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.