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Help! Whats up with my dog...

April 30th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Hi there,

I am new to the forums, but I just don't know what's going on with my dog, and I'd like to hear what others think. My parents, who would essentially pay the vet bill, are concerned but aren't planning on taking anymore vet action. Anyway, here's the situation:

His name is Chester, he is just over 3 years of age and he is a schnauzer-wheaton terrior mix, medium in size. He has no known health problems, always been an active puppy-like dog, who loves to play and cuddle. Having an understanding of behavioural psychology, I am pretty sure he has obessive compulsive behaviours such as chewing his front legs/paws and obsessive scratching (no signs of fleas or dry skin). He is also a very physical dog, in that, he always likes to lay next to people, right up close to them, always having to touch a person. He will lay down independently but he will, for example, stand over a floor mat then he will sorta use his paws to gather it together before laying on it -- almost like "nesting"; just a random thing he does.

He has been eating the same (brand of) food since puppyhood, and until just recently, would walk over to one of his owners, stare at them, then bark and bark until they fed him dinner, at 5:30 every night, on the dot -- aka, he has always liked his food. There are 5 of us in the family, I am the youngest daughter home from school for the summer, two older siblings still living in the house with parents. Everyone works full time, so he does spend 6+ hours alone in the house a day...which we know isn't great, but it probably explains the OC behaviour (boredum) and his clingy behaviour (seperation issues or anxiety).

Okay, so there's been changes in his behaviour that to me looks like depression, but I'd like to hear what others think. First, it started where he would eat half of his dinner and then eat the other half later. Now he no longer eats his dinner willingly; he doesn't ask for it, and he doesn't seem to have much of an appetite. He still begs for treats here and there, but not with very much enthusiasm. Second, he seems tired all the time, doesn't really want to play all too often and just kind of sits around and he'll stare into nothing (like the wall), aimlessly almost (there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with his vision, however). He has been going for walks, but he gets tired pretty quick, and doesn't really seem to care about it. Thirdly, now this is where it gets weird, his breathing has been off...he pants sometimes for no reason, when you sit near enough to hear he sounds to be like sulking (can dogs sulk!?) because he breaths quick and shallow. We had a vet see him, just physical exam and they didn't find anything and suggested that maybe he just "doesn't like" his food anymore, which is why he isn't eating it and his breathing is because maybe he is allergic to his food (seems weird, right?).

Anyway, we had an ugly winter, but spring came early and he has been able to run around the yard etc. Truthfully, he doesn't go on many walks, esp during the winter...but he has been more often now. If I lived at home more often then I would probably be taking him for walks, but everyone is so busy. He is such a great dog though, he knows his boundaries, good behaviour, respectful and he gets lots of love and attention. So anyway, he has never had these behavioural changes before, so why all of sudden -- we can't figure it out. Our previous family dog of 10 years, Buster, died suddenly withour warning from a ruptured heart tumour we didn't know about, so were really cautious now..maybe too cautious? Since I just moved home, it's hard for me to know anymore than what they tell me and I can see now - but we are all concerned. I keep reminding everyone that a dog won't starve himself, but it's hard for even me to believe that sometimes. Any suggestion, or similar stories are welcome. Thanks!!

*Just another random point: If you feed him his dinner one piece at a time, he'll eat it, if you take a handful out and put it on the floor, he will eat it...however, what's odd and I think is another OCB is that he has to eat his food away from the bowl on a carpeted surface, a few kernels at a time. We have always used the same bowl, so I don't think this is the problem.

May 1st, 2009, 12:07 AM
The fact that he constantly chews and scratches at his paws hints to me that this could indicate an allergy. What food is he eating? Just because you've been feeding him the same food doesn't mean he can't develop an allergy to it. Schnauzers are known to have allergies. My friend's in-laws also have a Wheaton x poodle who scratches at his paws constantly. I think the vet diagnosed it as pyoderma.

It also sounds like he's bored and is lacking stimulation, both mentally and physically. When you guys are away from home, get a kong and stuff it with cheese whiz or peanut butter. Or hide treats in various places in the house. There are balls or buster cubes in which you put treats in and the dog has to try to get them out. When you are home, take him out for walks, teach him tricks to keep his mind going - and also increase his bond to you. The panting may be due to stress as well.

The only thing really that you can do regarding a food allergy is do a food trial. Find a food with limited ingredients and a single source protein (a food that has only chicken as the protein for example) and try it for a couple of months. Don't feed anything else. If he is still scratching, try another type of protein. Usually with food allergies, it's a good idea to try a novel protein like duck or lamb. Wellness carries a line called Simple Solutions which is mainly for dogs with issues. Natural Balance also carries food with a single source protein such as Duck and Potato or Venison and potato. Ask your vet how you should go about it.

