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Fiona Steel
Fiona Steel, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 703
Experience:  BVMS MRCVS
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The dog has loss of balance, staggers and falls over, uncoordinated

Resolved Question:

The dog has loss of balance, staggers and falls over, uncoordinated and it is like he has palsy or mad cow disease. His head seems to bob and most but not all of the lack of coordination seems to be in the hind end.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Fiona Steel replied 2 years ago.

Fiona Steel :

Hello

Fiona Steel :

How old is your dog?

Fiona Steel :

Has this episode just come on suddenly?

Fiona Steel :

Take a look at your dogs eyes.......are they flicking, side to side?

Fiona Steel :

Is his head tilted to one side?

Fiona Steel :

Any vomiting or diarrhoea?

Customer:

6 months old.

Customer:

He is six months old. It came on very suddenly. He was okay the night before. No, his eyes are not flickering side to side. His head seems to tilt sometimes when he is trying to walk. There is no sign of sickness and he has a good appetite. Although there is no flickering of his eyes, they seem to be slightly recessed.

Fiona Steel :

Has he been ill, vomiting or diarrhoea?

Fiona Steel :

Is he up to date on his vaccinations?

Customer:

No illness and yes to his vacs

Customer:

He is with four other dogs from the litter...no others are ill.

Fiona Steel :

Is there any dischareg or smell from his ears?

Customer:

No

Customer:

No foul smells whatsoever

Fiona Steel :

What breed / type of dog is he?

Customer:

Half mountain cur and lab

Fiona Steel :

Does he seem in any pain anywhere?

Customer:

No, that is what is odd!

Fiona Steel :

This is going to require a hands on examination from your vet to decide what is going on here

Fiona Steel :

He sounds like he has neurological abnormalities

Fiona Steel :

These can sometimes come from an inner ear infection, that effects the center that controls balance in the brain

Customer:

At first, I thought it might be a broken hip. He whined when I first touched his hind end but I determined that he was just letting me know of his frustration. I did notice a scar from a snake bite but none of the symptoms that I know of are present. Any thoughts on that?

Customer:

I considered that possibility. Should I do antibiotics?

Fiona Steel :

It would be better to get a diagnosis, as to what is going on before just trying antibiotics

Customer:

And is the damage permanent?

Fiona Steel :

It will depend, what is happening and why

Fiona Steel :

If this is being cause by inflammation then signs should improve as the inflammation improves

Customer:

Again though, I checked his ears thoroughly and saw no signs of infection. Do middle ear infections not necessarily show external signs?i

Fiona Steel :

No , just from a look from the outside it can be hard to tell. Your vet would use an otoscope to check the ear drum

Customer:

If it isn't caused by a middle ear infection what is the prognosis.

Fiona Steel :

Again, sorry to be vague, but that depends on the cause of the problem. If it is inflammation that will go down then his prognosis is good. If he has compression of his spinal cord, caused by a physical abnormality that is leading to this incoordination, then that might require surgery

Customer:

You are not being vague..all things considered. I thought that there was a possibility of injury to the spinal column and perhaps he was hit by a motor vehicle when I was not at home. Yet he doesn't seem to be in pain. We'll see.

Fiona Steel :

You would usually expect to see bruising and pain associated with an injury with a vehicle

Customer:

For clarity, I live in the country and have a circular drive. It would have had to be a visitor. With that having been said, One last thing before I let you go. Could it possibly be from a bite? Snake or insect?

Fiona Steel :

Toxins from a bite could lead to these signs. I'm from the UK and so don't have to deal with the ferrocity of beasts you have there. With adder bites in this country, we see nasty wound necosis and breakdown.

Fiona Steel :

I would have expected that if a toxin could lead to serious ataxia, it would have also given other more general signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea etc

Customer:

So the symptoms are not conducive to a bite. Well, I will take him to the vet and hope for the best. As you suspect, I have been around and handled animals quite a bit..but was hoping for a miracle because I am dog poor, LOL Cheers.

Fiona Steel, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 703
Experience: BVMS MRCVS
Fiona Steel and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

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