Page 2 of 5

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:11 am
by sebb0191
HersheyBear wrote:Has a blood panel been done? Hypothyroid can cause weight gain, and other conditions can too.


Yes, he has had blood panels pulled and they all came back normal.

cashisking wrote:Does he have good prey drive?


Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to care too much. He chases my pit like crazy, but I can never get them to play with separate toys. You can buy them both identical toys, but they always want the one that the other one has. Figures.

Rachel&Halo wrote:What about a backpack?


I actually just purchased one for my pup, so I think I'll try loaning it to Finn. The only problem is his joints, as he begins to limp about 30 minutes into a walk. I am going to look into joint supplements for him. I just don't want to throw more weight on him before his joints feel a little better.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions again! We've been looking into Kirkland and it seems like the best route for him so far. I'll keep you guys posted!

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:38 pm
by dawnapbt
what is normal? Is he in hte middle of the range? On the low end of the 'normal' range? If he is on the low end of the normal range, you might try a very low dose of thyroid supplement, as the range is really a guideline. What might be "normal" for one dog may be hypothyroid for another dog. (People, too, btw).

I'd first cut his food back to no more than two cups a day. See if that helps at all.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:02 pm
by sebb0191
dawnapbt wrote:what is normal? Is he in hte middle of the range? On the low end of the 'normal' range? If he is on the low end of the normal range, you might try a very low dose of thyroid supplement, as the range is really a guideline. What might be "normal" for one dog may be hypothyroid for another dog. (People, too, btw).

I'd first cut his food back to no more than two cups a day. See if that helps at all.


To be honest, I'm not sure what his levels were number-wise, all I know is that the vet said he did not have a thyroid issue. Her best idea was to put him on a pill to suppress his appetite, but his appetite isn't the problem. It's not like he's hounding people for food and scarfing down his meals. He's just very large!

We started doing one cup twice a day this morning. He will get another cup at night, with half Kirklands in it :)

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 9:57 pm
by Misskiwi67
Feed for IDEAL weight, not current weight. I would cut to 2 and 1/2 cups per day for 2-3 months and see if it makes a difference... if that doesn't work, then cut to 2 cups per day. Make sure there isn't anyone in the house who is cheating, including children, neighbors, and even other household pets. Is the catfood kept where he can't sneak a nibble, is the other dogs food picked up at night etc...

If that doesn't work, Slentrol can be a life saver... and I do mean a life saver. For a dog who is already experiencing joint pain, attaining appropriate weight will significantly increase his lifespan as well as postpone the already too-early signs of arthritis. For more information visit:

http://www.stopcanineobesity.com/

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:10 am
by Amie
Are there dog pools near you, or places he can swim? Swimming would be easier on his joints, and the lab in him might really enjoy it. If he doesn't already, teach him to play fetch and get a floating toy (there are LOTS, so you can find one he likes) and take him some place with water and make him retrieve the toy from the pool. The water will add resistance and take off stress from his joints and could be a lot of fun for all involved.

As has already been pointed out, the right amount of a higher quality food will be much cheaper than way too much of a lower quality food.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:54 am
by BighornTermite
Amie wrote:Are there dog pools near you, or places he can swim? Swimming would be easier on his joints, and the lab in him might really enjoy it...The water will add resistance and take off stress from his joints and could be a lot of fun for all involved.


You beat me to this suggestion. Swimming can burn a ton of calories with little/no impact on the joints.

This news clip gives you an idea of the benefits of swimming on (albeit, extreme) canine obesity...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2DqulfqfBo

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:57 am
by sebb0191
I so wish we had a way to help him swim, but we do not have a pool. There is a lake nearby, but it's in the 30's outside, so the swimming might have to wait until the spring. That's a great idea though. Last time he went to the lake, he was more interested in just wading in up to his knees... is there any way to coax him to swim? He's not big into retrieving, but who knows.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:49 pm
by cashisking
If he has an excellent recall, you can wade out and call him to you, and gradually back up until he has to swim to you.
You can also use a leash and lead them in, while treating and praising.
Make it a positive experience- if he starts to balk, don't force.
This is how we began Cash's love affair with water- At first he hated it, but by the end of the day he was swimming circles around us!

