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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4695
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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We have a (rescue) 4-year-old, female Mastiff. We've had her

Customer Question

We have a (rescue) 4-year-old, female Mastiff. We've had her for a good year; she had stage 3 heart worm, ear infections, fleas, etc, and weak hindquarters due to spending most of her life in a cage -- the vet took care of all that was wrong and she's been thriving. For the last month or so I think something's wrong -- Ginger has been lethargic, not eating much, not pooping much (but peeing long pees several times when taken out), seems to get overheated easily, is not running around, will be out walking and will just sit down almost like her legs aren't strong enough to hold her up. She also has bug bites(?) on the inside of her back legs and she yelps when I move her legs to look at the bumps. Is it possible heart worms are back? What other possibilities? It breaks my heart to see her unhappy.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 months ago.

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 16 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

For the bumps you see on her back legs, I can reassure you this is not heart worms. This is much more typical for a skin infection (bacterial, in particular) as can come from a variety of issues but most commonly related to an underlying skin allergy. This will probably require an antibiotic from your vet to clear but I can make a few hints on what you can try at home.

The lethargy and sitting down does worry me, though. This is also unlikely to be related to heart worms (and I also assume you have kept her on monthly preventive since she was treated). This type of behavior can come from pain in the back or hips or from something causing weakness such as anemia or an electrolyte problem. She really needs an exam with her vet to try to narrow down what is going on. If there is pain in the hip/back then this can be treated and help her get back to normal.

For her skin what could you try at home? If she was my patient and you wanted to try something now until you get her in to be seen I might recommend you try:

1)Give an antihistamine such as (choose one): Benadryl (diphenhydramine) 25mg at 1 mg per 10 pounds every 12 hours OR Claritin OTC 1 tab every 12 hours (do not use the one with decongestant)

2)Bath in a good antibacterial shampoo such as Selsun Blue every 7 days. When you bathe, lather and let stand in contact with skin for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly

3)Start on a fish oil supplement (this is anti-inflammatory over about 4-6 weeks); she probably needs about 1500 mg daily.
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Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 months ago.
Hi Colette,

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

Dr. Joey

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