My dog has an anal gland problem
Q: My dog has had a problem with the sacks in her anus. They keep filling up. My vet has drained the sacks many times. The vet suggested we have them removed. What is wrong with my dog that this is happening to her? And what will the surgery actually do?
A: All dogs have anal glands. These are a pair of grape-sized sacks just inside the opening to a dog’s anus. They lubricate the anus, and provide a scent. Wild canines use scents in feces and urine to mark territorial boundaries. Domestic dogs have retained the scents and the behaviors associated with them. The anal glands normally secret their fluid through ducts to the surface. Infections, trauma and irritation damage these ducts. Repeated damage may cause the ducts to be partially or totally blocked. Blocked anal gland ducts cause the glands to enlarge, inflame and become painful. A vicious cycle is created, for the more they become blocked, the more likely they will become blocked again. When the doctor expresses the anal glands, pressure is applied to the gland, blowing out the blockage. The exudate with chunks of feces is then collected into the glove and disposed. Most dogs have normally functioning anal glands, and never need them manually expressed or drained.
A dog with blocked anal glands may walk hunched, have difficulty defecating, or seem constipated. He or she may drag or scoot the anus on the carpet as if to scratch a painful itch on the area under the tail. Some dogs lick their anus excessively when they have problems. Most dogs never have anal gland problems. Some dogs have recurring monthly blocked glands.
Dogs do not need anal glands to defecate properly, and scent marking is not necessary for pets. The anal glands can safely be removed surgically. Removal will provide permanent relief for your dog. Following surgery, dogs may be incontinent for several weeks, until the anal sphincter muscles regain strength. The occasional blockage is not serious. Repeated or severe anal gland blockages warrant surgical intervention.
My Maltese has swollen salivary glands
Q: My three-and-a-half year old male Maltese developed swollen salivary glands about a year ago. My veterinarian wasn’t very concerned, and neither was his associate. After several weeks, we obtained a second opinion. After an extremely thorough examination, including drawing and testing fluid, he concluded that the glands were infected. Two doses of antibiotics got them back to normal.
One question I don’t believe I ever asked him: My dog has a very bad habit of eating his excrement. We do everything we can to catch him as he goes, but are not always successful. Could this be leading to an infection? We have heard that there are pills available to make them so distasteful that the dog won’t want to ingest his feces. True? Successful?
As a final note, my normally inside the house dog got under the barn about a year or two ago and we spent about two weeks pulling ticks from around every part of his body. We counted over 70 of these ticks. Could he have Lyme disease, and do these symptoms match up at all?
A: Infection of the salivary glands is less common than infections of the throat and lymphnodes next to the salivary glands. Such infections are usually caused by local irritation and infection inoculation. Your dog likely picked up germs in his mouth, or it was introduced through a puncture wound. The specific germ name, obtained by culturing, would be more indicative of the source of the germ. For instance, certain germs are common to the feces, and not normally found in salivary glands. The corprophagy, eating feces, may be the source of the germs.
Behavioral corprophagy can be stopped by diligent cleaning of the fecal matter, mineral supplementation and changing the flavor of the feces. Multi-vitamin and mineral supplements, such as VitaGravy, are often helpful in satisfying certain cravings your dog may have that lead him to such behavior. One common feces flavor modifier is monosodium glutamate, MSG, a flavor inhancer found in supermarkets. Accent(r) is a common brand. It just so happens MSG changes the feces flavor also when added to your dog’s food. Try adding a mineral supplement and Accent(r) to your dog’s food to see if it helps.
Lyme disease is carried by ticks, and can spread to dogs and humans by tick bites. It is unlikely causing the salivary gland problem. Lameness and flu-like symptoms are more common in Lyme Disease cases.
Is it normal for my kitten to have diarrhea?
Q: I was given a kitten for my birthday, and he’s very cute and very happy, but even though I followed the shop’s instructions to the T about feeding him, he seems to have a constant case of diarrhea, and I’m slightly worried about it.
A: Mild, temporary diarrhea in kittens is often related to the stress of a new environment and changes in the diet. Nervousness causes the feces to be expelled before sufficient water absorption. New diets cause a shift in the normal bacteria and digestive enzymes.
