‘Lethargy’ means having very low energy. Dogs, like people, can feel lethargic for a number of reasons. Whilst it might just be tiredness, it can also be an indicator that something more serious is going on.
There are lots of possible causes of lethargy.
It is very worrying in puppies who should been keen to play!
Diseases such as anaemia or heart problems can cause dogs to have very low energy.
Dogs fighting off an infection can look exhausted and withdrawn.
What is lethargy?
Excessive tiredness, not wanting to go for walks when they’d usually be keen, not moving around as much, not being interested in food and not wanting to play are all signs of lethargy.
Lethargy is a symptom of an underlying problem. It’s possible your dog is simply tired after a long walk or in hot weather, but often it is more serious than that.
Puppies can be very tired at night, but they are usually very active during the day, so any change in activity can be cause for concern.
Some causes of lethargy can be quite serious, so the sooner they are diagnosed, the better.
Why is my dog lethargic?
Some common causes include:
Anaemia (lack of red blood cells) due to blood loss or damage to red blood cells
Metabolic diseases, such as heart disease, lung disease, or hormone diseases such as Cushings and diabetes mellitus
Pain due to an injury, arthritis, or tumour
A reaction to a new medication
What should I do if my dog is lethargic?
As there are so many possible causes of lethargy, it’s always worth contacting your vet for advice. If your dog is suddenly very listless and weak, seek emergency advice.
Your vet will take a detailed history and examine your pet. It is very important to identify the underlying cause of the lethargy. This will probably involve blood tests to start with, and possibly an ultrasound scan. Once you know what the cause of the lethargy is you and your vet will be able to start the best treatment plan together.