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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30401
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 9 yr old pomche, throughs her head back to the left and

Customer Question

my 9 yr old pomche, throughs her head back to the left and lets out a terrible scream, her breath is very bad. I have taken her to the vet, but they gave her pain med. it helps a little.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

While Snickers's behavior isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder, it would be reasonable to pursue the source of her apparent pain inside her oral cavity if her breath is "very bad". It's quite likely that an abscessed tooth has loosened and when jostled is causing her head to be thrown back (an "avoidance" maneuver) and screaming. Because such vocalization is also seen secondary to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to her tissues), careful attention to her heart should be made during a thorough physical exam. An arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) will cause transient hypoxic episodes. Finally, a complex partial seizure should be considered. These seizures are defined as abnormal sensory or motor activity affecting any part of her body and also involve a change in behavior or mentation (mental status). Because seizures can have both an intracranial (within the skull) etiology such as brain tumor as well as an extracranial etiology such as a poorly functioning liver intoxicating Snickers's brain, it would be prudent to include a senior/geriatric diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests in her physical exam. If nothing untoward is found, MRI is likely to be recommended.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.