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Ask Dr. Altman Your Own Question
Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11105
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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We have a terrier possible beagle mix we adopted from a

Customer Question

We have a terrier possible beagle mix we adopted from a rescue. Over the last few days we have have notice decreased appetite and hasn't been drinking a lot of water during the day. He has been sluggish and I noticed he almost fell when going down the stairs on the deck. He has also had difficulty getting on the sofa this afternoon.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the terrier. What is the terrier's name and age?
Customer: Sam and almost 2 we think according to his papers
JA: How old is Sam?
Customer: Almost 2 yo
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Sam?
Customer: No
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 3 months ago.

Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!

I am sorry to hear Sam is not feeling well. May I ask is he moving slower, tail tucked, or a stilted/ choppy gait? Can he raise his head alright?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
He is moving slower and he can raise his head. He has a stub tail. His gait is very slow and cautious. It seemed like his front legs gave out on him this morning when he was going outside and down the steps.
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 3 months ago.

My primary concern is an injury to the back back or neck, not necessarily doing something like jumping off the furniture and crying out, they can be walking around the house and have a disc herniation because of their anatomy.

Here is more information on this condition:

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/intervertebral-disc-disease-thoracolumbar-area-in-dogs/page1.aspx

Ideal is to have your veterinarian evaluate your dog to definitively diagnose the problem and start on appropriate medication to control the discomfort. Until you are able to do this please restrict activity (which often they are already doing themselves but that means no steps/ stairs and only carrying to go potty) and rotating warm and cool compresses on the back and neck in ten minute intervals to reduce pain and increase blood flow.

You can also do light circular massage up and down the back and neck to stimulate blood flow if this is not too painful and will allow it.

To pick your dog up please use one hand between front legs and then scooping behind back legs to avoid pressure in the middle of the back. I have actually trained my little dogs to put their front legs on my forearm to minimize pressure on their backs and the associated discomfort.

You can try feeding a bland diet of white rice and lean boiled meat which is also bulking but appetizing and hopefully will help entice his desire to eat (adding water to the mixture in small more frequent meals)

Reasons to recommend a veterinary er

- Gums are pale, yellow, brick red and sticky indicating dehydration

- Vomiting or diarrhea with blood in it

- Increased lethargy or difficulty getting comfortable

- Swollen abdomen

- Respiratory rate > 60 while at rest

- Temperature rectally <99 or >103.5

- No interest in food for 24+ hours

- No urination for 12+ hours

- Trembling without resolution for more than an hour

- Productive coughing

- Taking a "play bow" or what looks like a downward dog position which is abdominal distress

Please let me know if you have any additional questions I can assist with. I hope you are able to get your Sam comfortable soon, truly.

If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION at the top of your screen (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks!

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 3 months ago.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today

If you are satisfied with our chat please rate or accept with the stars on the top of your screen so I may be compensated for my time. If you are having any difficulties you can also state your rating (excellent, good, fair) in our chat as an alternative. Thank you!