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Cher, Dog Caregiver--Extensive Experience
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 21333
Experience:  Extensive Experience Caring for Canines; Specializing in behavior and health concerns.
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My dog is acting like he is drunk. Hes unsteady on his feet

Resolved Question:

My dog is acting like he is 'drunk'. He's unsteady on his feet - can barley walk or stand on his own. We tried to give him some water, but he attacks anything that goes near his face, like he doesn't know what it is.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.

From your description, your dog may have developed a condition called Vestibular Syndrome, which adversely affects the equilibrium/balance, makes the dog feel dizzy, and causes him to walk like he's drunk. This can also lead to nausea and a generally uncomfortable feeling.

This symptom may also indicate ingestion of antifreeze, which is very toxic, and if your dog appears disoriented as well, he might have suffered a stroke or other brain trauma.

It would be a good idea to have your dog evaluated and treated by a vet, immediately. If it's after hours for you now, bring him to the nearest ER vet center for assessment and treatment.

I hope all will be well with your dog.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My husband said his heart rate sounds normal and so does his breathing. He listened to his stomach and he said it sounded like there were lots of air bubbles. We don't have ant antifreeze in the garage (where he was) and I didn't see any chew marks on anything. I'm not sure if any of this makes a difference...just curious.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I also forgot to add that his pupils are dialated, but not uneven.
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hello again, and thanks for your reply.

I'm glad you don't think there was any way he could have gotten into antifreeze, but if it and/or something like motor oil leaked from under the car, he could have licked it from the floor in the garage.

Dilated pupils may indicate various different things. Toxic ingestion is one, trauma to the head or eyes is another, a stroke, burst blood vessel in the brain or high blood pressure are a few causes. If he's in pain and/or frightened, this can also cause his pupils to be dilated. His vision may be affected, and that's why he was uncomfortable when something was coming at his face.

If his stomach is making a lot of gurgling noises and it sounds like he has gas, this could be due to some non-food item he ingested or he could have bloat, a serious condition in dogs. If his stomach is not swollen, it's probably not bloat, but does bear further investigation.

I'm sure you realize it's very difficult to tell you exactly what's causing your dog's symptoms, without a hands-on examination. I can only suggest some causes, but an in-person exam and lab work will tell the vet more.

I hope you're able to get him to an ER vet center as soon as possible, so that he can be diagnosed and treated. Would you please let me know how he's doing and what the vet's findings are? Thanks!

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