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new -with medical question

July 14th, 2005, 08:33 AM
Hi I am new here. I have a wonderful female wheaton terrier. We got her from a "breeder" in N.C in December of '04. She was supposed to be 2 years old. my vet esitmates her age at 4-5 years. She has had a lot of medical problems from the begining and we now figure her to be a rescue.

Yesterday - while we were on vacation- we recived a call from the kennel - they had taken her to the vet - who estimates her age to be around 7-8. Initally she was leaning over to one side and could not keep her balance. She was tested for lyme di. - negative. then they noticed that her eyes were moving rapidly. and she is very dizzy and nauseas. it is not an outer ear infection. it is some kind of self limiting inner ear condition called either jesticular diease or something close to that name. IT occurs in older dogs. very little is known about it. I have been checking on the net can not find it or anything like it.

can anyone help me. I'll be going to the vet's office in an hour - I understand this can take 2 weeks to 1 month to cure itself? is that right?

how do I know that this is not a stoke or a seizure or something?
m.f. :confused:

July 14th, 2005, 09:16 AM
by typing in "sudden rapid eye movement dogs" in google, this is what I found so far:

The condition most commonly confused with a stroke in dogs is peripheral
vestibular syndrome. This condition causes a sudden loss of balance. The
dog's eyes often have a rhythmic side to side or up and down motion known
as nystagmus. The dog's head may tilt to one side. There are a number of
other conditions that can also cause symptoms that might be confused with
stroke, so it is important to keep communicating with your vet to ensure
that he or she is aware of the progress of the problem.

July 14th, 2005, 09:18 AM
Unless your dog has had the bad luck to experience this condition, few people will have heard of Canine Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome, even though the complaint is not uncommon, especially amongst older dogs.

The symptoms are dramatic and sudden and are often confused with stroke or poisoning, even by some vets who may have had little experience with the illness. The fact is, Canine peripheral vestibular disease has nothing to do with malfunctions of the brain or a morbid appetite, but is caused by inflammation of the inner ear.

Usually there is little sign of any build up to the disease and one of its characteristics is its habit of striking out of the blue. The dog appears perfectly well and happy, eating its meals and taking its usual exercise when for no apparent reason it falls over. When it tries to regain its feet, it staggers in drunken circles, bangs into objects and tumbles down steps.

This alarming site is often made more dramatic by the dog vomiting, which once it has emptied its stomach, tends to be a frothy yellow colour. If you take a closer look you will notice that the eyes shoot rapidly from side to side, the head is cocked to one side and these, together with the drunken staggers and vomiting lead many owners to the fearful conclusion that their pet has been poisoned. Alternatively, when no evidence of any toxic substance can be found, they consider the possibility of stroke.

Neither poisoning or stroke is the cause of this condition, but the inner ear. Examination by a vet may reveal some kind of infection, but usually there is nothing to see within the ear itself and the cause of the onset of the disease usually remains unknown.

What is thought to happen is that the nerves of the inner ear connecting to the cerebellum, which controls balance and spatial orientation become inflamed causing the distressing symptoms previously described, but why this should happen is as yet unclear. There seems to be a link to age as the disease is much more common in old dogs, though younger animals that are around the middle age mark can be affected too.

Symptoms vary in their severity, not all dogs experiencing the same degree of vomiting and unbalanced co-ordination and this seems to correspond to the duration of the illness. Symptoms usually last between three days and three weeks, but the good news is, almost all dogs make a good recovery, although some my be left with a slight tilt of the head.

Relapses can occur, but are not common. Dogs of a more advanced age that were previously fit and healthy tend to suddenly show their age by refusing to take as much exercise as they used to and sometimes there will be a noticeable decline in eye sight and hearing. Whether this is due to the vestibular disease or is just part of the aging process is difficult to say, but many owners do comment on the decline of their pets senses after recovering from the disease.

There is no medical treatment for the condition, although some vets may prescribe antibiotics if they suspect the possibility of infection. What the owner needs to do is provide good nursing and plenty of tender loving care, since the dog is usually very confused and sorry for itself.

