April 16, 2014 7.30 pm
Goldie, the Golden Retriever, Male, 10 years ate his food at 6.30pm as usual, after being outdoors. 15 minutes later, he could not stand up. Just lay down on his chest for he next 15 minutes. So, the owners brought him to see me at around 7.30 pm. The parents, two grown up sons and two lady friends came, together with a plastic folder of the dog's past medical records.
"The dog can walk now," the father said. In fact, the dog had leaped off from the back of the small van, as usual. "Could he be having a stroke?"
I got the dog weighed and the rectal temperature taken. No fever.
"His gums are very cold and cyanotic," I could feel the chill in his gums, an unusual feeling. I pressed his spinal area from the neck to the tail. No pain. The dog was standing on the table and showed no pain when I checked the abdomen. A blood test showed nothing abnormal. An increase in SGOT/AST was the only finding. I auscultated the heart. There was a machinery murmur. I palpated the throat and the dog coughed.
"This dog likes to eat from the grass," the mother said. Could he have swallowed some stones?
"He also ate his food very fast, all in one go," the mother told me. So could he have choked himself?
The dog was quiet and laid down on the table, as if he was very tired.
So, what's wrong with this dog? With scans and ECG tests, this would be hard to say. I treated him for a heart disease with Fortekor 5 and Lasix tablets to be given once orally for 2 weeks..The dog was very lethargic as he preferred to lay down on his chest. But he leaped onto the back of the van.
"What drug did you give him," my nurse Julia asked. "He was lying on the waiting area after treatment and was breathing hard. Yet on gong home, he leaped onto the back of the van!". This dog does that when he is healthy as he leaps on and off the van during outings..
April 17, 2014
The next morning, I phoned. "The dog is 70% more active and has eaten all his food," the father said.
In the evening, I phoned. "The dog is standing and walking unlike yesterday," the mother said as the father was out playing badminton. "He is 10% better. When he came home from Toa Payoh Vets, he was so tired and just lay down the whole night."
"Has he eaten all his food?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Did he drink water, pass stools and urine?"
"Yes," he did. "He drank water, but no stools. He pees outdoor and so I don't know."
So what is the cause of this dog's lethargy after dinner?
It is very difficult to say. I would consider that, since he swallows his food very fast since puppyhood, he could have choked. A small piece might have gone into his lungs and the lungs shut down in reflex protection. So he was not able to stand up for 15 minutes after surgery. Or he could have a heart attack or stroke. For reasons of medical costs, no further tests were done.
A very strange case as his blood test showed all values normal except for an increase in SGOT/AST. This might not be significant. A review 2 weeks later would be needed.