A more serious condition may be present if the diarrhea persists more than several days, becomes very watery, or has mucus or blood. Any sign of the kitten being sick or depressed is also cause for concern. The causes of persistent or severe diarrhea include parasites, infections and poisoning. In these cases, you should have your veterinarian examine the kitten as soon as possible. Be sure to have a fresh stool sample for the doctor to check for parasites.
A kitten with diarrhea needs to drink extra water, so have plenty of water dishes readily available. Try not to change the diet much, dry kibble being the best. Avoid milk and dairy products, and fresh meat products during bouts of diarrhea.
My dog has Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Q: My three year old dog has recently been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. How concerned should I be?
A: Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic, often life-long, abnormality in the lower digestive tract. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, weight loss and weakness. Both dogs and cats are susceptible to this ailment. The origin of the problem is a malfunction of the immune system related to the digestive tract. It is not contagious or infectious. A proper diagnosis requires a biopsy of the lower bowels. Without the biopsy, a doctor may suspect Inflammatory Bowel Disease by ruling out other causes of chronic diarrhea, but would still be uncertain. Since the disease is often present for the life of a dog, requiring treatment for the dog’s entire life, a definitive diagnosis is imperative.
Other diseases with similar symptoms include parasites and food allergies. These can be investigated by repetitive fecal analyses and special diets. Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease may include restricted diets and long term steroidal therapy. Since long term steroid medication can result in other problems, constant monitoring of the dog’s condition through physical examinations and blood tests may be required.
I found blood in my dog’s stool. What should I do?
Q: My dog is 15. He became ill with severe diarrhea containing blood. He became dehydrated and was treated. He is on lomotile and flagyl. His diarrhea is better, not bloody but does continue. It has been three weeks. Also, his hind legs have started to go out of control. This is eposodic, but every day. Can this be a result of his medication?
A: Many diseases and physical problems can cause bloody diarrhea, also known as hematochezia. Lomotil® slows the intestines, allowing for greater water absorption. Flagyl® is an antibiotic, killing germs in the digestive system. Neither will cause the hind leg weakness. You must consider viruses, cancer and parasites as possible causes. A radiograph may be helpful in identifying a possible tumor in your dog’s pelvis.
My dog lacks appetite. What should I do?
Q: My dog seems to be having problems with his appetite. Is this strictly related to the thyroid or could he be having trouble with the pancreas? My vet seems to think that only the thyroid is involved. Should I be looking for specific symptoms that would definitely indicate thyroid as opposed to pancreas problems?
A: Appetite problems can have numerous causes, from gastritis to parasites. A thorough clinical examination, stool sample check, and blood panel are necessary to properly evaluate the problem. Hypothyroidism in dogs causes lethargy and weight gain, with a slight increase in appetite. Hyperthyroidism is extremely rare in dogs. Pancreatic problems usually have severe symptoms beyond simple inappetence. Vomiting, painful abdomen and complete lack of appetite usually accompany pancreatitis. Before focusing on the thyroid gland or pancreas, step back, and look at the whole picture. Consider diet, environment, and other symptoms. Have your veterinarian do a thorough examination and laboratory work up. You may consider changing dog foods or using a flavor enhancer, such as VitaGravy.
Tell me about PDA and liver shunts
Q: I would like to find out if PDA and liver shunts are considered hereditary? I raise Yorkshire terriers.
A: PDA, Patent Ductus Arteriosis, is a heart defect found in newborn puppies. This arterial shunt usually closes at birth, allowing blood to circulate normally. With an open shunt, the oxygenated blood from the arterial system mixes with the returning venous blood. This creates an inefficient blood flow system. Puppies with this defect are weak and become exhausted quickly with minimal exercise. The pink areas in the mouth of such a puppy become abnormally blue when the puppy is handled. Although a major, open heart surgery can fix the defect, the problem usually is not recognized in time, or the cost of diagnostics and surgery result in a poor survival rate. They usually do not survive. The predisposition for PDA are more common in some breeds than in others. Predisposition for this defect can be hereditary.
Liver shunts are also a defect in the circulatory system. Many types of liver shunts are possible. A normal dog has major blood vessels that go to and from the liver. The liver is a large and important, and responsible for many tasks, including detoxification of the blood and proper nutrient balance in the body. A dog with liver shunting has extra vessels that bypass the liver. Bypassed blood fails to be detoxified, and has unregulated nutrients. Severe shunts cause death in puppies immediately. Moderate shunts may cause the puppy to lack strength and fade over several weeks before dying. Dogs with less severe shunts may live a long life. They may have certain food intolerances or be very thin their entire lives. Very minor shunts are often never diagnosed. Treatment can be as simple as special diets, or severe as major surgery. The predisposition for some shunts is hereditary, and common to certain breeds or blood lines. Inbreeding increases the likelihood of these birth defects.
