You've noticed your husky looking thinner lately. As an avid husky lover, you know he's an active breed, so you increase his food and caloric intake. However, he still isn’t putting on weight like he should. It’s time to take him to your vet for a diagnosis.
In a younger or outdoor husky, intestinal parasites are a common cause for weight loss or lack of weight gain. The most common parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Coccidia and giardia also rank among the top. Although any of these parasites can cause chronic diarrhea and weight loss, a heavy burden of hookworms is one of the more serious infestations.
Hookworms attach themselves to the walls of the small intestine and survive off the blood and nutrients that pass through. A heavy burden will not only cause life-threatening malnutrition, but also anemia. Intestinal parasites can be eliminated or regularly controlled with professional dewormings by your veterinarian.
Heartworms are another parasite that cause weight loss. However, by the time weight loss is seen, heartworm disease has progressed to a serious, if not fatal, state. As the name suggests, heartworms live within the heart, and a heavy burden causes the heart to strangle. Exercise intolerance or coughing is among the first warning signs, followed by weight loss and protrusion of the ribs. Heartworms can be treated, but the treatment is expensive, and the heart damage irreversible. Heartworm disease is carried by mosquitos, and is easily prevented by a once-a-month medication.
Other Medical Possibilities
Undue weight loss can be brought about by many factors. In highly active dogs, such as huskies, improper diet often plays a role. More serious medical concerns are diabetes, Addison’s disease, kidney disease and any form of cancer. Although these are typically seen in older dogs, any age is at risk. If your dog is losing weight, see your veterinarian for testing as soon as possible.
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