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How Did This Dog Get So Thin?

February 25, 2011

Side view of super old, super thin Boxer with his spine vertebra actually sticking up like sculpture.
Too, too, thin!

Don’t Judge, Just Listen.

Mayberry walked into the animal hospital of his own volition.  Most Boxers live to become 8-10 years old.  Many, many Boxers succumb to cancer.  More than any other breed of dog.  Beloved Mayberry, stiff with arthritis, never grew any lumps or bumps.  He never vomited.  Never coughed.  In fact, Mayberry never really showed any signs of overt, obvious illness.

So, you may look at this guy and wonder,”Couldn’t his family see how thin and sad he looks?”

Well, yes and no.  Obviously, they knew he was eating less and less.

“Berry kept going for his walks, waiting in the kitchen for his breakfast, basically doing everything he normally did,” said the thin dog’s mom.

“How can we put him down when he wants to stay around?”

Evaluate Your Older Pet’s Life

Perform a periodic life-evaluation for your older pet.  You do not have to obsess as soon as your pet turns 8 years old, but twice a year, follow this checklist to keep in touch with the over-all picture of your pet’s health.

Doc Truli’s Pet Life Evaluation CheckList

Ask yourself, is your pet…

  • Enjoying food as much as he or she ever has?
  • Enjoying your company or the company of an animal companion?
  • Enjoying the body he or she is in?  Keeping clean, moving well, maybe playing?
  • Enjoying controlling something.  This could be controlling the yard, your attention, or her favorite chair.  Or has he or she relinquished control?
  • Enjoying observing the environment?

If you’re still not sure, ask your friends or relatives.  Still not sure?  Your family veterinarian is a perfect touchstone to assess your pet’s physical status.  Weight, Body Condition, Bloodwork.  Get it done if you want to catch negative trends early.

Brown and white Boxer Dog is so thin, you can almost put two hands around his waist.

Body Condition Score 1/9. The Thinnest of the Thin.

A Yearly or Semi-Annual Check-Up May Have Helped This Dog

Mayberry lived to 14.  That’s almost double the life-expectancy of an average Boxer.  Should he have received medical care before he lost 75% of his body weight?  As a veterinarian, I say yes.  Did his family love and care for him?  Absolutely, yes!

Next time you see a very thin (or very fat) dog walking down the street, try not to jump to conclusions.  Go home and evaluate your own pets using the Life Evaluation CheckList.  Or schedule a check-up with your veterinarian.

Then, extend the understanding and concern you feel for the dogs you see on the sidewalk downtown to people in your life!

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