Yorkie with Swollen Stomach

This little dog is a dog with a swollen stomach. Better yet, a Yorkie with swollen stomach!! We love him at the clinic. In this video, Dr. Smith discusses why the owners decided to seek help. When he came to the hospital, his stomach was swollen and Dr. Smith said: “It looks like he swallowed a bowling ball!” He is a dog with a swollen stomach. After running a bunch of tests, we procured two diagnosis: right sided heart failure and lymphangiectasia. UMH!! What the he!l is “lymphan….whatever?” Actually, it is a disease usually seen in Terrier breeds occurring when the lymph vessels of the intestines fail to function properly. This failure leads to fluid going into the abdomen. When the fluid builds up, the belly looks like a bowling ball. Very uncomfortable for these lil’ guys!! We treat these problems with a few different medicines.

For the heart failure, we are going to use Vetmedin and Lasix. For the lymphan….whatever, we will use prednisone. Hopefully, we can get Pepper feeling better and get him back to being his old self.

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  1. Patricia Furger says:

    My yorkie is 10 months old. She stopped eating. Has a swollen tummy. Is very tired. And her nose is warm. She also had diarrhea a few days ago with a little blood in it. She hasn’t had another diarrhea since. What could it be. My dad says it will pass. He doesn’t want to spend another $500.00 at the vets for nothing. 3 weeks ago she had diarrhea and vomiting, we took her to a vet, he gave her fluid under her skin & a blood test , & fecal test. All tests came back negative. He also gave her pills to stop vomiting & diarrhea & that stopped it all till now. What can we do?

  2. margaret says:

    I HAVE A YORKIE AGE 3 .I HAVE HAD HER AT THE VET A LOT IN THE LAST MONTH WITH FLUID BUILD UP. LOOSE STOOLS JUST A SICK BABY. THE VET HAS SAID HE THINKS IT ID HER LIVER. SHE SSTAYED IN THE HOSPITAL A WEEK .LACI is home for 4or5 days doing better but today 8/24/13. Her belly is swelling again. I cant keep this up. She is on MEDS. An a fluid pill. Going every week. I don’t know what to do

    • Might be protein loss issue with subsequent fluid build up. Sometimes, these issues are difficult to treat. Check blood and good luck!

      • Lesia says:

        My Meeka (yorkie) has been sick since November 1, 2013. All of a sudden one day her tummy was huge like she ate a bowling ball. her blood tests have showed low proteins. she is on 4 different medications and she has been “tapped” once a week for the past two months to drain some of the fluid in her belly. Other than that he is her same self. I have tried various types of foods for her (she is a picky eater) but so far nothing has helped. She has been on white fish, potatoes, and carrots for 3 days now and it has been more than a week since I had her “tapped”. I never did get the endoscopy done as the specialist had told me that these are the drugs he would have given her no matter what they found. So now I am trying to manage her food. She hasn’t gotten any bigger, but she hasn’t gotten any smaller; we’ll be at the vet next week for blood tests and probably a tap to make her a little comfortable. As I have been reading I think she has Intestinal Lymphangiectasia.

        • Your presumption is probably correct. Sounds like you have a good, practical veterinarian giving you good advice. Unfortunately, these cases are not curable; however, they can be managed and it sounds like your veterinarian is giving you excellent advice.

  3. […] Yorkie with bloated stomach Have anyone had this problem with their yorkie. My daughter has a 6 year old neutered male who over the last year or so has developed bloat of his stomach every couple of months. She has him on prednisone and another drug (not sure of the name) every time it happens and it clears up but only for a little while and it comes back again. She saw this and was wondering if anyone else has come across this problem with their dog. The vet doesn't seem to know what is wrong with him and as long as the meds work for a short period of time I think they just want her to keep coming back Here is the link that see found. http://franklintnvet.com/yorkie-with-swollen-stomach/ […]

  4. Michelle says:

    My almost 6 year old male Yorkie keeps getting a swollen belly. It lasts a couple days for then goes away. This has happened 2-3 times in the last 2-3 months. I’ve brought him to the vet twice and blood work came back fine and he tested negative for parasites. He is still active and does not seem uncomfortable. He can be a picky eater certain days but seems to have a normal appetite. I have not noticed any excessive drinking or urinating.

  5. Maurisa says:

    My yorkie is 6 yrs old and has a bloated stomach, his behavior is normal he’s been gassy for the past couple of days what should I do?

    • The best thing to do is have your Yorkie examined by a veterinarian. If he/she is acting ok without any signs, then you can probably wait and see if the bloating resolves. Otherwise, consult your vet.

  6. Maurisa says:

    Thanks much will do.

  7. Karen Abascal says:

    Hi. My 12 year old yorkie is with a swollen stomach all the time. It feels like it gets full of air! She always eats too quickly and I am trying to help her with this habit. Can I do something else?

