Old dog vestibular disease?

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Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby moochesmama » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:27 am

I haven't posted in a LONG time but do read almost daily to keep up.

Anyway this morning (4:30 to be exact) I heard some rattling from Mooches in his crate. I checked on him and he was standing with his head braced in the upper corner of his crate, panting heavily. He was not very alert and when I nudged him he slumped tithe ground half in and out of his crate. I dragged his dog bed in front of him and lifted on to it. I rushed him to the e-vet and he was calm but not alert and also wobbly. After we'd been there awhile he got up and started walking in circles - not upset but just determined and occasionally bumping into things. The vet said it was likely old dog vestibular syndrome which has a good prognosis. He also mentioned that he didn't have the typical head tilt or nystagmus. I left him there to be observed while I'm at work.

Anyway I was just bothered because Mooches didn't seem to recognize me or respond to his name though by the time I left he was pretty steady on his feet (still walking in circles). Anyone have any experience with this? Is this normally part of this syndrome? He's 13 so I'm afraid that he has had a stroke or something.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby Shearaha1 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:26 am

My previous dog Flip had this. There are 3 known causes, though there may be others. A deep inner ear infection, swollen nerves leading to/from the inner ear or a tumor pressing against the inner ear. I did not have a good experience with this, but that's likely because of how far gone Flip was before I was told of his condition. I had left him with my parents when I moved for college and couldn't take him. By they time they told me something was wrong he hadn't eaten in a week. He was OK walking if he had a line to follow or was leaning on me. He tried to eat and would be very happy to see me coming with the food bowl, but couldn't eat more them 1-2 bites on his own. I ended up tube feeding him for a while, because he was hungry but the IVD was causing "sea sick" like symptoms. I only kept going because he was still going. He'd see me coming and his tail would wag and his eyes would light up. I stopped his pain the morning he started having seizures. His IVD was cause by a tumor pressing against his inner ear and brain. I couldn't let him keep going after that.

My experiences aside. I've know other elderly dogs with IVD who have done wonderfully with simple supportive care after an episode, and have gone on to live several more happy years without another episode, and those that have had occasional episodes here and there.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby julie64 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:50 pm

I have no experience, but wanted to send you and Mooches lots of good thoughts. Keep us posted.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby moochesmama » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:00 pm

Sounds like he is doing somewhat better. Went out on leash to go potty and was okay but a little unsteady lifting his leg. He's on meclazine (sp) for the vestibular symptoms but I guess he gets to come home after I get done here at work. Now I gotta set up the family room for a dog that walks in circles....
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby jamielvsaustin » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:49 pm

My family dog had this...and it wasn't bad. At the time I didn't understand and freaked out! I thought it was so bad that my parents should have put the dog down...she had a rough couple of days, but then it went away. It's common for them to be disoriented (probably why he didn't "recognize" you). Hopefully it clears up quickly.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby twisted » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:21 pm

ive never heard of this but i wish your dog a speedy recovery.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby Leslie H » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:30 pm

My sons dog had an acute episode when she was 12. She was so off balance she couldn't stand or walk, and vomited because it can have an effect like seasickness. I was completely freaked out, I thought she was going to die. My vet helped her out, but she was over the worst symptoms in a day, and completely fine w/in a week. It never happened again.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby Murfins » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:20 pm

Sending lots of positive thoughts to Mooches.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby Mooresmajestic » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:25 pm

http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/vestibular.html
This page has good basic info on vestibular.

There are also forums just for owners of pets that have experienced vestibular symptoms. I found several using Google and searching for geriatric vestibular in dogs.

Best wishes to a speedy and full recovery. I've worked with vestibular dogs, and it can be scary seeing that if you don't know what is wrong.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby Sarah » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:56 pm

My old guy, Elmo, had an episode of this. His wasn't that bad, and resolved fine on it's own.
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Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby moochesmama » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:03 pm

ImageHe's home now and seems about 90%. His balance is fine, no circling and no tilt. He seems a bit spacey and restless - to me he seems more post-seizure like but there would be nothing additional to do in that case either. Just wait and watch. Thanks for all your good thoughts and wise words :)
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby heartbullies » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:47 am

How scary! Yikes.

Glad he's doing better now.

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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby calimonster » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:40 pm

My last girl, Harley, went through this twice in the 2 years before she passed away at 13 years old. I remember the helpless feelings I had. I was able to take off work for a few days and stayed with her every hour of the day. She had the eye movements that were heartbreaking to watch. For the first few days, she would stumble and fall if she tried to walk, or just stumble in circles. In a way, it was alomost like teaching her how to walk again. That eventually got better but then for weeks, I would steady her as she tried to go up and down the stairs. I remember crying one day when I took her outside and she was walking through the grass by herself but then just fell over. I hand-fed her and slept on the living room floor with her sleeping on the sofa next to me. (I'm getting teary-eyed remembering all this) The vet said that extra special care was the best "medicine" to get her through it and it worked. She had the head tilt and even once she was back to normal, she had the head tilt for the rest of her life. It made me so sad at first to look at her head tilted all the time but then it just became part of her character. The second occurrance of it was actually less severe than the first.
From experience I can say that the extra special care is the best thing that you can give your little one.
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Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby moochesmama » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:43 am

He's definitely getting extra special care :). Canned dog food even though he isn't having any problems eating - extra walks - lots of baby talk aimed in his direction. He seems almost 100%. It will take ME a few more days to get back to normal though.
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Re: Old dog vestibular disease?

Postby julie64 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:38 am

Glad he is doing better. :)
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