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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17897
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my neighbours doberman is five years old and until recently

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my neighbours doberman bitch is five years old and until recently was quite lively and liked going for walks and running around with other dogs in the fields,but just lately when her owner stops to have a breather, or to talk to someone, she just flops down on her side and can not be bothered to run around or go for walks as she usually did! She is very lethargic,Her owner has had her to the Vets who examined her and said her heart was alright! But it is worrying my neighbour very much, she says that the dog is not herself and that there is something wrong, because it is not like her to behave this way.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Sheba is not herself and seems much more lethargic then usual.

I agree that given her breed and her extreme change in behavior she needs a closer look.

Though her heart may sound fine on a normal examination she can still have heart disease, sometimes we can only diagnose early heart with an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) or by stressing or exercising her first and then rechecking her. It is not uncommon to have normal heart sounds and rhythm most of the time and then runs of abnormal beats or a an abnormal rhythm initially. These intermittent abnormal periods can lead to low oxygen levels and lethargy. Your neighbor may want to consult with a veterinary cardiologist as they have more experience, and better ability and equipment for testing.

Other possible causes for her behavior are internal organ disease, especially a type of liver disease called chronic active hepatitis which is seen more commonly in middle aged female dobermans. I recommend a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and abdominal radiographs or an ultrasound of her abdomen to evaluate her liver and other abdominal organs. If you want to read more about this type of liver disease here is a link to an article about it:

Best of luck to your neighbor and her pup Sheba, please let me know if you have any further questions.
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