Alarming as the symptoms are for the owner, they are terrifying for the dog who doesnít understand why the world has suddenly started spinning in such a crazy fashion. Usually it seeks the sanctity of its bed and refuses all food and drink. Any attempt to stand or walk precipitates vomiting.

Hand feeding with water and easily nibbled food is the order of the day, although donít be surprised, if your dog is severely effected, it doesnít eat for a week. It is also appreciated by the invalid if you offer some support when it does begin to venture back on its feet.

The few dogs that do not quite make a full recovery quickly learn to cope with the head tilt and any unsteadiness and are able to enjoy a quality life which should last to its allotted span.

These five tips should help you to spot vestibular disease, but always get your pet checked by a qualified vet at the onset as there can be other more serious reasons for the symptoms.

1. Dog is perfectly well then begins to stagger and fall about.

2. Dog vomits.

3. Eyes shoot from side to side in a rhythmic action.

4. Head is tilted to one side.

5. Refuses food and or water

If any of these symptoms persist beyond the three week mark then the chances are that this is not Canine Vestibular Syndrome. Other afflictions such as cancer, brain tumors, and inner ear infections can all produce similar symptoms but do not fade with time.

July 14th, 2005, 02:52 PM
yes the name of the disease is vestibular syndrome. I just got back from the vet's office- dog in hand- well in my arms to be more exact. She has taken fluids yesterday and today via IV. and she will actually take some mushed up food if I put it on her tongue. she is able to swallow. After seeing me and hearing my voice and smelling me she perked up a bit. the vet confirmed that she was definitely better than this am.

She has tried to lift up her head and almost sat up once- but she could not sustain the position. I'll be turning her every 4 hrs or so - so that she does not develop a bed sore/pressure sore.

I will stay with her the night and then bring her back to the vet in the am- we want to prevent dehydration at all costs- so she will be on IV again tomorrow.

If fell rally stongly that if she improves only a little over night- that she will- with time- make a good recovery.

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness and support - who ever you are.- regards- m.f.

Lucky Rescue
July 14th, 2005, 03:20 PM
I"m so sorry you got ripped off by a disreputable and fraudulent breeder, but am glad this poor dog landed with such a loving and caring person.

Please let us know how your girl does!

July 14th, 2005, 03:30 PM
take care of your little one! You're a good mommy! The good news is that it is a problem that will be corrected with time and love. Keep us posted :o

July 14th, 2005, 03:34 PM
How awful for you, mfalk! I am glad you at least know what you are dealing with now -- and you have some course of action. Good luck with her. She's very lucky to have you. Please DO keep us updated!!!

:grouphug: Hugs.

July 15th, 2005, 12:54 PM
:o :o Thanks!- Yes I saw this exact site yesterday- before I received your email/posting.

Callie ( my dog) took a tiny bit of food from me last night in addtion to some rebound liquid. she sat up 2 times-briefly and turned around once also. During the night she managed to get herself from her open ben across the room, and into her crate where she sletp for the remainder ofthe night. I believe these are all good signs.

I was not able to get her to eat or drink this am and she seems quite still in her neck. she is back at the vet's now receiveing more IV electrolytes et al. I aksed them to check out the stiffnesff in her neck and try to elivate her pain from that, if possible.

She is definitley more bright eyed and alert today than yesterday. I'm doing better today also. I really reacted stongly when I first saw her at the vet's. We had been on the other side of the country when we got the news and it took until midnight Wed to get home. after spending a part of the day and night with her last night - I ffel a lot more positive about her condition today.

The support on the net has been FABULOUS. THANKS. IT has been especially difficult since my husband had to leave again on business this am, and our son is still away at camp.
- regards- m.f.

July 15th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Hang in there, kiddo! You 2 are gonna bond like never before! This is a good thing. Callie really needs you now, and you are right there by her side. And we are right here with you too! :grouphug:

July 15th, 2005, 02:46 PM
just got an update call from Callie's vet- not such good news.
I just got a call the vet. they were doing the regular daily check on her including simple neurological tests. While she is responding to voice commands- lifting her head when you call her name. she is also responding to deep pain stimulation -but only on her right side- both front and back. her left side is very little response to deep pain stimulus. The left side has been the problem from the onset- she turns only to the left, her head tilts to the left, and she is stiff on the left side.

