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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21423
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Morning, I have two older westies and three westie puppies.

Resolved Question:

Morning,
I have two older westies and three westie puppies. two of the puppies Ben and Cilla are brother and sister. Bobby is a puppy from another litter. the puppies are 9 months old.
We think Cilla the bitch is pregnant by Bobby.
However my second oldest dog is Ruud who I have noticed has been very depressed recently, very quiet with his tail between his legs.
The major problem is that Ruud keeps attacking Bobby (the father of the potential pups) and we dont know the reason why as Ruud is normally quite placid.
I recently took Ruud to the vet who said he might have a liver problem and needed a urine sample which is impossible to get but I think Ruuds problem is more depressive than a liver problem.
Help
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How was the liver problem diagnosed? Did his vet check a blood sample?

Has Ruud been drinking more, urinating more or passing oddly yellow/orange urine?

Any appetite loss or weight loss?

When he attacks Bobby, what is going on ? Had Bobby approached him or sought him out?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Dr B,

We have to take Ruud back to the vet in 2 weeks but have to hand in a urine sample which is really difficult.

the vet did a blood sample.

Ruud has been drinking a bit more water but that could be the summer heat. he has not been passing discloured urine but on Sunday he did a really yellow pooh but ither poos have been normal clolour.

no weight problem and he eats all his food.

Bobby is quite a nervous dog when Ruud is around him but really normal with the other pups.

This has omly happened since Bobbu entered Cilla. We are not sure if she is pregnant yet.

It is Ruud who is attacking Bobby and its not very nice. He has never been like that.

I am sure its jealousy coupled with depression. Is that possible?

Ruud has never entered a bitch and has never been castrated.

Donald

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Donald,

If you have multiple entire males in the house and that attacks have only been since she came into heat and the mating, then it is likely that was a bit of territorial/dominance dispute. So, he may just feel that his role as top dog was being threatened by Bobby (and it sounds like Bobby and him have a precarious relationship anyway). And that could lead to his negative behaviour towards Bobby but also make him withdraw or become depressed. So, that is quite possibly playing at least part of a role in everything we are seeing with Ruud.

In that case, we may need to keep these 2 separate in the short term (until Cilla is out for heat and/or had her pups). Further to that, you can consider using de-stressing treatments to reduce general stress/anxiety between the dogs. There are a range of OTC options that can be used, but it sounds like the diffuser or collar preparations of DAP/Adaptil may be best since they won't impact or cause any issue for the liver.

Turning our attention back to his liver, as I am sure you can appreciate, the liver issues won't be related to Bobby. In the case of those, it is possible that they are only mildly affecting him since he is facing so much behaviour-wise at home. Still, it is ideal to follow up with his liver issues to make sure we are addressing those as best we can.

Now if they have diagnosed his liver issue via bloods, I wouldn't be overly panicked about the urine sample. It is a minor test at this stage if bloods already have confirmed this issue. If the vet has a specific reason for wanting this (ie infection suspected, etc), then you can have them take a sample directly from the bladder using a sterile needle/syringe. So, that may be the best option if you are struggling and if they really feel the urine sample is critical here.

Otherwise, if you are seeing them again shortly, then we would want to discuss liver supportive care to help address this and make sure this isn't playing any role in his depressed appearance. In regards ***** ***** dogs with liver disease, if an infection was thought to be present, then antibiotics may be needed. If a mass is suspect, then an ultrasound mat be ideal. And if they just feel that these are old age induced liver troubles, then we'd want to speak to the vet about use of liver friendly diets (ie Hills L/D, Royal Canin Hepatic) and liver supportive treatments (ie Denamarin, Milk Thistle, etc) to improve and help maintain as ideal liver function as possible for Ruud.

Overall, his behaviour at home sounds more to be related to the recent struggles within your Westie pack. It sounds like there is some internal struggles between which male is dominant at home. So, we do want to help reduce tension but also reduce the potential for altercations while everyone is hyped up from those hormones Cilla will be producing. And in the meantime while doing that, it'd be best to have a discussion with his vet about what liver issue is specifically suspected, so that treatment can be started to help his liver and to make sure this isn't playing any role in his being so down.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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