My other friend has a wheaton x poodle and he takes the kibble out of his bowl and puts it on the floor to eat it. My friend free feeds so the food is available at all times. I'm not a big fan of this type of feeding and it can make a dog finicky. So put his food down, leave it for 20 minutes. If he doesn't eat it, then pick up the bowl and save it for his next feeding. A dog will not starve itself. If he doesn't bother eating it at all, then you know there is another thing going on and it necessitates a more comprehensive work-up at the vet's.

First, try the food trial and increasing the physical and mental stimulation your dog gets every day. Sorry for the long response, but it sounds like your dog has a lot of stuff going on.

I'd love to see a picture of your dog, I love both Schnauzers and Wheatons.

May 1st, 2009, 09:08 AM
Most of the behaviours you're descibing, to me, either fall under "perfectly normal", "allergies", or "bored".

The nesting with the mat, the removing kibbles from the bowl, all is pretty normal doggy stuff in my opinion.

The chewing of the front legs and the obsessive scratching is very indicative of either an environmental (seasonal, dust, whatever) or food-related allergy. I would try switching the food, probably to a grain-free kibble like Orijen and see if that stimulates his appetite and reduces the itchies. I would be extremely cautious about discounting any of the skin-related behaviours as "obsessive".

The listlessness, the sighing, etc. and your description of his lifestyle screams "bored out of my skull"...frankly I think you're lucky that you're not seeing any real destructive behaviour yet. This is a terrier, a very active and intelligent working dog...they need daily walks, lots of mental stimuation and challenges. If he's getting tired quickly, I would say he's just out of shape. if he didn't get walked all winter, he's no longer conditioned to walks. Start slow and short, and gradually increase the walks as his strength/stamina build. Plus, if he's not being exercised, his caloric needs are going to decrease, and his appetite along with it...this may also explain the lack of enjoyment of food.

May 1st, 2009, 10:03 AM
Katbean, so sorry to hear about your concerns with your dog. It is great that you are trying to find answers.

I have a wheaten/shihtzu mix and over the years have learned that wheatens are VERY allergic to wheat, corn, gluten, and sometimes even rice. What food are you feeding? Bendyfoot is right in suggesting looking into a grain free kibble. You also have to be vigilent in checking the ingredients in treats.

Does Chester have any chew toys? Six hours a day is really not that long. If he has toys to play with and perhaps a window to look out he should be OK.

If anyone can commit to walking him and and exercising a bit more maybe that would stimulate him too.

Hope you get to the bottom of all of this.

Also, pictures would be really really nice too ;)

Keep us posted!

May 1st, 2009, 02:42 PM
In light of the breathing issues you mentioned, I would recommend a full blood workup. Panting for no reason can be an indicator of pain. The lethargy and disinterest in food could also be pain related, although I would agree that the paw chewing and scratching are signs of allergies. A blood workup will tell if he's got an infection of some kind, or if he's developing problems with his thyroid (which can also affect appetite and activity level), among other things. When you suspect a health issue but aren't seeing a concrete physical symptom, a blood work up is IMO the best thing to start with to try and solve the issue.

May 1st, 2009, 06:43 PM
Hey everyone, thanks so much for all your help - I will definetely share your responses with my family.

I will definetely insist we change his dog food immediately, and if he improves than it will explain alot (we'll try that trial thing mentioned, seems like a good idea). I also think that a blood test would be a good next step as well, we'll start him on a different food and see how he is by Monday, then get him to the vet for blood work. My mom has been away, and he has been more depressed than usual, so now that she is coming home tonight, perhaps he'll perk up a bit in combo with the food change.

He does have a bone and large windows overlooking an active street to keep him busy during the day -- he doesn't seem to be really bored. Now that I have been home, he is only alone for 2 hours a day; I start work at 1pm and my brother comes home at 3pm. He doesn't ever seem intrested in playing much during the day when I am home, even before, he uses that time to sleep because he only get about 6-8 hours at night, which is interrupted I am sure. I don't really know the normal sleep patterns of dogs, but he has gotten used to sleeping during day and again at night. When everyone is home as a family, he is the happiest, and he gets a lot of attention...I think he is bored, but otherwise, he doesn't seem to mind being home alone. He is an indoor dog, doesn't like going places, mildy enthusiastic about going for walks, even in the summer when we bring him to the cottage, he hangs out with us outside, but he prefers to be indoor -- opposite of our last dog, who was border collie X weaton. One this is for sure, he doesn't mind too much being home alone, but he won't eat or, from what we know (toys are always in basket, not on floor), play unless humans are around. We can try the kong thing, but I honestly don't think he will play with it since he is that way with needing humans.

