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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12826
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 18 years.
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I have a 2 year old male Black Lab. Max, woke up one day and

Customer Question

I have a 2 year old male Black Lab. Max, woke up one day and won't close his mouth. He acts completely normal, even plays with his toys and everything. He can eat his food, but can't seem to drink water. He licks and licks at his bowl, but the bowl stays full and just turns into a slimy mixture of saliva and water. When he lays down he closes his mouth and seems normal while sleeping. When he's sitting and looks up at me, he gets deep labored breathing, like something is stuck in his throat. My wife took him to the Vet, and they doing nothing wrong with him other than he won't close his mouth and he has excessive saliva. They gave him pain meds in the hope it might help. It's been 4 days now and it hasn't changed. I have to feed Max water through a syringe so he doesn't go dehydrated. We have monitored his stool and his urine, all normal. Do we ride this out, or take him in for blood work and imaging?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!

I am so sorry to hear Max is having this issue!

I would consider seeking a specialist opinion from what you describe to rule out neurologic changes with the tongue and, yes, possibly further imaging of the area to ensure there are no masses, abscesses, or irregularities causing this behavior.

Max sounds like a case that we as general practitioners may see once in a lifetime but specialists may see twice a year and be able to diagnose off an exam alone. I don't want to get your hopes up that this is the case but it is possible.

If he is having difficulties with his tongue and lapping up water I would be more inclined to be aggressive in prevention of progression and want to return him to normal as quickly as possible, before the point that there is longterm damage he cannot return from.

I hope this makes sense. You can definitely ask your regular veterinarian for a referral but here are links for neurologists and internists to find them locally in your area (scroll to the middle right of the page):

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance today

If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION at the top of your screen (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks!

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

I apologize but will be away from my computer for about an hour and will return as soon as I am able to see if you have responded with additional questions or concerns...

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

I am glad to see you were able to view my responses earlier

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today!

If you are satisfied with our chat please rate or accept with the stars on the top of your screen so I may be compensated for my time. If you are having any difficulties you can also state your rating (excellent, good, fair) in our chat as an alternative. Thank you!

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Max. How is everything going?
Dr. Altman