My old cat is losing weight. Why?
Q: My cat will be turning 18 soon and I noticed he has gotten extremely thin with big clumps of hair near the end of his tail. Should I be concerned? If so, what should I do?
A: Older cats have special needs. They require food made for the elderly to have healthy kidneys and circulation. They also need visits by the doctor more often, to keep up with their changing metabolism and needs. An older cat may not keep itself well groomed, so more frequent groomer visits may be necessary. You do need to keep the hair trimmed from under the tail to avoid feces accumulation in that area. Many possible conditions can cause an older cat to become thin. You and your veterinarian can explore the possibilities, and address any problems found. Hyperthyroidism is common in older cats, and causes a metabolic change, resulting in a thin cat with ravenous appetite. Renal failure causes nutrients to wash out of the blood into the urine. It is more common in the seniors, and also causes weight loss and weakness.
Parasites, such as tapeworms, can prevent the cat from absorbing all the available nutrients from his food. Some parasites also cause diarrhea, others do not. Parasitized cats often have a poor looking haircoat in addition to being thin.
Feline Leukemia Virus can cause many different syndromes. Sometimes weightloss is all one notices initially.
Dental problems are also associated with weight loss, for a cat with bad teeth has trouble eating and chewing food.
A thorough physical examination, fecal analysis and blood panel can quickly determine if he has any of these problems. Each problem is treated differently, so a proper diagnosis is necessary. An 18 year old cat deserves an annual physical and blood panel anyway.
My dog has dry heaves. What’s wrong?
Q: My dog has been dry heaving on an off for about a week. Yesterday I noticed it twice shortly after eating her daily meal. Sometimes it happens in the middle of the day. It seems like she wants to throw up and doesn’t at the same time. She inhales sharply and repeatedly about eight to 10 times and then she stops and everything seems fine. She otherwise appears normal. Any ideas on what this may be or what I should do?
A: Your dog is attempting to vomit. With or without any food coming up, the indication is the same: she has a stomach ache. Persisting for about a week suggests the problem is more than just a transient batch of food that disagreed with her system. She may have parasites, an infection, food allergy, gastritis, or other ailment.
You should feed her mild dog food, such as lamb and rice, or chicken and pasta. Do not add any spices or other foods. You can add onion or garlic for flavor. If she continues to dry heave or regurgitate, then her doctor should see her. A veterinarian can test for allergies, infections and other problems.
How often should my puppy have bowel movements?
Q: I have a one month old puppy which is defecating often. The feces seems very soft as well. My puppy is not as active and I want to know if this is a phase or sickness?
A: Parasites are very likely. Roundworms cause a loose stool, and irritate the lower intestines, stimulating the puppy to defecate more often. Because many nutrients are lost to the worms and from the diarrhea, the puppy would become thin and lethargic. Time to take your puppy and a fresh stool sample to your veterinarian.
Other causes include food intolerance, enteritis and improper diet. Again, your veterinarian can help by examining the puppy and the stool.
Can my horses eat Mountain Laurel?
Q: I have a question regarding Mountain Laurel and horses. I am planning to move my horse to a piece of land in New Hampshire where there is Mountain Laurel. I have heard that this is poisonous to horses, is this true? Is it fatal, or will the animal get sick? Also, would horses eat it, or ignore it as they do to many other bushes and shrubs?
A: Mountain Laurel is a dense, woody round-topped shrub, common in rocky wooded areas. This evergreen plant can grow ten feet tall, and has two to five inch, elliptical leaves whirled in threes.
Ingestion of the leaves is potentially fatal to any animal, including horses and humans. The fatal dose varies with time of year and the animal’s individual susceptibility to the toxin.
The toxin is a chemical in the Heath family of plants. Interestingly, the Delaware Indians recognized the potent toxin, and used it for ceremonial suicides.
A poisoned horse will initially show signs of anorexia, hypersalivation, depression and weakness. As it progresses, nausea and regurgitation, difficulty breathing and total collapse occurs, leading to death. Some poisoned horses recover, dependent on dose and quickness of veterinary care.
