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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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My 2 yr old lab calmly greeted the kids when they let her

Customer Question

My 2 yr old lab calmly greeted the kids when they let her out of her crate. She usually is a spaz. She refused to leap onto the sofa, and whimpered when they pet her. Several hours later, she has eaten well, is on the couch and not whimpering. But she's not her usual happy self...
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 4 months ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm sorry to hear that Stella Mae has been acting so oddly today - I will do my best to help.

There will be a delay of 5-10 minutes as I type up my thoughts for you. You can reply at any time with additional information or questions.

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 4 months ago.

When I hear of pets who are just "not right" like you're describing, there are two different causes I'm looking for: either physical discomfort of some kind (including pain anywhere, itching, or nausea) or anxiety. As you can imagine, physical discomfort is pretty much impossible for me to assess without seeing her myself, but most times owners have an idea of what might be bothering their dog by watching their behavior. Some dogs with sore backs will guard their spine (tighten their belly muscles when you try to bend their back), some dogs with joint or limb pain will limp, dogs with severe itching are easy to spot because you're seeing lots of scratching. Nausea or GI discomfort is often followed by vomiting or diarrhea - they can get all crampy just like we can when they are having a GI upset. I've seen dogs with things like abscessed anal glands, severe allergies, fleas, GI upsets (diarrhea or vomiting), back or limb pain, and even ear infections be up all night pacing and trying to settle. The possibilities, unfortunately, are many. If we've done a full physical and potentially some lab work if we thought it indicated and we cannot see any sign of physical problems, that's when we will consider anxiety or a behavioral change. Sometimes when signs are mild, it's reasonable to wait and see. Red flags that indicate that we need to seek emergency care would be: any sort of abdominal distention, pale or white gums, very high heart rate (>140 beats per minute), or any sort of labored breathing.

Please let me know what questions I can handle for you.
~Dr. Sara

My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions please simply reply with your follow up questions. I would be happy to continue chatting. If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How long do I wait and see before taking her to see the vet.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I would guess its pain, knee or hip joint. Just yesterday she was on her back in a semi circle, grinning.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I tried to tske her tonight, but they didnt have an opening
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the replies - generally owners have a good idea of where their pet is hurting - this is why I always ask them first!

Your decision right now is whether she is sick enough to merit an emergency trip vs waiting until the morning to check back in with your regular vet. Red flags that indicate the need for an emergency visit include pale gums, severe lethargy, weakness or trouble standing/walking, pain that is obviously severe, or other signs like a distended belly, intractable vomiting, or any difficulty breathing.

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 4 months ago.
Hi Debbie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Stella Mae. How is everything going?

Doc Sara