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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My pitbull dog is acting very strange since sunday. the first

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My pitbull dog is acting very strange since sunday. the first time we were at the sofa and it seems like he woke up from a nightmare but couldnt get into his feet. Second time was the same and he tried to walk but his feet didnt respond for minutes, his body kept trembling and he started with the crazy eyes for the next minutes. we took him to our local vet and his diagnostic after an X-ray exam of the column was that he was in pain because the lower discs of the dogs column were very separated from each other. She gave him pain killers and anti-inflamatory medicine. after a few days (yesterday night) the crisis was longer and severe becuase he woke up at 5:00 AM with the same symtoms but this time he was very nervus, the eyes went crazy, had difficulty to walk and looked like he had difficulty to see. we took him to the vet again were she said that probably a severe infection is affecting the spine. what do you think before we take him to the hospital which is 200 miles away from were we are?
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

It sounds like your dog may have Vestibular Disease. The vestibular system is the connection from the brain stem to the inner ear and it coordinates balance. Vestibular disease is a disruption in that pathway.

The cause in dogs is typically unknown and we call it old dog vestibular. Rarely it is caused by a brain stem tumor. The typical signs we see are: incoordination, head tilt, nystagmus (rapid eye movement), falling, circling, rolling and nausea.

The good news is that old dog vestibular disease will usually resolve slowly over 7-10 days with no specific therapy. I usually put them on Meclizine (Antivert) to help with the nausea and I think it helps to resolve the signs faster than with no therapy. The dose I use is 25 mg once daily. Meclizine is available over the counter at most human drug stores. I would try getting this and seeing if it helps lessen the episodes that he's having.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

does these episodes come with an abrupt wake up and trying to walk but legs didnt respond after minutes??...the first ones were like this and after 10 or 15 min he was like nothing happened, but the one this morning lasted hours because the dog was like in a very nervus state but when the other dog went out to the garden he went also, but trembling and kind of dissy and got back to his bed to laid down and the crazy eyes.

Usually they appear quite rapidly and they take days to recover. The one thing that is strange with your dog is the fact that they come and go. Typically we'll see the signs start and then they slowly get better over time. They don't all present this way though, and it sure sounds like you're seeing nystagmus with the eyes that is a classic sign of vestibular.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Manolo is still in the same condition as this morning. My wife said that the Vet oppinion was that it could be a virus affecting the brain or the column discs pressing a nerve to the brain

It doesn't sound like a disc herniation. Those shouldn't cause any issues with the eyes.

It could be an infection in the brain and brain stem- basically encephalitis/ meningitis. A round of antibiotics like Clindamycin or Baytril that can get past the blood brain barrier would be a decent idea. I'm not sold that it's a brain infection yet, but it doesn't hurt to cover your bases with the antibiotics.

If you want to know for sure what's going on, then an MRI and CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) tap would be needed. You can get that done with a veterinary neurologist if desired.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!...we will take him to san antonio and get an MRI and CSF ASAP