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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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my dog seems to have no energy, weak, urinates actually where

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my dog seems to have no energy, weak, urinates actually where he is sleeping, or when he gets up, seems to lose balance.. this all started today.. he has never had any problems or illnesses. he is a 4.5 years old border collie.. help..

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I'm so sorry you have had such a long wait to get a response. I just logged on and saw your question and have replied right away.

I would like to help you and your dog but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How many hours ago did this start?

Are you with him now?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i noticed he was not as energetic as usual at 5pm today. i am with him now.
i think he looked less energetic not as bad as today in the last 3 days.
Ok, that is helpful - and what time is it in Maryland right now (8:12am here in France)?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
it is 2:14 am

his food brand was changed about 5 days ago

Hmm...what brand of food is he now on?

Could you please go and check a few things:

1. Count how many breaths he takes in one minute

2. Lift his lip above his canine teeth – so you can see his canines and the teeth behind them. Are his gums sticky and tacky, or are they wet and slimy when you touch them with a finger?

3. Are his gums and tongue:
- dark red
- dark pink
- bubble gum pink
- light pink
- white

- yellowish

Are they lighter or darker than your own?

4. Do you see any bruising on his gums or on his belly beside his penis or in his groin area?

5. Can you take his temperature?

Instructions here:


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
tep is 102.1
gums are wet (seems like his normal wetness and slimyness) but i feel they are warmer than his normal
gums are dark/pink(pink+black)
tongue is pink (not bright pink but a kind of gray pink)
darker than mine

Ok - thank you for checking all that!

That is all normal, including his temperature.

Can you count how many breaths per minute he is taking?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
heart beat seems to be about 90-98/min
breaths about 29/min
Ok - thanks!

Now, can you look at his eyes and tell me if his pupils are really big? Do they get smaller if you shine a bright flashlight into them from 1-2 inches away?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
not "really big" and they do get smaller when i shine a flashlight into them.
That's good!

Ok, so he has a normal temperature (high end of normal) and slightly elevated respiratory rate, tachycardia (fast heart beat), as well as being wobbly and falling over.

He is urinating where he is lying.

Have I got all of that right?

What colour is the urine? Very pale? Dark yellow?

Does he have a "base wide" stance (like Bambi learning to walk)?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
he has urinated once where he was lying and once when he stood up
his urine was dark yellow when he went for his walk
he seems to be shaky and weak the stance is somewhat wide. a few times when he wanted to get his play ball or run after the ball he made a sound as if something is hurting
Any chance of toxins?

- grapes?

- medications (especially painkillers)?

- marijuana?

Any chance of trauma?

- is he off leash unsupervised?

- could he have been hit by a car?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no grapes
no marijuana
no trauma
never off leash unsuprevised
and not hit by a car

as for medication i am very careful not have any out or anywhere accessable to him or my cat.
If by any chance any medication was taken it can not be more than one 15 mg focalin . and that is assuming one has been dropped at one time but very doubtful.
I'm just going to look up the symptoms of dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride ingestion in dogs...

be right back...
Is he holding his head to the side, tilted?

Are his eyes flicking back and forth?

Is he shaking his head a lot?

Any muscle tremours?

does his belly look distended at all?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no. he is very quiet and not moving much. he looks somewhat tired or bored
he is not shaking only when he wants to get up as if he is very weak.
his eyes are sad looking and not flicking.
sometime he holds his head a bit tilted..

and his belly is not distended at all

it seems he is trying to sleep or rest ..
Ok - working on your answer. Back asap!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thanks
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
he gets dizzy when he moves and now that he tried to get up he lost his balance

There are a number of things that concern me with your young dog's condition. He has a rapid heart rate, is wobbly, is urinating where he lies and is very lethargic.

I really wish I could put my hands on him to do a physical exam!

The things that I would be considering if he were on his way in to see me are:

1. Internal bleeding

This could account of his symptoms.

If your dog were bleeding due to a gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) you might have noticed black, sticky stools if he was bleeding into his intestines.

Here is more about gastric ulcers which could be a source of blood loss:

Another way there could be internal blood loss is with a Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) or a benign (noncancerous) hemangioma.


