My friends dog is 4 years old. She is a colly and lab mix. She has been sick for about a year. She emits a unpleasant smell. The smell is similar to concentrated human saliva. She has been taken to two vets. They tested for tick panel, kidney failure and blood, stool and urine analysis. All came back normal.

Video 1: Walking with back in U shape. Back looks slightly humped.

Could this be a spinal problem?

Video 2: Laying down. Will not lift neck up to look at me. Nails long and not bitten.

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About a year ago and when the symptoms started she was around some insecticide about 3 hours after application. She is currently taking heart worm pills, Trifexis. No other medications. She moves around very slowly. She has heavy hair loss around the belly.

This is a high energy very exciteable dog that has been reduced to the energy levels of very senior dogs.

  • Does the skin on her belly look normal (apart from the hair loss)? Has her thyroid been checked?
    – mhwombat
    Jul 3, 2016 at 3:04
  • @mhwombat yes skin looks normal. No, thyroid has not been checked. $2000.00 has been spent trying to get a diagnosis. So far nothing Jul 3, 2016 at 3:17
  • You say the dog smells like saliva -- is she licking her fur a lot? That would cause the smell and would be another symptom to consider.
    – mhwombat
    Jul 3, 2016 at 17:41
  • When was she exposed to the insecticide? How long has she been on Trifexis? Does the vet know that she has heartworms, or is the Trifexis being used "just in case"? Does the vet think that heartworms are the cause of her symptoms, or is there no diagnosis.
    – mhwombat
    Jul 3, 2016 at 20:36
  • @mhwombat - insectiside was about a year ago. Around the time she started symptoms. Trifexis is being used just in case. I'll have to ask how long she has been on it. I suspect most of her life. There is no diagnosis. Jul 3, 2016 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


I'm not a vet but the first possibility that occurred to me was hypothyroid. This would explain the extreme lack of energy and loss of hair. It can also make the animal sensitive to cold and subject to infections, as explained here. The test shouldn't be expensive.

That said, if the idea occurred to me, I'm sure a vet would have thought of it too and may have ruled it out without needing to do a test. Still, I think it's worth asking the vet if hypothyroid is a possibility.

I suggest your friend clip the dog's toenails, as walking on them will probably be uncomfortable.

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