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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I hope I am posting in the right forum.

Hi everyone,

My dog is acting strange and I would like your thoughts on the matter. I have already taken her to our veterinarian. I signed up to this site specifically for this case. This is a very peculiar problem and I am going to give as much detail as possible. It's a lot of reading, but I'd prefer to give too much information up front than to have to update for each question. I am hoping that someone here has any ideas of what might be affecting her or what I can do. I thank you in advance for reading this.

Her name is Posey. She is actually my mother's dog. We think she is a Maltese-Poodle mix and she is 2 years old. We have had her since she was a puppy and she has not been spayed. Her heat cycle ended maybe 2 weeks before any of this started. We have already gone to the veterinarian last week and they didn't find anything from a regular checkup; we didn't pay for the blood work. She is up to date on all of her shots, we had that checked when we were at the vet's. She is eating and drinking regularly. She isn't missing teeth or anything. Her diet of dry food remains the same as it was before this started. She has no difficulty going potty and her stool has no sign of a problem. She is not limping and she is not tendering any part of her body. She has been acting this way for about three weeks now.

So here are all the details:

Quick calendar list of events before and after this change occurred that might be related.

7/19 - She was taken to the groomer's for a haircut. My mother thinks she may have caught something there? I don't know.

7/20 - My mother left for the week, she came back on the 27th

7/25 - I think it was about this time that Posey started acting different. I noticed it on our walks and I assumed it was because she was sad that my mother was gone. I even remember telling my mother on a phone call that Posey missed her.

7/27 - My mother returned home that night.

7/29 - I was still noticing the strange behavior, and was a little worried at this point. I wasn't looking for any other symptoms at this point. I was playing fetch with the dogs outside and I accidentally hit Posey with a tennis ball. I was really freaking when this happened. I was very worried that I permanently damaged her. I tried my best to hold together and made sure Posey was okay. She wasn't vomiting or falling over, so that was a good sign. I admitted that she seemed to recover (or maybe it was me who recovered) that night. My mother convinced me that she would be fine and that Posey has wrestled other dogs more roughly before. Posey was fine for the rest of the week, in terms of no cause of concern for that accident anyway. She still retained the strange behaviors. I watched her carefully from that night onward for any other signs of a problem, my doing or otherwise. I was really worried that I did something to hurt her and make things worse, but she didn't show anything was wrong.

8/7 - At this point I had listed all the symptoms and was concerned enough with them, and my hitting her with a ball, that I took Posey to the vet. The vet told me that there were no signs of a concussion, her eyes still worked etc. That made me feel better about the accident. Her temperature was normal, no respiratory problems, whatever basic tests they did in the backroom with her she didn't have a problem. I told the vet all of what I had noticed, and she told me that they were all vague and she didn't have any ideas. She suggested the 270 dollar blood work to test organs and all that, but I didn't want to go that far just yet. She also suggested that Posey was simply growing up and not a puppy anymore, but I pointed out that that doesn't explain her odd walking behavior. The vet still didn't know. The issues are all pretty vague, which I admit.

8/14 - It's been a bit over 3 weeks since this all started, and I am posting here looking for advice. I hope someone can help her.


Her symptoms:

Decreased willingness to play - she normally is one to spontaneously pounce on and wrestle with her best friend, our 9 year old Flat Coat Retriever Kobe. She has not been doing that as often now. They haven't gotten in a fight and she has never been hurt by him or anything. That's just an example anyway. She also usually loves chasing the dog toys when we throw them inside, or even accidentally kicking one into movement, but she has not been as excited by that lately. It's the same case when trying to get her to play with other toys. These are just some examples, but she basically seems a little tired...

Easily tired(?) - I am not so sure that being "tired" is the best description, but basically when we play fetch Posey normally will keep running as long as I keep throwing the ball. We have a large backyard, as well as access to a school field, and she used to run around them even without a ball to chase. She would hop like a bunny through the grass and everything. Now she stops running around 10 minutes in, or, if she does continue she might stop actually retrieving the ball when it is thrown, and instead run to it and then run back to me. Prior to this new behavior I didn't actually throw the ball continuously or force her to run like that. She always would take breaks for her water bowl on her own. It just seems odd that a dog her age to slow down like this...