HSA and hemangiomas tend to grow on the spleen and/or on the heart. When it grows on the spleen, it can cause internal bleeding into the belly if it ruptures. So, you can't see the bleeding, but they are still losing blood. If there is a sudden, profound blood loss the symptoms are lethargy and thirst, pale gums, sudden collapse and fluid in the belly. If it is more gradual, you might see just weakness and wobbliness, with an increase in drinking.

Here is more about splenic masses:

2. Toxin ingestion

What you are describing might be due to ingestion of your medication (focalin), although this seems unlikely. With ingestion of this medication in dogs, we may see some or all of these symptoms:

  • wobbly,

  • drooling

  • increased heart rate

  • tremours

  • increased temperature

  • agitation and noise sensitivity

This does not sound quite like what you are describing, but it is possible. More here:

Another toxin that I would worry about would be antifreeze (ethylene glycol).

Antifreeze tastes sweet to dogs and they will lap it up if they can. The chemical in the antifreeze will start to cause symptoms similar to drunken-ness within 12 hours. It causes lethargy, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, wobbliness, increased thirst, seizures, coma and death (though not every animal will have every symptom).

From the time of ingestion, to the time of first symptoms could as little as an hour, or as long as 12 hours. With a high dose, the animal might live a day or two more before the kidneys completely shut down and the animal succumbed.

For a 60lb dog, as little as 1/2 cup of antifreeze could be fatal.

For more information, here are some websites:

3. Leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection.

This bacteria can be picked up if a dog drinks from ponds or lakes that are contaminated. It can also be acquired through an open cut – and it is transmissible to humans so it is in everyone's best interests to know about this immediately.

More about this:

4. Inner ear infection and vestibulitis

Vestibulitis is due to an irritation or inflammation of the inner ear, which contains the vestibular apparatus. This is the part of the inner ear that controls balance. It is a bit like an egg, with fluid in it, and little tiny hairs on the inside. When the fluid moves, the little tiny hairs feel that movement and tell the brain "You are moving!" This is good normally. But when the vestibular apparatus tells the brain that there is movement when the eyes are telling the brain that there is NOT, the animal gets horribly dizzy and can't stand up.

It's a bit like spinning around and around and then sitting down suddenly. The fluid in your vestibular apparatus keeps moving but your eyes tell your brain that you are not. You feel dizzy! So, this is the same but many many times worse.

We see this sometimes with inner ear infections, and it can make it hard for the dog to stand up as he can be so dizzy. This is not common, but it is possible given what you are describing.

Overall, your dog's symptoms are worrying. I am most concerned from what you are describing that something is going on internally – like internal bleeding from a growth on the spleen.

I strongly urge you to take him in IMMEDIATELY to see a vet so that diagnosis and treatment can be started as soon as possible.

If this is absolutely impossible, then at home what you can do is really encourage him to drink as much as possible. This will help to maintain blood pressure if he is bleeding, and will help to flush any medications in the unlikely event he got into them.

There are a number of things you can do to increase fluid consumption.

You can mix a bit of food in with water to make a soup - that way your dog may be enticed to drink more.

You can make "hot-dog soup." To do this, take one hot dog and cut it into a dozen small pieces. Put them in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, and allow to cool. Remove the hot dog pieces, and offer the dog the water.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering the liquid diluted with water 50:50.

Any clear fluids are fine to give - such as apple juice, gatorade, pedialyte. Dilute all of them 50:50 with water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand ), diluted with water.

Offer some canned dog food, and mix it with water to make a gravy to pour over his dry food

Other things you can do to encourage a dog to drink are:

- offer water from a very wide flat bowl

- If he likes dripping water, leave a tap.

- Offer bottled water and see if he prefers it.

- Offer onion- free chicken broth or beef broth, diluted 50:50

- See if he likes water with an ice cube in it.

- See if he likes it out of a cup or pasta bowl.

- You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that as a "soup" for him to drink. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Cook a chicken breast and put it in the blender with enough water to turn it into baby-food consistency. Make it into a soup.

I hope that this helps, and I do encourage you to see a veterinarian as fast as possible. Please let me know how your boy does – I am worried about him!

If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


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