    • If the swelling comes and goes after eating, my suggestion would be to feed multiple smaller meals throughout the day. If the stomach is swollen all the time, i would seek advice from a veterinarian.

  8. lucy huff says:

    My 4 year old yorkie got into something outside and has swelled up nearly three times her size. The vet says it was some kind of chemical but really wasn’t too sure other than it wasn’t antifreeze. Shes been sick for almost two weeks and I don’t know what to do. Bloodwork still hasn’t come back and I’m wondering how to take care of this sick dog?

  9. Ana says:

    I have a 7 week old Male yorkie. He wasn’t eating to well 4 days ago as I switched his food completely to one brand. So I bought what he was used to and have been mixing it together with the new. It seems to have gotten him interested again. He struggles to poo but still seems to go. Today I noticed while bathing him that his stomach seemed really large and somewhat hard when you touch it. Is this normal? I have not taking him to get his shots yet. I’m nervous this could be life threatening? He sleeps an awful lot I just hope there is not something really wrong with him.

    • His stomach being large and somewhat hard is not necessarily normal. It might be just your perception or it could be something more serious. I would take him to your veterinarian and get a professional opinion.

  10. Grace says:

    My Yorkie is 8 years old and when we took him to the vet for cherry eye medication they mentioned wanting to see him back in 10 days to check his eye, but also mentioned they were concerned with the swelling in his abdomen.

    It doesn’t seem to be causing him any discomfort but they want to do x-rays and I just don’t have the funds for that. I’m curious why an X-ray and not an ultrasound?

    I just don’t know what to do. He barely eats, could food be an issue here?

    • Unless there are other signs such as diarrhea or vomiting, I don’t think food would be the issue. In a smaller dog, you can X-ray the abdomen and thorax at the same time. With an ultrasound, this is not possible. X-rays are a better first choice because generally the cost is less, you can visualize more, and you can see bone and air in determining the issue.

  11. Nan Welch says:

    Last summer my then 10 year old spayed female Yorkie had hell with fleas. She went through 3 rounds of Steroids & I thought the weight gain was from that. Her little tummy is still tight as a drum & looks like she swallowed a watermelon whole. I’ve changed her food to Nutro, small breed weight management. We just started the second bag of that. It’s time for her annual checkup. Should I ask our Vet to check for Lymphan?


  12. minerva salazar says:

    I took my 7 year old female yorkie to vet last sunday for distended stomach, had diarrhea 5 days ago with black stool and now its normal but for the last 4 days seems having hard time expressing. Vet did compactor? did anal extraction and said she should be ok and just monitor her. But she is still seems to be in pain specially in the morning. Vet didn’t advice me anything about her big tummy , what should i do?

  13. Dorothy May says:

    I just lost my 7 year old Yorkie named Bailey. He came down with severe diarrhea and a swollen, puffy feeling distended stomach the end of Feb. We fought this for 2 months and after numerous trips to the Vet and Emergency Vet, x rays,ultra sounds, blood work, barium test etc all of which found nothing wrong. We wound up at the Ms. State Emergency Vet. when his calcium levels crashed and they did an emergency blood transfusion. I asked them if they thought he was strong enough to go through the procedures they wanted to do next or should I make the difficult decision to end his suffering. They said they would recommend the treatment. The next day another ultra sound, then upper and lower GI’s. Protein levels crashed then glucose. They fed him with an IV, then it got better and we thought he would get to come home. Then another Ultra Sound to check for Pancreatitis which he had a mild case of. Then he got Asphyxiation Pneumonia from the tube down his throat. I went to see him and he was yellow with Jaundice and still swollen and struggling to breathe. Luckily he was able to recognize me and I was fortunate to be there with him for his last few hours. My heart is broken.

    I so wish I had gotten a second opinion earlier before he was so sick and I wish he had been sent to MSU earlier. He might have had a chance then. The only diagnosis I was told was that they suspected IBD. I wish I had found this site when he was sick.

  14. Ivan says:

    Hello Dr Marc,

    I have the same problem with my Yorkie called Baby; this is the third trip to the VET with swollen belly. The Dr Say they can’t treat my dog anymore that I have to see to specialist. The symptoms are same over and over. What else can I do? So far the prescription he is taking is prednisone 20 mil twice per day. I need your help Doc. PLEASE HELP

  15. Joyce says:

    My 11 yr old Yorkie got a swollen stomach for a week and then had diarrhea with some blood for 1 day last week. After that his stomach has got back to normal but abit bigger after meals. Now he seems abit down without any desire to go out and he doesn’t bark often. He used to bark alot and he wanted to go out often. He seems like he is lack of energy and he walks slowly now. Now his stools are normal. What should I do? Thanks.

  16. Joyce says:

    He is also eating and drinking normal. Thanks.

