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In March, my twelve year old boxer was diagnosed with pancreatitis based on a positive test and slightly elevated liver enzymes (ALP was 240. Acceptable Max is 212.) Her ALT was good as were all her other numbers. She did have some diarrhea frequently (a couple of times a week) and she had some nausea and grass eating maybe every couple of weeks at most. She had some accidents in the house and had incontinence in her bed often.

After three months of Hills Prescription food with diarrhea during it all and occasional nausea plus the incontinence, she developed edema in all four legs, one at a time. While her legs were swollen, she could not walk on them and she felt hot. Her temperature was slightly elevated. She also lost her appetite.

In June after seeing her waste away, I tried Fresh Pet Vital (FP). She loved it! Her stool became more normal (firm but tannish color) and she no longer had nausea or a growly stomach. Also, her "gas" quit. Oddly, she no longer has incontinence either.

However, while eating more than two pounds of it a day, she never gained her weight back. In March she weighed 52# at the vet. In June she weighed 46#. And after a loss of appetite prior to the FP and during the next three weeks, when she went in to the vet at the end of July, she weighed 38#. I don't know if that weight loss was prior to the FP or during. Either way, she didn't gain any back while eating the FP.

But her attitude and excitement was more normal than ever despite being weaker.

A thorough exam was given in July with an ultrasound and blood tests. She tested negative for tick borne diseases. All results were within the normal range, including proteins, bilirubin, electrolytes, etc. The only two numbers that were high was her ALP and her ALT. The ALP was now about 450 and the ALT was about 250.

The vet determined that after looking at the ultrasound and bloodwork, the likelihood is that she has liver cancer. A biopsy has not been done yet as liver biopsies are a risk for bleeding.

She continues on the Fresh Pet. I did have her on the Hills again per the advice of another vet, but within 24 hours, she had diarrhea and also edema in back right hock. Within another day or two after switching back to the FP, she returned to normal. I decided to try mixing Wellness Core with her FP this week, and oddly, she began limping about 18 hours later. I am beginning to think that for some reason her digestive system is having a difficult time digesting the harder dry food and finds it easy to digest the soft Fresh Pet meals. I switched her back to FP about eight hours ago, and I kid you not, her limp is improving.

So, what would you conclude? What do these symptoms sound like to you?

She wants to eat every two hours (except during the night when she sleeps and can go without six to eight hours of food or needing to go outdoors). After every time she eats, she then needs to "poop" and urinate. Her stool is a light tan with a hint of yellow. It is never too soft and never comes out in plops. There is no blood in it that I can see. If the color was brown, it would be perfect.

However, she is very skinny and weak. She no longer runs. She sleeps alot.

Does this sound like a particular disease to you? Have you ever experienced anything like this with one of your dogs?

I am puzzled because none of the symptoms line up with any disease that I can find including liver disease or any pancreatic disease...unless I am missing something.

Please help. I doubt she will recover from this. Even if she somehow survives, I know she has a mass in her thyroid which is slow growing. Due to her weakness and loss of weight, I don't see a happy ending. However, it would be nice to know what is happening to her. Any advice or direction would be appreciated.
 

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I am so sorry your dogs is going thru all this however it is amazing that you have a boxer who has reached 12 years of age. Unfortunately to me, (though not being a medical person) it does sound like cancer. As long as she isn't in pain and eating I would just keep her on the food she seems to enjoy and keeps some symptoms away. I did google liver cancer and found this site Liver Cancer In Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment - American Kennel Club. Will keep you in y thoughts and prayers that you get to enjoy each others company for as long as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your kind words. I know she is old for a boxer, but the time went by so fast!

After a period of eating good, today is stomach is gurgling alot. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day. What is puzzling is that she ate well this morning, but this afternoon and evening is sick.

Her weight is staying steady at a very skinny 38#.

I read the symptoms and the one that fits at this point is the weight loss. Beyond that (until this afternoon), she has been eating and "pooping" quite well.

That is why I asked if anyone has been down this road. Is it normal to lose so much weight while eating well? I understand how it would be if she were not eating or had diarrhea, but she is eating well and has no diarrhea.

Besides an upset stomach, she doesn't act like she is in pain.
 

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If you are feeding the chicken formula her stools will be light in colour. You can also cook her up some whole white rice and lean ground beef with fat drained. Mix it 50/50.

How many cups of the food are you feeding her daily? I would also look at placing her milk thistle to help get those liver numbers down.

You can ask for an ultrasound with an internist to see if she has a hemangio sarcoma. They usually attach to organs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you.

I am feeding her the chicken formula.

She is eating TWICE the recommended amount for her and eating every two to three hours. This is followed by her needing to "poop."

The next question, which I may start a new thread for answers, is...

If I think she has EPI based on her symptoms (eating alot, pooping alot, yet getting skinny) and yet she doesn't, will giving her the extra enzymes for processing her food (which is a fix for EPI), will it hurt her?
 

