By Dr. Andrew Jones
What is Inappetance?
This can be a decrease in appetite, or it can be that your dog or cat completely stops eating. If this has persisted, then your pet may be lethargic, weak – although you should not wait this long for clinical signs to appear.
The causes are varied. They can include a sore tooth, to an abscess, to cancer. The important thing here is to get your dog or cat eating again before a 24 hour period of anorexia causes further illness. This is especially important for cats who can develop a condition called ‘Fatty Liver’ if they go for 48 hours or more without eating.
What to do
SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN. If your pet is very lethargic, not eating or drinking, and becoming dehydrated then see your veterinarian immediately. Ideally you are treating your dog or cat for anorexia before they completely stop eating or drinking. Your veterinarian will perform additional diagnostic tests, and this may lead to force feeding your pet, or even placing in some type of feeding tube.
WARM IT UP, AND ADD FLAVOR. Dogs and sick cats often have a poorer sense of smell. I have had good luck getting them to eat by warming up the canned food, then making it a little more tasty by adding garlic powder, or beef or chicken oxo cubes.
CATNIP. Appetite stimulant. In these cases you are just trying to get your dog or cat to start eating, regardless of the underlying cause. For cats, I have had luck using a the catnip herb – I have given it as a tincture to anorexic cats and had them eating soon.
CHAMOMILE OR PEPPERMINT. There are anti-vomiting herbs which can be given as a tea – at the very least this can re-hydrate your dog or cat. You can make a herbal tea of either herb – give 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs every 4-6 hours.
ALFALFA. For general anorexia not linked to any underlying cause, look at homeopathic alfalfa – you can give one 30C tab per 20 lbs 4 times daily.
This is new- it is used in people
Dronabinole, sold as Marinole, is the synthetic version of cannabis, the main substance found in marijuana. Donabinole, like cannabis, can increase appetite and also decreases nausea and vomiting, which makes it helpful for use in cancer patients. In one study of patients undergoing chemotherapy reported by the University of New Mexico, Marinole improved appetite by 38 percent, compared to 8 percent of patients given placebos. Unlike marijuana, Marinole is approved for use in cancer treatment by the Food and Drug Administration.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
P.S. Anorexia can be a serious problem for our pets- something you definitely never want to leave or ignore. Especially so for all you cat owners.
In part you need to become comfortable with some basic home pet veterinary skills.
My book on Dog and Cat First Aid gives you these skills. It’s a great resource, and one you’ll never regret having.
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