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I hugged her in the morning like usual and she squealed.

Customer Question
I hugged her in...

I hugged her in the morning like usual and she squealed. Since then she has been aloof and has extremely low energy. She doesn't bark or show signs of interest in normal things like food or treats. She hasn't eaten or peed all day. Should I take her to the vet?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. The Expert will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name and age?

Nala and about 5 years old. She's a chihuahua.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Nala?

This has happened once or twice before. And normally wears off after a couple of days. But I don't want to dismiss it if it's more serious.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Dog
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Answered in 4 hours by:
9/30/2017
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 10 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 35,509
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

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Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 10 months ago

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Please let me know if you still need help. May I have an update on Nala, please?

While her behavior isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder, my initial consideration in a middle aged Chihuahua who vocalized when touched is that she's in pain and that pain stems from her spinal column. Degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") is an important consideration.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I couldn't replicate the reaction. I tried touching her in different areas of her body to see if she'll squeal, but no luck. She didn't eat all day yesterday, but at night I put a bit of honey on her nose, which she naturally licked off. Soon after that, I offered her treats again and she ate it. Then I gave her kibbles one by one and she ate those too, which she rejected all day. She's still a bit aloof and not as mobile, but her energy seems to be picking up a bit.Would you recommend I take her to a vet and see if we can get a diagnosis of the spinal column disease?
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
actually, she seems to be dragging her hind legs I just noticed. when she does move, she drags her butt area.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 10 months ago

Dragging of the hind legs suggests a lack of conscious proprioception (knowing where one's limbs are in space). It's another indication of a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder).

Supportive evidence of a disk may include vocalizing when approached or lifted, having trouble jumping up or down and navigating steps, ataxia (“drunken sailor”), trembling/shaking (pain responses), a change in posture such as the neck held rigidly and head lower to the ground or a "hunch" in Nala's back, and a change in behavior - a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy". Nala's vet will want to carefully palpate (feel) about Nala's spine looking for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) suggestive of a disk. Conservative care involves the use of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol, and a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam. These drugs are usually administered for at least ten days. Most simple disks will remiss within a few weeks. It's important to keep these dogs as quiet as possible lest they hurt themselves further.

Should paresis (weakness) or paralysis arise in any limb(s), Nala would need the attention of her vet at your earliest convenience. Such dogs are then surgical candidates for spinal cord decompression. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Thanks, ***** ***** been very helpful.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 10 months ago

You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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