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Steve O.
Steve O., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  I have 20 years of canine clinical and surgical experience
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What could cause my dog to be acting restless?

Resolved Question:

My dog is acting strange, restless, wont lay down. She keeps going into the bathroom and hiding, pacing back and forth, seems to be walking very gentle on rear legs. Started about 9 tonight. Can’t seem to relax and sleep. Please help!

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Steve O. replied 6 years ago.

Expert: Steve O. replied 5 years ago.

Is she spayed? Has she laid down since 9:00 PM?

Yes spayed. She will lay down for a short time, but won’t go to sleep, she just keeps pacing around acting weird

Steve O.:
Could she have gotten into anything tonight? Has she had diarrhea or vomiting tonight?

Customer: Hasn't gotten into anything that I know of, we were out from 5 till 9, but nothing seems disturbed, she was in the house whole time, my other lab is fine, no diarrhea or vomiting. She wants to hide, very restless

Steve O.:
There can be quite a few things that can cause the vague symptoms that she is showing. She could have ruptured an intervertebral (IV) disk in her lower back. When this happens it causes discomfort and tenderness in the hind legs. Some dogs can't get comfortable with an IV disk injury so they can't sleep and don't like to lie down as much as usual.

Another possibility is impacted anal glands. Has she ever had anal gland issues in the past?

No, other dog has had that, but wasn't this uncomfortable, can I do anything to settle her down for bed? She won’t even lay down with me which is highly unusual. Does it sound like something worse? I'm sorry, I panic when it comes to my dogs!

Steve O.:
If doesn't sound like anal glands are very likely, but an IV disc could be a good possibility. I think she needs to be examined by your vet, it could probably wait until morning as long as she doesn't get worse. I have had clients use one buffered aspirin to help relieve some pain and tenderness temporarily so the dog can sleep.

If you decide to try the aspirin and if she feels better, she still needs to be examined so they can give her more potent medicines and better for longer term use. Aspirin has enough side effects, that I don't like using it very long. If an IV disc injury is the problem, she needs to remain quiet and no running or jumping for a week to help reduce the chance that it will become re-injured and possibly cause even more severe symptoms.

I have a 325mg aspirin, is that okay?

Steve O.:
Yes 325 mg should be adequate for a dog that size. I hope this has helped.

Ok, I will give it a try! Thank you! One last question, do you think it is normal for her to keep trying to hide? That's what’s worrying me the most right now.

Steve O.:
Some dogs don't know what to do to make themselves comfortable and hiding can be one way they deal with discomfort. If she gets worse in spite of the aspirin, you may want to take her to an emergency, especially if she has trouble breathing.

And the pacing and restlessness normal also?
Her breathing is normal as of now.

Steve O.:
Yes these can be "normal" for a dog with an IV disc injury. It all depends on which disc is injured and how severely. Her breathing getting more normal is a sign, that she may be getting used to her discomfort.

It is possible that she has something else causing her anxiety and symptoms, but pain can easily manifest as these symptoms. When you have her examined, your vet can give you an idea of whether she has an injured IV disc or something else. regardless, the aspirin should help with her discomfort.

Okay, thank you!

Steve O.:
You’re welcome.

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