Beagle Health: Diseases that Cause Appetite Loss or Weight Loss

Please do not use this article in the place of a veterinarian’s diagnosis

If beagles were religious, than food would be their gods. Often a beagle owner’s problem is keeping a beagle from becoming obese because of this breed’s notorious appetite. If a beagle or beagle-mix suddenly looses weight, this could be the signs of a parasite infestation, an internal blockage in the digestive system or a disease. The sooner the beagle is brought to a vet, the higher his or her chances are of surviving.

Canine Diabetes

In the later stages of canine diabetes, the dog will suddenly loose weight and may loose appetite. This is in direct contrast to the dog’s earlier behavior of constantly being hungry, thirsty and then needing to urinate far more often than usual. If the dog has not been treated in the early stages, the dog could soon slip into a diabetic coma and die after weight loss begins.

Diabetes can happen to any breed of dog or to mongrels, but females are more prone to diabetes than males. But beagles have the unfortunate habit of getting very fat, which can make them far more prone to developing diabetes than dogs that do not worship food as much as a beagle. The type of diabetes they get is often insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM.) Dogs with IDDM can be treated with insulin shots, diet and whatever else is needed for that individual beagle.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Although German shepherds and rough-coated collies are the breeds most prone to EPI, it also appears in boxers, greyhounds, Chihuahuas and beagles. It also appears to a lesser extent in many other breeds and mixed breeds. But no matter what the breed or mixture of breeds, the results are the same – devastating.

The dog’s pancreas is unable to make enzymes needed in order to help the dog properly digest food. The dog basically starves to death even if given access to plenty of good food and water. The dog will loose weight suddenly and have diarrhea that may contain undigested pieces of food and globs of fat.

There are medications to reproduce the enzymes as well as giving the dog raw pig pancreas to eat. Changes in diet may be needed. Very, very occasionally, a dog will suddenly recover, according to Race Foster, DVM. But often the dog is euthanized because treatment is so expensive.


Weight loss, especially if accompanied by loss of appetite, can be the symptoms of many different types of cancers. Beagles are not prone to any specific type of cancer, but older dogs of any breed or mixed breeds are going to be prone to developing tumors which could lead to cancer. At least neutered and spayed dogs do not get cancers of their reproductive organs.


“The Veterinarians’ Guide to Your Dog’s Symptoms.” Michael S. Garvey, DVM, et al. Villard; 1999.

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beagles.” Kim Campbell Thornton. 2002.

Dog Owner’s Guide. “Canine Diabetes.”

Pet Education. “Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (Maldigestion Disorder) in Dogs.” Race Foster, DVM.