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Friday, 25 November 2011

How much medication is too much?


My Westie of 14 years and three months has very rapidly developed a condition of the kidneys.

I'm trying to help my Westie with benazepril 5 mg, but he was also prescribed Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide. Because he simply won't eat anything at all I can't get this into his system. I also have a Antepsin Suspension to help line his stomach and alleviate his sickness.

I know he is an old dog, but I just feel that this is too much medication. I have also noticed that since I am squirting the Antepsin suspension directly into his mouth, his saliva is very sticky, more like treacle and extremely smelly. I thought this may be due to an abscess in his mouth but on close inspection his gums and teeth look okay for a dog of 14.

I know I can save him and am not ready to let him go yet, I know this is quite selfish, but he is has been so strong all his life I am desperate to get some nutrition into him and I am sure he can get help.

Should I use Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide as well as Antepsin as they both appear to be doing a similar function of reducing acid in his stomach? He does not appear to have constipation but it is his appetite I am worried about and from what I can gather benazepril should improve his appetite.

Can anyone help?

Mark Almond, Manchester

Richard Allport, vet, advises…

Interestingly, Benazepril is licensed to treat congestive heart disease in dogs, but not kidney disease. Even more interestingly, some lists of side effects for Benazepril in dogs include loss of appetite and nausea (although for cats usually an increase in appetite is noted). However, if your vet has prescribed any medication, don’t stop giving it without discussing it with your vet first.

Without knowing the extent of the kidney problem it’s difficult to suggest what medication could be stopped and what else used, but a good natural anti gastric irritant is Slippery Elm powder, and a good natural way of stimulating the appetite is to ask your vet to give weekly injections of Vitamin B12 for a few weeks, and to dispense Nutriplus gel. This is a tasty gel, full of vitamins and minerals, that usually gets dogs eating pretty quickly.

Offer him warm food, consisting of attractive morsels of minced beef, or chicken livers, or anything you know he would really enjoy. In addition there are homoeopathic and herbal kidney support medicines available (but you would need to ask your vet to refer you to a holistic vet to get these formulated and prescribed).

Don’t give up on your Westie – I’m sure there’s life in the old dog yet!


  1. From our local facebook group...

    Nicola Tyldesley when mine are poorly, i give them anything they want, but keep to low protien with kidney problems. Mine love boiled rice, with gravy mixed in to it, its like a comfort food for them, especially if its still a bit warm
    5 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Michelle Nathwani bob and jess like this also with a bit of boiled carrot in it too x
    2 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Michelle Nathwani or homemade veg soup
    2 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    1. My westie was 17years old when she died-always suffred
      from digestion problems but found out when we fed her boiled rice with a bit of veg and chicken and gravey for breakfast and tin tuna (in sunflower oil) with boiled rice for tea, portions to suit. Found most of her sickness bouts went and lived to good age (bless her)
      Julia Andrews

  2. I do know Antepsin should be given an hour before food, my dog had a problem with his kidneys last year and we had to put him on KD prescription diet.I was also advised to keep him on a low protein diet - but my dog is only 6! I would be trying any food that I thought he might like just to get him to eat.Cooked chicken,cooked mince,cooked liver,even sardines in small amounts.He is an old gentleman and I would be trying to tempt him with anything in the hope it would make him feel better! Good Luck!

  3. I would suggest that you contact Ellen Collinson at Ellen Collinson Herbal Products she makes up some fantastic herbal remedies for dogs and horses. I used to work with Ellen and from memory she used to make a product called Digestive Bitters that might help. Her website is

  4. Slippery elm not only helps calm a poorly tum in canine and human but is a good for building up after illness or elderly peeps n pups, pop half a t.spoon in at first, then a tspoon if you can. Either put in something tasty he will eat or syringe in his mouth with water or goatsmilk.

  5. Something which worked for one of my older dogs (15 at the time), when she was seemingly slipping away after steadfastly refusing both food and water, was raw lamb chunks. I tried her with a couple of pieces purely out of desperation, and when she gobbled them down I was taken completely by surprise.

    When I then offered her a small meal of brown and white rice, with mixed veg and two or three chunks of raw lamb mixed in, she ate the lot. She stayed on this diet, three small meals a day, for the rest of her life (best part of another year).

    Obviously you've got to be careful to get the protein balance right, but I'm in agreement with a previous poster in that you've got to get past this hurdle in order to progress.

    Wishing you all the best.

  6. Burns Penlan Farm range of moist foods are highly palatable so should get him eating and they should also suit his kidney condition. They are like a risotto and there are three varieties - chicken (or lamb or egg), brown rice and vegetables.
    John Burns BVMS MRCVS
    Burns Pet Nutrition