Some dog facilities have indoor pools, may want to look into that.

As for prey drive- I mean, does he like to chase critters, and does he focus intently on moving objects?
Prey Drive is the desire for a dog to chase moving objects- like prey.
You can use that desire to exercise you dog- if he's a chaser, he'll enjoy chasing something he's ALLOWED to chase.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:54 pm
by L Boogie
Try a food like Diamond Naturals...pretty good quality and I pay $18.99/40 lbs at the local farm store.

Replace treats with carrots. Cut feedings to about 2 cups a day. You can also substitute 1/4 cup kibble for something really high fiber like green beans, carrots or pumpkin. I did this with Lexus when we adopted her and she went from 94 lbs. to 55 lbs.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:15 pm
by sebb0191
cashisking wrote:Some dog facilities have indoor pools, may want to look into that.

As for prey drive- I mean, does he like to chase critters, and does he focus intently on moving objects?


I actually found a rehab facility for dogs in Dallas that has a pool for their patients, I'm looking into it more and thinking about calling them on Monday to see what they'd charge to let us come in maybe 3 days a week for an hour or so.

As far as the prey drive goes, he does love squirrels. He will sit under trees for an hour just staring at the branches if he sees a squirrel go up, but he doesn't chase them really. He chases my pit (Koda) like crazy though, but he starts to limp after about 30 minutes of playing with him. I thought it might help if I took them somewhere together because Finn really feeds off of Koda's energy. And Koda loves to swim, so I thought if he saw everyone else trying it, he would be more likely to try.

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:37 pm
by Amie
He's definitely very likely to consider swimming if he sees others - especially dogs he trusts - doing it.

Good luck! Sounds like you're on the right track!

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:11 pm
by sebb0191
Hi everyone... I just wanted to keep you guys updated on what was happening with Finn since you've all been so helpful.

Three months ago, my parents' home was sprayed for termites. It was raining the day the man sprayed, and we thought the chemical had probably run onto the soil and Finn had possible ingested some or received it in his body through his pads. Finn suffered a seizure that night, a mild one, but still frightening. We took him to the vet, where she gave us the diagnosis that it was likely from the termite chemical. We went home feeling much better, but were told to come back if something else happened.

Finn suffered another seizure this morning. It was slighly more severe than before, but he recovered much more quickly. He was immediately taken to the hospital. The ER-vet said that golden retrievers (which is probably in his mix somewhere) tend to suffer from seizure disorders. So, Finn is currently being tested for what could be causing his seizures. The vet said that the weight could be connected, and that there are several diseases that having significant weight gain and seizures as components. He said since the weight gain occurred randomly, he does believe that Finn does have some sort of disorder or disease.

It's scary to think the weight gain could be something uncontrolable (the vet had mentioned a pituitary tumor as one possibility). Here I am sitting the whole time researching food and swimming pools, and that may not even be the problem. We should know within a few days what is going on with him, and hopefully it will come out as something treatable so we can get him back to being a healthy weight and seizure-free.

If anyone has ever heard of any diseases that could be causing these problems, please let me know. I'm researching a few the vet had mentioned just to see if we can get a head start on the problem! Thank you again, to everyone, for your support and advice!

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:18 pm
by pblove
hypothyroidism can cause seizures and weight gain
let me go and find the link I had about that

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:29 pm
by pblove

Re: Severely obese lab...

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:51 pm
by Misskiwi67
But he's already been tested for hypothyroidism... and the tests were normal. Hypothyroidism is an incredibly over-diagnosed disease that has numerous other side effects including lowered activity level etc. not seen in this dog.

An MRI would determine if there is a pituitary tumor... and most seizure medications, phenobarbital most of all, will make it almost impossible to keep weight off this dog with his current predispositions. This is one case where I would strongly suggest pursuing the seizures with a neurologist to ensure its truly epilepsy prior to starting medications... instead of just guessing/playing the odds like is done with most cases due to cost restrictions.