Anyway, thanks again for all of your help...we are definetely going to take action, because we are really concerned. Every other behaviour is normal/typical of him, it's his recent lack of interest in eating, minimal energy and odd breathing that's really concerning. He literally just got checked by the vet two weeks ago, because we were concerned, she didn't hear anything abnormal so here's hoping it's just allergies or sulking. Just an update, today we got him excited and played with him, ran around, but when he was resting, his breathing was really odd; very shallow. This is what we have always been noticing, but is was most obvious when he was "out of breath". *crosses fingers* I hope he is alright. We lost our last dog suddenly, without warnings like how Chester is showing...he had a silent heart tumour that ruptured.

I couldn't attach pictures, so instead I'll have to link you, hopefully they work: <--- he snuck out xmas morning, this was just in 2008, he was active running around...happy. <-- that's him sitting infront of the xmas tree, hence the red glow :D <--- this is another xmas morning, he is sleeping on his new toy...because that's what he does. He plays with the toy, then sleeps on it! Never destroys stuffed animals, eventhough he is rough with them haha.

May 1st, 2009, 09:44 PM
As an owner of a half-wheaty I totally agree about teh allergies. I'd go a step further than the suggestions above, and say take chicken out of his diet as well. IT's a strong trigger for a lot of dogs, and especially wheatens. IT can take a few weeks with a new food to see if it helps, so please don't expect an overnight miracle. IT's worth it though. I feed Scruffy Orijen 6-fish, which he tolerates very well.
If you want to stimulate the dog, take him for walks in different places, take him where other dogs are, where there are lots of things to smell. Play with him, teach him tricks.
I'm glad you are concerned about the dog, and hope you find the answers you are looking for.

May 6th, 2009, 11:32 AM
Hi everyone, thanks so much for your responses -- for some reason, everytime I have tried to reply to this thread it ends up getting lost in cyberspace...unless it's posted and it's not showing it to me? Anyway, we have changed Chester's food from being Lamb, rice and veggies to fish and sweet potatoes -- he seems to be better, in a better mood, back to his old self. The scratching etc is still there, but that will probably take a while to go away if in fact it was related to a food allergy. Oh yes, and he is finally eating his dinner now too! Over the weekend he got a thorn stuck in his paw, so we ended up taking him to the vet -- they listened again to his breathing/heart and they said it sounds normal, and that he is probably just becoming a shallow breather as he gets older. Second vet to tell us there is nothing concerning; so I hope they are right!! Thanks again for your concern and advice, I really appreciate it :)


Romeo's #1 Fan
May 6th, 2009, 10:51 PM
That was a very interesting thread, and I do hope you continue to see the improvements you desire for your dog. I had a hard winter with my mixed pug/chihuahua as well, he could not tolerate cold on his feet past November or so and we have WICKED winters in Ottawa and refused to wear "boots" although he strutted nicely in his coat. I will try again this year as he will be almost 2 by that point. I did move within walking distance of a PetSmart and Rona, both of which allow dogs, so we will take advantage of those in the winter :laughing: From the outset, Romeo always liked to take his kibble out of the bowl and eat it a few feet away, then come back, etc. etc. Now he just prefers to eat it right off the floor, and stays in place. Who am I to argue? Good luck with everything.


May 7th, 2009, 02:17 PM
katbean, your dog is adorable!! Thanks for the pics!

It sounds like he's getting better. What you can do as well, is add a wild salmon oil capsule to her daily diet. this will help his skin as well as his brain. I just read the file of my friend's in-laws Wheaton with the itchy paws and the vet had suggested washing with this special shampoo. I cannot remember the name of it but I think the vet recommended once a week. So maybe ask your vet about a shampoo that would help. It will probably take some time for the reaction to subside if it is in fact a food allergy. But it sounds like she's improving.

May 7th, 2009, 02:54 PM
Hi, Katbean. I have a Bichon Frise that scratches a lot. Part of that I think may be a habit but I also think he may have a food allergy and we have been trying different foods on him to see what works. I've been giving him omega 3 supplements which has made his skin much less dry but he still sctaches. You mentioned that you are feeding Chester with fish and sweet potatoes. Is that a dog food you purchased! And if so what's it called? Or is that something you have made yourself for Chester. I would be interested in knowing how.


