I saw on some other forums that dog owners should always be able to financially cover a vet visit. However, at the moment, my family are going through a bit of a financial crisis and everything is happening at once. We are unable to afford a vet at the moment and I wanted to see if there was a way to possibly provide some clues as to what could be wrong with my dog.
My dog is an Austrian Shepherd/Lab mix about 10-11 years old. About 4-5 days ago, he started acting like he didn't feel too well. Even at this age, he's a rather hyper dog. He barks at critters and chases everything around - usually runs everywhere he goes. Over the past few days, he's been laying around a whole lot more and acting like he feels under the weather. These past few nights, he's been getting up and moving around a lot to lay in different spots. It's like he can't get comfortable. Our dogs are only outdoor dogs, but we brought him inside the other night because he can't get comfortable in his dog house and we didn't want him to sleep out in the cold.
This all started happening about a day after he was chewing on some old bone. Our neighbors are frequent hunters and the dogs often find bits of deer bone to gnaw on out in the woods. We've done our best to keep them out of my dog's mouth because he tries to swallow everything he chews, but we think he still got a hold of a bone because we found some pieces of it in the yard. My best guess is that he may have possibly swallowed some sharp bone piece and now it's travelling through his digestive track. This happened to him a few years ago as well, but he passed it in his stool after a couple days.
I've noticed that his abdomen is distended and swollen as well (especially down towards his crotch). I palpated the area to see if it was tender, but he didn't act like anything hurt or bothered him. He hasn't eaten from what we've seen over the past few days, but he has been drinking water still. I watched him drink and urinate yesterday (no blood in it) - so that makes me think he may not be obstructed. He's also been shaking as well. At first, I thought it was just because it was cold outside. But now I'm starting to think he's either feverish or weak from not eating.
The most confusing part about it all is that it has seemed to come and go in spurts. One minute he's smiling and trotting around and acting normal. The next, he's back to lying down and acting miserable. I work in the medical field (am currently attempting to get into physician assistant school as well), so I'm familiar with a lot of bodily processes and malfunctions in people. But when it comes to dogs, I don't know where to even begin. I'm used to people being able to give me some backstory about what they have experienced symptom-wise. But my dog obviously can't do that. So if anybody has any insight or suggestions, my ears are open.
I don't believe it's anything emergent at the current moment. But I just want to help my dog feel better.