Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Puppy With a Mystery Illness

Pickle isn't feeling well

I have a puppy with a mystery condition.

Until last week, at age 3 weeks, she was eating well, developing normally and generally one of the most forward pups in the litter.

Since then, it’s as if she’s developed anorexia (and I know that sounds hysterical, but there’s no other term for it). She won’t nurse, unless her mom is literally overflowing with milk – if she has to work at it at ALL, she gets frustrated, sucks frantically without making any progress, and drops off.

She won’t nurse from a bottle – she rolls the nipple around her mouth, gnaws on it, then backs away. If I keep trying to make her nurse, she shivers.

If I offer her softened food in a pan, she’ll eat two or three bites, then get … I guess almost panicky. She’ll back up, trying to get as far away from it as possible. She turns repeatedly in circles, while trying to get away from the food.

I’ve been force feeding her rice cereal mixed with turkey baby food and formula, raw food, and goats milk formula from a syringe. She’s NOT gaining anything close to normal – her litter mates all outweigh her by 200 – 300 grams. Her back legs look very thin, and shake when she walks. I’ve kept her from becoming dehydrated, but that’s about it. Right now, I’d say I’m managing to keep her in maintenance mode, but nothing else.

I’m stymied. I’ve never seen anything before even close to this. She is otherwise alert – pays attention, plays, sleeps.

I have an appointment to have her examined by a vet this afternoon, but I’m hoping someone might have seen something like this before, and have a clue what we might be dealing with…

Of course, she’s my favorite puppy in this litter, because that’s just how dog breeding goes, isn’t it? Poor Pickle. Get better soon baby, because you are making mommy prematurely grey.

12 replies
  1. Susan
    Susan says:

    Eat, little Gherkin, eat!

    You know what my guys go nuts for? Liver. I don’t know whether raw or cooked would be better. I have dehydrated, and also when Ken makes chopped liver they are glued to him.

    Just a thought.

    I’m humming good wishes.

  2. Luisa
    Luisa says:

    Got nothin’ — just wanted to send lots of SoCal mojo to Pickle-Wickle. Get well soon, puplet.

  3. Hope
    Hope says:

    Listen, Little Miss Cornichon – EAT!
    Nothing guaranteed to made this dog mom crazier than a hunger strike. Since Ceilidh does it at least once a week – we know exactly how nuts this must be making you.
    Keeping our fingers crossed that it’s no big deal and she finds her appetite soonest.
    .-= Hope´s last blog ..I’m a bad, bad auntie =-.

  4. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Poor little boo….c’mon and eat something.
    I hope you can figure out what’s going on and she starts eating soon.

  5. EmilyS
    EmilyS says:

    some kind of obstruction in her throat? so when she eats, she feels like she’s choking?
    or some kind of acid reflux so eating is painful?

    I hope the little sweetie will be ok…

  6. Jenniferj
    Jenniferj says:

    Gah! How frustrating!

    We have had a puppy a swallowing disorder once, but she wanted to eat.

    A lactose reaction? Or a motility issue where food is not progressing normally down her esophagus?

    If it is possibly a reaction to milk products (which makes sense with the shaking actually), I might experiment with a gruel made with a hypoallergenic human infant formula like Alimentum, usually available at Wal-Mart. Or try a few meals with no milk products. And no chunks either in case that’s a part of it.

    I generally loath Hill’s, but the canned AD is very smooth and excellent for weight gain in debilitated or stalled pups.

    If the issue is motility, there are veterinary products that can help, the antibiotic erythromycin added in small doses to food can also help,

    I sure hope she will be OK, fingers crossed!


  7. emmie
    emmie says:

    Yikes! Rocco, my 2 year old frenchie has the same problem. from one day to the next he went on a hunger strike and will literally run away from his food! 2 months, 5 vets, and multiple tests later, there are no real answers and not much progress. i’ve tried every type of food — dog, cat, human, baby, raw, cooked… even tried acupuncture! i force feed twice a day plus digestive enzymes and immune support. if it’s bad in a 2 year old, must be absolutely and terribly upsetting in a puppy!
    i have at least 67 new grey hairs since this started. hope you get some good answers you can share. we’re all pulling for baby Pickle!

  8. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    We have Napoleon, the most amazing frenchie boy. He would not eat much regardless of the food (or trick) I tried. Two months ago he had surgery to try to improve his elongated soft palate. He still has the heavy breathing and snores, but the most surprising after surgery effect is his appetite change. He eats like a dog! We never thought the soft palate problem was that severe, but it was enough to keep him from ever finishing a plate of food. good luck she is adorable.

  9. Fernando
    Fernando says:

    Guys, I have the same problem, I have been force feeding my pup with Baby food in a syringe but I am not sure how much baby food is enough for a 50 day French Bulldog, anyone ahs any view!!! Desperatly appreciated.


    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Fernando, I can’t tell you how much to feed your puppy without knowing their weight. Also, baby food is not really the best thing to feed – there are more balanced diets out there. I will email you, as well, in hopes you get this.

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