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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 38541
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Last week our dog, a Bichon Frise, was extremely lethargic

Customer Question

Last week our dog, a Bichon Frise, was extremely lethargic late evening, not responding at all to the usual positive and negative stimuli at all. My daughter rushed him to an emergency vet who "did a scan",involving shaving his fur away, on the lower abdomen which they thought was the source of the problem, and kept him in overnight on a drip. The following morning we received a call to say they had found and extracted a seed from his ear, and to pick him up at 5PM to see if he picks up at home. He did pick up a bit by the following morning. At midday we were due to return to the vets for further examination, where the same vet that had seen him previously noticed he stopped panting when slight pressure was applied to one side and said he thinks it's pancreatitis. We were given an anti-inflammatory (fluid) and an antibiotic (tablet), and told not to continue feeding him the raw food he's used to, and to get him eating something starchy, and drinking. This week, Monday morning, he had a hacking cough, so we went to our usual vet and it was diagnosed as kennel cough. We were told the anti-inflammatory and antibiotic we were prescribed was roughly what they would have prescribed to help with the kennel cough. Since Monday, it's been difficult to get him to eat anything, the only thing he would eat last night was some raw food that hadn't completely defrosted, he won't drink, but he did eat some bits of ice. This morning he's very lethargic. I've managed to give him the anti-inflammatory this morning, and crushed some ice, which he's taken a small amount from my hand. Concerned, any advice?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I'm sorry to hear of this with Buster. I'll address your concerns as you presented them.

1) The scan was an abdominal ultrasound. What were you told was found with that imaging, if anything untoward?

2) Plant material in the ear will cause shaking of the head and perhaps head tilt. It was best to be removed but is an unlikely cause of Buster's malaise.

3) Pancreatitis isn't suggested by his stopping panting when pressure is applied. In fact, a painful pancreas that is pressed should cause more panting - a sign of pain. Have diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests including a PSL test specific for assessing for pancreatitis been performed?

4) Kennel cough was likely to be picked up while he was hospitalized and may be contributory to his malaise but doesn't explain his lethargy of last week.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I took him to the vet in the end. The vet gave him an anti-nausea injection which got him eating again. He's slowly improved, although retching roughly once a day, and his bark is more like a piglet letting out a short squeal. He's eating and drinking normally. He is still shaking his head occasionally, and when he came with us to sleep in our room he was panting more than usual and moderately loud.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

Thank you the update. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.