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Old June 21st, 2009, 10:02 PM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Dr. Lee?

Just wondering if you might have any ideas about the following situation. One of my border collies has had a previous head trauma (kick in the head by a horse). At that time his tooth punctured his cheek but he carried on as normal (not even a yelp) and other than spitting out some blood he was fine. I forget now whether that was early this past winter or the one before. Anyhow, a couple of times since then (not immediately but several months later), he's become temporarily uncoordinated or unbalanced, for a very short time (10-20 minutes later he's back to normal). The first time it happened I almost tripped over him while I was putting out hay for the horses, he was at my feet where he never usually is and I found him to have some trouble getting up and around. I didn't see him take another kick and it didn't occur to me that it could be head-related, I thought it was his back or hips. About a month ago I know he got knocked on the head (not by horses this time) and he was the same again, difficulty standing and balancing for a very short time. During these times he is completely aware of his surroundings and me, will focus his eyes on me and I haven't noticed anything unusual about his pupils. It happened again tonight and I'm not sure what brought it on. When I opened up the backyard gate to let the dogs out to the field for a run and some frisbee they all rushed out and it's possible that he got bumped by one of the other dogs or bumped into one of the gates in the mad dash out to the field. Again, a short time later he was completely back to his usual self and was running around the back yard again playing with the other dogs. He's a very energetic, active dog. He's a working sled dog and goose control dog and has no problem with any of these activities. I've spoken briefly with my vet about this situation the last time it happened but she didn't suggest running any tests, (she knows with the number of dogs I have I have to be conservative in treatments whenever possible due to finances) and seeing as he recovers so quickly and these episodes seem to be trauma related, not just random (basically if I can prevent him from getting bumped in the head I can hopefully prevent this from happening). She did say that it didn't sound like grand mal seizures. Just wondering if you have any further ideas? Thanks.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 12:27 AM
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bumping up
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Old July 21st, 2009, 12:35 AM
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Gail have you pm'd the thread link to Dr Lee? - that way he'll see it for sure
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Old July 21st, 2009, 12:59 AM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by growler View Post
Gail have you pm'd the thread link to Dr Lee? - that way he'll see it for sure
No I haven't. Thanks for the suggestion
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Old July 21st, 2009, 10:36 AM
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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...

If it is the former, then I would think that this is secondary to the initial trauma and perhaps aggravated by the second trauma. Whether it is cervical instability, inner ear damage or cerebral damage, only MRI and radiographs with a neurologist will be able to determine this. Recommendation would be use of a halter versus a collar when leashed, fish oils (omega 3 fatty acids can help stabalize nerve cell membranes), consider holistic antioxidants or prescription diet antioxidants etc..., maintain good body weight and monitor. If the episodes become more frequent or severe, then anticonvulsant medications such as phenobarbitol, keppra, gabapentin or KBr might be considered.

If the latter is true then I would think of having his eyes evaluated by an ophthalmologist to rule out any ocular disease which may be coming and going in clinical signs. Blood pressure to rule out hypertension. ECG and heart auscultation to rule out cardiac disease (make sure we do not have partial syncopal (fainting) episodes). And then again we are back to MRI/skull radiographs to rule out inner ear disease and cerebral disease. Similar recommendations here would apply other than, if the episodes worsen - before we start anticonvulsant medications - rule out ocular and cardiovascular disease first.

I hope this helps.

Again - everyone is free to PM me.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 12:02 PM
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Awesome I didn't realize we had a vet here we could message!!!
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 12:20 AM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Lee View Post

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.
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Last edited by Gail P; July 22nd, 2009 at 12:32 AM.
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