The objectives of this retrospective study were to identify the most common clinicopathologic abnormalities in starved dogs, assess the time required for those abnormalities to resolve, and determine whether clinicopathologic abnormalities recorded at time of intake to the hospital influenced time to regain weight. Records of 152 very underweight or emaciated dogs seized by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) division were reviewed. Dogs were classified as emaciated if the admission body weight was estimated to be ≥ 30% below the anticipated ideal body weight and classified as very underweight if the admission weight was estimated to be 20–29% below the anticipated ideal body weight. An initial minimum database was obtained on each animal, and when possible, clinicopathologic abnormalities were serially assessed. The most common initial abnormalities, present in ≥ 25% of dogs, were hypoalbuminemia, thrombocytosis, anemia, elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN), elevated BUN/creatinine ratio, and hypocalcemia. Mean time to gain 20% of admission body weight was similar for the abnormalities studied. Although there was some evidence that dogs with anemia and/or hypoalbuminemia required more days to gain weight, future studies are required for confirmation.

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