My chihuahua sometimes cries out when I lift her up. There is never any other signs of pain and she jumps up to my bed and down again without hesitation. I had my vet check her over and she did not find any painful areas. Do you think I should get a full scan of her body to see if there is a problem?

Some small dogs will protest when being lifted without there necessarily being a source of pain. Neck or back pain can occur in chihuahuas, but there are characteristic signs which point to this; such as reluctance to move, marked pain when handled all of the time, usually sudden onset, and a refusal to go up and down stairs or jump onto a bed. Ensure when you lift her, that you place one hand under her chest and support her bottom with your other hand. If there is any change with the frequency of this occurring, then have your vet check her again. 

The behaviour you describe would be typical of a relapse with a urinary infection. Presumably, your vet has had a culture done of her urine to ensure that the correct antibiotic is used to eliminate her infection. Often it’s found that older cats are more prone to urinary infections, especially females, as the bacteria can invade the bladder from the vagina. Another factor is often kidney function is poor in older cats, so Phoebe may have dilute urine which makes it harder to eliminate infection. Follow your vet’s advice and discuss using pulse therapy once the infection is clear; this involves giving antibiotics for four days of each week and three days off, then repeating.

Dr Bruce Chard owns North Harbour Veterinary Clinic in Auckland. He has been a vet for 42 years and has a pekingese dog and two burmese cats. Visit or email

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