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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15678
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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I have an 8+ year old American Staffy X Mastiff, he is off s

Customer Question

I have an 8+ year old American Staffy X Mastiff, he is off his food, panting and very quiet. Totally not himself. He is normally a very lively dog.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has he had these signs?

Any gagging, retching, lip licking, drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea?

Is he still drinking normally?

Is he breathing quicker then 30 breaths per minute?

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, rocks, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
He was like this when I got home from work tonight, he was fine this morning.
He does seem to be breathing quicker than normal.
His gums are pink, moist and do not appear to be sticky.
He is not showing signs of pain when I press on his belly, however does show signs of discomfort - shaking.
He most certainly could have eaten something, he has a bad habit of getting into things when I am not home (including the rubbish). There are definitely no chemicals around that he can get into.
Not sure about his drinking, I have not noticed him having a drink in the last 1.5 hours.
He is most definitely moving more slowly than he normally would.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you,

Now I have to say that I am quite concerned if he is moving slowly and showing elevated respiration. With his pink gums telling us that we haven't oxygen compromise, together those signs would suggest discomfort. As for the shaking, that is just a non-specific sign that he is feeling generally unwell.

With all this in mind, we do need to tread with care. Since he is off food and tends to eat odd items, you can try some supportive care to see if we can get him a bit more settled. To start, you can consider treating with an OTC pet safe antacid like Pepcid (More Info/Dose @, Zantac (More Info/Dose @, or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.

Once he is more settled, you can plan to try small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also OTC vet diets (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) that can be used too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. And I'd note we could add canned pumpkin to this to just bulk up what he passes and encourage any non-edible items that could be in his stomach/GI to pass. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise continuing this until the signs are settled, and then weaning slowly back to what you normally feed.

Overall, Jackson's signs are quite non-specific. I do suspect he is putting on a brave face when you press on his belly; especially if he shakes when you hug him. With that and knowing he gets into things, we need to tread with care. Though since those gums are pink and you aren't seeing obvious belly changes, you can try the above supportive care to try to settle his stomach and get him eating. Though if he cannot keep that or water down, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get his vet involved. They can assess his hydration, rule out fever, ensure nothing in his stomach that shouldn't be, or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, his vet can treat with injectable anti-nausea medication, appetite stimulants, gut safe pain relief, +/- antibiotics to settle his stomach and get him back feeling like himself.

Please take care,

Dr. B.


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