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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18815
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Dog, "Zoe," female, spayed, 6 years old, yellow lab mix, 78

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Dog, "Zoe," female, spayed, 6 years old, yellow lab mix, 78 pounds. Zoe started walking wobbly on July 11th. I had given her her Heartgard tablet the day before. She's never had trouble with it before. She is still wobbling and she has fallen back down while trying to stand up a couple of times. Every once in awhile, she'll get up and run into the bedroom and lie down on the floor. She doesn't jump up on the furniture nearly as much as she used to. I assume she's scared she'll fall. She seems very frightened about all this. Her eyes look older and worried just since last Thursday, and she's hanging her head a lot. Her poop looks normal and hasn't changed in frequency or amount. She is still eating and drinking. I took her to the vet and he said her ears were a little dirty, but that was to be expected in a Lab this time of year with the Texas humidity. He said he didn't see any infection, heart sounded good, tummy felt good, temperature was 102. He didn't do bloodwork, but he watched her walk and looked at her eyes. He said it looked like she could see ok. I noticed a small (pencil eraser size) red spot on her lower abdomen last night that I hadn't seen before. I will check it again when I get home. No change in food, water, or treats. No other medication. Any idea what this could be or what I can/should do next?

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.

It’s possible your dog is suffering from vestibular disease. 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:


The good news is that if this is the problem and it is due to old age, the condition normally resolves itself over a few weeks. Many vets miss this but the ones that do not often will prescribe dramamine or bonine to help with the symptoms. You can read about dramamine and bonine usage, precautions and dosage here:


An ear infection can also disrupt the vestibular system as well. I do have to mention that often organ failure will also cause a dog to have problems with coordination and even collapse.


The following site has a recipe for a home remedy for ear infections that may provide some relief though I would have preferred your vet to have given her something.


Zymox with cortisone has been used by some experts to clear ear infections as well. You can read about it here:


I would call the vet and ask about vestibular disease and if he would recommend one of the medications I mentioned. However, if there is no improvement, I would have her reseen before the weekend . If you are no longer confident in your vet, I would see another one.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I will check her eyes tonight - I don't recall seeing them moving differently. I will also check her teeth - one of the articles suggested an abscessed tooth could cause a problem. I will most likely check back with you tomorrow. Thank you!

You are very welcome.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good morning! Zoe had blood work done this morning. If you would like me to email it to you, I can. I found out that Zoe had a 103.3 fever on Tuesday (the kid that took it told me it was normal). It was 103.7 this morning. The vet said he couldn't tell what it was by the blood work, but that it could be a virus - he mentioned parvo and west nile as possibilities. I don't know anything about them. I requested he re-check her ears and he said they were very clean all the way down to the ear drum. He put her on Clavamox (sp?) because of her ongoing fever and just in case she has an underlying infection somewhere. He said if that didn't clear it up in 7-10 days, I should take her to the neurologist for a scan. Well, inasmuch as I would do ANYTHING for my "babies," I'm guessing I won't be able to afford that. I did ask him to check for Peripheral Vestibular Disorder and I explained the symptoms she does and does not have (i.e. no nausea, no eye movement). He didn't come right out and SAY he didn't know what that was, but he DID say, "there are so many disorders nowadays that I can't keep up with all of them." I gave her the first Clavamox this morning. Her teeth don't look great, but they're not too bad. There is one that has a little thin line of red where the gum meets the tooth. Maybe the antibiotics will at least clear that up.

I'm so glad he put her on some antibiotics. If it is an inner ear infection, he might not be able to see that easily. Read about diagnostic testing here: If it is old age vestibular, it should start clearing up anyway by the end of the antibiotics. Hopefully this will clear it up for her and have the added benefit of helping clear any gum or tooth issues that might be developing. .

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