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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20322
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have 2 dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (18 months old)

Customer Question

I have 2 dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (18 months old) & a Shih Tzu (9 years old). The spaniel has for several months displayed strange behaviour which seems to be when she comes in from the front garden. She does have a tendency to eat anything and everything blowing around or lying around in the garden. She whines & yelps, starts stepping side to side on her back legs, then with her bottom in the air & her front paws stretched out in front she stretches out and starts licking the air, she also sometimes shivers, she becomes very subdued & withdrawn & keeps curling up and refuses to eat. recently the spaniel started with diarrhoea which contained blood. This cleared up after an injection of antibiotics and a course of canikur but then the shih Tzu started with diarrhoea (with blood in) & sickness, once again this cleared up following the same treatment but then the spaniel started with the diarrhoea & sickness, both containing blood. This time as well as the injection of antibiotics for the spaniel, both dogs were put on a short course of antibiotics (tablets). Again this cleared the problem & there has been no further signs of blood in either dogs stool. It must have been something either picked up or eaten in the garden as they do not go out beyond that. Then a few days later the spaniel came in from the garden displaying the strange behaviour again. She vomited once & had some diarrhoea in her stool later in the day, no blood in either. We kept her out of the front garden for a few days and removed any plants that we thought may be causing the problem. Today we let her into the front garden for the first time and she came in displaying the strange behaviour again though there has been no vomiting or diarrhoea, after a couple of hours she seems back to herself but still won't eat. This always seems to happen in the morning.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Is your dog fed human food at all?
If so what kinds do you feed her?
Can anyone else feed her when she is in the garden?
How often do you clear the garden of fecal matter, standing water, etc. ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no standing water

fecal matter cleared daily

no-one else can feed them

no human food fed to them

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
I think you are dealing with more than one problem. On one hand I think there has been an issue with an intestinal infection such as a protozoan infection. Coccidia and Giardia are both protozoan infections and can be very difficult to clear up due to the way they are spread. A dog with a protozoan infections sheds cysts in their fecal matter intermittently. These cysts are washed into standing water, sit on plants and in the dirt. They can then be ingested by dogs when they eat grass or drink standing water.
In addition, it can often seem like the infection is cleared up only to have it come right back. Since the cysts are shed intermittently, a stool sample can also come back clear and the only way to be sure a dog is no longer infected is to have a few consecutive samples tested. Different antibiotics are effective for each type as well. Let me give you some information on protozoan infections and parasites which can both cause the bouts of diarrhea, vomiting and blood in the stool.
Poisonous plants might very well be an issue as might other things like fertilizers. Many sites only list the most toxic plants. You can read this site which is a great resource for poisonous plants.
The lowered front end with raised rear often signals upper abdominal pain such as a dog might experience with a gastrointestinal issue like pancreatitis or a stomach ache. Licking the air can also be the result of nausea but might also be a sign of seizure activity. Your Shih Tzu is likely smaller than your spaniel so might be affected more if it is the result of a toxin.
Remember that the smaller the dog, the more important it is to feed smaller more frequent meals as low blood sugar can also lead to seizure activity from hypoglycemia.
If you think it might be toxin related, you might get a basket style muzzle that won't allow the dogs to eat anything when out in the front garden. One like this should allow them to breath normally but not eat or drink when outside such as this one.
If the incidents no longer occur when they are wearing the muzzles, it would then be likely to assume it is something being ingested. I would ask that you clean their paws when they come in to avoid them licking a toxin off of the pads.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .