How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rebecca Your Own Question
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15155
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Rebecca is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog is a mastiff mix. I can see s ribs, but he has a

Customer Question

My dog is a mastiff mix. I can see his ribs, but he has a potbelly. He coughs after drinking. The vet was puzzled. What should I have him checked for?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 1 year ago.

Welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name is***** am a licensed veterinarian. I am currently not set up to make a live call. But, I am happy to answer your question on this thread. First I need to ask you a few questions so that I can be well informed and give you the best advice.

1- Is it fair to say he is losing weight?

2- Is he eating as usual?

3- Has your vet done any testing?

4- How long has this been going on?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. No
2. Yes
3. No
4. 7 years
He's been this way since birth.
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 1 year ago.

To make sure I got this right, since he was a puppy he has been very bony and with a pendulous abdomen?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I suspect an obstruction.
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 1 year ago.

Since a puppy?

Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 1 year ago.

Friend, I am going to opt out and allow another expert to comment. I don't think I could be of much help in this case without a hands on examination. I am sorry.

Dr. Peter

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He's a boerboel, and no-one knows what to expect. He got to 130, I got him down to 103. Now he's still potbellied, he has " allergies " again. He wasn't bony before. Something' s wrong.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.


I am sorry to hear you are worried about your Boerboel. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help. It appears your first expert has left the conversation; can I be of help?

I see that he is bony, pot bellied, but still eating normally. When your vet examined him, did he recommend any testing?

When he has allergies, is he itchy?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The allergies appear in patches of oozy, itchy hair loss. Usually in spring and fall, tho the last couple of years He's had no problems.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

I am worried about his being pot bellied and bony. If he were my own dog, I would begin by testing his stool for parasites (most parasites are too small to see without a microscope), and if no parasites are found to explain his being bony, next doing blood tests to check his liver and kidney numbers.

Coughing after drinking may not be serious, but I would look as far as I could into his mouth and throat.

How are you treating the allergies? You can try treating with antihistamines for the itching. He is 103 pounds? He can take 75 to 100 mg Benadryl 2 to 3 times daily, or Claritin 10 mg once daily. I might treat with antibiotics, shampoo containing chlorhexidine, fish oil, probiotics. All of these help some dogs with allergies.

It sounds like he has a lot of problems. If your vet did not do any testing, that might be the best place to start. Let me know what other questions you have.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He was once treated for round worm. He's also gone thru a few rounds of antibiotics. Would an x-ray show anything?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He got up to 130 at one point, I reduced his portion. The vet also considers him muscular.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

Yes, an Xray can tell us a lot: if his heart is normal in size, if his lungs are normal or not in appearance; if any of his internal organs (stomach, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines) are normal or not. It will tell us if there is fluid in his abdomen, causing the pot belly you see.

There are many other parasites than round worms so testing his stool is something I would do if he were mine.

Did the antibiotics help with the oozy spots of hair loss when he took them?

When he was 130, was he overweight?

If he is muscular, then it doesn't make sense that he looks bony. If a dog is well muscled, we usually do not see the bones.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He's well-fleshed, just can see his ribs. Perhaps bony isn't the correct term. Other than his belly, he appears normal. Also his energy appears normal (for him ).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is always hungry.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

Normally you should be able to feel but not see his ribs.

If you are worried about his pot belly, I would consider an Xray to see if there is fluid inside his belly, or enlarged internal organs, and I would also do blood tests to be sure his blood albumin is normal. If his albumin is low, that can cause a pot belly.

Having good energy and a good appetite is a good sign of health.

Another thing to check for would be his thyroid function, a blood test.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

Can I help with or answer anything else? Please let me know how he is doing and if you have any other questions.

Kindly consider rating my answer; that helps the website know I helped you today. You can still get back to me with questions and updates after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I couldn't send anything.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did you get the pic?
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

No, I did not get the picture. Did you try posting it, using the paper clip icon above? Or you can post it on the internet and send me the link.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can't attach anything, so I guess we're done. Don't seem like my money's worth, tho.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry you can't post a picture. Most customers are able to by using the paper clip icon.

If your main concern is that he is bony and has a pot belly, if he were my own dog the first things I would do is an Xray and test his blood for low albumin. I will be happy to help with any other questions you have. Even if he were my own dog, I would not be able to figure out what is going on without being able to see and examine him, and probably do some tests. If you have not even had him tested for parasites, that would be the place to start, just take a sample to your vet's office.

Related Dog Veterinary Questions