Diseases That Can Cause Weight Loss In Dogs
Weight loss in dogs is considered normal as long as it responds to justified reasons such as exercise or a planned change in diet. However, when the loss is drastic and apparently spontaneous, this can be a symptom of a serious condition.
As a general rule, weight loss in dogs is considered clinically significant when it exceeds 10% of normal body weight. To know the normal parameters, there are guidance tables depending on race and age.
However, it is worth highlighting the possibility of small variations in the animal’s ideal weight according to the genetic factor.
Likewise, it should be taken into account that common factors such as seasonality or stress can cause small fluctuations in the physical condition of pets. However, these variations are usually temporary and do not represent an a priori health risk .
How to Assess Weight Loss in Dogs
Although in cases of severe loss of body mass it is necessary to go to the veterinarian, owners can do a preliminary check of their pet’s thinness state :
- When running your hands over the animal’s body, the ribs can be felt due to the lack of an intermediate layer of fat.
- When looking at the dog from above or from the side, it is possible to see a marked waist.
- After weighing, there is a notable loss of pounds in the animal compared to previous measurements.
Some of the questions that animal health experts often ask pet owners relate to appetite, difficulty in swallowing, or the appearance of stool.
Sterilization or the frequency with which heartworm preventive treatment is administered are also aspects to be evaluated.
These questions are usually complemented by a thorough physical examination. Blood, urine, feces and even radiographs may be requested by the veterinarian.
Weight loss in dogs can be associated with several chronic diseases, even if only at some stage of them. Among the most common pathologies are:
- Gastrointestinal diseases. In these cases, weight loss is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and lethargy. These symptoms cause a lack of appetite with a consequent loss of body mass.
- Chronic kidney failure. In it, the excretory or metabolic function of the kidneys is affected, which causes weakness in the animal.
- Megaesophagus or esophageal dilatation. Dogs with this condition, which are usually large, have a swollen and enlarged esophagus, unable to transport food effectively.
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (IPD). When the pancreas does not produce digestive enzymes, quantitatively or qualitatively, dogs do not get the necessary nutrients. Therefore, despite the thinness, animals that suffer from it feel a ravenous appetite. The same goes for liver disease.
- Diabetes. This pathology is quite common among dogs, especially in older ones. Excessive thinness is often associated with it, and it is one of the symptoms that help in diagnosing diabetic dogs.
The list of chronic diseases linked to weight loss in dogs is substantial because most pathologies influence the animal’s appetite and activity level.
Faced with a case of seemingly unjustified extreme thinness, it is advisable to prevent and consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.