Ribs showing on puppy

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Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Thu Feb 11 2016, 15:37

Rocco has always been small and thin. He was weaned on Wainwrights but now he's on 120g daily of Eden, which I've now increased to 132g. He did seem to be gaining weight after I transitioned him off the Wainwrights a month ago. He's been doing much better on Eden, seems healthy and energetic with a lovely shiny coat. However I noticed a couple of days ago he seemed more ribby again. Personally I think its just a growth spurt and nothing more as he has been wormed for basic worms and mites and also tapeworm. My mother in law however is insisting he see the vet. She says a puppy shouldn't look this thin. She said it might be the Giardia parasite. I've looked into this and the info says this would cause diarrhoea but Rocco doesn't have diarrhoea.

I just think it will be pointless taking him to the vets because I doubt the vet will find anything wrong so I'll probably end up paying for extensive tests to try to find something and I don't think there is anything wrong. I think I should see how he goes for another week and increase his food or does anyone think this is more urgent? I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. Almost forgot to say Rocco is 4 months old.


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by LizP on Thu Feb 11 2016, 20:30

That does look too thin. I doubt if it's giardia as yes, that would cause diarrhoea but it could be something else medical. I personally would get him checked, good growth at this age is so important. It's much better to be sure now rather than regret for a lifetime.

Fingers crossed it's nothing.


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by -Ian- on Thu Feb 11 2016, 20:54

Have to agree that he does look on the thin side.

I think I would be inclined to have a vet check especially as you've noticed how thin he is, if for no other reason than to put your mind at rest.


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Jenc on Thu Feb 11 2016, 20:58

He does look rather thin for a pup of that age, as advised I would get a vets opinion & please let us know how you get on Smile


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by lexii on Thu Feb 11 2016, 21:11

How does he eat? If he is a healthy eater and doesnt vomit/have diarrhea, feed more. Don't be obsessed with grams and "recommended" feeds, feed to your dog. I would be getting the vet to check first, like others have said - JUST in case. But if healthy, just feed more. Feed some treats too, and higher calorie things like cheese (in small quantities) and sausage bits etc.

How many times a day is he fed and how much walking/play does he do?
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Mistys Mum on Thu Feb 11 2016, 21:30

Yes I agree with the other responses. He does look too thin to me and I think a check up at the vets would put your mind at rest.

Let us know how you get on.


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Mia05 on Fri Feb 12 2016, 08:49

if he has had no diarrhoea or sickness id take him to the vet asap let us know how you get on Smile


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Tue Feb 16 2016, 06:58

Hi thanks for the replies. Rocco saw the vet yesterday and she wants to do blood tests. I underestimated his weight and he was 5.25kg so he's gained 1200g since he was previously weighed on 21st Jan but she said this isn't enough and he should be double the size he is. She also said to change his food from Eden to a puppy specific food. She said puppies need more calcium but when I checked the labels Eden does have a higher calcium content than most of the puppy foods. Anyway I've started to switch him to Acana Puppy and Junior which contains oats so hopefully that will help him to feel more satisfied after a meal and not seem like he's starving all the time. I'll see how it gets on with that.

The worse thing about all this is that before I wasn't worried but now I am and they can't take his blood until Thursday and then I don't know how long I must wait for the results. Really struggling to deal with this worry at the moment Sad

Lexil, he eats very fast and seems to be hungry all the time even though he does get extra treats on top of his meals. He's very active running around playing with toys and will chase around the room with my inlaws dogs when we're there.


Last edited by Rocco's mum on Tue Feb 16 2016, 07:00; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : iPad changing words)
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Tue Feb 16 2016, 10:37

I've been trying to find a chart online showing what a puppy's growth rate should be. Does anyone know of one please. I have no idea what is a healthy growth rate Sad
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by LizP on Tue Feb 16 2016, 11:42

Try not to worry too much. If you vet had any immediate concerns they would have said, and Thursday's not very far away. I can understand what you mean about knowing being worse than not, but at least now you have set the wheels in motion to get to the bottom of this.

You probably won't find a growth rate chart for puppies because they vary so much. Little dogs get to their mature body much more quickly than big dogs. Be guided more by body condition. You should be able to feel ribs but not see them is the main guide.

Let us know how you get on, will you?


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Sealpig on Tue Feb 16 2016, 11:49

I know saying not to worry is pointless as they're our family members and it'll just happen naturally, but as Liz said, you've got the ball rolling, you did the right and responsible thing getting him to the vet and as long as he's happy at the moment, that's all that matters.

Keep us updated!
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Wed Feb 24 2016, 11:11

Glad to say that Rocco's blood test revealed no issues. One vet said to me that she was happy to continue to monitor his weight as the test had shown nothing, however a second vet called me later not realising I'd already spoken to someone. She advised further blood tests and fecal tests because she said he's too small for his breed i dont know He is gaining weight so I don't see the point in more tests at this stage and will take the first vets advise. I can't help feeling that the second vet was just trying to get more money out of me. Yes he is small but he was the runt, was always smaller than his siblings and therefore will take longer to catch up. This photo was taken today and the ribs are no longer visible. His current weight is now 5.6kg so thats a gain of 350g in 9 days. Seems ok to me Smile



I don't feel the vets have been very helpful in advising how to gain weight but a friend with experience of dogs has advised to increase his daily intake and spread over 6 meals as he wasn't coping with the increase over 4. I'm doing that and it seems to be ok, although he has been a little loose, friend said to continue like this as it wasn't too much or interfering with his weight gain.
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by LizP on Wed Feb 24 2016, 12:30

That does look better! It sounds a sensible plan for the time being. If he is still not capable of eating bigger meals and/or is still loose in a month or two, I would get it investigated further. Yes, you can definitely get dogs who are smaller but they should otherwise be normal.

So far so good, though, and fingers crossed!


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by -Ian- on Wed Feb 24 2016, 14:10

As soon as I saw that latest picture I thought wow he's looking so much better. The cynical side of me agrees with your decision to go with the first vets advice.

The fact that he's gaining good weight now on the feeding advice of your friend is all good in my book but as suggested by Liz, perhaps review in a couple of months but so pleased all seems fine for you Big Grin


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Mia05 on Wed Feb 24 2016, 14:52

rocco looks much now good luck


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by lexii on Wed Feb 24 2016, 22:40

He does look a bit better. Keep it up Smile
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Thu Mar 10 2016, 21:11



This is Rocco taken yesterday. He's still small, only 6kg and the vet suspects he has a liver shunt Sad He'll have a bile acid test next Wednesday which will confirm the condition of his liver. I've spent a lot of time crying and researching liver shunts in dogs and have made the decision that if this is confirmed I'll manage the condition with diet and nutrition as surgery may not fix the problem and I don't feel it's the best thing for him, also I'm not able to get my hands on several thousand pounds Sad I just want to do what's best for my baby; I hope he will be ok.
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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by -Ian- on Thu Mar 10 2016, 21:23

Aww bless him, I hope you can get him sorted with the diet. He looks like such a lovely little fella and you can't help but fall in love with those ears Smile


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Mia05 on Fri Mar 11 2016, 01:42

Love Struck


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by LizP on Fri Mar 11 2016, 08:24

Oh dear. That's not great news. Please let us know the results of the test.


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rachel33 on Fri Mar 11 2016, 08:31

Poor little more. Fingers crossed!


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Re: Ribs showing on puppy

Post by Rocco's mum on Thu Mar 17 2016, 18:01

I got Rocco's test results today and liver function is normal Big Grin This is a big weight off my mind. I changed vets and the new vets don't seem concerned to investigate further. They said he's underweight so need to take him back every fortnight to monitor his weight Smile
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