How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Jo Your Own Question
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo,
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 35
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Jo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Maltese: In walking he staggers somewhat...We put him on steriods

This answer was rated:

Our Maltese started geting dizzy and having trouble being steady while standing still. In walking he staggers somewhat...We put him on steriods and it stopped the dizziness, but it make him overeat and become very obese. WE have again stopped the steriods and are looking for a better fix. Please help us. Thanks...XXXXX XXXXX
HelloCustomer-What was the reason for putting him on the steroids? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to J. Leonard DVM's Post: Steriods suggested by vet to stop the falling over. This was offered after taking anitbiotics for possible inner ear problems with no good results, then x rays that did not show anything of value...We could not afford 1200.00 for mri. The steriods did stop the falling over, but it caused him to overeat extensively, and causes him mood swings and breathing problems.
Hello Larry--It is good that the xrays did not show any heart disease which can cause symptoms similar to what you are seeing. Vestibular problems (inner ear imbalance) can also cause these problems. An infection would be responsive to antibiotics, but there is a condition called labyrinthitis whose cause is not definitively known which your vet may have suspected. This is an imbalance within the inner ear also and often needs time to go away (it happens in people also and just medication for vertigo symptoms is given and the rest is waiting for it to be done). They also can have stroke like problems, which can result in head tilt and inability to stand and staggering. Brain tumor is also on the list. Some veterinarians will put a patient on steroids for conditions such as these when the definite diagnosis is not known but they wish to relieve inflammation. Normally the patient does not need to stay on the medication. It can certainly lead to all that you have seen. Most patients do wean off these meds as directed by their vet.

Were you told that the dog would need to stay on permanently? Were you told an actual definite disease diagnosis? Have the episodes reoccurred since he has been off the medication?

Full blood tests are a good thing to consider. Low blood sugar and low calcium can cause weakness and staggering. The tests will also give organ functions such as kidney and liver, which if compromised, can cause weakness, and with the liver specifically, staggering. Geriatric dogs generally have a full CBC, chemistry panel and thyroid level done.

If it was vestibular disease, once the episode is done, it is done. There can be reoccurrences down the road sometimes, but they do not stay on medication.

Keep me posted. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Dr. Jo,
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 35
Dr. Jo and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to J. Leonard DVM's Post: Question to Dr Jo Leonard
To answer your questions, We were not told he would need to stay on the steriods permantly, nor did they find any definite disease. It is still all a great mystery. Our vet is usually very good at diagjosis. Actually, the dog does not usually get sick. His diet is on organic paul newman dry dog food.
HelloCustomer-Perhaps you should talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of a referral to a specialist clinic, where you can get the benefits of any needed specialists, such as possibility of a neurologist and the benefit of advanced equipment, such as MRI or CT. North Carolina also has a very good veterinary school. It is very frustrating to not get a definite diagnosis, but sometimes that happens. That is what referrals are for. Good luck to you all and keep me posted. Dr. Jo

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery