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Tamra Hunt
Tamra Hunt, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26
Experience:  Mobile Veterinarian
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My dog Obie is 12, and just had his second vestibular

Customer Question

My dog Obie is 12, and just had his second vestibular attack, although the 2nd was not as bad as the 1st. The 1st was one month ago, almost to the day. In addition to this, he has a very smelly, oily patch on one shoulder. I can bath him and the oily patch is back the next day. The skin beneath the oil is fine, not red, no rash. Is this connected to the vestibular attacks? It may be my imagination but the amount of oil secreted on his shoulder seems to have gotten worse while we go through the vestibular episodes. Thanks for your help
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

I'm so sorry Obie is having these vestibular episodes. My old labrador had them as well, so I understand from an owner perspective as well.

I would be surprised if the skin lesion was related to the vestibular disease, but I've learned to never say never because it walks through the door. I suspect the skin lesion is dermatitis related and you may need to have him seen by a vet to determine what that is. Is there a possibility that he is laying down in something that then gets on his coat?

Also, is there something you did right before both episodes that could be a trigger? Any special treat etc?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No he is not laying in anything. He is never far from me so I would know. As well nothing similar between events That I know of. He was in a kennel the first time. This time he woke up from a morning nap with a severe head tilt and was wobbly
Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

Is there possibly a cyst on the skin that is draining onto the fur? I'm pretty sure your answer will be no, but is there any possibility that the oily spot is a topical flea prevention? Is the oily spot anywhere near his ear? Could it be drainage from his ear?

Are you treating the vestibular disease with any medications, or is he stable without medications? What regular medications is he on? And has he had blood work done, especially has he had his thyroid level checked? Low thyroid can contribute to vestibular disease.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have not found a cyst, I do not use topical flea treatment and the patch is too far from the ear for it to be ear drainage. As well, no blood work has been done yet. Obie is on Deramax for a torn ACL that he has had for 2 years. He was getting one-quarter of a pill on days when he would be getting more exercise than usual. How is low thyroid treated?
Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

I'm sorry for the delay in responding, I had a complete response typed out and then it wouldn't send. I'm starting over now.

Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

Again, I apologize for the delay, I've moved to a new computer!

If you do not see a cyst, don't use topical flea prevention, its not near his ear and he isn't laying in something, I don't know what could be causing that without seeing him.

Thyroid levels are determined by a blood test. If he is truly low thyroid, he will need a prescription from a veterinarian for a synthetic hormone replacement tablet. If it is determined that he is low thyroid, he will need periodic testing to be sure the prescription is the correct strength.

Low thyroid is not the primary cause of vestibular disease, but it can contribute. I've had about 75% of my patients with vestibular disease come back with low thyroid. I had a veterinary specialist that I trust say she believes some vestibular dogs adjust to the feeling of vertigo type symptoms and they never truly disappear. I have had some patients that this seems true for them. I however, have also had patients that have 1 episode and never again have another. Since its only been a month, I wonder if this was more of a flare of his first episode and he hasn't completely recovered yet. Since he's had 2 episodes, I would recommend getting senior blood work for him including thyroid (if it hasn't been done routinely before his episode) to see where he stands. Some vets do routine bloodwork with thyroid for their senior pets, so he may already have had it done.

Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

How is he doing today? Any better?

Expert:  Tamra Hunt replied 8 months ago.

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I hope Obie is doing better today and he has no further vestibular issues! Have a great weekend.