The vet has referred us to a neurological specialist. I currently have a consultation appointment on the 27th of July- that was the first available. IF an MRI is required- an I suspect it will be- the cost is $1,800 - 2,000- we most likely will NOT do that.

I am looking up info on the web regarding alternative exams- rare earth x-rays and ultra sound with color flow. I'll see what that yields in terms of availabilty and cost. Needless to say we know about pet insurance - but did not take any out. I know better for the future.
I am hoping between now and the appointment time she will improve enough to avoid other choices. But I will not let her suffer.
wish us luck- let me know your thoughts.-m.f.

July 15th, 2005, 02:54 PM
hang in there......according to the long post that outlines the condition, most dogs make a full recovery, some slower than others, but some are left with a head tilt. Maybe, just maybe, Callie will recoup with a little time and patience. Sorry that things are taking a turn, but I have my fingers crossed. Don't give up! Do what you have to do, what you can manage to do and keep strong. We are rootin' for ya! :o

Lucky Rescue
July 15th, 2005, 10:04 PM
I have no advice, just sending good wishes to you both!!

July 17th, 2005, 04:31 PM
Dear friends:
Thank you ( all of you) once again for all you good thoughts, wishes , prayers and encouragement- it has meant so much to me/us.

From the words I chose for the "title" I know that you understand that things have come to a conslusion. I stayed with Callie all of Friday night and into the early hours of the AM.
I told her things were up to her- she should just give me a sign and let me know her wants. I told her I would accept whatever. I just wanted her to not be in pain.

I fell asleep for a few hours and awoke at 5 AM to check on her. Her breathing was very laborded, she was drooling things other than saliva and clearly was in a great deal of pain- yet she managed to wag her tail a bit at the site of me. I had made my peace with her and the situation before falling off to sleep. I spoke with my husband and asked him to say good bye- really good bye to her and to wait for me until I returned from the vet's office.

The Vet- a VERY kind and gentle man- took one look at her in the back of my car- and my face - and knew. He was very compassionate and gentle when he carried her. I told him taht we made peace with things and that we agreed that Callie should not be in any pain- . During his final examination of her he came to the conclusion that he had a rather rare case of canine meningitis- this - I know - is incurrable - and clearly was rather painful. He agreed with our decision, and let me stay with her during the procedure to assist in her journey.

I know that she would not have made it through another 48 hours and this really was best.

The really hard part is yet to come. We will be picking up our son from camp a week from today(Sunday). He does not know of Callie's most recent and sever illness(es). We thought it best not to worry him when we did not know the confilrmed diagnosis and potential outcome. Also our contact with him at camp is only through written mail. So Sunday after we laod the car and leave the camp we will have to talk to him. He was very attached to her- he is an only child and has been so in love and thrilled with her in his life! He will be 15 at the end of August. I hope he does not read things the wrong way- "she should not have been in a kennel".. or I should not have gone away to camp".. or "You and Dad should not have gone away".. but I think with time - the great healer- he will be ok.

I hope to get to know you in the future- when after a time of closure we will consider a new puppy. The vet advised us to wait aabout 3 monthes at minimum. We will now only use the AKC to find another wheaton- but it will be a puppy- so we know the age and health et al. Also I will fly to whereever to preview the puppy prior to any coming home. This will- I hope help us a lot.

Again, dear friends- thank you. m.f.

July 17th, 2005, 05:51 PM
Aw that is so sad. Thank you for doing your best. :sorry: :grouphug:

July 17th, 2005, 06:36 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. :sorry:


Lucky Rescue
July 17th, 2005, 06:55 PM
I am so very sorry to hear this.:(

Maybe you can tell your son that it was fate that Callie came into your lives, and that she got to know what a loving and caring home is like before she went to the Bridge.

So many dogs live and die never knowing that. I realize that wont' ease your pain but at least Callie went knowing she was loved.

She will be missed and will live forever in your hearts.

Please come back anytime. We are good listeners!