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Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question
Dr.Fiona, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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My dog can not get up. He is listless and wont drink.

Customer Question

My dog can not get up. He is listless and won't drink. I took him to the vet yesterday they gave me some pills but I get him to take them. Please help me.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi thereCustomer

I'm so sorry to hear that your little Pom is so unwell and would like to try to help you. Please can you tell me a bit more about him so I can better assist you?

What is the name of the medication that the vet sent you home with?

Is he eating and drinking?

Any vomiting or diarrhea?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dr.Fiona's Post: No he is not eating or drinking. He is not vomiting or going to the bathroom. He had about a third of a glass of water yesterday. Nothing today. Won't pick up his head.

He had blood work done yesterday but it came back fine.

Rimadyl and tramadol.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Do you have access to the blood tests?

how much does he weigh?

When did he last eat?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
No, I do not have access to the blood test.

He weighs 12.4 lbs

He last ate Wednesday evening.

Was listless all Thursday. Seemed much better Friday. Yesterday he wouldn't get up was alert but just could not stand on his own. Took him to vet but she could not find anything wrong. I believe that she is a student at OSU not a licenced vet yet. Today he just very listless won't pick up his head.

Yesterday he was favoring his left front paw. The vet found a loose patella in his right rear leg.

I think he just does not have the energy to get up.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Your dog may be suffering from HYPOGLYCEMIA (low blood sugar). I would like you to go right now and treat him for this by giving him a teaspoon of honey, karo syrup, corn syrup or maple syrup. See if he will lick it off your finger, or rub it on his gums.

Go do this now, and then COME BACK and let me know how he is after 1- 2 minutes so I can tell you what to do after that!


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
He lifted his head up on his own.
Seemed real excited for a few minutes
now he is back laying down won't pick his head up.
Even for corn syrup.

His eyes are open now. but still very listless.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

This does sound like hypoglycemia, on top of whatever is causing him to have pain in that front leg. Here is more about it:

In terms of treatment, it is REALLY important that you keep calories going in to him. Also, offer lots of clear fluids. So, water is fine, but also he can have pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog this size that means about 1/4 cup an hour.

Given that he is so tiny and has not eaten in days, I would like you to keep putting pancake syrup (or honey, etc) onto his tongue and gums. Just keep putting a drop on every 5 minutes. Also, work on getting fluids into him as above. It may take an hour to get his blood glucose levels up to normal!

Once he is brighter, then you can offer a small amount of his regular dog food, but if he doesn't eat it offer a bland diet. For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2-3 tablespoons every 1 to 2 hours.

I would strongly recommend that you keep a tube of nutristat on hand at all times in future to prevent/treat this problem if it happens again. Here is more about it: It is a calorie-dense paste that you can syringe into them to get maximum caloric impact from a given volume of food. It's very good to have on hand for small dogs prone to low blood sugar as it is such a serious problem!

I hope that this helps you!

I do think that you need to get your dog to see an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible today as his condition sounds serious. He sounds very sick and I am worried that it may be dangerous to wait until tomorrow to see your family veterinarian if they are not open today.


If you feel that this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it.

Best wishes to you and your dog!