Dog Lethargy and Strange Behavior

Solving the puzzle of a dog’s mysterious behavior.


Q. My 17-pound Chihuahua mix was very docile when we went on our walk this morning. But once in the house, he immediately hid under the bed and didn't eat any of his treats! Later, when I picked him up he seemed fine, but then I put him down and he yelped. He was shaking a little, and his ears and nose were cold. When I was leaving for work, he seemed like he wanted to go with me. Any explanation?

Dr. Jon GellerA. Hopefully, by the time you read this, your Chihuahua is doing better. In the meantime, I love the challenge of a good mystery, so lets look at the clues:

1. Your dog was quiet when you went on a walk.

2. He hid under the bed.

3. He would not eat any treats.

4. He was shaking, and his ears and nose were cold.

5. He yelped when you put him down.

From a medical point of view, the problem list would be lethargy, lack of interest in food (anorexia), shaking and pain.

There are probably over 100 possibilities for these symptoms. To find out what's wrong, your veterinarian would take your dogs vital signs (temperature, pulse and respiration), perform a good physical exam, and possibly order blood tests and X-rays.

However, using a combination of intuition and guesswork based on your dogs breed, its possible your dog is either constipated or has impacted anal glands. In small dogs that show general signs of discomfort, both of these problems are fairly common.

In the case of constipation, small amounts of laxatives or canned pumpkin can help.

In more severe cases, a medical enema in the hospital is required. For impacted anal glands, your veterinarian must express them and possibly infuse them with medication if they're infected.

Jon Geller, DVM

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

6/1/2013 11:47:56 AM

Good information. thanks

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Laura   Taft, CA

5/14/2008 11:17:28 PM

Can impacted anal sacs truly be the cause of
Because my nearly 3 yo chihuahua had a mild episode just
He has not ever had one
He seemed extremely tired (couldnt keep his lil eyes open),was walking really rather
It only lasted about 5 or 6 minutes from start to
He is such a happy peppy pup ALL of the
What might cause him to do this? Impacted anal sacs? Because he is definately not
Thank You.

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