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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33322
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Can you help me diagnose my dog please?

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Can you help me diagnose my dog please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My dog has fairly heavy breathing. Short bursts of breathing. He's not eating meals but will sometimes eat little bits of ham. Drinks lots and lots of water. Hardly walks. Loves laying in the garden for long periods. Nose is fine, sometimes drips.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.

How old and which breed is your dog, please? How long has he been symptomatic in that manner? His polydipsia (increased thirst) is worrisome. Drinking more than usual (polydipsia) and urinating a higher volume of urine (polyuria) are danger signs for quite a few disorders. These include both hepatic and renal insufficiencies, urinary tract infection involving the kidneys, diabetes mellitus and Cushing's disease (both will also cause increased hunger (polyphagia), hypercalcemia (increased serum calcium level), electrolyte (sodium, potassium, chloride) imbalances, and the rarer Addison's disease, diabetes insipidus, and brain tumor involving the hypothalamus. His vet will need to perform a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests in order to clarify what those symptoms are signifying.

I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow me to speak to customers by phone in this venue but other experts in this category may be able to assist you in this regard. Please let me know if you'd like another expert to do so and I'll opt out of this conversation. Please stay in the conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my dog is a border collie, we think he's crossed with something but we don't know because we got him from the RSPCA. He is 11. He's been like this for 2/3 days. We have blood test results coming tomorrow. I am concerned that it is his kidneys as I know that is very bad. He is not urinating a lot, he does it normally but he now does NOT cock his leg. His back legs seem very weak. He doesn't seem in pain, but why would he struggle with his back legs if it's not painful? He sleeps fine and he has been coughing too. He coughs between 4-6 times in one go but has only done this about 4 times in the last 3 days.

Thank you for the additional information. His back leg struggle can represent overall weakness, a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) such as degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk"), and/or the pain of geriatric osteoarthritis. His coughing in conjunction with" fairly heavy breathing" is worrisome for advanced cardiopulmonary diseases such as congestive heart failure, sterile bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/COPD), and neoplasia (cancer) in his chest cavity. There are many body systems involved in his malaise and so I'd be looking for disorders that affect the entire body such as I posted above. Those blood tests will help narrow down what's going on and X-rays of his chest should be considered as well. I'd be pleased to review any test results you could post in our conversation. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'll try and send you a photo now. Where my hand is is where is body is pulsating. So this is throbbing. Moving separate to the rhythm of his heart. It's near the top of his back legs and above the penis.

You're pressing on his central abdomen. There are quite a few different structures under your hand but none of which I could envision throbbing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm probably going mad haha. Is there anything I can try just to get him to eat or more comfortable until we get the results tomorrow? He only really has water, then occasionally milk, peanut butter, ham (rare) and today we've got some food paste that we can syringe into his mouth

I don't hesitate in offering anything imaginable to these dogs. I like your idea of syringeable foods. Meat flavored baby foods fall into that category and are often well-received. His vet is likely to carry a syringeable convalescent food such as Hill's a/d but I think it's too late for you to get the vet hospital in the UK. Don't worry so much about his caloric intake; most important is his fluid intake. Allow unlimited water and see if you can tempt him with milk, cream, broths, and bouilons.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is semi skimmed milk ok? He's always had it and loves it. But I was told that all dogs are lactose intolerant? We're struggling with the syeringable foods because he gets very stressed. He has had fits for a number of years which we can only put down to something like epilepsy. If he experiences a lot of stress either by going to the vets or sometimes in dreams he enters into a fit but I don't think this is related. Such a shame because he's the greatest dog I've ever met.

Anything is OK at this point. Yes, most dogs are lactose intolerant. You can purchase lactose-free milk or don't worry about it. I'd rather he eat the "wrong" food than not eat the "right" food.

Oh my goodness, you've thrown fits into the mix. It's starting to sound like he needs to get a job.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His belly is bloated as well. Does that narrow any of your predictions down?

If the bloating represents an abdominal effusion (collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity) a small amount of that fluid needs to be extracted and analyzed. Blood would indicate a bleeding tumor or coagulation defect, clear fluid could indicate right-sided heart failure, hypoalbuminemia (low serum albumin level) as might occur with a poorly functioning liver unable to produce enough albumin (a small protein necessary to keep fluids inside vessels and out of body cavities) or loss of albumin through damaged kidneys or bowel, and a fluid filled with inflammatory or neoplastic cells might indicate infection or cancer, respectively.

I have to leave my computer for a few hours but I promsie to reply as soon as I return if need be.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, still waiting for the results back but after extensive research I think it might be congestive heart failure. Is this a possibility from the symptoms in your opinion? If it is this, what is the best course of action? Like I say, I'm still waiting for the blood results but I'd like to have an idea of what the next steps would be if they do give me that as the result. Can it be treated? Thanks

With no history of coughing, CHF isn't likely. Polydipsia, inappetence, and abdominal effusion point to either hepatic or renal insufficiency.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
blood tests came back and wasn't good. Low protein and haemoglobin. Tomorrow we're going to test his liver with a starved blood sample and then with a full belly. He does have occasional coughing but not loads. The vet has told us not to be hopeful but said there's still a chance that it is purely an infection mixed with old age. He is also anemic.

I'd like to review all of the test results for you. Can you upload a copy of them to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy at home but his vetvet can give you one which you can scan into your computer and then give me the file link or you can photograph the pages and upload them by using the paperclip icon (if you can see that icon) or by using an external app such as

Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No problem. Thank you for your help. Our amazing dog JayJay passed away this morning in his bed while we were with him. Thanks again. Matt

My condolences for you loss of JayJay. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.

You may receive an inappropriate follow-up from the site ostensibly sent by me. It wasn't and I apologize in advance should you receive it.