May 22nd, 2009, 06:31 PM
Hey all,

My mom was the one who bought the dog food, we threw out the bag and she doesn't remember the name of it...only what it looks unfortunately I can't tell you much until we get a new bag :( He has been eating this new food for a while now, it has smaller pieces which is easier for him to eat, but he will rarely eat "on time" or all of his dinner. Against my every effort to discourage this, my mother has taken it on herself to add things to his dinner so he will eat it. Last night, she first lied and said she only put water then admitted to sprinkling a few pieces of cheese (don't even get my started on that one). I am really starting to believe it is a behavioural thing - and adding human food to dog food is not helping correct the behaviour. A dog will not starve himself, I know that for sure. He doesn't "eat his paws" or scratch as much, but he still will from time to time - especially when wearing his collar, and I believe it is to get attention since it makes noise.
On the down side, his breathing is still this point I am thinking it is indoor and outdoor allergies. He quite literally "rubs his snot" all over the place, on the carpet, the grass etc...we never see and discharge, but he must feel it. From everyone's experience here, do your dogs have seasonal allergies? Does it affect their breathing so that they can breath in but they quickly let out the air, short and quick? Do they pant more often, possible because their nose is stuffed? My parents are still holding off on the vet - he did go to see two, but no diagnostic tests were done. I suppose if he had something like a virus it would be progressing/getting worse or at least changing. There could be a tumour in his stomach, which makes his stomach swell, thus making it more difficult to breath and making him not want to eat...or it's just allergies.
Also, I wanted to ask, do any of your dogs have anxiety? I mentioned this earlier that we do leave him home, but he doesn't have any destructive behaviour and has adjusted to routine of everyone leaving in the morning. The only time he really gets sad/shows anxiety is when my parents (esp mom) leave "unexpectedly" like go out for the night, away for the weekend etc. He just is kind of lithless...doesn't really greet anyone who comes in, doesn't eat or care to do much of anything. Now that the weather is much nicer, we have been trying to take him on walks. He will make it half way around the block, he will stop and refuses to continue. Eventually we make him (or at least I do, I'm not the kind to give in) and bring him home. He bolts to the's like, he really HATES going for walks. Is he lazy? Is it because he is having trouble breathing to the point of discomfort? Or, is it anxiety..leaving a familiar place, to which he was stuck in all winter? The fact that he tries to jump up into our arms to me indicates anxiety - he doesn't feel safe, or happy being away from home (especially if it's me walking him and not my mom). He has never enjoyed car rides and the only other place he is comfortable is at the cottage (in Muskoka), where, according to my family, his breathing is normal (another indication of environmental allergies).

So I don't know what to make of all this...sure on his walks his breathing is funny when he is "out of breath" from running/walking...he isn't overweight, but he's not exactly "in shape" either..but I don't think it's his breathing/discomfort, because even if I give him time to rest, he still doesn't want to keep going. *sigh* Hopefully some of you can share your experiences...the poor dog just isn't himself


May 24th, 2009, 03:31 PM

Nice to hear from you.

The breathing difficults your dog has in Southern On.
compared to Muskoka, I can fully understand.

We moved north and the air is so much better and notice
when we came home to Niagara how the air seemed to get
heavier. It seemed harder to breath, and the weather in
April was so warm.

Bet your dog has developed an allergy( caused by the air) or an
asthma type problem. My vet gave me prednosone for my
dog when she had problems and it would help the itching
and stop her from chewing her paws. I have used caladryl
or calamine lotion on parts where she could not lick.

Hope Your Dog is better soon.
Keep in touch.

May 24th, 2009, 06:10 PM
Just on the off chance - are his dishes plastic? You also mentioned that your mom threw out the bag the dog food came in. That indicates to me that the food is stored in something. I will go out on a limb and say it is probably plastic too.
From what I have read it is not good to store your pet food in plastic anything. Much better to leave it in the bag it came in and keep it closed over. There are elements in the plastic that can leach out into the food that your dog then eats. It could be causing allergies. The same with his food dishes. Stainless steel, glass, china are all much better.
What is wrong with adding "people food" to his food to get him to eat it? I would hesitate to add lots of water to his kibble if it is going to sit before he eats it all. Bacteria starts to grow on dry food quickly if wet.
Check out the food forum here. You may be surprised how many of our members feed raw diets to their dogs (and cats) and how well the pets do on it. It really is the best diet for them. Most pet food stores have a frozen raw section. All human grade food. :thumbs up

May 25th, 2009, 12:44 AM
Thanks for the replies :)

He eats out of a stainless steel bowl and his food is normally stored in the bag but my mom decided to put it in one of those lock-n-lock tupperware containers - so yes, it's plastic. That's a recent thing though...I only sprinkle a bit of water on his food, but I am glad you mentioned the bacteria thing since I didn't know. My mom puts cheese on his food, which is not good for dogs because, from what I have been told, they aren't able to digest the protein in cheese thus it sits in their stomach. Not to mention that this was the TexMex shredded cheese mix from Kraft, and I am pretty sure it has Jalepeno's in it...yikes. *sigh* My parents would never go for feeding my dog human food as oppose to dog food - they are traditional like that. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens...his excessive panting and weird breathing is still concerning. Fair enough he does need his hair cut, it's hot out and carrying around all that fur isn't exactly cooling...but our house is comfortable, yet he still pants for no apparent reason. He still eats one kernel at a time and doesn't eat right from the bowl - which is a new behavior, and probably nothing concerning, but I do sometimes wonder if his teeth are what's been bothing him and it's hard to chew.

