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Dr H
Dr H, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 22
Experience:  Veterinarian at RAH
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He is very lethargic, his gums are blood red with a yucky film

Customer Question

He is very lethargic, his gums are blood red with a yucky film that stinks. Sunday night he regurgitated what looked like something plastic and little pieces of metal about the size of staples. He has been to the vet twice, had xrays yesterday to see if anything was in his intestines and nothing showed. He has pooped only twice since Sunday, none today, and hasn't eaten or drank anything. He went back to the vets today and got fluids. The vet said he may have gotten into something and that was it. They didn't do a blood panel or keep him; he is pitiful looking!
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?
Customer: He's 6 months old and he is a cockapoo. He weighs 13.3 lbs. We live in the country and they were spraying over the weekend and he has chewed the end of a wooden rocker in my house and maybe a pair of leather boots, other than that, I can't find anything that he may have gotten into.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr H replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Dr, H, a companion animal veterinarian happy to help you today.I'm sorry to hear that your puppy is not doing well. From your description, I'm concerned about a gastroenteritis that may be serious and leading to systemic infection and dehydration. I'd advise that you take your puppy back to the veteriarian for additional diagnostics like blood work and repeat abdominal xrays; he may need IV fluids and injectable medications as well. For now, until you can get him evaluated, you can encourage drinking by offering diluted, low-sodium chicken broth or Pedialyte for hydration. You may consider treating with an antacid. Common pet safe OTC ones we can use include Pepcid (More Info/Dose @, Zantac (More Info/Dose @, or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with your vet before use if he has any known health issues or is on any other medications you didn’t mention. As well, if you try this and find the nausea too severe to keep it down, then that is usually a red flag that we need injectable anti-vomiting medication.Once that has had time to absorb we'd want to tempt him to eat. Favorites can be tried or consider starting him on a light/easily digestible diet. Start with a small volume (a spoonful). Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). When you offer that spoonful, wait 30 minutes to settle. If he keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. As his stomach stabilizes, you can offer more. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. Whichever you choose, you can even add a spoonful of canned pumpkin to firm up the stools. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until the signs are resolved, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.Since dehydration is a risk here, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check this and ensure he's not becoming dehydrated, there are a few things you can test. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure his eyes are not looking sunken and that he doesn’t have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE ( If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have him seen before this becomes an additional issue.For now, please keep a close eye on his mucus membranes, capillary refill time and respiratory rate as follows:Mucus membranes - lift his lip and look at the color of his gums. They should maintain a salmon pink color. Get him to the emergency vet if they appear white or very pale pink, or if they are a dark, deep red color.Capillary Refill Time - this measures blood perfusion. Test this by putting your thumb on his gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanched white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency vet.Respiratory Rate - if he is continuously panting throughout the night, this is a sign of shock and or pain and a signal for a trip to the emergency vet. Normal number of breaths per minutes is 20 – 30. Overall, I am quite concerned about your puppy and would like you to call your veterinarian with an update to discuss his condition and see what they'd like you to do.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )