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Ask Dr. Ann M. Your Own Question
Dr. Ann M.
Dr. Ann M., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3918
Experience:  ER and general medicine Veterinarian since 2005
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Yesterday morning my dog wouldnt eat breakfast and wasnt

Customer Question

Yesterday morning my dog wouldnt eat breakfast and wasnt moving around much. She hasnt eaten since then (almost two days), but she has had water, and had vomited a very small amount just twice. She is hardly moving around at all and has been breathing quickly. She acting very differently and there seems to be a harder stretch of tissue/skin/muscle/im not sure what across the top of her chest, and she recoils a bit when i try to feel it much. Shes been letting me pick her up and shes been laying and me and just not moving, which she never does. What could this be? Her vet isnt open until monday :(
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is***** and I am a licensed veterinarian with over 9 years of experience. I am hoping to help you with your pet today. Since your dog is showing very non-specific signs and I can’t physically exam your pet, I may need to respond with several follow up questions so I can best help you. Remember there is no limit on how many questions you can ask to in order to clarify any information I have provided regarding your pet. I just have a few initial questions to ask to gather some more information if you don’t mind? Is she on any heartworm prevention? Is she spayed? Does she seem warm to the touch? Is she on any medication currently

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is spayed, she has not been on heartworm prevention medication lately. She seemed warm yesterday but not today. She is not on any other medication. The hard/tough feeling spot of skin/tissue is kind of drooping down below her ribcage when she is standing, and it seems to be more on one side. It is probably about 7-10inches long by 3-4 inches wide and feels maybe an inch or so in thickness? She was chasing cats on thanksgiving so i almost wonder if she pulled a muscle or broke a rib? She did eat some ham that day but she doesnt seem to be having major digestive issues. She hasnt had any diarrhea and the vomiting has been very minimal, more like spit up.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

Okay thanks for the additional information. You mentioned that she chases the cats, has she every had any fights with them or any other pets in the household? I would be concerned that the area you are feeling on the chest may either be some type of wound that has become infected or some type of abscess especially since you described that she felt warm yesterday.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She doesnt usually see cats, but we were visiting family with cats and and she was very excitedly chasing them around the house a few times. One time she caught up to one and got a few good scratches on the nose but i dont see or feel any obvious wounds near her chest area. I have another dog who she plays/wrestles with every day but thats always friendly. She is able to move around, but it seems like a struggle to move normally.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

Does the swelling or the area on the chest feel warm to the touch? Did the swelling seem to come on all of a sudden. I have seen cases where pets rough house together and inadvertently cause a small wound that sometimes can fester into an infection. Sometimes these wounds are not noticed because they may heal before causing a problem trapping bacteria in a pocket of flesh leading to an abcess. If it seems to have come up pretty quickly then that would be my first suspicion. Otherwise I would be worried about some type of injury to either a muscle or a ligament that is causing the pain.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Would a muscle or ligament injury have come on suddenly like this? It does seem sudden but the area on the chest is tough and spread out, theres no part that seems especially swollen or warm. In either case, are there any OTC pain meds or any other meds you could recommend for her for now? She is deinking water on her own, but she is still totally uninterested in food, how long can i let her go without eating?
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 1 year ago.

If the muscle injury is due to sudden trauma it could come on that quickly. As far as oral medications to give OTC, it would be hard to recommend any since we don't know what exactly is going on and some medication could cause problems depending on Rosie's illness. But I do have a few suggestions that you can try to see if you can make Rosie comfortable. You can try a cold compress on the chest area for no longer than 5 minutes to see if it helps. Also you can see if you can try to get her temperature to see if it is high. Typically a dog's temperature should be between 99.5-102.5. You can buy a ear thermometer at a drug store which tends to be just as accurate as a rectal temperature in dogs. If the temperature is high then that would indicate more of an infection. As far as trying to get her to eat, I would try some baby food such as chicken to see if you can tempt her to eat something. You can even wipe it on her lips which will force her to lick it off to at least get some nutrition until you can get her to your veterinarian.

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi there and thank you for your question. I see that you have requested a new expert, so I will try to pick up where your previous expert left off. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed, internship-trained veterinarian with 10 years experience in general medicine and emergency and critical care medicine and I would be happy to assist you. Please be patient as there may be slight delays in responses as I research your pet's issue.

What is her gum color? Is it pink and looking like it usually does, or is it pale? Do you see any areas of bruising on her gums, or anywhere on her belly? When you put your hand on her chest to feel her heartbeat, is it very rapid or slower?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Her gums appear normal color, and I don't see any bruising on her gums or belly. Yesterday she was seeming to go through bout of nausea, where she would start breathing a little heavier/faster, and her heart rate seemed a little faster at those times, and then she would burp/spit up a bit and it seemed to pass. Her heart rate has seemed fast but I'm not sure if it's faster than normal because I think it is always a little quick. Today is 3 full days without eating, but she is still drinking water on her own and going pee normally. She is just very reluctant to move much at all and she moves very delicately when she does get up at all. Her tummy feels kinda weird (not sure if the description I gave before is entirely accurate, it's just weird) but I can't tell if it's that it's swollen or there's something wrong with it or if it's just feeling different because she's lying so still and awkwardly. The reason I am asking questions here is that I know I won't be able to afford many treatment options a vet would offer aside from a simple prescription or home-care, so I gather that my options are to give her supportive care at home until she gets better, or if she gets bad enough that she is obviously suffering very much of something that won't get better without prohibitively expensive treatment, take her to be put down... I guess I am looking for more insight on how to gauge which way it's going. Just about 30 min ago I got her to swallow about 1 tbsp of water mixed with a small amount of blended chicken from a medicine dropper and she hasn't thrown it up, so I'm hoping that is a good sign. Thanks so much for your help...
Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

OK. Sorry for the delay in response, you did not reply to me until two hours after I asked you those questions, and I was asleep at that point. I think it's obvious that your dog has something serious going on and needs to see a vet. I think it would be a good idea to have a veterinarian look at the dog, and all you will need to pay is the office call fee. Then the doctor can at least try to give you an educated guess, and give you options for conservative treatment at home. They only other thing I can suggest at home would be to find someone who has access to the human pain medication tramadol and give your dog 1 mg per pound of tramasol every eight hours and see if that helps. But I really think your dog needs to see a veterinarian to better diagnose the issue before deciding what type of conservative treatment at home would be most helpful. In the meantime, the tramadol can help cover any pain without many potential side effects. I am hoping this is just a back injury, which is what it sounds like to me.

Expert:  Dr. Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly. If you still have questions, please reply. If you feel that I have provided anything less than excellent service, please reply to me first before rating my service and let me know how I can better assist you. Thank you for your question; it has been a pleasure being able to provide assistance. Best of luck.