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Dr. Norman Bayne
Dr. Norman Bayne, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 635
Experience:  Doctorate in veterinary medicine and licensed in MI & UT; I will do my absolute best to help you.
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My shih tzu is lethargic and her stomach feels hard. She was

Resolved Question:

My shih tzu is lethargic and her stomach feels hard. She was trembling a little earlier. She had a bowel movement earlier today. Gums are pink, no vomiting, no diahrhea. Is this an urgent situation with a hard stomach?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Norman Bayne replied 4 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer...my name isXXXXX and I would love to help you.

First some questions so I can better assist:

Is there any pain in her abdomen?
Does she tense up when you feel her abdomen or can you feel something hard inside?
If you can feel something inside her abdomen, can you describe the feeling?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
She did not tense up or flinch. In a panic over this, I just locked myself out of the room with my pc. If possible to use another email that is easier to access on my blackberry plz use.XXX@XXXXXX.XXX. Thanks.

Just feels hard. I worry about stomach flipping, serious bloat Etc.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Bayne replied 4 years ago.
Maybe we can still use internet communication since you have a blackberry. I cannot go to private e-mail due to JustAnswer policy.

There is a condition you are referring to GDV - gastric dilatation volvulus; it is rarely seen in the Shih Tzu breed, but not impossible. She would look like she swallowed a beach ball. Her gums would also be pale to white. This is a dire emergency if she looks like she swallowed a beach ball and needs to be rushed in to an ER asap.

Could also be other conditions:
swallowing foreign object
intusseception - intestine telescopes upon itself: feels like a "hot dog"

Both these are emergencies if she is lethargic and depressed.

I hope this was of help. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
She is still in pain, does not seem like a beach ball or hot dog, has a normal kidney function, has been on antibiotics and is getting worse. Today she will not eat, will not drink unless I force it with syringe, does not want to walk. She did urinate and eliminate last night.

I took her to two different vets and they just tried antibiotics. What are symptoms of more serious problems and how do you test for tumors, etc. If she has never drank excessively does not have vomitting or diarhea could it still be renal dysplasia?
Expert:  Dr. Norman Bayne replied 4 years ago.
I hope you can hold off until I have time to do some research on her condition.

I will get back to you approx. 5:00pm - 5:30pm today.

Dr. Bayne
Expert:  Dr. Norman Bayne replied 4 years ago.
Hmmmmm.......this is a challenging case indeed.

It does not sound like your pet is in renal failure

To investigate acute and chronic renal failure:

Acute renal usually manifests with:
increased drinking/increased urination
fever (if infectious or bacterial cause)
kidneys painful when feel abdomen
vomiting and diarrhea
anorexia or decreased appetite
dehydration even though increased drinking

Diagnosis is made by:
physical examination
history of compromised blood flow to kidneys or toxin exposure
see changes in urinalysis - remnants of cells being shed into urine
increased urine function indices called blood urea nitrogen and creatinine

Treat by:
IV fluids
intestinal protectants if toxin is involved
medications to control vomiting and diarrhea

Acute renal failure may improve with treatment, but the animal may never return to completely normal levels
This condition may require long-term management
If truly acute renal failure, the prognosis is guarded

To summarize all this, your dog would most likely be painful in her abdomen if she had acute renal failure

Chronic renal failure (CRF) is much more involved:

Usually see this in older pets, not 2 years as your pet is
The animal with CRF gets dull looking and listless; is weak; loses weight; loses appetite; usually has vomiting and/or diarrhea

Diagnose by:
animal is anemic due to factor produced by kidney called erythropoetin is lost; this is not then there to stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells
increased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine
see protein in the urine

Treatment:
supportive care - IV fluids, meds to control vomiting and diarrhea; artificial erythropoetin to fight anemia (stimulate production of red blood cells); Vitamin B supplements

CRF is irreversible; can only slow the progression of the disease

Cancer?:
She is very young to have cancer, but it is still possible. If you feel hardness in her abdomen, abdominal ultrasound may be indicated to take a look and see if there is a mass associated with any of the organs. If see mass or suspect cancer, would want to immediately take x-rays of lungs to see if it has spread or metastasized there.

The possibility of liver cancer does exist and that could be what you are feeling. She would be lethargic, be losing weight, usually drinking and urinating more, show jaundice or yellowing in the white of her eye and pinna of ear; many times can also see yellow in gums. Diagnosis of liver cancer is done by blood work, x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, and +/- liver biopsy. Depending on the type of cancer, you may have surgical treatment or chemotherapy or both. Treatment also involves IV fluids and good nutrition. These liver tumors have a guarded to poor prognosis.

GDV (gastric dilatation/volvulus): Not likely
She would be much worse by now if she had gastric dilation/volvulus, but can be checked out quickly with an abdominal x-ray to see if stomach is grossly enlarged. This is a dire emergency and progresses rapidly to shock and death. I assume the vets you took her to were able to rule this out given the fact that the initial problem was 4 days ago.

What to do at home?:
You can give her buffered or baby aspirin for the pain at a dose of 5 - 15 mg/lb orally every 8-12 hours; this should be given with food if at all possible since aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAID and could cause stomach ulcers on an empty stomach.

Offer her baby food - beef, chicken
Give her Pedialyte for hydration and electrolytes

Give her much love.

I hope that this has been helpful! If it has, please hit the "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you have more questions, just reply and I will try to help.



The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.




Dr. Norman Bayne, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 635
Experience: Doctorate in veterinary medicine and licensed in MI & UT; I will do my absolute best to help you.
Dr. Norman Bayne and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm going to hit accept to close us out but wanted to tell you what happened so I think I have to hit reply first. She got even worse and finally presented a symptom that everyone could work with. She lost movement in her back legs....you probably already see where this is going now....but I rushed her back in to my vet who said to rush her to a neurosurgeon in Denver. She had emergency back surgery yesterday and should be coming home in a few days and should be back to between 85 and 100% of her normal function!!!! Whew!!! What a tough case, had everyone stumped until she lost movement. Thank you for taking so much time with me.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Bayne replied 4 years ago.
Wow......................I am so glad you replied back to me.

I truly wish you and your dog well; I hope she returns home as close to 100% as possible.

Best wishes.

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