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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5798
Experience:  DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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My 9 year old shih tzu is very lethargic and only wants me

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My 9 year old shih tzu is very lethargic and only wants me to hold him. He has intermittent shaking as well as sudden awakening like someone pinches him. Beginning last night, I knew he wasn't himself. He was pacing but actually slept pretty well. He hasn't eaten anything today and I don't think he has pooped since yesterday. He did stand up on his hind legs for a snack this morning but has not moved out of my chair today. Usually he follows me every step I make. He was gnawing on his foot incessantly last night.... He doesn't have ticks or fleas as I have him shaved short and he wears a $50 tick collar. In addition,this last month he has become more aggressive towards anyone who approaches my bed at night.... not like himself. I rescued Sheldon last Christmas and he may be closer to 10 yo... He is about 25 pounds, the same as he was when I rescued him. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.

Is he vomiting?

Does he seem tense or uncomfortable when you squeeze his belly or push on his back?

Is he having any trouble walking with his hind legs?

Is he drinking water normally?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi! No, he is not vomiting, but there was a wet spot on his blanket this morning. I'm squeezing on him and really getting very little response. As for walking, he doesn't want to. When he isn't lying down, he is sitting down. I had to pull him a bit by his collar to get him to walk from the bed to the door this morning. Then I carried him to a bed in the kitchen. I haven't seen him drink today. He isn't crying or whimpering... just laying beside me and any time he moves it is like he is anxious... He makes a 180 in my lap and lays back down right where he was. Just very out of character for about the past 18 hrs.


Thanks for the additional information.

I am very sorry to hear that Sheldon has been shaking and acting lethargic. Based on what you are describing, he sounds like he is uncomfortable either in his back, his belly or his anal area. Here are some of the more common causes of discomfort in these areas:

Back pain can be due to multiple reasons, here are some of the possibilities:

- IVDD - intervertebral disc disease - basically a bulging disc in the spine that causes some pressure on the spinal cord, back muscles. This can be mild enough to cause some pain or unfortunately more severe to where the disc material pushes on the spinal cord enough to cause paralysis to the back legs.

- Muscle strain/sprain or soft tissue injury - This is the same thing that happens commonly in people. The muscles tighten up and can cause quite a bit of discomfort.

Other possibilities such as tick borne diseases, trauma to the bones and infections are possible but are less common.

- An anal sac or gland infection is possible. These glands sit in the anus and sometimes will get very full of fluid that does not drain which can cause an impaction and then an infection. Most dogs will drag their rear ends and try to lick at the rear end area if this were the case.

- Abdominal pain could be caused by an upset stomach, pancreatitis, a kidney or urinary tract infection, a urinary bladder stone or even gall bladder disease. His symptoms to me seem much more like back pain though even if you cannot find a specific area that is hurting him.

At this point, resting Sheldon is the best way to make sure that he does not get worse. I would definitely recommend taking him to your vet after the weekend for an exam, but you can give him some aspirin tonight. His dose would be 1.5 tablets of baby aspirin (81 mg per tablet) every 12 hours. This should help with some of the pain.

Make sure that he does not start dragging his legs in the back as this would indicate a worse problem. If this is seen he should be seen by a veterinarian tonight.

Hope this helps -please feel free to reply if you have any other questions. If you are satisfied with my answer please do not hesitate to click on the "excellent service" button as this will compensate me for my time. Thank you in advance!

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