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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4995
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My 9 year old cairn terrier mix has been acting strangely

Customer Question

My 9 year old cairn terrier mix has been acting strangely all morning. Just standing in the same place for long periods of time, starring wildly and breathing heavily, heart beating hard. Nose is cool and moist but tail drooping.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 9 months ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about your dog! Has he been eating and drinking normally? Can you take his heart rate? You can sometimes feel the femoral pulse on the inner thigh, near where the leg meets the body. Count how many beats per minute (can be easier to count for 15 seconds and then multiply by 4). And is he panting? Do you have a thermometer at home?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He is panting and his heart rate is about 80 beats per minute. He had two bites of chicken about 3 hours ago but won't take anything else. Ate last night and had normal bowel movement.
Expert:  Jess K replied 9 months ago.

And do you have a thermometer?

If you press on his belly is he painful or uncomfortable? Does his belly look distended at all?

Are his gums pink and moist?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It doesn't hurt when I press his belly and his gums are pink and moist as is his gums. No thermometer, nose moist and cool.
Expert:  Jess K replied 9 months ago.

Ok. So with a dog who is panting and won't lay down and relax, I do worry about pain being the cause of this. Unfortunately it can be hard to locate the source of the pain. If his behavior continues, I would recommend taking him to your vet for an exam. His heart rate is normal now, and gum color sounds good, but continued panting and inability to relax are not normal signs. I am going to attach a link here for you with information on normal pet vital signs so you can have those on hand and continue to monitor: http://www.theanimalemergencycenter.com/sites/default/files/docs/AEC_Pet_Care-Vital_Signs.pdf

You can try to examine him all over to try to localize any pain- open and close his mouth, move his head up/down/side to side to check for neck pain, press down along the length of his spine, and flex and extend all legs.