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Boxer with distended stomach and pale gums

Species: Dog
Breed: Boxer/URGENT PLEASE!
Age: 8-11 years
******Urgent Please******CAN NOT AFFORD UPGRADE

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My 9yr. old male boxer has a distended stomach, has had for the past week now. Has had one bout of bloody diarrhea. Tongue and gums are white. he yelps in pain when he moves wrong. Not producing to much stool at this time almost like squirts of runny diarrhea orangish in color. He's very alert, happy, eating, urinating fine, not taking in water to much. Upon sleeping he's seems to have somewhat of labored breathing and very snorry. 6 months ago he was vomiting a lot of whole dry dog food and would drop unconsciously after a bout of coughing and choking happened 3 times. We switched to soft food and haven't had a problem with that since. The vet confirmed that his gums were real protruded over his teeth, so that caused a problem with chewing. Current Symptoms of distention and pain has me worried. Vet is trying to convince my husband to either allow him to pass away at home or if he is in to much pain to bring him in to be put to sleep. No x-rays or blood work have been done yet nor have they even felt on his stomach. Temp is fine, yesterday mouth coloring was fine. I want a second opinion on what the possibilities are that could be going on. the vet seems to think it could be his spleen and paying out the money for x-rays and blood work could be a waste of our time if he's dying anyway. I keep thinking it could be something simple to. I need reassurance, so I can convince my husband to go ahead with the x-rays. Could it be worms in the stomach, or fluid, or what about an object? Please help I'm trying to advocate for my animal and preserve his life if I can.
Thank You,
Mrs.Havens


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Harley is not doing well. His symptoms really have me concerned.

Unfortunately most of the possible conditions that come to my mind are quite serious.

Yes, one possibility is a problem with his spleen such as a tumor. A spleen tumor can suddenly rupture and cause blood loss into the abdomen. The blood loss can cause the white gums. However, this is usually not terribly painful for the dog.

The other possibility that I am worried about is bloat (otherwise known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)). Bloat is an extremely serious condition. While it can be treated successfully with surgery the surgery is extremely expensive and not all dogs survive. If a dog has bloat the stomach twists and fills with air. You will see the abdomen distending visibly and it is very uncomfortable for the dog. The twisted stomach obstructs blood vessels and causes the dog to produce toxins which cause shock which would be causing the white gums.

Another possibility that could cause white gums and abdominal distension is heart failure. Boxers can get a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Unfortunately successful treatment of this condition is not common.

This is a case where I would not hesitate to take him in and have some xrays taken. I would not advise letting him pass away at home as he sounds like he is very uncomfortable.

If you are reluctant to spend the money on xrays then, with the guidance of your vet, you may want to consider euthanasia.

I am so sorry for the bad news.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.