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Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2481
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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Small female chihuahua; 8 years old. Dog is shivering,

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Small female chihuahua; 8 years old. Dog is shivering, hasn’t eaten anything and yelps if you touch her ribs.
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if the Chihuahua will be able to digest that. What is the Chihuahua's name?
Customer: Gaga.
Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Gaga?
Customer: No.
Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda.
I'm sorry to hear Gaga is unwell.
Does Gaga have any medical issues or is she on any medicine?
How long has she been unwell for?
When did she last eat?
Can you think of anything that may have led to this e.g. change in diet, eating something she shouldn't, trauma of any kind?
Does she have any other symptoms e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea, fast breathing?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No medical issues or medicine. Been ill since yesterday. Last ate yesterday. Nothing that we know of that may have led to it. Not any other major symptoms.
Thank you for this information.
Is she neutered and, if not, when was she last spayed?
And you cant think of anything that may have brought this on yesterday; her routine has been as normal?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She’s not neutered; she’s never been spayed. Genuinely cannot think of anything that may have caused it. It might be a cold, as the temperatures have been dipping and she sneezed a fair bit whilst on a walk.
Shivering can have several causes but is most often associated with pain, distress and/or fever. Coupled with vocalising when touching the ribs , I would worry she is in pain. Pain can also cause a reduced appetite.
It may be that she has fallen when you weren't around or has perhaps jumped from a height or twisted herself. We would hope if there was an injury that it is just a muscle strain but small dogs can be prone to e.g. slipped discs in the back so we need to be cautious. Is she able to walk as normal (she's putting weight on all legs and not arching her back)?
As she's not neutered we always have to keep an eye out for a uterus infection called pyometra. Symtpoms are variable but we would want to monitor for any discharge from the vulva, increased thirst or a swollen/ tender abdomen.
I agree, a viral infection is possible, though this wouldn't explain the rib tenderness. However, it may be that she is stressed and so is just being 'reactive' when touched.
As it has been a day since she's eaten and she's so small we would want to ensure she does not become dehydrated nor develop low blood sugar. Check hydration by ensuring her gums are pink and wet rather than sticky/dry.
Offer her some tasty food such as warm chicken and rice. If she is not drinking, offering the warm water the chicken is boiled in might be a winner. You could also syringe some water into her mouth if she shows no interest.
If you feel she is deteriorating or is in pain/distress, it may well be worth having her checked over by a vet this evening. They will check her from nose to tail, try to determine if she is in pain anywhere, assess her hydration and check for a fever. They may well give some pain relief if it is needed.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you, she’s drinking water just not eating. She’s not a very playful dog and doesn’t jump around so she hasn’t got hurt. She’s not limping but she’s weak. Thank you for your help
It's good that she's drinking at least, this makes dehydration far less likely (particularly if she has not had any vomiting or diarrhoea).
If trauma is out of the question, I would wonder more about the shivering/discomfort being caused by a fever. If you're feeling brave (!) you could check her temperature at home with a rectal thermometer and some vaseline. Anything over 39'c is a fever. If you don't feel confident doing this, dont worry. Feeling the ears can give some indication of their temperature.
If we do get her to eat a little, this may well help with the weakness.
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