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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16696
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a 3 1/2 month old boxer puppy. This afternoon he's been

Customer Question

I have a 3 1/2 month old boxer puppy. This afternoon he's been very lethargic, eyes are weepy, his breathing seems a little different. I haven't noticed vomit anywhere
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Max is very lethargic, his eyes are weepy and his breathing is different compared to usual. Can you take his temperature rectally? You can use a digital thermometer made for people to do so. Lube it well with Vaseline or K-Y jelly, and insert an inch or so rectally. Normal temperature for a dog is 100F to 102.5F. A rectal temperature 103F or higher is considered a fever.In a young dog infectious disease is by far the most common cause of the symptoms that you are seeing.Of those kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is one of the most common causes. If he was exposed to other dogs at a dog park, boarding kennel, or even just getting out on a walk, then kennel cough would be high on my list of possible problems.Even if he has been vaccinated we cannot vaccinate against all of the agents that cause kennel cough and some dogs will still get sick even with the vaccine. The good news is that dogs that are vaccinated usually don't get as sick as dogs that haven't been vaccinated.As long as these pups are still able to eat and drink well, aren't too lethargic, aren't running a fever (rectal temperature greater than 103F), and he doesn't have a green or yellow nasal or eye discharge then you can try taking a watch and see approach.Make sure he gets plenty of fluids, lots of rest as the more active he is then more he will cough, and eats well. Add warm water or low salt chicken broth to his food. The better hydrated he is the better he will feel and the thinner his respiratory secretions will be.You can take him into the bathroom with you when you take a hot bath or shower so he can breathe the steam which is soothing to his airways and thins mucous, making it easier for him to breathe. You can also use a humidifier in the room he sleeps in.If he begins to cough and it is very bad such that he cannot rest comfortably you can use human cough/cold medication with Guaifenesin (an expectorant) and Dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) only such as Benylin or Robitussin DM. Give 1 teaspoon per 20 to 25 pounds every 6 to 8 hours. If he is running a fever this is almost certainly a contagious infection and if he is running a fever and is lethargic then an examination is definitely warranted as pneumonia may have developed. Other possible causes of respiratory infections can include Canine Influenza, which is seeing pockets of outbreaks in the Chicago area and other parts of the Midwest, as well as Canine Distemper, especially a problem in unvaccinated puppies.Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.