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Old 07-06-2016, 02:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Silly old dog

I haven't talked much about my puppy on here. By puppy I mean little old lady. We think she's 9ish...heavy on the ish. We've had her a little over a year. She was from a nearby rescue. We think she's maybe some sort of shepherd mix, but who knows? We had a kind of a rough start with her. My husband has never had a dog and it's been a long time for me and frankly I've never had an old dog that I didn't raise before. It took us a while to figure out how to communicate with each other, but I think we're pretty good now. She tells us when she needs out and isn't too demanding when it comes to walkies. She still has a weakness for digging in the garbage, but we're working on it.

Anyway, the whole reason I'm mentioning it is because a couple of weeks ago we noticed that she was holding her head tilted to the right. Her clumsiness also suddenly increased. We thought maybe it was just her being old (frankly she doesn't see well anyway. she has cataracts in both eyes and nuclear sclerosis) so we watched it for a week. After a week it really wasn't worse, but it definitely wasn't better. So I called the vet and made an appointment. The appointment was a week later. During the week waiting to go to the vet, it did start to get worse. She started slipping on the linoleum in the kitchen more, started tripping over little things and no things and got to the point where she was falling over for no reason just standing still. Well, today was vet day. We were really hoping it was just an ear infection. No dice. The vet thinks it's neurological. Maybe a stroke. Great. We did blood work (expensive, ugh) just to rule out as much as we could. Blood work came back looking normal. Her blood sugar was a teensy bit low, but such a small amount it was barely worth mentioning. So now we have a referral to the neurologist. Which is in the next town an hour away. Ugh.

At this point, she's still eating and drinking and relieving herself. She still seeks attention and enjoys treats and scritches. She doesn't seem to be in any pain beyond whacking her head on the coffee table now and again. The vet thinks it's possible she could adjust to whatever the actual problem is and start to get better. Essentially her world is on it's side and she hasn't figured out how to cope with that. It could get better. It could get worse. It might not change for a long time. We just don't know.

Right now, we're just going to watch her. We're not sure if getting her fully diagnosed would be worth the stress or the expense. Getting an answer potentially might not result in a cure. I feel a little like I've failed her because I can't fix her. If she were younger I might feel more compelled to try harder, but it's hard to justify on an animal that under the best circumstances may only have a few more years anyway. I love the goofy ball of fuzz and I'm going to make sure she's happy and comfortable. I just needed to tell someone what's going through my head about it. If you made it this far, thanks for reading
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Aww, the poor puppy. I hope she recovers. I guess it happens more commonly than we think. My boyfriend's family's rescue golden just went through the exact same thing. Tilted head, loss of control, general weirdness. They took him in and everything was normal. He was booked to see the neurologist the following week, but he had another seizure before his appointment. The vet told us that if they only have one seizure or stroke the chance of recovery or at least stability is quite good. When there's a series of them, that's when you're in trouble. I'm really hoping she does alright now for you.

In the meantime, there are companies making rubber booties for dogs with slippy feet or loss of control. They're about $5 a pair and great on linoleum. If you think she'd tolerate shoes, it might be worth looking into.

Sending you both good vibes and hoping she doesn't get worse. I'd say Oz is sending good vibes too, but that's actually just him snoring.
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry your puppy is dealing with this. My old lady had the same problem last fall, though not quite as bad. Her balance was off and she circled badly for a couple weeks. It started getting a little better at that point, but still had the tilted head, poor balance, and had a ton of trouble trying to get around anywhere. It's so hard to watch them try to manage! I hope your pup adjusts soon, or gets better.

Another thing that might help her cope - there's a product called *something* Halo, for blind dogs. It's a vest with a wire that goes around the dog's head, several inches out. It's meant to bump into furniture, walls, etc. first, to warn your dog they're there & protect their head. They were a little expensive, but might be worth the purchase to help her navigate, especially if she has bad eyesight on top of the balance issues.
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Last edited by Lilysmommy; 07-07-2016 at 08:09 PM.
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