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Dr.  Vamvakias
Dr. Vamvakias, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 998
Experience:  Small Animal & Emergency Medicine
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Geriatric chow chow

Customer Question

I have taken my dog to the vet but he wants to run tests on Monday and I am trying to find out possible answers to my dog’s problem(s) before then so I can prepare myself. He is a 16 year old chow chow. He got into an argument with his son and his son just barely nicked a spot on top of his head. Don’t know if this is related or not, but that’s when the problems began. The father’s head and ear were swollen (maybe from the nick, maybe not) and one week later he can barely walk, acts as though his hind legs are frozen (he has hip dysplasia but takes Rimadyl and this usually loosens him right up), has foam, not just drool pouring out of his mouth, no appetite, no thirst, and very labored breathing? Could this be heart failure from his age? The vet gave him a shot of steroids and antibiotics and I will be giving him antibiotics until he goes back for his tests on Monday, but I need to know what possibilities I am looking at here so that I can prepare myself mentally for whatever news I may get. The vet said he had a 50/50 chance of making it until Monday. He also kept mentioning his age and how lucky I was that he has lived this long. Could this be a cancer or some sort? Or is this the norm for dogs who just die of old age?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  ZooCVT replied 11 years ago.
 Sudden onset like that probably isn't cancer but can't be ruled out. It may be, with his age that not feeling well from getting in the scuffle brought up some underlying issues...that and he's old so getting in a fight takes its toll....like an 80year old man with an injury...harder and longer for them to heal. I would wait for the blood results and keep him on the antibiotics...with food until you hear from your vet. I would give him a bland diet until then of boiled chicken and white rice to help also.
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.

 Well, it could be alittle of everything. Many times it is a series of events as they get older and they seem to go from good to bad in 24-48 hours. As one thing "fails" like the heart...it all goes.


I wouldn't rule out cancer, but at 16 yrs of age, I am sure the heart/liver/kidneys are all working pretty hard.


The drooling and foam can come with nausea, discomfort and where the body is just working on breathing.  The labored breathing is usually just to keep the body oxygenated. But can also be labored from fluid in the lungs from heart failure...as well as pain.


The legs can be from decreased blood flow, spinal injury/lesion, other.


I know that this weekend will be hard for you. Based on how he does you may want to decide on Monday whether the test are important or not.


Keep him quiet and comfortable and away from the other dog so that he is relaxed.


I will keep you all in my prayers.


Dr.Vamvakias

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