Your horse may or may not like the taste of this plant. It is best to remove all unknown plants and poisonous plants from your horse property, and to avoid browsing vegetation while riding.
My cat has blood in her bowl movements
Q: I have an older cat. I changed her food to cat food for older cats. I noticed in her liter box that there was a little blood in her stool. She acts OK like nothing is bothering her, but I’m concerned about it.
A: Occasional blood in the stool can be normal, indicative of minor lower intestinal irritation. Excessive bleeding indicates more severe irritation. Parasites, cancers, infections and intestinal damage can cause diarrhea, mucus and blood. If you noticed the blood only once, and all else seems fine, you may only want to take a stool sample to your veterinarian to have checked for parasites. If it keeps occurring, or if she bleeds a lot, set an appointment with the doctor
Can I get get Hydatid Cysts from my dog?
Q: I have been talking with my Spanish fiancee about diseases that you can get from dogs. She says that there is a sickness that humans can receive from dog saliva that attacks the human liver and creates cysts that can be lethal. The cysts are like bunch of grapes in the liver. The Spanish name is Quiste Hidiatidico or something of that nature.
A: Dogs carry many diseases and parasites which are transmittable to humans. Among these are hydatid cysts. The dog tapeworm passes it’s eggs in an infested dog’s feces. The dog may lick itself and get the microscopic eggs into saliva. If the dog’s saliva gets into a person’s mouth, the human may contract the tapeworm infestation. In man, sheep, pigs and cattle, the tapeworm forms hydatid cysts. These large, fluid filled sacks can end up in any organ: the liver, brain, intestines, etc. They act like cancer, growing and spreading. Hydatids can grow as large as basketballs, thus present serious risk to health.
The best way to avoid contracting hydatid disease, is to wash thoroughly after playing with your dog, and to have your dog’s stool checked for parasites at least once a year.
What does a high lipase blood test mean for my cat?
Q: My question is about my 14 to 16 year old spayed cat. Within that last four months she has lost 2.5 pounds. I had a blood screen done and the results were high lipase level and a low red blood count. Everything else was normal. The vet ruled out a tumor because her glucose level was fine. She is still somewhat active. Her appetite isn’t as good as it was before. She is more finicky and doesn’t eat as much. We started supplementing her food with lean beef and boiled chicken. She seems to eat a lot more of that than anything else. I know that is not as good for her but she needs to gain weight. Please help me if you can. I am desperate at this point.
A: Further blood work may be needed to rule out the possibility of hyperthyroidism, leukemia, and diabetes. A fecal analysis should be run to determine if she is free of parasites, such as tapeworms. The high lipase level indicates her pancreas has been damaged. Since the pancreas is critical for proper digestion of food, this could likely be the cause of her weight loss and anemia (low red blood cell count). Allergic reactions, infections, cancers, inflammation and other diseases can cause pancreatitis. A special diet, such as I/D by Hills, may be necessary no matter what the cause of her problems. Using VitaGravy on the prescription diet often helps the transition to the new diet. Further investigation with laboratory tests is definitely warranted.
What should I feed my constipated German Shepherd?
Q: I’ve had my 55 pound Shepherd mix for about four years. Six months ago, he was in pain, shaking, and trying not to move. The vet said he was constipated. Two enemas, x-rays, and wheat meals later he finally had several bowel movements. Now, he has the same symptoms, so the vet checked his anal glands, which were full, so they were expressed. He seemed a little happier, but tonight he appears to be in extreme pain. He doesn’t want to move at all, and cries. We had given him his usual low fat dry food with shredded wheat squares for breakfast, and then his usual carrot for dinner. What could be wrong?
A: Constipation can be quite painful. A diet very high in fiber and low in moisture content can bulk load a colon, and result in blockage. Ingestion of foreign material, such as bedding, can constipate a dog. Abnormal contractility of the colon and rectum may be due to a nerve disease, cancer or slipped disc in the lower back.
Laxatives and enemas are often used successfully in relieving acute constipation. Then, the source is identified and eliminated. In recurrent constipation, with proper diet, one must run diagnostic tests to determine the cause. Repeated enemas is not an adequate solution. Radiographs may be able to identify a pinched spinal nerve, cancers or mega colon. Blood panels may help identify internal disease, tumors and other ailments.
