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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15656
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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My almost 14 year old Westie has been sleeping A LOT, not

Customer Question

My almost 14 year old Westie has been sleeping A LOT, not eating very much, drinking okay & shakes uncontrollably at times. His lab work showed his albium (spelling) is low but everything else was good. Kidneys are good. These past two days he has been so lethargic & not eating. He will shake at times....I hold him & then after a while he stops shaking. What is going on with him??!!
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

How long ago was the blood work checked?

Is he on any treatment?

Any gagging, retching, lip licking, drooling or vomiting? Any lapse in drinking?

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)?

Has he had any diarrhea?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Benson had his blood checked 1 moth ago.
Switched his food & treats to this specialized protein one from the Vet.
He licks people a excessively not himself.
No belly tenderness.
Gums are moist & pink.
No diarrhea....rather very little pooping.
No...he hasn't eaten anything bad.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 months ago.

Thank you,

First, I do need to warn you that bloodwork is like a photograph, it only represents the body's functions at the time it was taken. So, if these signs started 2 days ago, then those bloods from last month won't necessarily reflect his current situation. Therefore, we'd need to think about possibly having them rechecked at this stage. Especially since not only could these signs be caused by a gut infection, pancreatitis, or dietary indiscretion; but at his age could also be related to metabolic diseases and organ troubles. Furthermore, while usually we see progressive appetite loss instead of sudden, we could also see these signs triggered by dental disease or oral pain.

Now it is the appetite loss that is our most worrisome sign here. Shaking and lethargy/sleeping tend to be non-specific signs of them feeling unwell. So, if we can get to the root of what is putting him off his food, we likely would settle these as we treat that main issue. With this all in mind, we can try some home supportive care to try to settle his stomach. 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.

Afterwards, we can try to tempt Benson to eat. Favorites are allowed but you can also use a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (garlic/onion free only) 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. Of course, if he has dietary sensitivity issues, we'd choose an option that matches with what he can tolerate eating. 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, a wide range of agents could trigger the signs we are seeing. And with the blood work being a month old, it may not represent his body's organ function at this time. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to try to settle his stomach; but if he 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, +/- antibiotics and fluids as needed to settle this and get him back feeling like himself.

Please take care,

Dr. B.


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