tomorrow. He suspected worms accounted for her emaciation, and said "She is underweight, but healthy. This is a concern, but not a crisis. This is a healthy puppy, just very underweight." She should weigh around 40 lbs and she weighed 24.5 lbs. She sleeps a lot. When she is awake, she is full of energy and curiosity and kisses and mischief, but she only goes for about an hour, tops, before sleeping again for two or three hours. She has no symptoms other than the emaciation and the sleepiness.

We were told to give her medication for worms (panacur, though she had already allegedly been dewormed twice), they took blood, and we were told she should gain 3-5 lbs.a week from that point forward, and that we should weigh her again in a week.

A few days later, the bloodwork came back showing anemia and low protein levels. The vet said this was consistent with worms. We dropped off a stool sample the next day and began her worm meds.

Tonight she had her lost dose of worm medication. Today, the results of the stool sample came back and showed that she had hookworm and Giardia. We weighed her tonight, just now, and she has not gained a single pound. She has grown vertically, so that technically means she is *thinner* than she was a week ago.

I'm just at a loss. A 24 lb. 16 week old OES? It's painful to feel her ribs. She is eating, a lot, going to the bathroom normally, etc.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I can't just let her waste away, but I don't know what else we can do besides keep feeding her!

I'm really scared. We love her so much, and she has wiggled her way into our hearts completely in the two weeks we've had her.
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It sounds like your vet is doing a good job.
Too bad she got a bad start at life. The worming and other stuff is so easy, and her ill health could have been prevented. :(

I wouldn't worry too much over the fact that she hasn't gained weight yet. Her body is using the calories from her food to heal itself, and grow. The fact that she actually is GROWING is a good sign - it means she has enough food in her to support her healing and life, plus a little left over to grow like a puppy should. Possibly she is a bit stunted? and now is growing to catch up were she should be. Gaining weight is going to be the last thing to happen.

Having a skinny OES puppy isn't that uncommon - that hair does cover lots of skinny dogs! If you surf through some of the picture posts, you will see some really skinny dogs once the hair is off (OK, some that are overweight too!!)

This is my active 1st OES - at about 7 yrs old -
He never, ever got any heavier than this!

I am always trying to get my equally active 2 yr old to gain. He is up to 70 pounds now, and is 24 inches tall (at the withers). I am feeding him so much that he walks away from food...good food.
This is my most current picture of him - taken last week getting ready for a show.

Under all that hair you can easily feel his hips, pelvis, spine and every rib.

Good luck with your girl. :D
It took her awhile to get in the shape she is, she won't get back to normal real fast.
Your Vet sounds wonderfull, now that she is wormed properly things should start to settle down now.

At her age you can give her 3 meals a day to help her with her weight and growth. Better for her then 1 large meal a day as she still has a long way to go to reach her full size in both body and weight. Make sure she is on a "Premium Growth Kibble" to assist her growth developement. You can add to the kibble for variety things like cooked rice, pasta, cooked chicken, beef, vegies, like carrot, pumpkin, brocoli or zuchini to help her as well and give her added benefits but the main part of her diet should be a good quality growth kibble.

Also with her bad start to life, include each day a good desert spoon of Yoghurt, they love it and it assists the gut with good flora and will help her as well. .

Best wishes with everything and I am sure now she is under your TLC she will bloom and grow in leaps and bounds :D
Was the stool sample before you medicated? Giardia can be annoying but usually cleared up after treatment and a cleaned up potty area. I would try some probiotics to get her gut working normally. If the worms are gone she should start gaining weight soon. I have a 1 yr old who I think is 70-75 lbs. Haven't weighed in a while, but I always worry about him eating enough. He is kinda picky, but lately cottage cheese is doing the trick. They seem to eat what they need, and eat more during the growth spurts. If you trust your vet that she is otherwise healthy, don't worry. She will start putting on weight soon...the worms take a lot out of them.
Yes, you still have two problems to overcome. Keep her potty yard clean, super clean. Gravel can harbor problems. Also wipe her butt for her.....oh, she'll hate that. You don't want any bad guys hanging onto the hair. Don't rub her raw back there, just a quick wipe is fine and you don't want her licking back there either, that's a way to reinfect.

Puppies grow in unusual spurts and your's with these parasites in her will be a bit more "unusual." I'm sure the vet has recommended a good food for her. Ditto the probiotics. If she is alert and playful, that's great news. All puppies, even those w/o parasites just suddenly crash after a play session and sleep a lot. :lol: Once her worms are gone and she reaches the "preteen and teen months" you may want that sleepy puppy back.

Kinda makes one wonder what the conditions were like where she was raised and if her mother was also infected. Most likely.
I picked up some foster puppies 5 weeks ago from a shelter.
I have the mom and four pups now, one did not make it from
probably whipworms!