Slow movement (on walks) - I picked up on this symptom first, as it was the most apparent and because I am the one who walks the dogs the most. I walk both dogs, Posey and Kobe, the Retriever I mentioned earlier, every morning and night. Each walk is about 30 minutes. Normally we all walk at a brisk pace, only slowing down for potty or sniffing. She normally walks slightly ahead of me, with Kobe ahead of her. One of the funny things that I could do if she was taking too long sniffing and I wanted to get moving was for me to jog in place. She would see me doing this and then zip forward all the way ahead of me and Kobe, pulling the leash tight ready to go! She would do the same if I actually started running too; she would run to the point where the leash was pulled straight. Now, she is very slow compared to how we used to walk. She walks far behind me and the other dog, and spends an unusually long amount of time sniffing at the ground, trees, everything really. Sometimes Posey will just look at me while Kobe and I are waiting for her.

When there are two people walking with one dog each, the case is even more obvious. Whoever is walking Posey will always be behind the person walking Kobe, but where normally Posey would stop sniffing and try to catch up when she realizes Kobe has moved on from that spot, now (if you let her) she will take so long going down the sidewalk that Kobe and his walker can be half a block away. I have tried walking with just her on her own in case she was scared to walk with Kobe for whatever reason, but it didn't help. I also tried walking her with a different collar and harness, with no difference.

Squinting eyes - I don't know how to explain this without photos, but I will try. Posey's eyes used to always be wide open and very expressive, even outdoors and in the sun. Now, indoors she has both of her eyes closed just enough for me to notice (although I was looking for more signs after I noticed something was wrong). Her eyes squinting is really noticeable when she is outside, even when the sun isn't out. I don't know what this is a sign of, but it is the only physical symptom that is visible. The vet said it probably isn't any sort of scratched eye or irritation because Posey isn't rubbing her face on anything. I am not sure what to make of this. She does this even when it is not sunny or hot out.

Those are the symptoms I have noticed so far.


I want to note that I don't think she is lethargic. Not in the way that it is described on dog help websites at least. She still plays fetch and is happy while she is doing it. She is still eager to bark through the window at strangers passing the house. She still gets really excited when we take the leashes out and get ready for a walk; she only acts strange while on a walk. We even took her to the dog park she likes and she was happy to be there, although she stopped playing after about ten minutes which is definitely not like her. She still eats regularly, she doesn't have problems going potty, and she still will try to get my attention if I sit next to her. But she has a different feeling around her now.

I don't think this is a "growing up" problem either, because it happened so suddenly. It also doesn't explain things like taking her on walks. As for the squinty eyes, I can probably provide photos to compare her eyes from before and after this behavior. I haven't extensively checked for that actually, but I am pretty certain that I am right. Even if I am not, the other problems that I listed definitely are there. It is a little frustrating because I have searched online for all the search terms I could think of, but Posey is not obviously sick and other than her walking she doesn't have the severe degree that dog depression describes. I can always go back to the vet and pay for the blood work, but I don't know if they will find anything.

I am at a loss for what I can do to help her. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. If you have any questions for me I can answer those too. If this is a case of doggy depression, maybe you can give me suggestions on that too. I don't know. I think I have done my best to convey what I wanted to for this topic.

Thank you so much if you read the whole thing. Any comments are very much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A quick update--

I have been doing some more research today. I was looking at all the potential causes and I think a mild case of exercise intolerance might be the cause of Posey's problem. I say a mild case because she doesn't seem to have the majority of the symptoms, and those that she does have are not as severe as described. Regardless, I called my veterinarian this afternoon and left a message letting her know that the issues Posey has are still there, as well what I have found about exercise intolerance and dog depression. The receptionist told me the vet would call me tomorrow.

This evening, when I took the dogs out for our walk, I noticed that Posey limped a few times on one of her back legs. She only did that within maybe five minutes in the middle of our walk. She didn't have any burrs or anything that would stick to her fur on her, so it wasn't because of that. The rest of the walk back home she was fine, in that she didn't limp anyway. I haven't seen her have any issues walking since we got back home but I am still going to report it to the vet when I speak with her tomorrow.

I will update again when I hear back
 

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I would really do the bloodwork (that being said... I'd consider another vet. That's a lot of money for bloodwork).

Stupid question but can she be pregnant?
 

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I agree, at this point I'd be really looking into bloodwork, and potentially x-rays if that turns up nothing. There's nothing wrong with calling around for better pricing, too. Your vet may even be able to tell you if there are any low-cost clinics in the area, or if they or anyone locally will accept Care Credit. Limping pretty much always indicates pain or discomfort, and while it may be unconnected to whatever else is going on, it's worth looking into.

My pup is just now recovering from a back injury, we suspect from roughhousing with my MiL's giant breed puppy, and he was only a little off for a couple weeks at first (we thought it might be the heat, but nope), before he tweaked it worse and had a major pain episode. We only got a diagnosis by videoing his behavior during that episode so the vet knew exactly how to manipulate Sam to check where the pain was, and where to x-ray to pinpoint the problem. Basically, without more extensive diagnostic methods than a physical alone, the vet wasn't able to tell us exactly what was going on or how best to treat it.
 

