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10-12 yr old golden retriever. 100 lbs. very tall. Acting…

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10-12 yr old golden...

10-12 yr old golden retriever. 100 lbs. very tall. Acting very lethargic, plops down almost like collapsing or fainting but doesn’t bounce his head or face—so has some amount of control. Has urinated where he lays 3 times in past 24 hours. Has pooped where he lays once in past 24 hours. Drinking water like normal. Does not want his normal dry dog food. But will eat soft canned food. Will go outside but only after much coaxing, and he has pooped and Peed outside twice today. But then he lays down on his belly in the snow and doesn’t want to seem to get up. More than normal. Very lethargic. Doesn’t want to move around at all.

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?

Sampson.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Sampson?

Nose feels wet but more on the warm side. Not cold.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Dog
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
12/30/2017
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18,977
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

I am sorry to hear about Sampson's sudden onset of weakness, and poor appetite.

Can you check his gum color for me? They should be a nice bubblegum pink.

Does his abdomen look bloated or larger than usual?

Did he seem very normal and then overnight he had a rapid decline?

Any change in breathing patterns?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Color of gums pink to lighter pink toward the top.
No bloating.
Aversion to hard dry food started 2 weeks ago.
Lethargy slowly getting worse over the last 7 days.
Pooping and peeing where he lays and collapsing and rapid breathing just in the last 24hrs.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

It's difficult to know whether he is lethargic from not eating normally or if his lethargy is part of the disease process that has led him to stop eating well.

Dogs that urinate and defecate where they lay however are very, very sick dogs. Ideally I recommend an examination now given that his symptoms are persisting.

Of course without testing I cannot tell you for sure what is going on with Sampson, but I can give you some possible reasons for what is going on with him.

Organ failure (kidney or liver disease), or ketoacidotic diabetes can lead to a build up of metabolic wastes that lead to nausea, and a loss in appetite and an inability to process the nutrients he does take in.

A gastrointestinal foreign body, or an abdominal mass/tumor placing pressure on his gastrointestinal tract can lead to loss of appetite because he feels full. If he isn't eating normally he will feel weak. And cancer increases an animal's metabolic rate, thus burning calories at a faster rate, and can cause increased amounts of metabolic waste and inflammation, both of which affect his appetite.

Systemic infections can also increase his metabolic rate, burning calories faster and the toxins from an infection will cause a decrease in appetite. Is he neutered? If not a prostatic infection could cause his prostate to enlarge causing difficulty passing stools and the toxins could cause his other symptoms.

Heart disease can lead to lack of oxygen to the gastrointestinal tract which affects appetite and low oxygen levels due to poor heart function make them weak.

Sampson's sudden onset of symptoms, age and breed make more serious disease more likely. My primary concerns would be a bleeding abdominal tumor or heart disease.

A tumor in the abdomen that suddenly ruptured and led to small, steady amounts of bleeding could make him very weak. Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is one tumor that this happens with relatively commonly in his breed. That would explain his lighter gums, change in breathing pattern, and weakness. If he relaxes and his blood pressure drops the bleeding may slow or stop, but moving around likely gets it going again. The more this happens the more anemic and weaker he becomes.

Sampson needs to see a veterinarian for an examination, complete blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis. In many cases this can point toward a diagnosis and direct treatment. But with many cancers bloodwork and routine radiographs may not be diagnostic. In those cases an abdominal ultrasound can be helpful.

In the meantime at home to try to settle his stomach and get him to eat you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one 20mg tablet per 40 to 80 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.

These are acid reducers, are very safe, and may help him feel better. They can be used as needed.

You can also try a bland diet with increased fluids to perk his appetite and get him better hydrated. A homemade diet for this is 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger or boiled, white, skinless chicken, all fats and juices drained off the meat, and 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Add low salt beef or chicken broth to her meals as well to improve palatability and get more fluids in which should help as well.

In an older fellow with these sorts of symptoms it is likely she has some sort of serious disease process going on if he doesn't respond to simple supportive care. He needs diagnostic testing to further evaluate him.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
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Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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