Luckily, Ann, my parents go up to the cottage often in the summer and will be bringing him with them. I still think we should get to the bottom of what is bothering him though -- poor guy, I am sure he wishes he could talk right now. I just feel so powerless, I can only convince my parents to do so much but they are swaying more towards getting his chest x-rayed and blood tests...otherwise I don't know what more I can do. :shrug:

Thanks again for all your help and support,


May 25th, 2009, 09:12 PM
Well...I know this thread is kind of dead, but I don't really have anywhere else to talk about my dog *shrug*

Anyway, he went to the vet today....not the best news. His chest cavity is filled with fluid, which will be drained tomorrow. They can't see anything because there is so much fluid, so once they drain it they can see what colour it is and then figure out what is causing it. My parents have already announced that if he has a tumour, they won't move forward to remove it but instead will just continue to do whatever they can to make him comfortable. So of course, I am not hoping that is the could be many other things.

So, I guess we now know for sure: it is not anxiety and it's not allergies. :( *sigh* He is only 3 years old...poor lil guy - he'll feel so much better once the fluid is gone.


May 26th, 2009, 08:38 AM
Aww poor lil guy...At least you know whats wrong now and can take the steps to fix it. :pray: it isnt cancer

Well...I know this thread is kind of dead, but I don't really have anywhere else to talk about my dog *shrug*

Thats ok, Im sure everyone here is concerned, just dont know what else to suggest :shrug:
Good luck at the vet, let us know

May 26th, 2009, 09:59 AM
I am so sorry that your pup is going through this. Hopefully it will be something treatable. :fingerscr for good results. :grouphug:

As for posting ... you can start a new thread whenever you want.

May 26th, 2009, 12:10 PM
:fingerscr that it turns out to be something that can be treated! Good luck tomorrow!

May 26th, 2009, 08:21 PM
I hope the news will be good. Hopefully it will be something that can be treated and his youth will be in his advantage. Waiting is hard. At least he's getting relief from the breathing situation caused by the fluid. Good for you for being persistent and noticing something wasn't right.

May 26th, 2009, 08:56 PM
any news? I hope your dog will get better

May 27th, 2009, 02:43 PM
I'm glad that the dog has finally been diagnosed, and I hope it's something treatable. As an asthmatic, I can tell you that during a flare up - I can't walk across my living room without feeling like I'm going to pass out - let alone be expected to run around the block a few times. The lack of oxygen also affects appetite as the body needs what oxygen it does have for things other than digestion. With the fluid decreasing his oxygen levels, it doesn't surprise me one bit that he doesn't want to be active.

As far as the 'adding people food' to his dog food - well, I'm guilty of that too. As long as you aren't giving the dog junk food, there is nothing wrong with people food. I frequently add things like yogurt, cottage cheese, hamburger (or whatever meat I happen to be cooking for DH and I), sardines, pumpkin, rice, etc. Not all at the same time of course, but my dogs rarely eat just kibble, there is always something added in. I also mix their kibble with Evanger's 100% meat canned food if they can't have what I'm having. The old school of thought on feeding human food is that it would cause the dog to beg and/or create a picky eater. The thing about begging is that is doesn't matter WHAT you are feeding the dog, it matters WHERE you are feeding the dog. If you feed the dog from the table, he'll beg at the table. If you feed him while you are standing at the kitchen counter, he'll beg when you are at the kitchen counter. Does it create a picky eater? Probably....LOL I know when my grand-dogs go home after spending a few days with me, my son complains that it takes them 2 or 3 days before they'll eat plain kibble again.

Please keep us posted on Chester.

May 27th, 2009, 08:40 PM
Well I can give you a bit of hope maybe... I had a cat, that was not doing well, years ago.. We took him to the vet and same thing, his chest was full of fluid, the vet drained it off, and showed it to me, it was a whitish color, the vet thought there was a tumor the x-rays were very concerning.. the cat was 17 years old.. We took him again to have fluid drained, and the third time, there was hardly anything, the fourth time, nothing! whatever it was dissapeared and the cat lived to be 24, and was diabetic for the last 5 years.. Never knew what it was that filled him with fluid like that!

