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Off-Balance Dog??

September 25th, 2006, 02:04 PM
Hello, Iím a new member who came across your site while doing research for my dogs behavior.

My dog keeps stumbling/falling. She looks off balance; sort of intoxicated is all I can think of to describe her behavior when walking. Other than being off balance the rest of her behavior is "normal". She is an 11yr old (12 in 3 days) Keeshond in otherwise good health. There wasn't any specific incident that started this, she was actually napping and started this behavior when she woke up. She does seem to stumble a bit to her left. If I make her stand, and lift up on her paws so she has to move her leg to get flat footed again she is fine with all four legs.

We took her to the vets immediately when this happened Friday. 4 hours, and $600 later and we didn't get an answer. Blood tests came back ok, but she had high cholesterol and a high liver enzyme. The vet wasn't worried about the levels as they relate to her off balance behavior, but said we'll worry about them later. They took x-rays of her chest to check heart and lungs and they looked OK. When we left they gave us some anti-inflammatory drug and pain killers. The vet was thinking possible disc or pinched nerve issue, so as a first try she gave us the meds to see if it helped. They said if it doesn't the next step would be the neurologist. There doesnít appear to be any pain issue, just this look on her face wondering why she canít stay stable. Thanks for any insight!

September 25th, 2006, 02:32 PM
If she's acting intoxicated, maybe she needs to go into rehab :p

Ok, joking aside...did your vet x-ray the leg joints? Or could it be osteoporosis-like condition for dogs (afterall, your girl is going to be 12 really soon).

September 25th, 2006, 02:45 PM
in humans, one of the first things we would check for is an inner ear infection - affects balance, makes you feel "intoxicated" and unable to walk normally, you get dizzy and nauseous sometimes too... it can happen overnight. I assumed the vet checked for this? :confused: poor girl. old age sucks!

September 25th, 2006, 04:19 PM
I may be way off here, but what about a stroke?? I guess the neurologist would be the one to find that out.
:grouphug: Sorry that you are going through this.

September 25th, 2006, 05:12 PM
This sounds a lot like vestibular syndrome, which can happen in older dogs. It is related to the inner ear. Has your vet mentioned this at all, as it should be one of the first things to rule out?

September 25th, 2006, 06:26 PM
I think you need to head to the vet. Whatever it is, it's probably not pleasant at all for the dog.

September 25th, 2006, 07:28 PM
I think you should ask your vet to refer you to the neurologist and the sooner the better. :dog:

September 26th, 2006, 05:51 PM
I am pretty sure she said she has already
seen the vet.

September 26th, 2006, 07:06 PM
The vet, yes, but not a neurologist.

September 27th, 2006, 10:18 AM
Thank you all for your responses. She is doing better than she was when it happened Friday, at least she doesn't collapse any longer which was scary. She will lose her balance and still fall sometimes if not on stable (carpet, grass...) footing. Now that she has settled, you can tell it's her left side that's affected, it's mild and you might not notice it if you watch her and are not looking for it. Her head will tilt slightly to the left if she's not focused, and you can notice looking closely that her left eye doesn't shut all the way and the left nostril doesn't really move when she's breathing.

So, we got into the neurologist yesterday to take a look at her. They did an MRI, spinal tap, urine analysis, and took blood for a work-up. The big sigh was the neurologist didn't find any tumors :pray: , no signs of a stroke, and not signs of an ear infection. They still have to analyze the blood and spinal fluid and will get back to us today. At this point her best educated guess is a mild stroke, since 4 days had passed since she saw her they said it might not be recognizable as it would have been on day one. They found protein in her urine to partly back this theory, and should know more after the blood and spinal fluid is analyzed. They also said her cholesterol was still high, and they sent out to Michigan State Vet School to get a Thyroid profile which takes a couple weeks and see if this is causing the cholesterol. Basically figure out what caused the stroke and not let it happen again.

Sorry this is so long.....but we are very relieved it isn't anything terminal. Since it was rather mild she also said just about a full recovery is likely, and the best thing for her is to let her out on solid stable ground to walk around and get her bearings again to work it all out. I'll post an update after we get all the results, hopefully no bad news.

Again thank you all!!!

September 27th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Thanks for the update. I'm glad it's nothing really major so far.:grouphug: Good luck for a diagnosis.:fingerscr

September 27th, 2006, 11:39 AM
Please keep us posted. I also have a Spitz - but an Eskimo - and as a former mini Dachshund Mommy thought the worst when I read about the nned for your dog to replace foot on the floor - that being one of the first signs of a Dachshund about to suffer a disc related event. First thought that came to me was a Neuro to check for signs of disc problems or a stroke. Keeshond's are lovely dogs - met one 3 times recently - she attended my dog's weekly socialization while staying with her Mom's friend. Love the colouring - I am jealous - keeping a not so dainty dog white is hard. Personality wise, very sweet - the most mild mannered of the Spitz breed - and a Spitz who actually likes other Spitz'! I was worried at first as other Eskies/Spitz don't like my guy. But the 2 of them had the same "wonderful" bark and worked as a team in going after cookies. Really hope that your pup is okay.

September 27th, 2006, 05:15 PM
Glad to hear it wasn't anything too serious and hope the rest of the results are good news. :fingerscr