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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30417
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dog is a 13 yr old Russell/Beagle mix. Started acting funny

Customer Question

Dog is a 13 yr old ***** *****/Beagle mix. Started acting funny last night. Staggering, head tilting, skittish with vomiting.. I found a few ticks on her, so I removed them & gave her a bath, but she won't drink or eat.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Russell?
Customer: Just that she is a house dog & only goes outside to use the potty.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your dog. You appear to be describing a vestibular (balance) disorder which is demonstrated by any combination of a head tilt, ataxia ("drunken sailor"), circling, nystagmus (eyes flicking back and forth), and nausea/vomiting. The idiopathic ("old dog") vestibular disorder is most common and has the best prognosis for recovery. Most dogs improve unaided within a few days and can normalize within a few weeks. A persistent head tilt is possible. Her vet will want to rule out a peripheral vestibular disorder involving your dog's inner/middle ear(s), as well as a central vestibular disorder involving her cerebellum or brainstem. A thorough physical and neurologic exam often necessitating X-rays, CT or MRI is needed and so referral to a specialist veterinary neurologist might be suggested by her vet.

No specific therapy is known for the idiopathic form but I will prescribe an anti-nausea drug if vomiting/nausea prevents eating. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.