How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. John Your Own Question
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4995
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
11664588
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. John is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

She does not eat that much but she's huge. she has a rough

Customer Question

she does not eat that much but she's huge. she has a rough time breathing air and she snorts like a pig.she always sounds like she's got a head cold.her front right paw she limps on off and on and she will not go up and down stairs.she's a 9 year old chihuahua
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Can you tell me all the food and treats that you give your dog? How much does she currently weigh? Is she able to exercise/go for walks? How long has she been limping?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

she weighs 18 pounds. she used to only wait 5. She eats smartpak. no she cannot exercise her breathing and noises when she breathes is more dermatic and she starts Pantin have to have water right awayshe does go out in the backyard to go to the bathroom and walk around a little bit but can't get back in the house or out we have to pick her up. she has been limping for about a year but it's only off and on

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
Poor Pebbles! Yes, we definitely need to get her slimmed down. I don't know the brand SmartPak--can you tell me exactly what the brand and flavor is? How much do you feed each day?I suspect the limping is arthritis, but it could be Lyme disease, it could be something else.Has Pebbles had any recent bloodwork? What does her skin look like?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

smartpal is a healthy Organic all natural diet dog food she only eats half a cup a day. no blood work done. her skin looks good. and I forgot to tell you she will stand in the middle of a room and just stare she will ignore you when you call her like she's looking right through you

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
I can't find the calorie count for SmartPak dog food on their site. It may be organic and "all-natural", but that doesn't mean it is the best diet for Pebbles. A 5 pound (ideal weight) dog only needs to eat 138 calories per day. I'm going to guess that 1/2 cup is probably twice as much as she needs. Is the "staring off into space" a new behavior?
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
This is what I would recommend if you brought Pebbles to see me:1. baseline bloodwork, including a T4 (thyroid) level and urinalysis. A low thyroid level can cause weight gain, lethargy, and could be a factor in the limping and the staring into space. Bloodwork will also lead us toward other endocrine disorders that can cause weight gain, panting, and other changes. A test for Lyme disease wouldn't be a bad idea, either, if Lyme is common where you live.2. Switch to a prescription weight loss diet. I like Royal Canin Satiety as it is low in calories and has been shown to reduce begging behavior. I would also go over feeding amounts, acceptable treats, etc.3. I would likely prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and see if that helps with the limping. We need to get Pebbles feeling better so we can start increasing her exercise.4. Get Pebbles moving! Start slowly, with maybe a 1-2 minute walk around the house. Slowly increase by a minute each day until you are taking 2 - 30 minute walks daily. Exercise is equally important as portion control (you need to do both to get weight loss), but at her current weight, I'm sure she can't go for very long.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

and what about her breathing problems.she has a rough time just trying to breathe air in through her nose

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
The question with her breathing is:Is it due to her weight (like obese humans, dogs can have snoring and apnea issues, as well), is it a lung issue (like bronchitis or allergies), is it a heart issue or a sinus issue? If her gum color is pink and she doesn't cough or wheeze or collapse with exercise, it is likely weight-related. If you thought it was worse in the spring or seasonally, then you could try giving her some benadryl (probably a 12.5 mg dose twice a day) and see if that helps. If it is more coughing/wheezing, then chest x-rays should be done to look for changes consistent with bronchitis or asthma. An x-ray would also allow heart size to be determined.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't believe she has Lyme disease she wants to eat more but I won't let her and she has flea medicine once a month I put on her all year long

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
That's good, but I still would start with bloodwork and analysis of the diet.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok thank you