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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My dog is walking hes drunk or something. Loses

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My dog is walking he's drunk or something. Loses his balance & legs go funny & then he falls down. He just started doing this. I am planning to take him in tomorrow if it still continues.
How old is your dog?
Is he having any vomiting?
Is he drooling at all?
Is he holding his head tilted to one side?
If you hold his head steady in your hands, and carefully look at his his eyeballs seem to be shaking back and forth rapidly (almost like the eyes have a tremor)?

Dr. K
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

About 12 yrs old

No vomiting

no drooling

no tilted head (that I notice)

no shaking eyeballs

eats & drinks fine....

Is he having periods where he is walking normally...or is he pretty much walking like he is drunk and dizzy all of the time?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.


It only happens occasionally. Most of the time he walks fine


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

He walks fine for awhile & then starts to stumble


What you are describing is something called ataxia. This can have many causes, and it generally comes in three different varieties. From what you are describing, it sounds like your dog is having a proprioceptive disorder. This is usually caused by a problem with the spinal cord. This can be from infection, inflammation, spinal injury, intervertebral disk disease, or cancer. The most something called intervertebral disk disease.
Basically, what happens is that one or more of the cushions (disks) inbetween the dogs vertebrae has protruded into the spinal canal and is impinging on the spinal cord. This can cause signs that are mild and limited to pain, or it can be severe enough to cause complete paralysis and loss of sensation in the limbs. Time is of the essence with treating this disease, so he should be taken to an emergency clinic immediately to be evaluated and to be started on steroids to stop the inflammation in his spinal cord. In some dogs, steroids for several weeks and very strict cage rest can stop the progression and return the dog to normal (or close to normal) function. In other cases, surgery is necessary to correct the problem. This is usually done by a specialist in veterinary surgery at a referral center or college of veterinary medicine.

I am attaching some client information handouts that I use in my practice for you to read. One is about the different causes of ataxia, and the other is about IVD. I hope that you find them useful.

Click Here

Click Here 2

I hope that this information is of help to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your dog. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Dr. K

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