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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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We have a male dog Otis that was a stray so do not know the

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Hughes. We have a male dog Otis that was a stray so do not know the age. We have had Otis for 7 years. Very healthy happy Boston Terrier mix. July 4th of this year Otis starting loosing clumps of hair on his neck and back. We took him to the Vet who said typical case of Ring Worm. We treated with medicated showers. Did not seem to be getting any better so took to second Vet who said not Ring Worm, allergies and ear infection. Treated with antibiotics and steroids. Otis was loosing energy, stopped jumping up on couch, bed and basically started acting like 90 years old. We took him back to Vet who said oh yes was ring worm. Again starting treating with medicated baths. He began to act like he was disoriented at times. He would stretch out his head and neck to the sides. Would have spells of acting like he did not know where he was. As of about 2 weeks ago started urinating in the house. No matter how many times he is taken outside would pee indoors and not lift leg but urinate on the spot like female. He seems like he cannot get comfortable in his bed. Stands up for long periods of times. Stopped drinking water but continues to urinate in the house. Still has good appetite but also acts like he is always hungry. Yelps on occasion as though something is biting him but no signs of anything. Tonight I came home and scratched him behind the right ear and he yelped as though in pain. Please help us make him better. We do not know where to turn. Thanks Much. Mary
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.


My name is***** Dr. Hughes is off-line right now, but hopefully I can help you with Otis.

Just to summarize in chronological order-

1) hairloss treated with medicated baths- no improvement

2) continued hairloss, diagnosed with allergies, given antibiotics and steroids- did you see any improvement with this?

3) continued hairloss, lethargy, acting old- diagnosed with ringworm, medicated baths, no improvement

4) disorientation, head stretching

5) inappropriate urination, seems painful, not drinking, good appetite

Does this seem right?

Has Otis had any blood work run? Urinalysis? What were those results? Has your regular vet taken any x-rays?

Have you talked with your regular vet about a referral to an internal medicine specialist?

Lets start with this,

Dr. Amanda

Kansas State University,

College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2001

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
2. Improvements with the hair loss. We also changed the diet. No more treats, no more pro-plan dog food. We boil meat and mix with green vegetables and rice. There was an improvement in hair loss.
3. At this time there is no apparent continued hair loss. Hair is slowly growing back. Continue to bathe on regular basis with medicated shampoo.
5. Urination does not appear to be painful. Sporadic and unusual. Otis has always gone to back door to be let out. He does not do that anymore. Seems to pee as reaction to something else going on and appears has no control.
No blood work done. When taken to 2nd Vet I requested Limes disease test which results were negative. They did test for ring worm but said samples were contaminated so could not give accurate conclusion. No other blood work was taken. Current Vet kept for 24 hour observance but said he was fine.
The 24 hour observance was based on leashing him to a small bench in open office area. Crate set up next to him. No one in office at night. He does yelp during the night-just once in awhile. He also paces during the night. Gets up around 3:00 and paces either around or up and down the hallway.
No suggestion by the Vet for a urinanalysis. No x-rays. I asked current Vet about x-rays and he said they could be very in conclusive. No talk of internal medicine Vet because I did not know to do that.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Ok. Thanks for the update. Based on your history and the change of behavior, I am very concerned that your dog has something internal going on such as low thyroid, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, neurologic disease such as a blown disk in his back or something in his brain. The list goes on and on.

The next steps I would consider would be a full panel of blood work, a urinalysis, and a thyroid check.

After that, if you don't have a good answer, I would recommend taking him to see an internal medicine specialist. You can find one near you at

I would also consider chest and abdominal x-rays, an abdominal ultrasound and even an MRI of his brain and spine if the first round of testing does not reveal what is going on.

Does this help?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A little. I have researched all that you have mentioned on the internet. Most are not fitting because he does not drink a lot of water, there is no sign of blood in his urine, and it does not seem painful to him when he urinates. I was wondering about Cushing's Disease. Your thoughts? TY Mary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Good morning!

Dogs can have hairloss with Cushing's disease, but they do not have behavior changes, lethargy, disorientation or signs of pain. Dogs with Cushing's actually feel really good because they are on a perpetual adrenaline rush.

Here is a detailed link to a discussion on Cushing's:

A different endocrine disease that is more likely would be hypothyroidism. This is low thyroid hormone and you can see hair loss, lethargy, weakness, and especially with very low thyroid hormone, they can be disoriented and even go into a coma.

Here is a link to hypothyroidism:

I agree that kidney disease and diabetes are less likely, but I have seen dogs with diabetes that don't drink excessive amounts of water, so I have to keep that on the list of possibilities.

I have also seen dogs with severe liver disease get skin problems (hepatocutaneous syndromes) and neurologic symptoms (high blood ammonia levels from liver failure or a shunt)

Here is a link to a discussion on shunts (most shunts are congenital- born with it, but others can be acquired- develop over time).

Lastly, lymphoma has to be a possibility. Lymphoma goes wherever it wants whenever it wants. It follows no rules and it could also explain the behavior changes and skin problems. I have seen lymphoma in the skin and the brain.

Here is a link to a discussion on lymphoma:

I know this is a lot of reading and information, but these are the things I am thinking about with your dog.

Again, I would recommend starting with blood work and urinalysis to get a baseline.

I hope this helps,

Dr. A

Here is a link on IVDD

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, that last link was to a discussion on blown disks in dogs that could explain the pain, weakness, head stretching and lethargy.

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.


How is Otis this evening? Any changes in how he feels or how he is acting? Do you have any more questions for me?

If you are satisfied with my assistance, please take a moment to use the stars at the top of the page to rate my answer so that I will be compensated for helping you today. For future questions, you can find me here:

Best regards,

Dr. Amanda