A regular diet of a commercial dog food with the proper balance of nutrients, fiber and water is preferred over homemade diets. Consistency is very important, for the food does not mix well down the digestive tract. For example, the vegetables may loosen the bowels, while the shredded wheat may be binding. Fed simultaneously, the mix may be perfect, but difficult to replicate consistently. A regular diet of commercial food is predictably consistent.
New cat with diarrhea
Q: A friend of mine had a cat adopt her. She has never had cats before. Anyway, this cat has developed diarrhea and has had it for several days. She has no way to take it to the veterinarian in her area (she lives about an hour from me and way out in the country). What can she do to try to help the cat until she can find a way to get it to a clinic? Thanks for your help!
A: Cats, like dogs, humans and other animals, have many causes of diarrhea. Nervousness, parasites, infections, cancers, toxins, diet, and other factors should be considered. Dietary changes are most likely the cause of loose stools in recently acquired, healthy cats. Parasites, such as coccidia and roundworms are likely in cats from the pound and cats that live outdoors. Cats that have loose stools for less than 24 hours, and seem fine otherwise, do not usually need any veterinary attention. If the diarrhea persists into the second day, or if the cat looks or acts sick, or if the stool had blood or excessive mucus, then a veterinarian is needed. In addition to a thorough examination of your feline friend, a complete fecal examination is essential. Be sure to have a fresh fecal sample for your veterinarian when the cat is examined. Over the counter remedies are usually ineffective, and even harmful for cats, and should be avoided.
My pup has diarrhea
Q: I just brought home an eight week old mastiff puppy last night. She has been vaccinated with her first series of shots, including parvo. I’m concerned because she started having diarrhea today that has decreased in volume but has become increasingly watery. She still has an appetite and is playful but is sleeping a lot. I’m worried because it’s the weekend and I won’t be able to call my vet until Monday. Any ideas?
A: There are many causes of diarrhea in puppies, and you are right to be concerned. No matter what the cause, diarrhea causes a young dog to loose valuable water, electrolytes and nutrition quickly. If untreated, a puppy can succumb to the weakness and even die.
Sudden changes in diet can result in diarrhea. The digestive system is quite sensitive. Changing from one food to another should always be done gradually over a weeks time. When purchasing a new pup, you should always find out what diet was fed by the breeder or previous owner. This diet should be fed in the new home for at least one week. Then, you can change the diet gradually if necessary.
Parasites, such as tapeworms, flukes, whipworms, coccidia, giardia, and many others can cause diarrhea. These do not resolve on their own, and worsen with time. Your first visit by your veterinarian should include a fecal analysis for parasites. Routine deworming by breeders and pet shops is inadequate, for no single worming medication kills all the different parasites.
Parvovirus, rotavirus, coronavirus, distemper, and Salmonella are just a few of the diseases which affect puppies and cause diarrhea. A veterinarian is necessary for help in this area, for specific diagnostic tests and special treatments may be necessary.
Sometimes puppies become nervous in a new home, and have mild diarrhea just because they evacuate their lower intestines prematurely. This is usually mild, intermittent diarrhea.
Most over the counter anti-diarrhea medications should not be used in puppies, for they merely cover up some symptoms and may cause delay in seeking veterinary assistance.
The bottom line: Take your pup and a fecal sample to your vet as soon as possible.
My dog is suddenly vomiting, is this serious?
Q: I have a four-and-a-half month old Doberman that normally has a very healthy appetite, as well as usually has a large consumption of water during the day. For the past two days she throws up most of what she eats, and will hardly drink anything at all. She will occasionally get the shivers as well, but they go away within a half hour or so. What do you think that problem could be?
A: Dogs regurgitate or vomit for a variety of reasons. Some of the causes are quite serious, others are mild and common.
A dog that suddenly vomits or reguritates a meal, and appears completely normal afterwards, may have a mild stomach irritation. The food may have contained something that disagreed with the digestive system. Such single occurances do not warrent any major concern. Some dogs try to regurgitate by eating grasses which stimulate the vomition reflex. They do this when they have an upset stomach. Hair, plant material, garbage, insects and other things a dog eats may cause mild irritations resulting in reguritation.
