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Dr. Scott
Dr. Scott, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15168
Experience:  15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.
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My 6 yr old has started licking her lips a lot, and has

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My 6 yr old bitch has started licking her lips a lot, and has bad breath (has never had before) and I thought she'd put on weight through over-eating but have cut back her food and she still looks and feels heavy, large around her middle. She hasn't had a season since she had puppies a year ago. And she's quite lethargic at home - though fairly lively on a walk. she's a spaniel/labrador cross. Any thoughts?
Hello there,

Sorry to hear about your situation. Has she been drinking and urinating more than normal? Does she have a pot-bellied appearance? Has she been straining to urinate and or defecate?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi she's been urinating less than normal I think as normally she goes straight out in the morning and defecates and urinates but now she doesn't seem to want to go straight out. And yes she has a pot belly appearance - she looks much wider across her back and middle. Her poo is normal though.

In a dog thins age there is a list of several possible causes that need to be ruled out. Uterine infection would be a big concern if she has not had a normal season since whelping. Those dogs are usually drinking excessively. Surgery is normally required when that type of infection occurs. With the bad breath, kidney disease has to be ruled out via blood tests and a urinalysis. Heart disease can lead to fluid accumulation in the abdomen causing a distended belly. Heartworm infection as well. Various types of abdominal tumors have to be ruled out via radiographs. Tumors on the spleen are common in dogs. Cushing's disease of the adrenal glands is tested for if all other possible causes are ruled out. Those dogs require long term medication for treatment. That disease can be managed but not cured. Parasites are much less likely if there has been no chronic diarrhea. I would certainly start with a radiograph of the abdomen if it bows looks abnormal and pursue the other tests if needed.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is helpful and clearly I need to take her to the vet. However as it's Easter weekend I am reluctant to take her in before Tuesday - if she seems ok ie not in pain or distress and is still eating and drinking and excreting then would that be ok?


Is the uterine infection also called pyometra? She's been a bit pot-bellied for a while but I thought it was due to digging up and eating old potatoes from the garden.

If you can get her to eat something and the gums do not look pale she should be OK until Tuesday. Pyometra is the medical term for a uterine infection.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You answered: "I would certainly start with a radiograph of the abdomen if it bows looks abnormal and pursue the other tests if needed."


I can't quite work out what you mean by bows?? Thanks

Spell checker error. It was supposed to say 'does'. If the abdomen looks abnormal, start with a radiograph to rule out pyometra, splenic tumors, fluid in the abdomen, etc..
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok thanks. Guess that you're American? We don't usually say radiograph in the UK but also assume it means X-ray? Would be helpful for justanswers to make sure that the experts reply in the questioners vernacular. But many thanks and will take her to the vet next week.