Working Dog With Low Energy

by Shirley
(Friday Harbor, WA)


"Jake" our dog, is almost 6 years old now and a rescue. He used to work goats but, we have had him now for almost 3 years and has become a regular house pet now.. Just recently he has gotten very lethargic. Yesterday, he did not want to go to work with me, which was very unusual, he did not want to go outside and go potty and he no longer follows me around the house. He just lies on the floor and only moves his eyes. When I went to take him for a walk yesterday, he refused to go and refused to move even though I gently yanked on his leash.

I have a friend who takes him on a hike every Monday afternoon and he looks forward to this, but, today when she came to take him on a little walk, she left me a note saying that "his energy is very low, and he had watery stools" I am assuming that he has a tummy ache, but, he has been like this for a week now and is not interested in anything, he does not even bark at the 'coons or the fox anymore like he did. He likes to take me for a "walk" at night, by grabbing his leash and guiding me on his walk. He won't do this anymore

"Jake" is an English Shepherd and when I take him to the park, his instinct kicks in and he controls and herds the dogs there. But, he does not seem interested in this either...

He eats his dinner at night. A can of Alpo mixed in with a little left-over chicken and he has full range of his dry biscuits "Beneful". My husband and I love him
to death, although, because he had such a rotten puppyhood he is very much afraid of people and we have to watch him around strangers. He is a loving dog to us and the people he knows and trusts and would protect Jim and I with his life. When I am home alone, I know that I am safe with "Jake" around.

What do you think is going on? I will take him to the vet for a blood test, but, all the web-sites I have been to, tell me to be patient. "this too will pass".

I am anxiously awaiting your answer and I thank you for your time.

Shirley Reuscher

Vet Suggestion Low Energy Dog

Hello Shirley,

I’m afraid I have to disagree with “all the web-sites.” It sounds as if Jake is really feeling bad. Dogs are very good at hiding how sick they are, so when you see symptoms like those you describe, it’s safest to assume that Jake truly feels lousy. While it is true that some health problems do resolve on their own (for example, if Jake simply ate something that disagreed with him), but it is equally true that other conditions that cause similar clinical signs will get worse without timely treatment.

I feel it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you bring Jake in to see the veterinarian, you’ll either find out that he has something minor, which will bring you peace of mind and give the vet the opportunity to make Jake feel better faster than he might otherwise, or you’ll catch something potentially more serious in its earliest stages when treatment is most likely to be successful and not as expensive as it might be otherwise.

Best of luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM

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