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Dr. Coldiron
Dr. Coldiron, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 178
Experience:  Dogs, Cats, Birds, Reptiles & Exotics. Seven years of private practice experience. Laser Surgeon.
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My 8-years old female miniature schnauzer has been feeling

Resolved Question:

My 8-years old female miniature schnauzer has been feeling unwell for slightly over 2 weeks. Symptoms:
- weak, listless, looks depressed
- does not eat. She would always sniff at the food and then turn away.
- drinks a lot of water and urinates a lot, has multiple 'accidents' even though she is toilet trained.
- vomiting (sometimes milky/sticky, sometimes clear yellowish liquid)
- diarrhea for the first couple of days
- inner side of her eyes are very red
- sometimes she loses balance and falls; her hind legs seem shaky and would give way causing the falls
- she's sometimes unresponsive for a while, stops suddenly in the middle of something (somewhat like senile?)

I've seen 2 vets already, one at the end of each week. My dog's temperature, blood test, urine test, stools test all turn out normal, except for high WBC which suggest infection. The first vet gave her medicine which cleared her diarrhea. The second vet admits she doesn't know whats the cause of the problem since my dog looks healthy from the test results; only thing she found atypical is the very apparent listlessness. She gave lots of med to clear the symptoms - the vomiting and red eyes seem better after a day. She also prescribed Hill's a/d hoping my dog will eat willingly. Eventually I still had to force feed the a/d. The loss of balance and multiple falls only happened today and got me really scared. Both vets did not really think much into the 'senile' signs which I observed for the past 2 weeks. Looking at how listless and lethargic my dog is, I'm thinking whether there is a psychological/emotional problem. My dog sometimes looks at me in the eyes for a long time and follows me around everywhere I go, as if she wants to tell me something. Sometimes she scratches the floor with her front paws in a rapid repetitive manner seemingly out of frustration. It frustrates me that I cannot understand and cannot help to reduce her pain/discomfort.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Coldiron replied 6 years ago.

Hello...I'm Dr. Coldiron and I will attempt to help you with your veterinary question! It sounds like your dog had some type of a bacterial gastroenteritis that was causing the vomiting and diarrhea. A few weeks of antibiotics definitely are warranted with the high WBC count. As for the suspected senility, she is relatively young and shouldn't necessarily have issues with senility at 8 years. Has your dog ever had seizures? During the potential onset of a seizure, mammals go through a pre-ictal (pre-seizure) stage in which they seem lost, listless, dazed and confused, have a blank stare, etc. Is it possible that your dog is having mild seizures that never fully progress to the grand-mal stage? You may want to consult with a specialist at your states veterinary college (if you have one in your state). There are also specialists out there in private practice...most work by referral, so your vet would need to refer you over to see them. Behavioral issues can be very complex and beyond my scope of practice; however, there are board certified veterinary behaviorist out there as well, and they may be a good place to start if you think it is an emotional/behavioral issue. Hope you can get some answers by possibly chatting with a specialist or two.



Dr. Coldiron


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Dr Coldiron,

Thanks for your reply.

Just wondering how long will the gastroenteritis ordinarily last? Doggie was on 1 week of metronidazole (according to the first vet, she found amoeba in the stools) and now on AmoxyClav by the second vet. I'm concerned that she's vomiting on a daily basis and what the vets prescribed for anti-vomiting (previously cimetidine, now metoclopramide) do not work.

My dog does not have any history of seizures. Last night was the first time. The loss of balance and falls happened only briefly. After that, she definitely seemed even more unresponsive and depressed than before. In addition, she vomitted again in the middle of the night. Now she looks much weaker than she did 2 days ago. She did not have some of the classic seizure symptoms like paddling, spasms, convulsions or loss of bowels, but she does sound like she's chewing on something a lot of the time. Is there a possibility that these symptoms were caused by the drugs she's on? I will continue to monitor her over the next few days and make an appt with a vet with specialist practice during the weekend. Is it safe to wait and see? Is there a possibility of a sudden life threatening attack?

Appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Coldiron replied 6 years ago.

Hello...gastroenteritis usually lasts 3-5 days. The vomiting is of concern and you need to try to stop this. You should ask your vet about a newer drug called Cerenia that is wonderful at controlling vomiting in dogs. It is given as an injection initially (to avoid having the dog vomit up the pill) and then given orally thereafter for up to 4-5 days. It is given only once daily and stops vomiting by acting on multiple pathways that result in vomiting. Now that you mention the metronidazole, it can have neurologic side effects and you should probably discontinue this drug if she is still on it. You should also let your vet know that you think your dog may be having neurological issues with the metronidazole so they can note it in your dog's medical record and give you advice on what to do next. Often, withholding food for 24 hours helps to stop vomiting as well. You may also want to try famotidine (Pepsid AC) by mouth twice daily to calm the stomach. Again, the non-stop vomiting is a concern due to your dog becoming dehydrated. Make sure she is getting plenty of fluids by mouth or consider having your vet give her some subcutaneous fluids or IV fluids if needed.


Best of luck,


Dr. Coldiron

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