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Vestibular disease prevention something else?(7 Posts)
This may be long so I apologise in advance.
My 8 and half year old German shepherd is under the weather at the moment. She’s had bouts previously of a slight head tilt and nausea with vomiting but is usually short lived (a day or two). However 3 weeks ago she was off her food and being sick, after a few days i called the vets and made an appointment but cancelled it after she recovered quite quickly and started eating well again.
Last week very suddenly she developed a head tilt and seems a little unbalanced (fell over when running on laminate a few times). So I took her to the vets on Wednesday. Now here’s the problem. She’s is extremely aggressive at the vets, she usually grumbles and pulls away but generally tolerates it but on this occasion she was horrendous that even the reception staff came in the room to check on the vet she was that bad (to be fair the vet was scared which I don’t think helped. My dog was muzzled). So her ear was not checked and I was asked to manipulate her legs to check her balance. She was a little unbalanced when I lifted the opposite leg to the tilt but otherwise fine. Her ears look clear, no head shaking, scratching or foul smell. The vet has given her an anti biotic injection and anti inflammatory meds to be taken twice a day to rule out infection.
I have to take her back on Monday if no improvement and as of yet there is none. She fell off the sofa last night and stumbled when getting into the boot of the car.
She’s eating but not with as much enthusiasm as usual. There is no major uncoordination or flickering of her eyes.
Vet would like to refer for an mri. I suppose what I’m asking is has anyone experienced anything similar? Most reading I have done says vestibular flare ups only usually last a few days but we are now into a week and a half.
I’m worried sick about my girl .
Sorry title was supposed to say vestibular disease or something else
If your large dog is aggressive at the vets your going to need to manage your expectations for care or be willing to take the risks of full sedation for a full work up.
Large aggressive dogs are often fearful defensive dogs who are scared out of their wits at the vets and desperate to defend themselves.But they are potentially dangerous to the people who have to handle them muzzled or not. Your vet was right to be afraid of your aggressive gsd. If you need follow up I would highly recommend chatting to them about medication to give before her next consult to make her less scared...But she's still likely going to need to be sedated for invasive testing.
With her neurological clinical signs MRI is likely warranted to rule out brain tumours inner ear disease etc and is the quickest route to a diagnosis.
Full sedation. Ear otoscopic check,head xray and blood panels etc might help depending on the underlying cause but you won't see inner ear issues or brain issues on the basic diagnostic tests those need an MRI.
If all of the above are clear then it may be idiopathic vestibular disease....But that's a diagnosis of exclusion given she's not showing all the signs. No flickering eyes etc.
There's a lot if potential things could be wrong given her clinical signs. You won't know what exactly your dealing with without a lot more testing.
Alternatively you can try symptomatic treatment and see if the condition responds but given exact cause isn't known it's a challenge to decide what to treat.
@Savidog I spoke about sedation prior to her going to the vets but they ruled it out because they needed to do a physical examination including seeing how she moved and manipulating her limbs.
She is fearful of the vets, usually tolerates it but not this time. She met another vet in the waiting room and was fine with her but not the vet who was in the room.
The problem is that if she’s not feeling well, she’ll be more hassle to examine...
Any of the vets confident with aggressive dogs? It makes a difference.
My last dog was in general reactive, but really not ok at vets, because of the many medical issues he had, but of course that meant he was a frequent visitor.
We often did a mix of me examining him and the vet watching and very careful examinations by the vet when absolutely needed... it worked better, but it needs to be a vet that’s happy to work with you and isn’t bothered by the dog if it does get aggressive.
I’m hoping it’s a different vet when I take her back. She has been a few times over the years and yes she grumbles and sounds horrid but generally she tolerates it but not this time. The vet was scared and rightly so but I don’t think kneeling directly in front of her about an arms length away waving a torch trying to look in her eyes from a distance helped really.
She is really scared at the vets and feeds of the people around her so she needs someone confident who isn’t anxious which in turn calms her.
My dog had vestibular episodes. He was walked on a collar and lead simply as that was always what we had done. I changed him to a harness and that seemed to lower the number of attacks. Travel sickness pills can help with the nausea. I used to have to help him walk to get out for a wee. Sometimes the sickness was over quickly but he remained a bit wobbly for days. Its horrible. The first time it happened i was beside myslef thinking he had a stroke. He had no invasive tests at all as he was 16. We mamaged his symptoms and kept him comfortable with a minimum of vets visits. Not sure if its an option for you but i would recommend trying a harness and pet travel sickness pills