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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16316
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 14 year old chihuahua keeps licking s lips and stretching

Customer Question

My 14 year old chihuahua keeps licking his lips and stretching his neck. His tummy seems bloated and hard and he us not interested in his food like normally is.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

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

How long has he been showing signs?

Any vomiting? Is he drinking?

Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

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

Or does it feel like a fluidy water balloon when you press?

Could he have eaten anything he should not have (ie bones, stones, socks, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?

Any changes to his breathing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has been showing signs for years.Yes he us drinking water. No vomiting.Gums are pink.Tummy is both tense and feels fluid filled too like a water balloon. His stools are solid and kind of medium dark in color. Sometimes mucousy. I feed him small portions consisting of 1/4 to 1/5 can 3 to 4 times a day. He seems like he is constantly hungry. His eyes water when he seems like he is pain. He curls up in a ball and often isolates himself in another room lately. He usually wakes up several times a night to go out and relieve himself. Sometimes he has bowel movements in the middle if the night.Changes in his breathing are the inability to get a breath with a lot of gasping for air and sounds like his throat is filled with mucus lasting about 2 to 3 minutes. Then he shivers and shakes a lot afterwards. His throat gets really tense and I massage it trying to help him relax.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

Now based on all you have said about Flash, I am concerned about a few different issues.

His bloated appearance is likely related to his heart condition. When heart disease progresses, we see leakage of fluid from the circulation into places it doesn't belong (ie lungs, chest, abdomen). So, if he has chronic bloating with a water balloon type appearance, this is highly suspect and you will need to speak to his vet about adjust his medication and considering adding a diuretic to reduce that fluid build up and also clear any in his lungs that may be responsible for his breathing changes As well, he may benefit from Vetmedin to help his heart beat better.

Furthermore, the cough that he has does raise a few concerns. If his heart is enlarged, that can pus up the trachea to cause coughing. Furthermore, as a small breed, we also likely have a degree of tracheal collapse. This is where the cartilage rings in the trachea are softer then is ideal. So, when they tense their neck muscles, they pull the trachea closed. This tends to be something most chihuahuas live with but some may benefit from the use of dog safe cough suppressants +/- anti-inflammatories.

Finally, those current signs he is showing. The lip licking and neck stretching are most suspicious of nausea (even without vomiting). This usually is not related to the above but if he is tender then we'd be concerned about a gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, or even discomfort related to the fluid pressure on his GI. Therefore, we'd want to address the above to see if this helps with this too. But we may also want to consider addressing that suspect nausea. OTC options you can try just now would include an antacid like Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid)or Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac). Whichever you use, we'd give this 20 minutes before food to allow absorption and of course double check with your vet before use if your wee one has any known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned. Of course, if he is doesn't settle with that, then we'd want to speak to his vet about stronger options for him.

Overall, Flash's current signs raise concerns of stomach upset and we do need to address that. But his other signs, also raise concerns that that heart disease is not as well controlled as we need it to be and it would be advisable to consider having his vet recheck him and adjust his heart treatment.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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