Dog with Change in Character

by Kathleen Hirsch
(Anderson, California)

I walk our neighbors yellow Lab every day and he is usually so excited when I arrive, he almost knocks me over. He usually "trots" at a fast pace, up hills and along the path we follow, giving me a good workout.


Yesterday I went to get him and he reluctantly came to greet me, slowly, and groaning. He dropped to the floor and rolled for me to pet his tummy, as usual, however he wouldn't get up when I said it was time to go walk.

This is very unusual for him. He has been showing some limping in his left front leg, towards the end of our walk, for the last couple of months, not at all times.In the last couple of weeks I noticed that he prefers to walk in the high weeds rather than on the dirt path.

He is a rescue dog and approximately 7 to 8 years old.I think he is a "Chesapeake" Lab, very friendly and beautiful with those lovely chocolate eyes.

We have formed a close bond and I love this wonderful dog and want the best for him. Could you possibly give some insight into his problem and possible medication to help ease his pain.
I thank you for any assistance you could provide.


Kathleen Hirsch




Vet Suggestion Regarding a Change in Dog Character or Behavior

Hello Kathleen,

Have you talked to the dog’s owner about what you have been noticing? I wonder whether this was simply a onetime event or something that has been brewing for a while.

The first step in developing a treatment plan is diagnosing the cause of the patient’s symptoms. This will require, at the very least, a physical exam performed by a veterinarian. The dog could be developing osteoarthritis, have an autoimmune disease, or even have a type of cancer, and obviously treatment recommendations for each would be very different.

It is not your responsibility to seek out veterinary care for your neighbor’s dog, but if he or she is not willing to pursue a diagnosis, you could ask for permission to take him in to see a veterinarian yourself. Negotiate who’s paying first to avoid any confusion.


Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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