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Shaking after grooming.

Species: Dog
Breed: Bijon-Poo
Age: 5-8 years
Millie is an otherwise healthy 8 year old Bijon Poo. Don't know if this is related, but we took her to the groomer last week. The next day, while laying on my lap as she does most of the day, she was shivering (full body) as if scared or freezing cold. We thought maybe the A/C and ceiling fan was making her cold with her summer groom (from thick full, curly, Bijon winter to coat to shaved down). But this went on and off for the next few days. Today, we noticed that she is limping and holding her foot up as she walks or tried to turn around or get down from my lap. We examined her paw for anything she might have stepped and felt it from top to bottom as well as him pretty firmly and she did not yelp.

We're wondering if the grooming salon might have used a chemical such as a flea treatment (she did not have) that was toxin. Is there anything known like this that might cause a toxic reaction from a dog grooming product that would progressively affect the dog for going on a week? She had open cuts as they cut the tips of three nipples (we took pictures) and she had "blade burn"). (We won't be taking her back there!).

Also, we live in AZ where there is West Nile, Bird Flu, scorpions and black widows (we know there are black widow nests that keep cropping up on our property), snakes, etc. Are her symptoms common to stings or bites from any of these?

Also, we have to have our weeds sprayed in the back yard or the variety literally grows thick stalks and can reach a 4 foot tall jungle. The weed control people insist that the spray is not toxic to pets once we turn the sprinklers on to saturate the grass but we can't stop her from munching on the grass and invariably she throws up later. We've now started walking her so she cannot do that rather than letting her run free in our fully fenced in back yard.

Last theory: our sub-division is rampant with ferrel cats (I'd guess over 1000) which Animal Control in the Phoenix area will not do anything about. They defecate everywhere and can climb the cement block walls into our yard. Unfortunately, Millie eats poo and has done since a puppy. We've never seen her eat poo that isn't her own but it is possible she has eaten or stuck her nose in cat poo and that it is infected with the disease ferrel cats get that can be transmitted to dogs or humans.

Or could this just be arthritis or first symptoms of old age?

We do not have the money to cover lab work and X-rays with a vet right now, nor the credit rating to get CareCredit (we've tried before). At least we'd like to narrow things down to the likely possibilities cross-matching shiverin g/tremors (full body) that come and go with a limp developing in right front paw that does not appear to be injured.

Oh, and she had black tarry stools a few days ago but not since and the other day coughed up mucus with a "blood clot" in it. Have seen none of that since.

Her nose is cold and wet and she's eating fine. Her tail wags normally except when she has the shakes, she holds it down between her hind legs like a dog that has done something naughty or is afraid and is submitting. But she gets nothing but lots of love and gentle handling from us.

Can you give us any theories on what we might be dealing with? We love her so much!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is having this problem. So, to summarize the symptoms, we are seeing:

-shaking/shivering off and on that started the day after seeing the groomer
-limping when she tries to turn around or jump down
-black/tarry stools a few days ago
-coughed up mucus with a blood clot

These are unusual symptoms. I think that the shivering is unlikely to be because of a toxin. There are some types of flea products and pesticides that can cause uncontrollable shaking but the shaking would not come and go.

Most likely the shaking is a result of pain somewhere. I will commonly see a small dog shake because of back or neck pain. You didn't mention whether it was a front or back leg that she is holding up, but if it is a front leg, then there's a good chance that she has some pain in her neck. If it's a back leg then the pain can be in the mid to lower back.

I have seen it happen several times where a dog has pain after being to the groomer. It doesn't mean that abuse has happened, but if a dog has spinal issues that are looming, the manipulation and restraint that is required by a groomer could be the final straw to make the pain worse.

If she is still unwell she likely needs to be on some anti-inflammatory medication. However, this really is something that you need to see a vet for. You can explain that you do not have the funds for xrays and blood tests and in many cases a vet will be willing to prescribe pain medication. They will need to do a thorough exam first to make sure that there is not some other type of issue present.

I'm a little bit concerned about the black tarry stools. This can mean that there is bleeding in the stomach. One common reason for this is if someone has been giving her medication like aspirin. With that being said, if it only happened once it's not a big deal.

There are other possibilities as to what is going on. In an ideal world it would be best to have a thorough set of bloodwork and xrays done, but if you can't manage this then at least a physical exam and some pain medication really would be best.

Hope things look up soon!

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:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Well now we have more clues.

1. The limping in her right front paw has stopped.
2. In checking her out with our hands to see if she would squeal or wimper if we hit a sore place somewhere on her body, I felt a large marble sized lump under her fur on her right side just below her back and a couple of inches from her right side from shoulder. We can lift her skin up with it clearly felt inside that skin. It feels like a sist perhaps. However, in moving her fir in the area, we saw red marks so my hubbie took his clippers (her fur is already short)and shaved the area. Low and behold is a red inflamed area (actually two side by side areas, one larger and one smaller that are very red and look like scrapes but must be bites. We took photos. Is there a way to get them to you? She is eating fine, her nose is cold and wet and she is now walking fine.

To get a bite where it is on her body, we're speculating that a spider of some sort maybe got in her bed. We do have black widow nests on our property but her symptoms don't fit. But as this is AZ, insects and reptiles of other sorts abound.

Since she seems to be getting better, how likely is it that the "sist" will drain a toxin into her system (it's now AT LEAST Day 3, maybe longer)? Should we ice it? Put tea tree oil or neosporin on it? Does it need to be lanced and drained by a Vet? What do you feel the risk is if she is not seen by a vet right now?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You can send me a photo at I have to admit though that I am not an expert on venomous bites in Arizona. I am guessing that this bump is not connected to her problem though. Still, send me a photo. I can't make a diagnosis via a photo but I can give you my thoughts.

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.