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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5542
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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We have a miniature pinscher, male, around 9 or 10 years

Customer Question

We have a miniature pinscher, male, around 9 or 10 years old. Last Friday, he became very lethargic, had great difficulty walking, and was very wobbly. We also noticed that he had broken a front tooth. He wouldn't eat anything, but would drink water, and became very skinny. On Saturday we started giving him an 1/8 tsp of Vitamin C, 1/8 tsp of Glucosomine, and 1 baby aspirin and started force feeding him soft wet dog food and chicken broth. We have kept up this routine since then, and is now eating 4 tsp of dog food and 4 syringes of chicken broth twice daily. He is still drinking water voluntarily. He is urinating normally and has soft almost black stools. What could be the problem and can we do more? Thank you, Beth
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help Beth. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Beth?
Customer: No, I think that is everything. Thanks
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your Min Pin. A 9-10 year old who has become very lethargic, ataxic ("drunken sailor"), and cachexic (wasted) is a critically ill dog who will need the attention of his vet at your earliest convenience. These symptoms are important but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. I would expect his vet to perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests.

Difficulty walking and ataxia can represent a general weakness, myelopathy (spinal cord disorder), or encephalopathy (brain disorder). Your care has been nicely supportive but we need to clarify why he's become so ill before we know how to treat him more specifically. Please check his vital signs for me...

1) Check his gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (anemia) or bluish/greyish (cyanosis/hypoxia/lack of oxygen to his tissues).

2) Check his respiratory rate at rest. He should be taking less than 30 breaths/minute while asleep or at rest.

3) Take his rectal temperature. Any body thermometer will do when placed 1.5" into his rectum for 1 minute. Normal is 100.5-102.5F. This is a two person job!

Please let me know what you find.