So I hope and pary that for your dog also, this happens, that it is something that will go away on its own, and your dog too will have many happy healthy years ahead. Hopefully when they drain the fluid he will feel much better, and continue to improve. Good luck! I will be watching to see hwat happens, prayers for your little dog!

June 19th, 2009, 10:55 PM
Thanks so much for the support everyone - I really appreciate it as it's certainly necessary. It's been a while since I updated because I lost the link to the thread and didn't have the time to search for it. The hopeful comment about the cat was nice to hear, and sounds like a stroke of luck...however, I don't think Chester will be so lucky...after all, cat's do have nine lives ;)

Anywho, I personally took Chester to the vet on Monday so I got to ask all kinds of questions. The fluid they drained was a combination of blood, water and lipids (fats) which essentially makes up lymphatic fluid and apparently looked like a strawberry milkshake. The vet isn't certain what has caused the tear in his lymphnode, however it's been narrowed down to 1. trauma to chest caused tear or it just randomly broke itself or 2. there is a small tumour, which can't be seen by Xray or ultrasound. Overall, the doctor says his prognosis is poor and there is a 25% chance he will completely recover/heal himself.

I hate to say it, but I think it's #2. After the first draining it took a while but he bounced back to being himself again. However, within the last week he has gotten steadily worse - even since bringing him to the vet on Monday when his breathing appeared fine, with the exception of the noted incease in beathing rate/panting. Today, only 5 days later, he is suffering BIG TIME. The vet made note that the fluid had returned, as he could hear it in his chest, however I think it is returning/building at a much quicker pace than the first time and that's so scary :(

The poor guy...I was sitting with him and it was like he couldn't even take a breath - his entire chest and abdomen make a big movement when he is trying to breath and when you look at his chest, the breathing rate is inconsistent like not to a steady beat, but on and off the beat. I cried; I see him suffering and I feel aweful. I believe he is much worse now than the first time, and this time around he also appears to have a fever based on his dry/wet warm nose and warm ears. He is also drinking SOOO much water...probably because he is breathing with his mouth open :(

We booked an appointment to have him drained for next Wednesday...parents and I are away for weekend, he'll stay home with brother and sister....I hope he makes it until Wednesday. I am SOOO insanely worried that I am forcing myself to believe he will die, so that when he doesn't I can feel relieved :-| Just last week my uncle passed away from a 5 year battle with cancer, I am not sure how much more I can take so here's hoping I am completely wrong with my conclusion that Chester will be dying soon...


June 20th, 2009, 01:04 AM
Just saw this thread now, wanted to send some :goodvibes::goodvibes: for Chester.

FYI the warm dry nose as opposed to a cold wet nose does not necessarily indicate anything is wrong health wise. Dog Noses - facts and myths (

June 20th, 2009, 11:22 AM
Hoping for the best for Chester... poor baby

June 20th, 2009, 11:28 AM
Good luck for you and chester! Just keep your hope up, pup needs you to be positive too, keep getting the fluid drained until the vet finds out what is wrong, keep your vet updated by phone on the dogs condition everytime somthing changes no matter how insignificant you think it is, that will help the vet determine if he should be in again sooner. I promise many animals have survived something like this, and it can be ok. As I said the vet diagnosed my cat with cancer and we had to get fluid drained but it went away, cats don't really have nine lives.. I have high hopes for your dog, just keep positive, keep him happy, and keep in very close contact with your vet, good luck!

January 18th, 2010, 06:29 PM
Hi Katbean,

I'm new to this site and found your post, and I'm wondering how things turned out for Chester? I have a Wheaten who has had the same thing happen twice, and I know after each time the fluid was drained she felt SOOOO much better. We had all sorts of test run and could find no reason that this happened. But as I was first reading through the thread and saw the symptoms you were describing, I thought that sounded oddly like what we noticed. Anyway, hope all is well!!

January 18th, 2010, 09:53 PM
Hi there,

Thanks for replying to the thread- I'll give an update. We are in the same situation with Chester, no explination for whats going on, but it's improved. Since I posed last, he has been drained 5 times. The first time he was drained he came out of it feeling not-so-great, didn't bounce back right away, but the second time (not even 2 weeks later) he came out of it really good, and stayed that way for 2 months. The vet put him on a low-fat diet, and he lost a lot of weight with that but didn't retain fluid for 2 months. Thinking he was okay, we ran out of the low-fat diet food and switched him onto regular food - within 4 days his chest was completely filled with fluid again (1.2 L worth) this is a notable correlation, fatty diet and rate of fluid return. Our vet was away, so a different one drained him, draining him at a different place on his chest - he came out of that one really weak, and had to be drained again 12 days later (another 1.2 L). It was looking really bad, but then he was good again for 2 months (until mid November, when it was 0.8L).
Right now it's the 2 month mark since his last drain, and we have noticed the fluid has come back. When the fluid accumulates now, it's not so bad and there is less fluid when he is drained. The first thing we always notice is his chest getting bigger and his laboured breathing. Then he usually starts only eating half of his dinner at once and no longer jumps up on our lap. One thing that's changed since the last drain is that because he was so underweight (only 18pds, suppose to be 23), we've started to feed him lean protein every other day (chicken, fish etc) -- not sure if your dog has also lost weight, but feeding Chester the lean protein has helped him a lot, he has more energy and stamina, and seems to be gaining a little bit of weight.
Unfortunately, just like you, we haven't gotten any answers with the exception that its "lymphatic fluid" leaking. Chester hasn't seemed really sick for a while, since September - he barks a lot more now, but theres a bunch of reasons why he behaves how he does lol. Sorry I can't be of more help...I wonder if it's a Wheaton thing...they are such wonderful dogs!! I wish you all the best with your dog - hopefully it's just one of those chronic, non life-threatening things that he'll have to live with, but that can be managed *shrug*. It's really stressful though...when you don't know whats wrong with your dog and he can go from totally fine to completely sick in days :(

June 1st, 2010, 04:47 PM
Hi Katbean,

Thanks for your last update on Chester. I was hoping to get another update on how things are going? Ginger, my 9 year old Wheaten, has had fluid build-up twice in the past week, and I'm really not sure what to do at this point. Apparently there is a procedure I can have done that would remove some of the lining around the heart to relieve the buildup, but ultimately i'm worried about the cause. Do you have anymore advice based on your own situation?


June 1st, 2010, 05:58 PM
Rkmerkel - I am sorry your wheaton isn't getting any better either :( Chester was symptom free for 4 months, and then in April it started to get bad enough that he needed to be drained. At that point the vet told us that he has a lot of scar tissue from being drained and that we shouldn't drain him unless it's absolutely necessary. After that drain (which btw was 1.8L!!), he never bounced back totally - although the vet says he is probably adjusting to his symptoms, but his breathing is definetely not normal. We feed him a lot of food now because he was only 16 pounds in April- we give him 1/2 scoop low-fat food in the morning, and in the evening we give him an ounce of chicken, a baked potato and a scoop of his food - oh yes, it's very gourmet!! haha I think he has gained weight, but my parents refuse to take him to the vet (one of these days I am just going to take him on my own and not tell them!).

However, something that may be helpful for you - our vet called us and told us about Rutin, ever heard of it? It is a herbal/natural remedy for multiple things, but in general it improves circulation and is used for people, and animals, with lymphedema and the like. The vet suggested we use it to help Chester, and after I did some intense research, I felt it was OK to add it to his meals (pills are 500mg and we open the capsule and give him 100mg/day). You can Google "Rutin", and it will explain more about it. I only found one public study that was done on dogs with lymphedema and only a couple cases found improvements, while others there wasn't any change. As for Chester, I can't say if it's helped, but it certainly hasn't hurt - we haven't drained him since early April. I think maybe it has, I mean it's pretty harmless either way - heck, I have even considered taking it for myself!!!

As I said though, his breathing still is laboured, some days is worse than others but within the last week its clear that the fluid has returned, hi abdomen looks distended/close to ground when he sits. The vet said that his breathing will be laboured from now on because of the scar tissue, so it's hard to see when there is fluid. Anyway, hopefully this helped - by the way, Rutin is very INEXPENSIVE, which is great - it's only like $12/bottle :D

June 1st, 2010, 06:19 PM
Thank katbean, i will have to look into Rutin. You mentioned this what is causing Chester's problems? I haven't heard that term mentioned yet. Also, the fluid they are draining, are they draining it from his heart, or his lungs? Ginger is getting the fluid around her heart, in her chest and in her abdomen. Have the docs ever mentioned to you a procedure they could do to remove part of the lining of the heart? It's definitely a big deal, but it might help Chester depending on his exact condition.

It is so stressful, and I am sorry you are going through this with poor Chester too. He sounds like a great dog with some great owners who really care about him. Thank you so much for taking the time to write back and help with a suggestion. Give Chester a hug from me!

June 1st, 2010, 10:44 PM
Chester doesn't have lymphedema - he has fluid within his chest cavity, which pushes against his heart and into his abdomen. It's important to note that there is a difference between fluid within the lungs (pneumonia for example) and heart cavities, versus fluid within the chest cavity and fluid within the abdomen. His fluid has been identified as lymphatic fluid because it's a combination of fat, water and a little bit of blood. When they drain him, they stick needles into the sides of his chest (not into the lungs). Eventhough he does not have lymphedema, which is the localized retention of fluid, both this and what he has is caused by a compramized lymphatic system, which is why Rutin is thought to work.

I don't know what kind of fluid they are finding in your dog, but something to note is that a couple years ago my mom had a virus called Pericarditus which is essentially defined as fluid buildup around the heart and eventually lungs as well. I don't know if this can happen in dogs to, but even if it does not sure if they even have a treatment for animals versus humans.

The doctor initially mentioned some procedures that could be done, but my parents had no interest unfortunately, as we don't have the money to pay for it. He also mentioned that the procedure itself is so risky, that it wouldn't really be worth it in his opinion. He is actually a great vet, he isn't all about the money and actually calls us from home to check on Chester :)

Give your pup Ginger a hug too - I know it's so hard, it's like waiting for your dog to die...horrible. The vet is pretty certain he will die from this which is just..ugh..but we just have to face it, I guess. All of the best to you!! I wish I had more help for you...I'll keep you updated and vice versa, okay?

June 3rd, 2010, 06:55 PM

You have been plenty of help, thanks! Sometimes itís just nice to hear that you are not the only one going through something like this. I have made an appointment to take Ginger to the Washington State University Vet School in a couple of weeks, and Iíll see what they have to say. They consulted with me over the phone and said they can do some pretty high resolution scans of Gingerís heart to find out what could be causing this. Although, sometimes it can just happen due to old age or other factors like something abdominal, apparently. Anyway, we may elect to do a laproscopic procedure where they cut a window in the lining around the heart, which prevents this from repeatedly happening. Not cheap, Iím sure, but maybe it will be worth it if I can give Ginger a good quality for the rest of her life. I will let you know what I find out.

Hugs to you and Chester,

June 4th, 2010, 05:08 PM
I hear that - it's really tough :( Let me know how the Washington vet thing goes...I live in Canada, so I don't think we have anything so presigious...well maybe but my parents wouldn't pay the money anyway. It's truly tragic, but understandable too. Chester is only 4, so he could have a long life ahead of him but the scar tissue is there, not much can be done about that. Hope everything goes well with Ginger, let me know if try Rutin as well,


December 4th, 2010, 04:27 PM
For all those who have sent well wishes throughout the months, thankyou. Chester passed away this morning peacefully in our mother's arms. He had been breathing good and back to himself, so to speak, for about 3 months now...then a couple days ago he started to breath bad again, took him to the vet this morning to get him drained, they took 1.5L from ONE chest side...the vet said it was looking bad. My parents brought him home, he was running around then all of a sudden he stopped, started making funny noises and walked over to my mom. Within 4 minutes he passed away; they knew he was gone because he released his bowels. We believe both of his lungs collapsed, therefore causing him to suffocate. We knew this would eventually happen, the vet had said that the scar tissue was building up and would lead to this. I was not here for this, I came asap after hearing of it...when I arrived he was placed in his bed with a blanket, but was cold. Can't believe he is really gone - hasn't really hit me yet :( This Christmas morning will be tough. Anyhow, I thought I should let you all know, as some of you are relating with this situation... peace to you all


December 4th, 2010, 04:40 PM
katbean,I did not read all the posts ,but I am very sorry for your loss of Chester.
:rip:Little boy:candle:

December 4th, 2010, 06:32 PM
:candle::rip: Chester :candle: You will be very much missed. :(

December 4th, 2010, 10:30 PM
Katbean, I didn't read this thread before either but just wanted to pass on my condolences to you and your family. :grouphug:

:rip: Chester :candle:

December 4th, 2010, 10:52 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss Katbean. :grouphug:

:candle: Sweet Chester :candle:

December 5th, 2010, 06:40 PM
I am so sorry for your loss :rip: Chester

December 5th, 2010, 07:21 PM
I'm so sorry, Kat :grouphug: Chester was very lucky to have been so well-loved.

:candle: Chester

December 7th, 2010, 03:29 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss. We have had two similar cases at the clinic I work for and it is just heartbreaking. I'm certain you extended his life with your search for knowledge and answers, he was lucky to have had you!

RIP Chester

Dog Dancer
December 7th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Kat, so sorry to hear that Chester has passed away, but he is pain free at the bridge now. I have followed his thread, but hadn't posted as I had no advice to offer. Take comfort in knowing that you did what you could to keep him happy and comfortable. He passed in loving arms.