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Drinking a lot and collapse.

Species: Dog
Breed: Boxer
Age: 8-11 years
My boxer, Tank, has recently began drinking water excessively and then pees all over the house. He has never peed in the house before. Even when he was a puppy he was very easy to potty train. We soon found out that some of the spots we were cleaning up after being gone was vomit (white, foamy, with yellow which I'm assuming is bile). He has lost about 10 pounds in the last 5 weeks and is not eating well at all. When we took him to our usual vet, they did some blood work and x-rays and said everything was normal but there was a possibility he had a UTI (which he said was very rare in a male dog). He gave us antibiotics to treat that possiblity. I asked when to really worry about him not eating and he just said he will eat when he's hungry. After giving him the meds he acted better, more himself, but still would not eat and is drinking probably at least 3 gallons of water a day. I don't know if that's normal but that is way more than he usually drinks. He is not urinating so much in the house as he was but does ask to go outside quite frequently. As I said, he seemed to be doing a lot better after the meds but when I came home from my sons baseball practice tonight he was barking from downstairs which is very unusual. When I checked on him he was sprawled out on the floor, belly down with all four legs sprawed out besided him. I looked like he had fallen. When I tried to help him up he kind of wimpered but once he was up, he walked around and went upstairs. He in now laying down, shaking, and looks like he did in the beginning. I know I'm rambling but we also have a border collie mix that earlier this week was having trouble walking. She was literaly walking on her front legs.It was like her back legs just would not work. She is doing ok now but I'm wondering if these could be related. If not, do you have any other ideas of what could be going on with Tank?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear, things do not really look good for Tank. I am worried about what you have written.

Any time a dog wants to drink a lot of water there is something serious going on. A normal amount of water for a dog to drink is no more than 40-60ml per kg. Assuming Tank is, say 60lbs this would equate to 1.6 L (That's about 0.4 gallons!) So 3 gallons of water is an awful lot.

Most of the the things that can cause a dog to drink a lot would cause obvious changes in bloodwork such as kidney disease or diabetes. It is definitely unusual to have normal bloodwork when a dog is unwell like this.

I'm wondering if Tank could have some type of bleeding abdominal tumor such as a spleen tumor. If a tumor is bleeding into the abdomen then it is going to make a dog feel dehydrated. Feeling dehydrated would cause him to want to drink more. If a tumor suddenly bled a lot, then this could cause the collapse and shaking.

Can you take a look at Tank's gums? Do they look pink or closer to white? If they look white then something bleeding is a possibility.

Although the symptoms are not typical, do you feed chicken jerky treats at all? If so, read this. Many dogs who are eating chicken jerky are getting vague illnesses that are causing them to be extra thirsty.

I have a hard time connecting your border collie's problems with her legs to Tank's illness. I'm wondering about a back problem for her?

One other possibility that could cause weakness in both dogs is ingestion of macadamia nuts. If you think that's at all possible, let me know.

It really does sound like Tank should see a vet tonight if that is at all possible.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks for responding so quickly. I don't feed the dog's chicken jerky treats (thank goodness, I saw the recall), and there have not been any macadamia nuts around the house. I looked at his gums and they look pink. It's kind of pale but still pink, no white. If it was a tumor, is it possible that the bleeding is off and on and that may be why he feels better for a while and then feels bad again? Or would it be a constant thing where he would progressively get worse?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Yes, that's exactly what can happen with a bleeding tumor. Just this week I had a dog in whose owners thought he had a hip problem because he couldn't stand up, but actually what had happened was that there was bleeding into the abdomen which caused extreme weakness.

I've seen other dogs who had bleeding and weakness, and then after a few hours, the body reabsorbs the blood and the dog appears to be fine.

One other thought - If I see a boxer with collapsing episodes I get worried about heart problems as well. But, a heart problem should not cause the increase in thirst and urination.

This definitely sounds more serious than a UTI.

Customer reply:

Ugh...that's what I was worried about! Thank you for your help. I am going to try to get him to an emergency vet tonight or to a new vet first thing in the morning. Again, thank you very much!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I think it really would be a good idea to have him seen tonight if it's at all possible.

I'd love to hear how your visit goes.

Customer reply:

Hello Dr. Marie,
I wanted to let you know that we took Tank to the vet first thing this morning. Turns out he has two large masses in his lungs. Our current vet said he recalculated his blood work and it showed that his calcium level was extremely high. They are leaning towards lymphoma He gave us a referral to a specialist so we will see what we can do next. Thank you again for all your help! This is a wonderful service you are providing for the public!!!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for the update. I'm sorry to hear about the masses in his lungs. :(

There are some treatments for lymphoma that can help a dog do well for a period of time. Hopefully he can be treated!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.