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Ask the Veterinarian/startled with no stimulation


My maltese is 7 years old, a rescue and we've had her for almost a year.Her shots are updated - heartworm and flea prevention are administered monthly. She has a healthy diet - VERY little people food- eats Nutro brand and "visits" the yard regularly. She will be lying on my lap with her head comfortably placed over my leg. Then all of a sudden she will yelp, jump up and leap off my lap. At first I thought she was sleeping and had a bad dream, but she's awake and it's happening more frequently. Then I thought she may have an injury that was touched - not so, as she loves being pet all over. Now I'm thinking of taking her to the vet. Maybe you can shed some light on this situation. We appreciate your help. We love our pooch! Thanks.

She might be experiencing some nerve pain or arthritis pain in her back or hips. Nerve pain can cause shooting pains in areas where the nerves are inflamed and that will cause the sudden yelp.

Back pain is very common in older dogs so it could be some arthritis in her hips or spine as well.

She really should not be eating ANY people food. This can cause gastric upsets that can lead to gastritis, pancreatitis, etc.

So have the vet look her over and do a hands on exam. Some dogs only quiver when the vet puts his hands in the right place- but quivering is there way of saying ouch.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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