I was worried that they were not gaining weight and we kept
following the vets advice on deworming and treating for
Low and behold 5 weeks later they are very happy, healthy and
probably too fat!
It takes some time, hang in there and good luck!
One of our dogs was underweight when she arrived... she has a cleft palate. At 9 weeks she weighed 9 pounds. She had a tapeworm and salavary gland infection and was very boney. The vet wanted more weight on her.

So we free-fed her at first and gave her a can of Hill's Prescription Diet a/d each day. It's a food for dogs and cats that are stressed due to illness or injury- ... 4441760567
We also gave her a liquid vitamin daily... I'm on a different computer to post so I can't look it up but I think it was because she too was anemic.

I weighed her daily and kept a progress chart so I could see if we were going in the right direction. We then went to a home cooked puppy food recipe but first checked it out with our vet.

When her appetite began to wane, we went to three scheduled meals per day. You don't want to feed too much that she gets the runs or she won't get the benefits of the added nutrients/calories. You might also consider a probiotic/digestive enzyme if it will help her get more of the nutrients from her food... some vets believe in them, others do not. We feed one daily. Cleanup will be very important so she doesn't become reinfected.

It can be a challenge but if the vet says she's otherwise healthy and she's acting normal, it will just take time to get the needed weight on her.

Good luck to you and your new baby!
I am sure your baby will gain weight. When Summer came back from the vets after her illness you could feel every bone in her body, every rib every bit of her spine, but after about 5 weeks she was normal.

keep us posted but I am sure your pup will just be fine....xx
sorry to hear of your puppys problems and send ing good thoughts and hoping she will be ok
Everyone has offered great advice.

Just a note on the giardia though (we went through it as a puppy too). Humans can get this micro-organism, so make sure you are proactive in washing hands, watch little ones especially. It can also live in the soil, so make sure you pick-up potty immediately after she goes.

Sounds like your vet is doing a great job. With a good vet, a lot of love, and some food, your little girl should be okay.
when i got derby he was the same way it took along time to get rid of the giarda but hang in there.. just keep feeding her and give her plenty of love.. she will get over this bad hump..
Ahhh, you guys have made me feel so much better! There's just something about being the "mommy" and having an underweight dog that brings out some kind of primal "EAT! EAT!" instinct in me.

One thing I have a question about. I seem to recall that there was a sort of recent Canadian study that found that kibble is not as good for dogs as canned food. I think it even concluded that "the cheapest canned food is better than the most expensive kibble." I've always fed my dogs kibble only, but when I read that study I switched to kibble + canned food.

I was going to try Lola on just canned, but do you guys think I should add in kibble, and if so, what brands do you like? After several false starts with canned foods she didn't like and refused to eat, I've been feeding her "Puppy Plate" by Merrick, sold at my local indie pet store and she LOVES it -- eats 2-3 large cans per feeding.

This morning, the scale said Lola weighed 29 lbs. Hm. That is better, if it's accurate!
Actually, if she's having poo issues, I'd probably hold off on the canned for a little bit-- anything to keep things a little firmer! As long as the food you choose is a good quality food, the diet will be pretty complete with kibble alone. I'd feed my dog good kibble over a cheap canned any day. Merrick makes an excellent kibble (actually I believe they make Puppy Plate in a kibble form, too). The only reason I stopped feeding it to my dogs is because the kibble is too small they threw it all over the floor when it fell out of their mouths and small kibble hurts to step on. If you have access to Merrick, I'd stay in that family is she's already doing well on it. My old girl that I lost this year ate nothing but Merrick canned until she passed away. I tried some of it myself to see what she was eating and it wasn't bad. Needed salt, though. I don't think there's anything wrong with feeding all canned, you're just going to feed a lot more. Some people say kibble helps clean their teeth but you also see conflicting opinions on that, too. Ultimately, if your dog is healthy and a good weight, go with whatever agrees with her best.

To make sure you're getting a good food, look for natural ingredients with the first ones in the ingredient list being meats and whole grains. If you see corn, keep looking!
I won't feed any canned food after losing Winston to the canned Nutro recalled food. I know I am mental about it, but I don't trust any of the facilities to clean machines between runs. A good brand of kibble with an add in or two seems to work for my guys.
We feed our dogs both canned and dry food.

Merrick has a wide variety of canned food. Our dogs prefer "Grannie's Pot Pie" and "Thanksgiving Day Dinner". They also get cans of Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul. We also use canned Wellness occasionally.

As for dry food, right now they are on Wellness. However we also use California Natural. Probably the best thing is for you to go to your local pet food store and read the labels.

Jennifer, Baxter and Cassioipa
Try adding some BilJac to her food, maybe a 1/2 cup per meal. I started using it because I have a skinny boy and it helped him gain some weight. If the giardia persists ask your vet about GiardiaVax, a series of two injections given two weeks apart. Many years ago we had a bad run of it and that was the only thing that stopped it.
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