Posted By: Ellen - Vet

The Labrador who stopped eating

It can sometimes be difficult to detect signs of illness in our pets. However when a Labrador stops eating their food, it is usually a worry! One such Labrador, who came to visit us, is Quin. He is a

lovely, friendly and usually very lively chap. However, when he was brought in, he had stopped eating and become very quiet and sleepy. We gave him a good check over and found that he had a very high temperature. Sometimes dogs can pick up viruses that cause a temperature rise and often they resolve themselves quite quickly.


We gave Quin an injection of an anti-inflammatory pain relief. This helps to lower the temperature and often makes the patient feel much better. But 48 hours later Quin still wasn’t feeling any better

and came to see us over the weekend. We gave him some antibiotics, something to stimulate his appetite and an anti-sickness injection (often feeling sick can be the reason that our pets stop

eating). Over the weekend this medication started to work, Quin began to pick up and started eating again.


We saw him the following Monday when he was feeling a lot better. However, one of his eyes had become very clouded over and he was not able to see out of it. The other eye was starting to cloud

too at the edges, although he was still able to see out of this one. This had us all a little worried. We took a blood sample for analysis.


We were suspicious, given his symptoms, that he had a virus called Canine Adenovirus. This can also be known as Canine Infectious Hepatitis. The virus replicates in the dog’s blood and then usually

affects the liver and kidneys. It can cause severe liver damage. It can also cause inflammation of the eyes giving them the strange ‘blue’ appearance we had seen in Quin. This disease can vary in

severity - sometimes it may only last a few days. Nursing them through the period where they do not want to eat is most important, as there are no specific treatments that can be given to cure the

disease. Other times it can be fatal and progresses very rapidly. It is usually seen in younger dogs and is one of the diseases that we vaccinate against - so thankfully it is something we rarely see. The

blood test confirmed that the virus was present in Quin’s blood.


The importance of vaccination is often forgotten, as we rarely see the diseases it prevents. This is due to the fact that the majority of pet owners get their pets vaccinated. However, if this number

starts to drop, then the number of incidences of the disease we see, will also start to increase.


Fortunately for Quin he was one of the lucky ones, who over time has returned to normal. He is also very fortunate to have regained normal vision in both eyes, as this does not happen in all cases. We

are all very happy to see that he is back to bounding around and wolfing his food as normal.


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