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Painful dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Chihuahua/terrier mi
Age: 2-5 years
I have a small dog, under 20 pounds, that I rescued off the street in Mexico. I'm not sure of her breed or age, I'm just guessing. I have had her at my home for several months, and before that she was in our rescue shelter in Baja. She is normally very healthy. Every once in a while she would suddenly scream/yelp like she was in terrible pain - she would yelp for maybe 10-20 seconds, then she would stop and be fine. It has not happened in a while and now she is suddenly yelping in pain nearly every time she moves. She does not wince or react when I push on her tummy, ribs, backbone, etc. She is eating and drinking and wagging her tail - not acting sick - just sometimes when she moves. Other times when she moves to curl up and scratch or something she does not yelp. I cannot figure out what is causing her pain. She has peed today, but not pooped. I did find some diarreaha on the florr this morning, but it could have been from my other small dog - not sure. I'm not sure if she pooped in the last two days as I was back in Baja working at the shelter and she was staying at a rental house with a babysitter, so I only saw her at night - and she was playing and running and just fine. She does seem to walk with a slight hunch, she is a long dog, and her back legs seems a bit stiff and awkward when she walks - it's very slight, but makes me wonder if she is constipated. She ate some fish and squash a couple hours ago for fiber. I've been giving her a small dose of prescription dog pain killer for the last 24 hours. 25 mg of Tramdol that is 1 year expired (I just had it on hand). I gave her one dose last night, one today and one tonight.
I appreciate your affordable, service, and look forward to your input.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I can think of a few things that could cause these symptoms.

With little dogs, a back problem is fairly common. Back pain can cause periodic back spasms that could account for the screaming and also the difficulty with her back legs. While most dogs with back pain will recover, it can be very serious and even lead to paralysis. For this reason, I really would recommend that you have a vet take a look at Honey. If it is a back problem, then getting Honey on some anti-inflammatory medicine can make a huge difference. Tramadol is usually a good pain reliever but doesn't reduce inflammation.

Another possibility is if there is a problem with her anal glands. See if she will let you have a look at either side of her anus. There is a picture here in this article about anal glands. If there is an anal sac abscess you will see that one side looks like a big red blister or perhaps is bleeding. This is something that really needs vet care as well, but most dogs do recover fairly easily from this.

The other possibility is if there is abdominal pain. Pancreatitis can cause dogs to posture as if they are in a praying position. However, with pancreatitis she would not have a great appetite so this doesn't seem as likely.

It's hard to advise much at home. I really would recommend a vet visit. Until then keep her as quiet as possible and discourage any jumping as this could further injure her back if there is a back problem.

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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:

Thank you so much, doctor. I will take Honey to a vet in Mx today - I live in San Diego and the vet care is much more affordable just over the border. I left you a small tip Thanks again for providing this service!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'd love to hear how she makes out! And thank you for the bonus. :)

Dr. Marie

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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.