How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Linda Simon Your Own Question
Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 3207
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Linda Simon is online now

Our dog was running around trying to bite his bum a lot.

This answer was rated:

Hi, our dog was running around trying to bite his bum a lot. He’s jumped on the sofa and is heavily breathing and struggling to keep his eyes open
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Teddy, 14 months
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Teddy?
Customer: He has had fleas for the past few months

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda.

I'm sorry to hear he sounds distressed.

In my experience, dogs who have fleas for a long period of time are often intensely itchy and their sensitive skin can be hard to cope with. It may be that they are so very uncomfortable that they are finding it hard to cope.

Is there sign of skin irritation or infection such as redness, scabbing or ooze? There may well be a secondary skin infection which will be making it very hard to settle.

Another consideration would be an anal gland issue such as anal gland impaction. This can certainly cause bum biting and discomfort.

It is best to get Teddy booked in so the vet can assess his skin and anal glands and provide any medicine needed, such as snti-itch medicine and/or antibiotics.

It is also key that we really get on top of this flea problem. This usually means a prescription flea treatment such as Advocate for all cats/dogs in the home, a spray such as Indorex for the house and hot washing of bedding and intensive hoovering for several weeks.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thanks so much for your response. There isn’t any sign of infection around his bum that we can see, but don’t know what an impacted gland looks like. I will get him booked into the vet to look at.We use advocate on him every 4 weeks, although we did see the vet a couple of weeks ago and they said we could do it for 3. Because we were concerned that it was not working. We have also used indorex on the house multiple times and have got 2 extra cans today to do another complete sweep of it, but a professional exterminator is nextMy concern was his heavy breathing and not being able to keep his eyes open (literally falling asleep whilst sitting up and acting docile). We did get his lead out and he returned to his normal self again. Maybe I am working too much!

Please ignore any phone call requests as the website sends these on automatically.

Impacted anal glands are actually difficult to detect from the outside and there may be no obvious signs. This is why it is important for the dog to be examined. Other signs may include a fish smell or the dog scooting their bum along the floor.

Gosh, it sounds like you have had it tough with the fleas. One thing to consider would be that the fleas may have become resistant to the active ingredient in Advocate so I would consider using another prescription product the next time such as Nexgard Spectrum.

Worrying is natural (and just a sign of a good owner!) and it's great he has returned to normal.

If that kind of behaviour returns it would be worth videoing to show to the vet in case it may be something unusual such as a seizure (which I think is very unlikely).

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The fleas have honestly been a nightmare. We tried lots of different bug bombs and sprays until the vets recommended indorex. I feel so awful for himHe has sat back on the sofa with us, looks uncomfortable, heavy breathings, sat upright and keeps falling asleep and waking back up. We did go out walking with him a lot yesterday so could it be exhaustion?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I think he also has a swollen stomach
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
thinking about it he was a little sick earlier

A normal dog should not suffer from exhaustion even after a very long walk.

If he is continuing to breathe heavily, has a swollen stomach and is acting unlike himself I would think this is unrelated to fleas or any anal gland issues / skin discomfort.

This may be more serious and could indicate e.g. abdominal pain caused by pancreatitis, toxin ingestion, stomach bloat etc.

If his breathing is faster than 30 breaths a minute or less, this is a worry and warrants a check up as soon as possible.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
He is breathing 60 breaths a second
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
A minute!

Ok, this is far too much. A dog at rest usually breathes between 8-15 times a minute and anything over 30 is a red flag unless he has just been running about or playing. Coupled with the abdominal bloating and earlier sickness, I would say this warrants an immediate vet visit.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you, we’re taking him to an emergency vets now

Ok, that's great. Please do feel free to keep me updated and to ask any further questions you may have.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you very much
Happy to help. You should find that this window stays open for several more days and you can check in at any time.
Linda Simon and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you