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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18138
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Our 13 year old westie was fine till about a couple of hours

Customer Question

Hi our 13 year old westie was fine till about a couple of hours ago. He has been eating soil in the garden and drinking a lot of water. But now he is very very subdued and is slightly shaking alhtough he does shake sometimes because he has arthritis. However he is definitely not himself and so subdued
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about Scamp's recent habit of eating garden soil and drinking lots of water and now acting lethargic and shaking.Shaking can be a sign of fever or being cold, but in most dogs it is a sign of pain or nausea.Ideally he would see his veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid profile tests. Some dogs exhibit pica (eating or licking/biting non-food items) when they are anemic or sick and we do want to look for the underlying reason for his behavior. He could be anemic, or suffering from metabolic organ disease including diabetes, kidney or liver failure, exposed to a toxin (especially lead) or, unfortunately at his age, a tumor in his abdomen. At home now to try and settle his stomach in case this is related to nausea you can give either:1)Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 5 kilograms of body weight every 12 hoursOR2)Prilosec (omeprazole) at dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 5 kilograms of body weight every 24 hoursThese are acid reducers and should help him feel less nauseous, and thus less likely to chew/lick on non-food items. These medications are quite safe and can be used long term if they help him feel better. You can try offering a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow and get additional fluids into him. If he stops the behavior with the acid reducers and bland diet then try slowly reintroducing his regular diet by mixing it with the bland. If the behavior starts again on his regular diet then perhaps a permanent switch to a low irritant diet is indicated, such as the over the counter sensitive stomach foods made by Hills or Royal Canin or prescription foods like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN.Either way though given his age he should see his veterinarian for diagnostic testing. In some cases this has nothing to do with a physical problem. Dogs can indeed show some obsessive-compulsive type behaviors when they are bored for long periods of time. Some breeds like Westies are naturally built to hunt and spend their time and concentration working. When we take their "work" away from them some dogs get a little strange with their behavior. This may wane on its own, but if he is healthy it may also help to give him more to do, such as more play time, or hiding treats that he has to look for. Some dogs do experience senility symptoms as they age and this may be part of senility, but we want to make sure he is physically healthy first.Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.