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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Blood tests and xray was on sat last, she is eating ok, she

Customer Question

blood tests and xray was on sat last, she is eating ok, she is drinking but is sleepy and not her usual perky self
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 12 months ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm really sorry to hear that Kerry hasn't been feeling well - I'll do my best to help.

I'm really glad to hear that Kerry's lab work was pretty unremarkable - the average blood panel rules out a great deal of very bad diseases like kidney failure, diabetes, liver failure, severe anemias, etc. With an enlarged liver, it is a good idea to at least have the ultrasound done to see if there's any evidence of cancer there. I know it's a scary thought, but that's the type of thing I'd want to find ahead of time rather than have sneak up on me. The test for Cushing's is certainly not a bad idea either. I usually will test my patients for Cushing's if they are compatible clinical signs like a pot bellied appearance, thin or coarse hair, recurrent skin infections, hair loss, excessive thirst and urination, excessive appetite or excessive panting. Sometimes Cushing's can cause a dog to just be overall "blah" - often owners think that their dog with Cushing's is just aging because the signs are so insidious. So based on your description of what she's doing, your vet's plan definitely sounds reasonable.

I've also seen dogs suddenly act very lethargic and unwilling to move when they have sore backs. That's a tougher diagnosis to prove if they're not obviously painful when you manipulate their spine, though, and it doesn't show up on X-rays. I'm just throwing it out there so that you can observe her for signs like guarding her back (tensing up when you go to touch her back or belly), yelping when you pick her up or randomly yelping when she's active like trying to jump up or down or use the stairs.

Some owners tell me that they can't afford to do any more testing, in which case with a dog with normal blood work I might consider just watching them for a few weeks to see if the signs abate or if new ones pop up that point us in the right direction. It could be that she sprained something or that it's behavioral and it'll pass on its own. Unfortunately since there's no blood test for cancer, we always worry that the sick dog with normal bloodwork might have cancer hiding in there somewhere. A lot of owners wouldn't pursue any sort of advanced treatment of cancer like surgeries or chemo, but if you would, then your vet will want to check her over with a finer tooth comb to see if they can spot any abnormalities, specifically on that ultrasound.

I hope that this helps - please let me know what other questions I can answer for you.

~Dr. Sara

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