Originally Posted by Dr Lee
If I am reading the post correctly, your dog has had two episodes of head trauma (one horse, one other) and now has recurrent episodes of disorientation/lack of coordination/difficulty standing. Is this correct? Or is he having recurrent head trauma by running into things etc... which are each associated with the disorientation etc...
Thanks for your reply.
The initial trauma was a kick by a horse, which would not have been on top of the head but on the cheek as it caused a puncture from his tooth. When the first "episode" occurred I really can't say if he took another tap from a hoof or possibly got bumped around by the other dogs. When I have an armful of hay to spread around I can't always see where all 8 dogs are and exactly what they're up to. I didn't see anything happen, but that doesn't mean it didn't. I discovered him at my feet when I almost tripped over him and he couldn't seem to stand up and walk properly. I thought he had hurt his back or hips.
The next time anything like that happened was several months later and I hate to say it but I brought it on by accident. I had taken him out to help me put the ducks away and he was moving them too fast, not paying attention to my commands. I used my stock stick (a narrow fibreglass rod) to whack the ground to break his focus and get his attention but he was moving so fast he ran into it as I brought it down to the ground. I'm not sure if it caught the bridge of his nose or the top of his head, but he ran into the coop and when I tried to call him out he was having difficulty standing and walking for a few minutes, and then carried on as normal again.
A few weeks later he was exhibiting a similar kind of lack of co-ordination and I suspect he may have been run into one of the gateposts when exiting the backyard. I say "been run into", not "run into" because when 8 dogs rush out for their daily run it's pretty much chaos, a mad dash to get out and run/wrestle/play fight/growl...etc. It looks and sounds pretty wild for the first few minutes until they burn off that initial burst of energy. I think he probably got crowded into a post on the way out.
If there was any kind of cardiac issue, wouldn't he experience problems with the rigours of dogsledding? I race my dogs in the 4 mile sprint classes and train them over longer distances than that. They can be running between 13mph to over 20 mph during a race and come in wanting more. On longer runs they travel slower but we've done up to 10 mile trips with a loaded sled and he's had no problems with that either. He's an excellent working dog, both on the sled and for herding/goose control work, he's got endless energy and seems to be perfectly fit and healthy, as long as he doesn't get bumped on the head.