Lethargy is a state of drowsiness, inactivity, or indifference in which there are delayed responses to external stimuli such as sound, sight, or touch. Lethargy may also refer to the general malaise and decreased activity exhibited by animals that do not feel well.

Lethargy is a nonspecific sign associated with many possible underlying systemic disorders. It may have little to no impact on the affected individual; however its presence may represent severe or life-threatening illness. Lethargy of more than a day’s duration should not be ignored, and should be addressed, especially if it persists.

Some causes include anemia, heart or lung disease, infection, trauma, side effects from medications, metabolic disorders or cancer.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Lethargy is typically diagnosed through history and physical examination findings. Determining the cause of the lethargy requires further testing that may include bloodwork, urinalysis, abdominal and chest x-rays, abdominal and chest ultrasound, specialized blood tests, and fecal examinations. In some cases, neurologic examination, CT, MRI or biopsies may also be recommended.
  • Treatment depends on the underlying disorder, severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Treatment may include fluids, antibiotics, and other medications or surgery to treat the underlying disease. Discuss treatment details when your pet is evaluated and the underlying condition causing the lethargy is diagnosed.


What to Watch for*:

  • General change in demeanor
  • Listlessness
  • Reluctance to play, exercise or perform normal activities
  • Hiding, avoiding contact with people or other pets
  • Decrease in appetite or thirst
  • Gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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