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CriticalCareVet, ER/ICU Specialist
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 63982
Experience:  Emergency and Critical Care Specialist
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My 12 year old Sheltie is not eating today. She (Cassie) is

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My 12 year old Sheltie is not eating today. She (Cassie) is laying down with head and ears up, leaning to her right. I can see and feel her left back end trembling. She has not wanted her dry food for a few days, but has been eating her canned food. I have a doctor's appointment for her tomorrow, but I'm wondering if I should take her to an emergency clinic before then. She was playing last night (she likes to chase the ball). There has been no change in her diet. We brought a new dog into our home (from the shelter) on May 9, but they have had no special problems with each other. I did take some of her stool to the doctor yesterday and he said there was no sign of problems there, but I have to wait until tomorrow for the appointment. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,

Just to clarify - she is eating, but only her wet food.

Any vomiting? Diarrhea? Limping?

Drinking more than usual?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She was eating the wet food yesterday, but she won't take anything today. I haven't seen any diarrhea or limping. As for vomiting, one of the dogs left some spit up on my rug this morning (had a little grass in it), but I can't be sure that it was her and that sometimes happens -- we were outside a lot yesterday, Both she and Winston like to nibble at grass once in a while. I did see her nibble a little on it yesterday. The grass is not treated with anything at all.
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.
When you say "leaning to the right" - is that the way she is sitting, or are you concerned this is neurological?

When her back end is trembling, are you concerned this is pain?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm not sensing any real pain -- I can touch the area. She doesn't wince or cry out. While I was typing the last response, she walked out to the hallway and she did throw up some gelatinous liquid. I gave her some water a few minutes ago and she did drink some. She's seeing up straighter right now, not listing to the right as much.
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.

How much does she weigh?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She generally weights about 18 pounds. Since she's been off her feed this week, she feels a little lighter to me. Since the last "spit up," I can't feel the trembling on her left side and she is now laying down leaning to her left side - before she was listing to the right. She actually seems more comfortable, but she is still refusing food. My apologies if I'm acting too panicky -- I'm just not really happy with our emergency clinic, so I hate to go there unless I really need to.
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,

Well - it looks as if the vomiting is one of the only real signs to hang our hat on as she is not doing anything else that is very specific :)

Whenever I have an owner present to me with a case similar to what you write - I discuss that unlike some diseases, there is not just 1 or 2 causes for vomiting. There are many reasons that a dog can present with a history of vomiting. Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

- Dietary indiscretion (eating something they shouldnt causing an upset stomach)
- A toxin
- Infectious causes (virus, bacteria, parasites, protozoa)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- An intestinal blockage
- etc.

If you would like to try conservative management at home, you can try to offer a bland diet. A common bland diet is boiled chicken and rice (2/3 rice and 1/3 chicken). I would try this for about 1 week, hoping that she improves over this time.

You can also consider giving 5mg of pepcid (famotidine) by mouth every 12 hours for 5 days for stomach upset. You can purchase this over the counter. They usually come in 10mg tablets, so you will give 1/2 tablet by mouth every 12 hours.

The second option would be to consult with your primary veterinarian. Signs that would make me more likely to recommend a veterinary visit and are of concern include:
- Continued vomiting
- Prolonged loss of appetite
- Increasing lethargy
- Blood in the stool.

Regarding a veterinary visit, tests they may consider performing include:
- Evaluation of the feces for abnormal bacteria or parasites
- Bloodwork to check electrolytes and organ values
- Potentially even x-rays.

Hopefully with a little food change / bland diet, everything will be better in a few days.

I hope this information helps - please let me know if you have other questions!
Please click "ACCEPT" if the information I have provided has been of help so I receive credit for my work. Bonuses are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.
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