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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the replies. I posted a reply message yesterday, but it didn't go through apparently. I did read through all of them though and I brought up the ideas you came up with to the veterinarian via email, as she was too busy yesterday to answer the phone. She coudn't give me a full explanation at that time, but I took a video of Posey limping as suggested and sent it to her. The vet thinks that it is caused by a luxating patella, a kneecap that pops out and back in, and it was somehow never noted down in previous heath exams. That was the extent of that conversation, though I am expecting to hear back from her today. I also will be looking through alternative vet offices for the bloodwork. I will keep you posted!
 

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An intact bitch suddenly acting off after being in season? My first thoughts are check for pyometra, which is a very serious uterine infection. After ruling that out, then I'd move on to soft tissue injuries or orthopedic issues.
 

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I just now got off the phone with the vet. We went over the different possibilities, including your suggestions, for what is going on. The vet thinks the luxating patella shouldn't be the cause for any of her symptoms. She still recommends the bloodwork along with a physical to confirm the kneecap theory. I asked about pyometra; the vet said that she had checked for that when I first brought her in two weeks ago with these issues. If Posey does have it apparently we would be noticing some nasty issues this far into it, but we can check again. We will probably end up looking for another clinic just for the bloodwork and see if we cannot get a physical too. This will likely happen over the next week. An alternative the vet mentioned would be to let Posey rest for a week, meaning no walks and only taking her outside for potty. This way if she injured herself somehow, her body can focus on healing. That could be an option to consider taking too.

I am thankful for the continued support and Posey appreciates it too!
 

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I thought I would give a quick update, since there have been new positive (!) developments.

My mother chose to have Posey rest for a week and see if that works before paying for the bloodwork. The only walk she gets for this week is in the morning, with our other dog, and we have a short walk around the block. This gives her time to potty and get her sniffing in. Then she gets dropped off back at the house and I continue to walk the big dog as usual. I am not sure if this treatment is the cause of it, but Posey seems to be returning to her usual ways. I have noticed her being more playful, jumping on our other dog again. During the short walks she gets, she has not been nearly as slow-to-start and will walk by my side at a better pace. I actually almost tripped today but caught myself, which I guess looked like I was going to start running, because Posey started to when that happened, similar to how she did before. I have seen her eyes "brighten up" as they used to, but most of the time they aren't. She has still been skipping her back leg, but the vet did say that probably isn't related to these other issues. We will need to get a physical for that at some point, of course.

Anyway, since it appears that this no-walking treatment is the cure for all of this, we will keep doing it until the end of the week. Even if she is just returning to normal on her own, I am just happy that whatever is affecting her is going away. I will keep you all posted!
 

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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the replies. I posted a reply message yesterday, but it didn't go through apparently. I did read through all of them though and I brought up the ideas you came up with to the veterinarian via email, as she was too busy yesterday to answer the phone. She coudn't give me a full explanation at that time, but I took a video of Posey limping as suggested and sent it to her. The vet thinks that it is caused by a luxating patella, a kneecap that pops out and back in, and it was somehow never noted down in previous heath exams. That was the extent of that conversation, though I am expecting to hear back from her today. I also will be looking through alternative vet offices for the bloodwork. I will keep you posted!
Your posts got sent into moderation, this happens sometimes with our spam filter. In the future, please pm a Moderator with a link to the thread so we can approve your post, rather than simply trying to post it multiple times before giving up. We do not get notifications of moderated posts, you need to tell us when it happens. I've approved the post and deleted the duplicates now.
 

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Yeah, it could have just been depression after all. Hmm, I read your post and the two cases do seem similar. I will post my thoughts in that thread when I have more free time.
 

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Last update (hopefully!)

Posey has made what I consider a full recovery. She is lively and bouncy as she ever has been! She plays, she runs, she wrestles all like she used too. I don't know whatever was afflicting her or how and why it stopped. Other than reducing her walks to one short one, we haven't really changed anything. So while the jury is still out on what the problem was, it is gone now which is all I really wanted. It is curious though. As for the 'skip' in Posey's back leg, it was unrelated and may have always been there. Her breed is predisposed to have luxating patella apparently. I only ever noticed it because I was looking for issues anyway, but it is good that we have it noted down now.

I'd like to thank everybody for their kind words of advice and hope. All of the community support really helped us. Posey is back to her playful self and won't leave our big dog alone, haha!
 
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