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Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 366
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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I have a 6-7 lb. Pomeranian named Hannah, and she's 9 yo.

Customer Question

Hi! I have a 6-7 lb. Pomeranian named Hannah, and she's 9 yo. For the past ~2 days, she's not been herself. She is trembling, and she hasn't eaten, and drank very little (but normal bowel mov'ts). Her eyes look a little sullen. Her history complicates things a bit, i.e. she does have some arthritis, for which she takes 0.16cc Adequan Mon. & Fri. However she is showing more pronounced ataxia when walking and moving on the bed. We also have a stressful living environment we are working EVERY DAY to get away from, so perhaps the trembling could be anxiety-driven. But it looks like we might be going to the vet, as this cluster of symptoms might be due to nerve issues/ pain.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if Hannah will be able to digest that. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Hannah?
Customer: Well, she takes Levothyroxine 0.100mg, 1/2 tab once daily for a sluggish thyroid. She's up-to-date on her rabies and bi-annual shots, and heartworm is on schedule too. Some days if her nose is runny or she sounds raspy, we give her Allergy tabs, w/ active ingredient Chlorpheniramine maleate 4mg tabs, 1/2 tab in the AM. What do you think? If we go to the vet, what diagnostics should we expect to see them do?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 10 months ago.

Hi there,

I am sorry to hear that Hannah is having a tough time lately, however I think I can help you determine what to expect from a visit to your veterinarian.

Any visit should start off with a thorough history. If this is a veterinarian that is treating Hannah already, this may be shorter but should involve detailed questions like how has she changed, what is her current routine like, how is she acting that is unusual and do you think that she is painful anywhere. Other things that are helpful are has she been vomiting, having diarrhea or is she still taking treats but no food or no nothing at all. Then a thorough physical exam should be performed taking into account her orthopedic issues.

A full neurologic exam (recommended for any dog that is ataxic) includes testing reflexes, cranial nerves, assessing mental status, and looking for back or neck pain as well as watching her walk and navigate a room. Along with a neurological exam an orthopedic exam should be performed to look for any new injuries, sources of pain or worsening of the arthritis.

I would also expect that blood work would be recommended, to include a thyroid level depending on when it was last checked to make sure that she is at the proper level of supplementation. Checking her chemistry values is also important as dogs can get liver or kidney disease that can interfere with appetite. Electrolytes are also helpful in assessing her metabolic status and a CBC should be considered if there is evidence of an infection or to assess her red blood cell and platelet numbers. Depending on your budget and what is found on the blood work, you may also consider imaging of some type. Abdominal ultrasound is probably going to be more helpful than radiographs as with ultrasound you can see texture, pick up subtle changes like a nodule within an organ and assess the thickness and layering of the bowel wall or lining of hollow organs such as the bladder and stomach. Compared with radiographs, an ultrasound is likely to be a higher yield test and is more sensitive for picking up the subtle things that can affect an older dog.

In addition to definitive or supportive care for anything that is found on diagnostics, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about an anti-anxiety medication if you think that Hannah is anxious in addition to what ever else physically is going on with her. Is the type of information you were looking for? If not, do you have specific questions I can answer?

Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 10 months ago.

I noticed that you have not yet responded to my last message or accepted the answer I gave. If you have further questions and want to discuss your pet’s condition in more detail please feel free to let me know.

If I have been able to answer your question satisfactorily, I would appreciate a positive rating so the website knows that I have been helpful as this is the only way I can be compensated for my time.

All the Best,

Dr. Ellie