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Dr. Karing
Dr. Karing, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 429
Experience:  General veterinarian with a special interest in internal medicine and emphasis on individualized care.
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My puppy, who is about 19 months, Chihuahua, seems unsteady

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My puppy, who is about 19 months, Chihuahua, seems unsteady on her feet and lethargic today. She refused her breakfast, but this is somewhat common, she tends to be "not a morning dog" generally and is slower to become bouncy and active most days and often eats her food about 2 hours after waking.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your dog. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Chaquita
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Chaquita?
Customer: she is fully vaccinated, is of normal weight. Last vaccine DHHP & Rabies completed 2 weeks ago, small lump at vaccine site on right hip.

Hi there,

I'm Dr. Karing and I would be glad to help with your question about your puppy Chaquita. Being unsteady on her feet is odd, is there anything she could of gotten into that might be toxic to her (i.e. insecticides, prescription medications, etc.)? Would you say she is uncoordinated on all 4 feet or is she unsteady on just the rear?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Chaquita is 19 weeks, not months old.
It is unlikely she got into anything she shouldnt have.
Her weakness seems to be more at rear, but she is much more lethargic than usual, and isnt giving kisses/showing eagerness as usual.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She did not eat her late evening meal last night, but this is also no uncommon for her to not be in the mood, she wanted to get to bed and slept normally overnight, getting down once to urinate, and was able to get back onto the couch on her own when finished.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
When standing, she seemed to sway a bit in her torso. When at a sit, her back legs are not "sitting right" but she does not reach to touching of spine, neck, rear legs or paws with any sort of cry or pulling away.

I would recommend taking her to your vet for an exam. If her weakness if mostly at the rear, I would wonder about a back injury. However, smaller breed dogs can be very sensitive, and I have seen something as simple as anal gland discomfort cause a similar presentation. Make sure to have her anal glands and a rectal exam checked.

In any case, it is best to be safe and have her checked out now. If she looks okay on her examination, then the vet may prescribe a mild pain medication in case she strained something.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is this a situation where it would be dangerous to wait until tomorrow? Our vet does not have Sunday hours, but I much prefer to take her to someone who knows her well and that I feel comfortable with, than to see a stranger.

It is probably okay to wait until tomorrow as long as your dog's condition doesn't worsen. If you notice progressive weakness in the rear, then that is an emergency. If your dog's mentation declines so she is even more lethargic, then I would consider that an emergency too. Based on the circumstances, I would suggest staying with her as much as possible today (to make sure she doesn't worsen and new symptoms don't occur), and trying to encourage her to eat her food or any bland low fat treat such as white meat chicken without skin or fat, turkey or chicken lunch meat, etc. Please don't give her any aspirin: it seems logical if she may be uncomfortable but it can cause her more problems and interact with drugs your vet wants to use.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have just given her some water mixed with honey and she was willing to lap from syringe about 5 ml. She still will not eat. I will continue to offer her an assortment of things, and of course, I will remain at her side.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have medicam (meloxicam?) on hand from a previous pet, and assume this is what my regular vet would script for any pain. Should I consider using this?

It's good that she drank a little and got some sugar from the honey. Just offer her that and other bland things every few hours to see if she'll take a little repeatedly.

Without knowing what's wrong, I wouldn't recommend the meloxicam. If part of the problem is tummy upset, then it could make things worse.

Hopefully this won't be anything serious and your baby will feel better soon.


I wanted to check in and see how Chaquita is doing. Did you get her to the vet yesterday? I hope she is feeling better.

Please send an update when you have a chance.

Thank you,

Dr. Karing

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Chaquita was suffering from constipation, but she is fine now, thank you!

Great news! Thanks for the update. Please let me know if have other questions. If not, the kindness of an accept and rating of my answer would be much appreciated.

Dr. Karing

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Karing

Hi there,

I hope Chaquita continues to be doing well!!

I noticed you have not provided a feedback rating for my answer yet and I wanted to make sure you are satisfied with the information I provided. Please let me know if you would like additional information. If not, I would very much appreciate the kindness of a positive feedback rating and accept of my answer as this is the only means by which I am compensated.

Thank you so much,

Dr. Karing

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