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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23797
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My normally fit and healthy 12 year old saluki had vomiting

Customer Question

My normally fit and healthy 12 year old saluki had vomiting and diarrhea (not bloody) 2 nights ago. During the day he was ok though I didn't take him for his daily walk to allow him to rest. Fed light meal last night. Early this AM he had more vomiting - just bile and grass but had completely lost the use of his hindquarters. My vet has just been out to see him (about 10 hours since the episode) as I couldn't manage to get him in the car. We got him outside to see if he could be weight -bearing and he can barely manage that and is very wobbly in his hindquarters though all his vital signs are normal and there is no sign of real pain or paralysis. He has administered an NSAID and taken bloods. Is there something more I should be doing? If this was a TIA how would we know without incurring the major expense of an MRI and even if we do that what treatment is there to prevent further attacks? My vet thinks he may continue to improve considering that he was unable to get off the floor this morning but I want to know what I can be doing in both the short and long term to give him a good quality of life.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the dog?
Customer: No, he has been a bit arthritic in the left hind leg for the last year or so and has a glucosamine & chondritin supplement but is still fairly active and has never had any health issues previously.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.
I'm sorry to hear of this with your Saluki. His paresis (weakness) in his hind legs yet lack of pain is most consistent with fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) rather than degenerative disk disease or tumor in or around his spinal cord. This isn't technically a TIA but the results can be the same. With FCE we find material that may have originated in the intervertebral disk occluding the vasculature serving the spinal cord. The prognosis for these dogs can be very good as long as the vascular compromise doesn't transect the entire cord. Many dogs are up and walking within 36 hours of the original insult. There's no treatment of value. An NSAID is reasonable in cases such as a slipped disk but FCE doesn't involve inflammation that would respond to an NSAID. We rely on the tincture of time to normalize these patients. We have no manner in which to prevent further "attacks" which, thankfully, are rare in my experience.Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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