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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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Hi, I think my dog has had a stroke. She falls over all the

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Hi, I think my dog has had a stroke. She falls over all the time. Can not get up by herself, can not walk unassisted, walks in circles but falls if she is not held up. She doesnt want to eat or drink. She doesnt respond to her name and just stares into space. She cries to get up. I have to use a syringe to make sure she gets enough water. She seems to be going downhill but sometimes she does something (like this morning she got up by herself) then an hour later she tried and fell flat on her face. It started 4 days ago and I have been getting up to her about 4 times a night whenever she cries just stand or go to the toilet because she can't do these thing for herself. It is very distressing for us. Please help, we live in a place where there is no vet and I do not know if I am doing the right thing.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.

What kind of dog is this?
How old is the dog?
Does she seem to circle and fall to one side mainly?
Does she have her head tilted to one side?
Check her eyes- are they moving back and forth or up and down rapidly or were they when this started?

Is she on any medications now?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

She is a ridgeback bull mastiff breed. She is 16 years old.

She circles to one side and obviously one back leg is weaker than the others. The two front feet seem to curl over and we have to place them properly for her. At first it was only one foot now it is both although one side does it more frequently than the other. When she starts to walk though she seems to put them properly 95% of the time, it is just when she is stationary.

Her head is tilted to one side.

Her eyes are pretty vacant but do not move up and down rapidly.

She wants to get up and move around quite a bit and moans to our attention.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

head tilted to one side.

circles and falls to one side mainly.. front feet curl over to start with, we have to put them right her but once she starts walking (with assistance) she usually puts them right. She seems to run into things.

her head is tilted to one side.

Eyes are not moving up and down just staring.

We did give her antibiotics we got from the Chemist here.....when this started, they are the same we have given her in the past - amoxycinal but we have stopped it becuase it is not doing anything but she seemed to be worse. She has been given those antibiotics when a injury became infected and it cleared it up.

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.

It sounds like your dog has Vestibular Disease. Common signs are: ataxia (incoordination), head tilt, nystagmus (rapid eye movement), nausea and vomiting.

Causes are:
1. Old dog Vestibular- unknown cause most commonly. These are older dogs and signs will have a sudden onset then get better and normalize over 1-2 weeks.

2. Brain Stem tumor- less common, signs will continue to get worse over a few days and usually progress to seizures. The only way to differentiate is with an MRI which is often not done since most dogs will recover from the old dog vestibular.

Meclizine (Antivert)- this is an anti-motion sickness drug most commonly used. I give 25 mg per dog once daily for 7-10 days. It may be over the counter so you can call your pharmacy and see if they have it.
Midazolam- valium type drug that I give an injection of once to help with the anxiety and it seems to resolve the signs a little faster.

While it's scary at first, most dogs with Vestibular disease will have a full recovery. You have to be patient and understand it can take up to 1-2 weeks. Good nursing care- bringing food/ water to her, keeping her from stairs, helping her to walk outside, keeping urine off her if she urinates where she lies- is key to these cases.

I would either go to an ER vet tonight for the meds or get her to your vet in the morning and get her started. The antibiotics are not likely to help here.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

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