Apologies for borrowing the title of that movie but this business at home is the real deal. The reason I think its going to take longer to fix it is because Bess is not exactly starving herself completely. This morning I tried a new dog food with chunks and gravy instead of the usual ground-up variety and Bessie licked all the gravy and left most of the chunks. Then it came time for the morning peanut butter pills followed by the large Milkbone biscuit. I don't recall the way this started years ago, it may have been with my wife, but we have always given our Rottweilers Brewer's Yeast tablets every day to prevent fleas. They get 6 or 7 pills daily, depending on weight, and it has always worked. Besides, the peanut butter is a foolproof way of getting them to take other pills and Bessie is still getting two pills twice a day (Ranitdine 150 MG and Metoclopramide 10 MG) for indigestion. I haven't tried substituting kibble for reward treats for training yet, but the minimal amount of food she is eating is going to keep her a little hungry but not starving.
I reread the piece on Hyporexia from the Viyo medical product web site in Belgium several times and their suggestions sound very workable. I think I will try and find some of their Viyo Recuperation but first I want to find and read some testimonials. Here is a copy of what they wrote.
When a dog is not eating well every day, there is a risk that he/she becomes anorectic. A lack of appetite is something that dog breeders are confronted with day in day out. There are a lot of different reasons for this problem but a stress factor is certainly one of them in kennels. Anorexia is defined as the lack or loss of appetite for food. In veterinary medicine, it is one of the most important and most common complaints indicating a myriad of diseases with greatly varying pathogeneses. It might be more appropriate to talk about hyporexia here.
Hyporexia means a reduction in appetite rather than a complete loss. Dogs that are completely unwilling to eat can rarely be forced to eat a sufficient quantity to meet their daily energy intake requirement and need assisted feeding (nutrition provided parentally or by tube feeding). After appropriate medical therapy, the most common initial strategy to get a patient to eat is to enhance the palatability of the pet food. What techniques are currently used and how efficient are they? Increase moisture. Switching from dry food to canned or pouched food may prove effective. The reason is the higher moisture level, but canned or pouched food also typically contains more fat and protein. Care should be taken that these increased fat and protein levels do not cause any adverse effects. One should also be aware of the fact that canned or pouched food is not always exactly the same as dry food. An alternative for switching to canned or pouched food is to simply soak the dry kibble (2.5 parts of water + 1 part of kibble). Increase fat. This is mostly done in therapeutic food to increase the energy uptake so that less food has to be consumed.
Note that increasing the fat content is not without danger, so we do not advise to increase palatability by increasing the fat level of the diet. Increase protein. Care should be taken when increasing dietary protein in certain disease processes, such as hepatic failure with hepatic encephalopathy and renal failure with acute uremia.
Sweet and salty. Adding a sweet flavour by using sugar or syrup as a top dressing may increase the palatability of the food for dogs. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided because they have little or no nutritive value and a common artificial sweetener, xylitol, can cause a hypoglycemic crisis in dogs. Prudence is in order when treating diabetic patients. Salty foods can be effective in getting some dogs to eat but be careful with patients with hypertension, edema, ascites or renal disease. We don’t find this strategy very effective because the preference we saw for some salty foods (potato chips, salted nuts, peanut butter) may in fact be a preference for fat or treats in general that is somewhat independent of the food’s salt level.
Freshness, aroma and food temperature. Warming food (not higher than body temperature to prevent burning the patient’s mouth) can be helpful because of the additional release of aromas. This is of course important in patients with a reduced sense of smell such as older dogs and renal patients. Keeping the food fresh during storage is very important. Rarity. Rare food may be more enticing than common food, but types of food that are completely novel may not be the best choice.
Variety. This may be an effective approach but there are several cautionary points. Polypharmacy avoidance. Common pain medications, antibiotics, antifungals, diuretics, anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressives and chemotherapeutics can reduce appetite. Try alternative ways of administration that might mitigate some medications’ adverse effects on appetite.
Eliminate physical barriers to eating. Examples of such physical barriers are Elizabethan collars, poor bowl location and dental or oral pain. Appetite stimulating drugs. Diazepam, cyproheptadine and low-dose propofol are not recommended because their effects seem to be unpredictable, intermittent and of short duration. After careful consideration of the 10 techniques described above, it is clear that no effective treatment was available, until today. Viyo Recuperation, a liquid formulation, increases the palatability of the food for dogs in a safe and healthy way without any negative interference with daily meals.
OK, I found the Viyo Recuperation product on Amazon.com for $27.95 for a 16 oz bottle and read all of the 16 positive reviews so I ordered some today. Most of the people who posted comments had tried it successfully for the same type of problem I'm having with Bessie and had good results. More to come on this.