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I hope your baby is ok...Light stools may be secondary to some GI blockage or liver issues...

Enzymes would not heard her because they are proteins...so I think it is safe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your kind words and advice.

Emma passed two weeks ago during the early morning hours. She never showed pain and ate until almost the last day albeit not much.

She simply got weaker and weaker until she could no longer walk. Thankfully, she showed little pain and suffering.

The day before she passed I knew that if she did not go during the night, then I would have to "put her down." As they say, I simply knew it was time. On that last day, the "light went out of her eyes."

We were all able to spend time with her in the last evening, and somewhere around 11 pm, she slipped into a coma. At 2:30 in the morning, I got up and scratched her head as I do if I wake up, and she stretched her paws as she usually did. She never looked at me nor could I tell if she was there beyond that movement. For some reason, I like to think that she knew I gave her that last scratch. When I awoke at 5:30, she was gone.

It was a wonderful almost twelve years. We hit the jackpot with her.

Grief is an interesting thing. One never knows how it will hit you. Since I have been grieving for Emma over the past four months, when she actually was gone, a certain amount of relief was mixed with the grief. Oh, I still cried, and even as I type this, I feel the tears just at the edge. But it was also a relief knowing that it was over for her, and yes, for us.

It was not nor is it easy. She was by far the best dog I have had, and definitely the best my wife and family have had.

We have so many memories, and the house is emptier despite all of the noise from the boys. I look at her corner where her bed was and miss seeing her. I miss seeing her head as she would gaze expectantly out the window at me as I drove into the driveway. I miss her happy run as she would follow me into the backyard. I miss her paw on my leg as she let me know she really, really was starving and needed the tidbit of food in my hand. I miss those eager eyes asking me to do whatever it was that she wanted.

And I simply miss that beautiful dog that somehow knew what I was thinking and what my next move was going to be. And yes, for some reason, I always was able to understand what SHE wanted when she made a whine or bark or simply looked at me a certain way.

Yes, I will look for another boxer to fill the void. I know that the next one will create her own memories and bring joy to our house in her own way, but I also know that Emma will always have a special place in our family and especially in my heart as she looked to me with love and respect as her "master" and trusted that I would do what was best for her. I was always told and finally realized that I was her person. While she loved the rest of the family and certainly was not a one person dog, I was the one she first bonded with and was the one who was with her at the end. I have never felt so close to a dog as I did with her, and I can say that I have very few regrets of how I was able to care for her all of these years.

I always dreaded the day she would leave us, and now that it is past, I can only cherish the memories of the best dog I ever knew. There will be tearful moments for many days and months to come, but I also realize that moving on and bringing a new canine member to our house is what will be best for our family and will honor her memories.
 

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Pet food companies are killing our pets

Sorry for the late post. Im not a vet and im not a canine nutritionist. But I am on Boxer 2 and Boxer 3 with 14 years of Boxer health experience. PURINA and Hills and all the giant conglomerates have for nearly 70 years made an entire country believe that dogs and cats should be eating dry crunchy food devoid of living healthy food. Some of it contains carcinogens.
Dogs are carnivores their digestive tract is designed to process meat. Not grains, not carbohydrates, no potatoes, no corn. dogs like us and like all mammals should be eating healthy fresh real food. of course dogs shouldn't eat certain things that we eat.

my 2 boxers are very healthy. But my first boxer had all of your boxers symptoms. The loud stomach noises, not eating, bad gas. Allcleared up once I realized its the crap ive been feeding him. good health starts with a healthy gut. Their immune system is largely in their gut. If their gut bacteria is out of balance then many problems occurr. Your vet wants you to buy Hills prescription! ITS GARBAGE! It contains cellulose (wood fiber) Dogs need cellulase in order to metabolize it and they dont have that enzyme so it sits sits in their gut fermenting. (gas) Your dog needs fersh raw or slightly cooked meat. If possible organic. I hope your dog gets well. Get him on canine probiotic. It will help. Not from your vet! must contain many strains of bacteria and billions of CFU's.

heres a great site for healthy accurate info. Go buy or rent a documenatry called PETFOOLED. Its about the pet food industry and how theyre killing our pets.

Dr Karen becker has a wealth of information.

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/08/27/cats-and-dogs-leaky-gut.aspx

Natural dog health nutrition and food blog articles

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx
 

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IM SORRY I JUST SAW THIS! Boxers are a special breed. Losing one hurts so bad! I lost my first while hiking with 2 other dogs. he fell over and died instantly. It was worse day of my life. The grief was awful. Then one month later I got my 2ndmale Boxer Max The grief lifted instantly. Even though the grief is terrible the years of happiness they bring is worth it. Besides you will be a Boxer a great life who might otherwise end up with a bad owner.
FEEL BETTER
 
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