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I have a 12-year old, neutered chihuahua mix, who has been…

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I have a 12-year...

I have a 12-year old, neutered chihuahua mix, who has been in pretty good health. Last night he started pacing around 4 am, I took him outside and noticed he intermittently looses balance,almost falling over, as if his legs are weak. He was swaying left and shaking his head, left ear was asymmetrical. He was salivating more than usual and might have had a slight tremor. He got better as the day went by. Drinking and eating. Interested in treats but still having balance issues. Tonight he keeps panting and digging his bed. I can see he is in comfortable. What can be wrong with him? I think my parents described he had a similar episode a few weeks ago but the vet said it could have been a back injury. Please help.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name and age?

Nikki. He is 12

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Nikki?

No. He’s been pretty healthy until recently

Submitted: 23 days ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
4/1/2018
Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 23 days ago
Dr Eli
Dr Eli, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,250
Experience: 40 years of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
Verified

Hi, sorry Nikki is having this problem. The symptoms you describe could be from a mild seizure. Seizures can be caused by a problem in the brain or it could be from a heart condition which can create syncope a condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Also, as your veterinarian said, these symptoms can be caused by pain in the spine which affects the normal use of the legs. I recommend taking Nikki to your vet again for a recheck to evaluate his heart and his neurological status.

Thank you for the question, I hope this information helps.

Eli Williams, DVM

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
How long would I expect symptoms related to a mild seizure to last? He’s been exhibiting this behavior for almost 24 hours now.
Also, if it is related to his heart, is there anything I can do to make him feel better tonight? It is past midnight and I don’t think I can get him to a vet any earlier than tomorrow morning.
Customer reply replied 23 days ago
Also, what diagnostics would he benefit from when I take him to the vet tomorrow? He had a recent senior panel which was normal. Can his symptoms be related to an infection? Like an ear infection (since he was shaking his head/ left ear and tilting it)
Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 23 days ago

An ear infection can cause these symptoms if the middle or inner ear is involved. This produces inflammation in the vestibular apparatus which controls balance. It is best to restrict exercise by confining to a crate or very small room until you can take him to your vet. If the symptoms have been going on for 24 hours, I doubt it is related to seizures, but more likely ear related.

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
Thank you so much. If it is a brain tumor, would the onset of symptoms be this rapid? Or more gradual?
Also, I gave him Metacam and he seemed to have calmed down a little.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 23 days ago

With a brain tumor, symptoms can be rapid and difficult to control. If metacam helped, it probably did so by reducing the inflammation involving the ear

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 22 days ago

Good morning,

I hope Nikki is feeling better today and I hope my answer helped, because that is what we are here for. Please rate my answer.

Thank you

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Thank you for your help. Nikki actually had 2 seizures last night and we ended up going to the ER. He was started on Keppra and prednisolone. He seems a bit better tonight. I’m hoping the medicine will prevent him from having more seizures and control it for a while.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr Eli, Veterinarian replied 21 days ago

Thank you for the update, That combination of meds is good and will hopefully help Nikki feel better

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