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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19380
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Yesterday, our VERY active, athletic, agile rat terrier was

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Yesterday, our VERY active, athletic, agile rat terrier was running about w/ our hound at the barn chasing rabbits. Suddenly we noticed she was sitting down, shaking a little, and was wobbly in the hind end - her back end was swinging and not at all natural. She has an extremely low tolerance for pain; we did not hear any yelps or see anything out of the ordinary. Now, about 16 hours later, she cannot get up on the couch, still doesn't travel normally, but yet doesn't seem sore or in pain. It's almost like she had a stroke or something -- seems a little "out of it" too maybe? Don't know what to think or do right now...
Hi Sir or Madam,.

My name isXXXXX've professionally worked with animals for over 16 years dealing with both health and behavioral issues. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

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I need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your responses, it will likely take 30-40 minutes to type my response. I hope you can be patient.

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Are your dog’s eyes moving back and forth?

Is your dog standing with its legs further apart then normal?

Is your dog swaying? Is your dog walking on an angle and can’t walk a straight line?

Is your dog holding its head at a tilt? Is your dog nausea or eating less?

Is she avoiding stairs?

When did she last have bloodwork done?

Does she have an arched back at all?

 

 

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Are your dog’s eyes moving back and forth? WE DO NOT BELIEVE WE HAVE SEEN HER EYES MOVING BACK AND FORTH OR ANYTHING UNUSUAL W/ HER EYES.

Is your dog standing with its legs further apart then normal? IF ANYTHING, WE THINK HER BACK LEGS ARE CLOSER TOGETHER, LIKE THEY ARE OVERLAPPING SOME AND GETTING SOMEWHAT TANGLED WHEN SHE WALKS. HER FRONT SEEMS FINE.

Is your dog swaying? Is your dog walking on an angle and can’t walk a straight line? YES, I THINK THIS IS ACCURATE, SHE DOES SEEM TO BE SWAYING AND UNABLE TO WALK A STRAIGHT LINE.

Is your dog holding its head at a tilt? Is your dog nausea or eating less? WE HAVE NOT NOTICED ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS.

Is she avoiding stairs? WE DON'T HAVE STAIRS, BUT USUALLY SHE JUMPS RIGHT UP ON THE BED AND/OR COUCH. SHE CAN'T BEGIN TO TACKLE THE BED, BUT TRIED THE COUCH AND HER REAR END WOULDN'T FOLLOW...

When did she last have bloodwork done? WE HAVEN'T HAD BLOOD WORK DONE YET THIS YEAR.

Does she have an arched back at all? SHE DOES APPEAR TO HAVE A LITTLE ARCH IN HER BACK AND SOME STIFFNESS. I NOTICED HER ANUS MAY HAVE LOOKED A LITTLE FUNNY TOO; SHE SEEMS TO CARRY HER BACK END DIFFERENTLY FOR SURE AND LOOKED LIKE SHE MAY HAVE TO POOP OR SOMETHING?

Deb,

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I asked a lot of these questions because there is a condition called vestibular disease that affects older dogs. She doesn't have all the symptoms of this but I want to mention it so you are aware that this condition exists. Symptoms include standing with legs spread out, swaying, head tilt, abnormal eye movement, walking sideways, falling over and may include vomiting. There are a few things that can cause this condition such as an ear infection, some medications and old age. Have your Vet check your dog for this condition. Here are some great sites on this condition:

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_vestibular_disease.html

http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/vestibular.html

The good news is that if this is the problem which I don't' think it is and it is due to old age, the condition normally resolves itself over a few weeks. Your vet will most likely prescribe dramamine or bonine to help with the symptoms. You can read about dramamine and bonine usage, precautions and dosage here:

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/dimenhydrinate-dramamine/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/meclizine-bonine-antivert/page1.aspx

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Another possibility as you mentioned is a stroke though they are believed to be rare in dogs. Usually with a stroke you will start to see improvement within a week or so but some lingering symptoms may be permanent. Read about strokes here:

http://vetspecialists.co.uk/Default.aspx?PageID=2123716&A=SearchResult&SearchID=402024&ObjectID=2123716&ObjectType=1

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Now what I think is likely the cause for your dog's behavior is an injury to the back. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. Many dogs will arch their backs with this injury and avoid stairs and jumping on things. You can read about this here:

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/intervertebral-disc-disease-thoracolumbar-area-in-dogs/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/intervertebral-disc-disease-cervical-area/page1.aspx

Buffered aspirin can be given to a dog with a dosage of up to 5-10 mg per pound every 12 hours. Keep in mind that a dog's body does not metabolize aspirin in the same way as a human and thus should not be given more than a day or two without contacting your Vet. The aspirin may need to clear your dog’s system before other medications can be given, so keep that in mind if you decide to give aspirin and be sure and tell your vet when your dog is seen. Read side effects and precautions here.

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/acetylsalicylic-acid-aspirin/page1.aspx

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Given that she was very active when she started displaying symptoms, I would lean toward a disc issue. If you can get her seen in the next day or so, then I would hold off on aspirin. Either way, you will want to keep her as inactive as possibe. I would recommend crating to give the injury time to heal. Use a leash to take her out to eliminate. You want to keep stress off her back as much as possible, so crating will help with that. If you have to lift her, be sure to scoop the rear legs up in one hand and place the other hand on her chest and lift up keep ing the back in the proper position.

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I also want to mention that organ failure can lead to similar uncoordianted behavior, but I would think you would have seen other symptoms before this.

You will want to have your dog seen by your Vet to be evaluated and discuss treatment options.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

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If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Jane - i too had read about vesticular disease and was thinking this may be it. The disc was a thought too, so I think we are on a similar track here with diagnoses. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see a vet because i want to observe her a bit longer and we are keeping her inactive, as you suggest. One further question - how does a vet diagnose either the vestibular (blood test?) or the disc (xray?) Thanks, deb.
Deb,.With a disc issue, they might try an x-ray but to definitely rule it out, a ct-scan or myelogram (x-ray with dye) is used since you can't always see a disc injury with an x-ray..With vestibular disease, the vet will look for causes such as ear infections, growths which might be affecting the vestibular system and inflammation so that might involve x-rays as well. In many cases, your vet has to rule out all other possibilities before deciding it is vestibular disease since in some cases it it idiopathic (no known cause). Your vet might try medication first to see if that helps before running expensive tests.
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