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nekovet, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 22449
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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I have a cocker spaniel who is 14 yrs old but he does not move

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i have a cocker spaniel who is 14 yrs old but he does not move around so much and finds it hard to walk and get down the stairs his eyes are really mucky and he is off his food
he doesn't seem to be in any pain but he does not bark at anyone any more is it just old age?

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

How long has he been off food?
Any vomiting, retching, gagging, or lip licking?
Is he still drinking?
Any changes to his breathing?
Are his gums nice and pink? Or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
What color is the discharge in his eyes?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

is drinking ok has been off his food for two days his gums are pink his breathing is sometimes shallow and he sleeps a lot the discharge in his eyes is green no retching but not passing any faeces

Thank you Pat,

Since his breathing is shallow, can you take a breathing rate for me (just count his breaths for 10 seconds + multiply that by 6)?

Do you think he has been drinking more as of late?
Passing more urine? Has it been dilute/watery?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

he has always drank a lot not passing too much urine and it is still yellow

ITRIED HIS breathing and it came to 60
Thank you again,

Now while your lad is older, I do suspect we have more then age afoot here. His reluctance to move could be partly due to old age arthritis, but with his lack of appetite I do suspect this is especially severe just now due to a lack of energy/nutrition. As well, if his breathing has been compromised, this too can lead to weakness, lethargy, and reduced activity. So, while his bacterial conjunctivitis is the most visible sign, this is likely just a secondary opportunistic infection taking advantage of his compromised immune system and distracting us from a bigger issue.

With all this in mind, we do need to focus on the root issue here. And as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see anorexia in dogs for a range of reasons. This can be due to GI infections, pancreatitis, but also secondary to metabolic issues (ie diabetes, Cushing’s, Addison’s, etc), cancer, and even organ dysfunction (ie liver, kidney). Furthermore,with Buddie's elevated resting respiratory rate (which is 2x normal), we'd also have to be concerned that these signs may be related to lung based issue (ie pneumonia, bronchitis, or even tumor spread to the lungs). So, we do have a lot of serious reasons for his current refusal to eat and weakness.

Now in this situation, it'd be ideal to have him seen as soon as possible by your vet. If he has been breathing like this for a while and his gums are still pink, then you may be able to monitor until your vet is open. But if he worsens at all or those gums pale, we'd need him seen sooner. The vet can examine him, listen to his lungs +/- check bloods to pinpoint which of the above is present. Depending on those findings, we will be able to determine which issue is present here, his prognosis, and what treatment options we have.

In the meantime, we can try some supportive care to try and keep him comfortable overnight. First, if you think he is nauseous, then you could consider treating him with an antacid. Common OTC pet safe options would be Zantac (More Info/Dose @ or Milk of Magnesia (0.5tsp every 8 hours). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption.

Once that has had time to absorb and he is steadier on his stomach, you can consider starting him on a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. And I would stick to tempting him at this point, just since we don't want to syringe feed a dog with respiratory difficulties.

Overall, we do have some serious concerns here for Buddie.This doesn't sound like old age alone. Instead, this does raise concerns of lung compromise but potentially a bigger issue afoot. Therefore, if this has been going on for 2 days, you can try the above and monitor him until his vet is open. Otherwise, we do need him checked so that we can get to the root of his signs, treat was is present, and give him the best chance of recovery.

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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