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I have a pittbull terrier mix. her left side is distended…

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I have a pittbull...

I have a pittbull terrier mix. her left side is distended considerably along the rib cage. she is struggling to get up stairs, on the bed and in the car. to complicate matters she ripped out a declaw nail to the root so at first i thought it was simply her foot causing her problems. we live on a remote island in alaska with no vet services available.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the dog. What is the dog's name and age?

Its not lethargy as much as the fact that one whole side of her body is distended that is concerning me she is 8 years old terrier pittbull mix

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
3/29/2018
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,480
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Hello,I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about your pittie. I'm so sorry you are having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need.You may join the conversation at any time by typing in ,what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.In order to help me help you better, I'll need some more information, please. I'll want to be sure I have all the information I need to determine if this is something you'll be likely to help her with yourself without the benefit of veterinary care. Can you please tell me:
    How long ago did this start?Is she eating and drinking okay?Any labored breathing? Is it your impression that this is truly coming from her abdomen, or is it possible it's in the space between her skin and muscular body wall? Are you able to upload a photo that shows this distension?
I'll look for your reply when you return online. Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I noticed it a few days ago. Last weekend I discovered she had ripped off her toe nail. I thought the swelling was just her body twisting as she walked on her sore foot but standing over her looking down I realized how badly distended it was. I will take a photo tonight and forward it. She weighs about 60-70 lbs. and is normally full of energy. In the past 7 days she can no longer get on the bed or in the car by herself. I got her to eat last night but she is eating significantly less than normal. . It reminds me very much of a lab I had a few years ago that had a swollen abdomen and had to be put down. Rather than bulging down on the bottom though it appears to distend to the left. Not having a vet here is making it very scary.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

I totally understand how scary this is. The primary focus of my line of questioning is to try to determine how likely it is that there is free fluid accumulating in her abdomen (which would usually hang down symmetrically). The reason that's so important is because if that is actually the case, you need to be prepared for the notion that you won't be able to fix this for her.

I'm so sorry I don't have better news for you.

In the meantime, I'll be hopeful it's something different.

Another thing to check is gum color. It should be a robust pink color.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Another possibility is that she has a tumor on her spleen or liver and it's so large it pokes out, kind of like on a pregnant woman. Again, this is a really scary thing to consider because you're not going to be able to fix this yourself.

If this is fluid in her abdomen, the prognosis is very poor. There are only a few things that will cause fluid to accumulate in the abdomen:

  • blood from eating some types of rat poison
  • blood leaking from a tumor
  • blood from developing a clotting disorder (hereditary or auto-immune)
  • fluid from heart failure
  • fluid from liver failure
  • fluid from some types of cancer

I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and don't want to contribute to your worry. It's just that fluid in the abdomen is a very serious medical sign.

I'm holding out hope that this might be some type of harmless fatty tumor under the skin and outside of the abdomen itself.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I believe in my heart it is going to be life threatening, having been there before so to speak. What i dont want is her suffering. I will photograph her mouth/gums, he swelling from the top down view. Is there anything else you could like to see?
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

I'm glad you understand. We will do the best we can.

No... those images should be sufficient.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Hello,

Just checking in to ask how things are going your dog. I've been worried about you and the difficult situation you're in.

Thanks,

Dr. Jo

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Hi,

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

Dr. Jo
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