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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16309
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I need a VET!! I am house/pet sitting for a person out of

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I need a VET!! I am house/pet sitting for a person out of state. Her Yorkie has been sick all week with a metabolic shift into his intestines. He was put on Reglan and Flagyl for that issue. Now he sounds like an Asthmatic or someone with Pneumonia. His breathing is labored and he changes position to breathe. The owner has refused all further Vet care. This is a BIG problem with me, I'm a Critical Care RN, it goes against my morals! I have some Children's Liquid Dinetapp here at the house, would this help his breathing? Is there any other home remedy I can use to help him breathe easier until the "mean" owners get home on Tuesday or until tomorrow AM when I can take him into the VET and charge it to my huge credit card debt!! I am really stuck here. I need help.

Hello Cynthia, I'm really sorry to hear about this little one and I'd like to help.

I do need more information though.

  1. Does he have any nasal discharge or stuffiness?
  2. What color are his mucous membranes (gums) & tongue? Bubblegum pink? Red? White/blue gray, jaundiced?
  3. Is he open mouth breathing at all?
  4. Any history of heart disease?
  5. Is he coughing?
  6. Is he using his abdominal muscles to breathe?
  7. Does his abdomen look distended?
  8. If so put your hands on his belly, one on each side, and move it back and forth. Does it feel fluidy like a water balloon?
  9. Does he breathe better standing?
  10. Is he running a fever (more than 103F rectally)?
  11. Is he still eating and drinking normally?
  12. Is he eliminating normally now?
  13. When is the last time he vomited?

Thanks for your patience with all my questions. I'll review the responses and get back to you soon after reading them.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Answers to your questions: No nasal stuffiness, or discharge. Mucous Membranes are dry, his tongue is out and dry. He stands up often or re-positions himself to assist himself to breathe better. No cough Unknown history of CVD. Yes, he's using abdominal muscles to breathe. His abdomen is full and distended.

No way to check for fever. No vomiting. Poor appetite; using cooked rice, boiled . chicken chopped up and small amounts of American Cheese. He does NOT visit the water dish very often. His owner thinks he is homesick for them, I disagree!


Would a humidifer work if I could find one here? Should I give him water by syringe about 3 ml or so at a time? He just acts like he is not well. Please respond. Thank you.

Thanks for the reply.

If he doesn't have any nasal discharge, stuffiness or a cough then an upper respiratory infection or nasal allergies, which might be helped with an antihistamine, are very unlikely. Dimetap usually has a decongestant too which dogs don't tolerate well at all. I don't recommend it.

A distended abdomen could be because of a mass or fluid in his abdomen. His breathing could be related to pressure from an enlarged abdomen or fluid in (pneumonia or pulmonary edema) or around (pleural effusion) his lungs. It is possible that he has either heart disease, decreased blood protein levels (from liver, kidney or primary intestinal disease) an infection (though less likely from your history) or cancer. If his gum color is nice and pink and he isn't coughing then primary heart or lung disease is less likely.

I agree with you that this isn't likely just missing his owners.

I am pleased (and amazed) to hear that he is still eating anything for you. Please continue the bland diet. His tacky (sticky) mucous membranes likely point toward dehydration so if it isn't too stressful for him getting fluids in with a medicine dropper would be a great idea. If the stress from handling makes his dyspnea worse then don't push it. Humidifying his air will help if this is related to primary respiratory disease and cannot hurt him, although in his case it may not help much as I don't believe this is a primary respiratory problem. Keep him as quiet as possible and get him in to see a veterinarian as soon as you can. He does not sound like a well dog at all to me and this doesn't sound like something that is treatable at home.

Dr. Kara and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Cynthia,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara