Old dog Vestibular

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rainypass
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Old dog Vestibular

Post by rainypass » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:18 am

I was glad to find this forum while searching the Internet for information on vestibular disease, I have been reading some of the past posts here and it has been helpful to hear about other stories and advice for dealing with pets with special needs. I was not sure what topic I should post under since my dog has assorted neurological issues going on, since she is a senior I figure this would be the most appropriate place to introduce Miss Lillie who is around 16 years old.

About two years ago she started having balance issues and would be staggering around and then suddenly developed "horner's syndrome"(droopy eye). The vet ran blood test that indicated possible liver problems and low thyroid, the vet suggested possibly cushings. I did some research on cushings and my dog really was not exhibiting any of the typical symptoms other than the high ALP levels. Mostly she was just extremely uncoordinated, the vet thought it could be vestibular but Lillie did not have the head tilt or nystagmus (eyes darting back and forth). With limited funds to do more testing and taking her age into consideration we started her on thyroid meds and treated her for a possible ear infection. With some time she improved considerably, she was back to walking normal and the Horner's syndrome gradually improved although she was never quite the same.

The past few years she has also been having seizure like episodes some times lasting just a few minutes other times lasting longer. These episodes are a bit hard to describe the short episodes she will just start flinching(while standing) and start to fall face first then she will snap out of it like nothing happened. Other times she wakes up from a deep sleep and has what I now call walking seizures, she will be trembling and trying to walk but falling down and getting back up and falling again, I have to just try to keep here still so she does not hurt her self, her mind is alert and seems to be aware of what is going. This can go on for 30+minutes before I can get her to lay down and go to sleep then the next morning she will be completely fine. I was able to capture a video of one of these episodes for he Vet to see and she has never seen anything quite like it but thought it could be a petit mal seizure. Fortunately she does not have these episodes very often maybe every 2 to 3 months. I have wondered if they could be canine epileptiod cramping syndrome? I have also wondered about hepatic encephalopathy? Brain tumor?

On Christmas eve 2012 Lillie had her second bout with old dog vestibular this time it was very severe and she had the eyes darting back and forth like crazy, head tilt, unable to stand but she kept on trying. She was so uncoordinated she could not even drink water, she would bobble her head and bite at the water totally missing it. Christmas eve of all times poor puppy. She was totally out of it mentally and she seemed to be completely blind(she was already deaf) I really thought it was going to be the end, but wanted to give her a chance to get better, it was looking really grim. I consulted with my Vet on the phone and decided to keep her home and provide the best supportive care I could. After the first 24 hrs she was able to drink water out of her bowl when offered. I had to carry her in and out to take care of business she was such a good dog and never even went in the house during all this. Getting her to eat was the hardest part I could get her to eat a bite or two of chicken I would offer her, but was pretty much refusing any food. So I gave her water and carried her in and out (she weighs about 40lbs). After 3 days she started to improve and each day get a little better, after about a week she was walking and eating again but she was still very dizzy and falling down a lot. I had to help her learn to use the ramp again to get up onto the porch, she was able to go up but going down was to difficult and she would fall so I had to build walls on the ramp and block off the rest of the porch to keep her from falling off. It has been a slow go at getting better now 7 weeks later she is almost back to normal and has regained her vision. I wanted to share Lillie's story to give others hope, if your dog has vestibular disease they can get better.

I seem to be doing all I can but she is an old pup I just want to do my best to keep her happy while she is still around. I'll have to figure out how to post a picture of Miss Lille she is a terrier mix I rescued in 1997 I think she could possibly be an Airedale Cattle-dog mix. She looks like Christine's Bailey and from what I have read on past posts it seems like my Lillie has some very similar problems.

rainypass
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Re: Old dog Vestibular

Post by rainypass » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:07 am

Here are a few pictures of Miss Lillie.
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Lillie Farmer.jpg
Lilly and Miles.jpg
Lillie.fetch.jpg

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critters
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Re: Old dog Vestibular

Post by critters » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:09 pm

:slant: She DOES look a lot like Christine's Bailey!! My neurovestibular boy is just a baby, so I don't think I can help you...

Christine
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Re: Old dog Vestibular

Post by Christine » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:31 pm

Yes, she surely does look like my girl. She made me cry. We went through a lot of the very same things you described and that is what also brought me here. You are definitely a kindred spirit - all we want is for our best friends to be comfortable and happy. You can see the happiness on Lillie's face. You are so fortunate to be sharing such a long lifetime with her.

:violet:
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Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08

kimt155@hotmail.com
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Re: Old dog Vestibular and my blind dog

Post by kimt155@hotmail.com » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:02 am

Maisy is a 9 yrs old pug and went blind 3 years ago. The cause of her blindness is unknown. When I first noticed she would not play or watch TV, I started taking her to the vet. After taking her to 5 different vets who told me there was nothing wrong with my dog, and after blood tests and x-rays finding nothing I gave up and thought maybe she is just getting old. Two months later she was walking into walls and did not notice a snack in front of her mouth, she indeed went blind and was diagnosed with SARDS.

Now on Christmas night my Maisy was struck by vestibular disease. She was very stiff and could not move, leaning to the left side, her blind eyes darting side to side very fast. Now all she wants to do is lay on her side and I am so worried about her. She is eating and drinking water, but potty only once in 7 days. The vet says it is good that she is drinking and eating and he sees no problems with her inner ears. I am worried that it is a tumor and perhaps this caused her blindness a few years ago.

Anyone have a blind dog that was struck by old dog vestibular? Or anyone have a dog with vestibular that did not make it?

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critters
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Re: Old dog Vestibular and my blind dog

Post by critters » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:35 am

kimt155@hotmail.com wrote:Maisy is a 9 yrs old pug and went blind 3 years ago. The cause of her blindness is unknown. When I first noticed she would not play or watch TV, I started taking her to the vet. After taking her to 5 different vets who told me there was nothing wrong with my dog, and after blood tests and x-rays finding nothing I gave up and thought maybe she is just getting old. Two months later she was walking into walls and did not notice a snack in front of her mouth, she indeed went blind and was diagnosed with SARDS.

Now on Christmas night my Maisy was struck by vestibular disease. She was very stiff and could not move, leaning to the left side, her blind eyes darting side to side very fast. Now all she wants to do is lay on her side and I am so worried about her. She is eating and drinking water, but potty only once in 7 days. The vet says it is good that she is drinking and eating and he sees no problems with her inner ears. Has she had imaging or something? Inner ears can't be seen otherwise. I am worried that it is a tumor and perhaps this caused her blindness a few years ago.

Anyone have a blind dog that was struck by old dog vestibular? Or anyone have a dog with vestibular that did not make it?
I really think I'd be looking for other opinions. It's really concerning that 5 vets missed that. Are they in the same practice, so that nobody thought any differently than the rest?

Christine
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Re: Old dog Vestibular

Post by Christine » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:54 pm

I was also going to suggest different vets. This is a very common ailment which can come and go as quickly as it appeared. Sometimes, it leaves a head tilt, sometimes not. I would want to know for sure as well. If it is vestibular, it is a like an inner ear infection for humans which causes dizziness. Some vets will prescribe an antibiotic (mine did), but the best you can do is give your dog support when you take her out as she will probably have a hard time holding a squat without falling over. I used a vest type harnass with a "suitcase" handle at the top. After a while, I just knew when she was ready to squat and I let her drop as I held onto the handle.

You might also want to put pillows around places where she might bump into right now and even hand feed her until she gets her bearings. If she has been blind a while, she has probably mapped her surroundings, but the dizziness changes all that.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Christine... and Bailey, playing at the Bridge
?/1999 - 10/25/08

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