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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19829
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Our Chihuahua, Lucy, is 6 years old. 2 1/2 weeks ago Lucy

Customer Question

Our Chihuahua, Lucy, is 6 years old. 2 1/2 weeks ago Lucy had trouble standing, she was lethargic and she held her neck in a funny, upraised position. we took her to the vet. The vet kept her for 3 days, dealt with her dehydration and ran some tests. they could not pinpoint the cause and sent her home with antibiotics and steroids. the medication was finished last Thursday. On Sunday, Lucy began walking sideways and had trouble walking. Monday morning before returning to the vet, Lucy was worse; still walking sideways, more trouble walking, legs farther apart than normal, eyes moving back and forth, swaying, going in a circle, standing or laying and holding head at a tilt. the vet thinks meningitis or brain tumor. Can't really afford $8k for a neurologist. In lieu of that, vet recommends steroid treatment. Is there something else we should be looking at or doing?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
While a tumor, meningitis and even stroke can cause the symptoms you are seeing, it might also be vestibular disease. They sympotoms fit.
Symptoms include standing with legs spread out, swaying, head tilt, abnormal eye movement, walking sideways, falling over and may include vomiting. since the disruption of the vestibular system causes nausea often a dog won't eat properly or drink leading to the dehydration, etc. There are a few things that can cause this condition such as an ear infection, some medications and old age. Have your Vet check your dog for this condition.
Here are some great sites on this condition:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_vestibular_disease.html
http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/vestibular.html
The good news is that if this is the problem and it is due to old age, the condition normally resolves itself over a few weeks. Your vet will most likely prescribe dramamine or bonine to help with the symptoms. You can read about dramamine and bonine usage, precautions and dosage here:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/dimenhydrinate-dramamine/page1.aspx
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/meclizine-bonine-antivert/page1.aspx
Since your vet is suggesting a neurologist, call and ask if you can try bonine or dramamine to see if vestibular disease might be a possibility. Unfortunately, vets do fail to diagnose this a lot of the time.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.