  17. Linda says:

    My 9 yr old female yorkie is a very sick baby. I have taken her to the vet 3 times this week for vomiting and diahirrea. She has injections of Cerenia for vomiting an injection of vetalog, and B-12. She was given injection all three visits. Not sure if she was given an injection of prednisone. Her little tummy is very distended at the point. What to do? Also what causes this condition? She was eating Royal Cannin Yorkershire 28 for adults. The vet wanted to change her food to a can food to Prescriplton I/d for gastrointestinal health. She has been on this food for approx a year. This is the sickest she has ever been. Please advise…..

  18. freda says:

    I have a 5 year old yorkie and noticed that his stomach appeared swollen. I thought worms and gave him meds. He’s been acting normal, eating normal (dry food) hasn’t had diarrhea or nausea. What could it be?

    • Hi Freda, Thanks for writing. A number of situations can cause a swollen stomach. The first thing I would look at is whether or not your dog is eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom normally. You mentioned that he does not have diarrhea, but are you sure he is going to the bathroom everyday? (Also, was your dewormer over the counter or from your vet? Over the counter dewormers usually aren’t as strong as the Rx dewormers and may not eliminate all of the worms.) If all of the previous things I mentioned are normal, my next step would be a series of x-rays to see what is going on inside. If the x-rays don’t provide concise answers and the clients wants to pursue diagnostics, an ultrasound or endoscopy would need to be done depending on the circumstances. A swollen stomach could be caused by something as simple as constipation, but could also be an indication that something is blocking the intestines, a mass, heart problems with fluid buildup, or several other things. If you are concerned at all, I would definitely recommend a visit to your vet.

  19. freda says:

    Thank you Dr. Smith! Yes, he’s eating normal and using the bathroom daily. He’s playing and acting normal. When i touch or rub his stomach he doesnt complain. It was a over the counter dewormer. Im taking your advice, Caesar has a appointment for Monday wit the Vet. Praying it’s something simple . I’ll keep you posted. Thank you again!

  20. mary says:

    My 11 y.o. yorkie on right side below leg her belly is swollen. Left side isn’t. She drinks eats poops are not as frequent. Could she be constipated. She drinks a lot of water…she takes phenobarbital for seizures.

  21. Justin says:

    I have an 8 year old rescue miniature yorkie. I took him down to the vet about two weeks ago because he had a “goose” like cough. The vet gave us meds and the cough seemed to have gone away. Until a couple of days ago. The cough came back so I took him to the vet again. This time my vet noticed the my dog might have kidney disease (with all the x-Rays) and she had to take out fluid on his side near his ribs. The vet has him on Furosemide and Enalapril now. The next day I felt near his right hand side on his ribs and noticed the fluid was back and was worse. I have an appointment setup for 6/13/15 at 5:45 today.

    Just want your thoughts and see if I could give my dog a longer life before it’s too late.

    • Sounds like heart disease according to the meds prescribed. I might ask your veterinarian if VetMedin might be indicated to alleviate any of the symptoms. Other things you can try are to limit salt in the diet and to initiate a weight loss regime. Collapsing trachea is also an issue in small breed dogs that can be improved by losing weight. Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

  22. molly says:

    12yo female yorkie.
    She was a rescue years before and tends to eat quickly and wants to eat a lot, i think due to her conditions before.
    She’s always panted before and paced, but the panting has now become excessive, continuous except during eating drinking and sleeping, and now does the choking honking sound regularly the last couple of days.
    She’s always had a somewhat bigger belly, i attributed this to her eating habits, but now feeling around its pretty hard. I can’t be certain it wasn’t before and i am just now really noticing. But she’s pretty round and firm.
    Eats and drinks normal (maybe drinking is a little more frequent lately)
    Urine and BM appear normal.
    She’s pretty lethargic but she always had been, although when she went outside she did bark and kinda ran around, now i have to take her outside as she doesn’t seem interested in the least.
    any thoughts?

  23. molly says:

    So i youtubed collapsed trachea and that is exactly what she sounds like. My question now is, should i be fairly certain that’s what it is or are there other issues that sound like this? Thanks again!

    • Sorry i just saw your next comment. The only way to tell for sure is xray. But if she starts honking when she gets excited, then most likely that is collapsing trachea.

  24. Joanna says:

    Wished we had come across this sooner. We lost one of our chihuahua 6weeks ago with all the same symptoms as the yorkie. Can chihuahua get this to? Now one of her babies who is 8years old has the same thing. I’m fixing to take a print out of this to them as for our other dog they could not work out what was going on. I may just bring her to you as we are not to far away.

  25. Destiny says:

    My yorkie terrier is 13 years old it’s been a couple of days she hasn’t taken a poop and this past Friday she did and it was soft and black how can I help her please

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