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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4179
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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My 6 yr old dog is very lethargic, not eating or drinking

Customer Question

My 6 yr old dog is very lethargic , not eating or drinking and seems a bit lame on back legs , not crying or in obvious pain
JA: I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice this decrease in the dog's appetite?
Customer: yesterday
JA: What's the dog's name?
Customer: max
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: Max is quite an anxious dog and very attached to me but has been sitting upright in his cage all day and doesn’t want to go out
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 16 days ago.
Hello, you are through to Dr Linda, a UK based vet.
I'm sorry to hear this.
What breed is he?
Has he ever had any medical issues or sore joints in the past?
Any pale gums, panting or a bloated abdomen?
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 15 days ago.

Without further information it is difficult for me to provide the best advice, though I will certainly try. Please respond when you can and we can continue the chat.

Lethargy, a reduced appetite and lameness can have many causes including:

  • Spinal or pelvic disease. Dogs won't often let us know when in pain by whining and usually, the only clue is a reluctance to move. We would consider e.g. a slipped disc or hip arthritis.
  • Toxin ingestion e.g. anti freeze, human medicine, a cleaning product, nicotine.
  • A stroke / vascular incident.
  • Exacerbated arthritis, which has become worse due to an injury or the cold weather

A vet visit would be wise so he can be examined and as we may need to e.g. run some blood tests or take an x-ray.

I suspect he will benefit from some medicine such as pain relief and anti inflammatories.

Try to tempt him with warm and tasty food such as chicken.

If his gums are pale or dry, he has a bloated abdomen or fast breathing, he is becoming more lethargic or you feel he is really not right, he should be seen by an emergency vet tonight.