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Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32760
Experience:  16 years of small animal internal medicine, surgery and preventive medicine.
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I have a 9 year old Bichon

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I have a 9 year old Bichon Frise who is very lethargic and has a very swollen belly. He is eating, drinking and pooing normally. His lethargy is totally out of character.
Welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name is***** am a licensed veterinarian. I am happy to answer your question today. First I need to ask you a few questions so that I can be well informed and give you the best advice.

1- How long has this been going on?
2- Any pre existing medical conditions?
3- Any other symptoms?

There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I type out a thorough reply for you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has been unwell for about 2 weeks, last week he started to be sick but I put that down to the fact that he had eaten some lamb, sometimes lamb can be a bit fatty and felt this was the reason for his vomitting. Since then I have noticed his stomach is quite swollen, some days it is rock hard and other times it is a little softer. His lethargy leads me to know he is not well. He is also quite breathless but is not vomitting now.

1- So, it is fair to say the swollen belly happened within the last 2 weeks?
2- When you say breathless do you mean he is having trouble breathing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Swollen belly more noticable in the last weeks, when I say he is breathless I mean he is panting a lot not just when he is out walking.

Susan, when we see abdominal swelling as you are describing it can be related to many different causes. It will be difficult for me to determine the exact underlying cause without a hands on examination and some testing. But, based on the quick onset and the fact that it is affecting his breathing I am inclined to believe Benji has fluid build up in the abdomen (ascites). The big question is: Why is there fluid? There are many possible causes; common causes are: Heart/lung disease, abdominal tumor, low protein, kidney or liver disease, etc. to name a few causes. This is Not related to intestinal parasites.
In this case Susan we are very limited as to what you can do at home. Benji will need to be seen by a veterinarian for a hands on examination, blood work and xrays as initial screening test. They may need to do additional testing like fluid analysis or an abdominal ultrasound. Treatment will be based on exam and test result findings. Highly recommend having him checked as soon as you can as this is affecting his breathing.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service, I am happy to address follow-up questions. P
lease do not forget to rate my answer - I hope you found it to be excellent. If there’s more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know. It’s my goal to provide you with excellent service." Thank you for your business and I hope to work with you again soon!

Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Took Benji to the Vet that evening and had checks for fluid build up - blood tests revealed Cushings Syndrome - on medication. Thank you for prompt response.

Good morning Susan. That is great that he did not have any fluid build up. Cushings has a much better prognosis. Thank you for the update.

Dr. Peter
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could you advise me how they would have tested for fluid build up as Benji now seems to have a very large "bruise" like mark on his underbelly?

Sure, there are test that we can do like xrays or abdominal ultrasound. Or, on physical examination we can do what is called an "abdominocentesis." This is when we check by inserting a needle attach to a syringe directly into the abdominal cavity. If he is bruised they could have performed an abdominocentesis. You can appy warm compresses to the area for 5 minutes 2-3 times a day, it will go away and has no long term effects.

Dr. Peter
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you will try that.

You're welcome.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My Bichon keeps biting / licking his feet - have looked and can't see anything i the pad or between his claws (nails). He is licking that much that his suposedly white fur is now pink.

Any solutions please.

Susan, I am sorry but you will need to open a new question as this is a different problem.