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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24439
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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We just got a 8 week old Dutch Shepherd. last 2 days he is

Customer Question

We just got a 8 week old Dutch Shepherd. For the last 2 days he is breathing hard and panting. He is also drooling some. He just lays on the floor and groans constantly. Every so often he opens his mouth real big and gags like he is trying to throw something up and puts his paws by his mouth like he's trying to get something out. He also is having a problem with his balance and will lay there bobbing his head. We took him to a vet and he gave him a steroid shot and antibiotic shot. He said to call if he isn't better the next day. He wasn't so we took him for xray. They didn't find anything. They gave him Clindamycin drops, Prednisolone, and Dexamethasone. Here it is 7 1/2 hrs later and his condition has not changed. What is wrong with our puppy? Please help!
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

The clue we can't ignore is his having a problem with his balance and his head bobbing (tremor). These are signs of encephalopathy (brain disorder). At such a young age we need to consider infectious diseases such as canine distemper and neosporosis as well as congenital (present at birth) hypomyelination/dysmelination disorders. Myelin forms a sheath around many nerve fibers.

Feel free to share our conversation with his vet. Clindamycin is a good choice of antibiotics for addressing neosporosis. Distemper is viral, however, and treated supportively and symptomatically. He can be tested for these infectious diseases. I can't recommend the use of a glucocorticosteroid such as prednisolone and dexamethasone at this time. If infection is present, such a drug will immunocompromise Colt and likely worsen the infection.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.