A dog that repeatedly vomits, or vomits for more than 24 hours, may have a more serious gastritis. There may be a foreign object like a ball, fish hook, needle or plastic bag stuck in the digestive system. He may have a bacterial infection, parasite or virus. Stomach cancers, metabolic disorders, and nervous system diseases can also result in vomition.
Repeated vomiting, dry heaves, blood in the vomit, and vomiting for several days are signs that indicate your dog needs to seek help from his doctor. Vomiting accompanied with other clinical signs, such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, dehydration, depression, fever, and weakness are also signs he may have a more serious problem than just an upset stomach.
A veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, and may need to run blood tests, take x-rays, or run a fecal analysis.
Tell me about Salivary Cysts
Q: Hello doctor. I have a three-and0a-half months labrador. She has like a small pouch filled with liquid under her jaw. I was reading on the internet about this situation and the only thing that I found similar with her condition is called salivary cysts. I would really appreciate any information that you can give me regarding this situation.
A: Salivary cysts are caused by a blockage of one of the salivary ducts. The saliva builds up in the gland, causing the bulging. This usually is caused by an infection in the mouth or salivary gland. Your veterinarian can treat the infection with antibiotics and unplug the duct.
Other things are in this location as well. The submandibular lymph node can swell, indicating infection or inflammation in the jaw or local tooth. Your dog may have a bad tooth or gingivitis.
The veterinarian will examine the swelling, and may perform a fine needle aspiration. Saliva is clear, lymph is yellow, pus is white and creamy, and blood is red, of course. Each requires a different treatment.
My vet used Tagamet and Carafate to treat my pup’s vomiting problem
Q: We are at our wits end! Three weeks ago, one of our dogs (eight month old female) ate the poop of our six month old dog. She has done this before and has gotten really sick (vomiting) for a day, then completely back to normal. This time she has never came out of it. She vomited for several days, andwouldn’t eat or drink, so we took her to the vet and they put on an IV because she was dehydrated. The kept her for several days and ran tests. They took x-rays, blood samples and did the barium thing. They found nothing. They did prescribe Tagamet and Carafate thinking she might have an ulcer. We brought her home and she would not eat or drink for us at all. She did eat a little (a few bites) when she was in their care. We had to force feed and water her. A couple of days later I took her to a different vet and they gave her a shot for nausea, and said to continue the Tagamet, and gave her IV fluid under her skin on her back. I brought her home and that afternoon, she got worse and started vomiting again. That night I took her back to the second vet and they admitted her and put her on and IV and gave her shots for nausea and Tagamet. After a day or so she stopped the vomiting, and ate a little for them. Once again at home, she refused to eat or drink anything. We took her back again, and they ran the same blood test the first vet ran, plus a urine and stool sample and started her on an IV again. After a couple of days we tried bringing her home again. At first she always seems to be better, (perky, playful) but within several hours she goes back to the same old thing. They did discover she had a really bad bladder infection and started her on Baytril. What are your thoughts on this situation?
A: Your pup sounds like she is receiving much care from your veterinarians. The blood tests and x-rays are a critical part of proper diagnostics. Tagamet is Cimetidine, and over the counter medicine used for dogs and humans. Tagamet blocks the receptors in the stomach, decreasing acid production, thus relaxing an acidic stomach. Carafate is Sucralfate, a powerful stomach protectant. Carafate should not be given at the same time as other medications, for it blocks absorption of most medications, thus erasing their effectiveness.
Corprophagy is the act of eating feces. Most dogs choose to eat other animal’s feces. Most of the time it does not result in disease. It is questionable whether this practice actually caused your pup’s stomach upset, or was it merely a coincidence. To stop coprophagy, you should clean up the feces as often as possible. Adding monosodium glutamate, sold as Accent® in the grocery store, to the other dog’s food will make his feces taste worse. You would think feces would taste bad anyway, but monosodium glutamate makes it taste bad to dogs that like to eat feces. Adding a general mineral supplement to a dog’s food sometimes decreases the desire to eat strange foods.
The barium x-rays are good for identifying obstructions and large foreign bodies, but may not identify simple, smaller objects in the stomach. Foxtails and other plant burrs can cause similar signs to what you are seeing, and do not show on x-ray.
In addition to the Carafate and Tagamet, the addition of antibiotics, Baytril in this case, is very important. Even if infection is not the initial cause of the problem, infections commonly occur secondary to other problems. Be sure to check for parasites, such as roundworms, too.