Old Dog Vestibular Disease: A Holiday Scare

Dear Readers,

Doodle, our beloved little dog, gave us a serious health scare a few days before Christmas. Picture this: we were sitting on the couch playing a video game and she was tucked betwixt me and The Dude (that’s what the cats call him, so I’ll go with it.) Doodle started panting and I noticed from behind that her head was tilting to the left repeatedly. I hopped down in front of her and looked into her eyes and noticed that she was completely unable to focus. Her eyes were flicking back and forth. She tried to stand but her legs slid right out from under her. I called the GrandFODs up and they came rushing over, but by the time they arrived about 4 minutes later, she was ok and walking again. Based on the way her eyes were moving and my own previous experience, I wondered if she had possibly had a bought of vertigo. Of course, I was also terrified she was having a stroke. I booked a vet appointment for the next morning.

Louie helping with Doodle’s supportive care. She was quite dizzy here.

Our vet, Dr. C. , said that based on the description, it seemed like Doodle had come down with a case of “Old Dog Vestibular Disease.” We were told that many dogs of age (Doodle is over 13) develop this problem out of the blue and the only real option is supportive care. Dr. C. mentioned that if Doodle had had a small episode, she would likely have a longer one, and she was not wrong.

On Christmas day, Doodle got very sick. She was lethargic, her eyes were floating back and forth, and she threw up from queasiness.

Here’s what you might notice if your dog has vestibular disease:

A rapid flicking of the eyes back and forth

A slow movement of the eyes towards one side, as though they are being pulled

Rapid Breathing

Unable to eat or drink on their own

Drooling (From queasiness) or vomiting

Walking in circles

Running into walls or leaning while they walk

 

I put Doodle on 5 days of 25 mg per day of Meclizine, an anti-nausea medication that you can get over the counter. The doctor can also prescribe it. You may also find it as non-drowsy formula Dramamine. This enabled her to eat and drink, though I had to assist her because her depth perception seemed to be off and she was unable to get at the food and water without help.  I also carried her down and up stairs and did not let her walk alone. I brought out her new Ikea pet bed because it’s low to the ground. I did not leave her alone on the couch or any elevated furniture and kept her away from any stairs or drop offs.

Humans who have suffered vertigo may be familiar with the Epley maneuver where your head is rotated into several positions to assist in moving inner ear crystals to maintain balance after an attack. The vet did not recommend this, but I noticed that Dixie was lying on the side to which her eyes were being pulled, so I worked her through the Epley maneuver (Again, this was not vet-recommended) and she seemed to get better shortly thereafter. After five days, Doodle was her self again. She is now handling everything like a champ and is no longer on medication.

If your dog goes through this, some remember that they need supportive care:

Assist your dog with eating and drinking

Do not leave your dog alone for long periods. Considering confining them to a small room or crate, if they’re already used to being crated.

Give them a comfortable place to rest

Provide anti-nausea medication, if vet-recommended

Get a vet checkup if your dog has never experienced this before. We also did a full blood workup and know that Doodle has no other underlying problems, which was worth the peace of mind.

Seeing Old Dog Vestibular Disease in action for the first time is a very scary event. Hopefully, this will help any of you feel less frightened if it happens to your dog. Senior dogs do require some extra care and this is just one of the many things that we can prepare ourselves for ahead of time to better assist our aging friends. Remember, they can get through this with your help!

Doodle is feeling much better but Louie is INSISTING on offering more supportive snuggles. Or maybe he’s just cold.

Happy New Year!

Love,

Alana.

 

Further Reading:

Mercola Pets Vestibular Disorder Article

Pet MD Article on Vestibular Disease

 

Merry Christmas from us!

Hello all,

Pinkle

Pinkle packing up Christmas.

Yes, we realize Christmas was yesterday but we’re playing the Ukrainian card and saying it’s technically still Christmas until January 7. It’s been busy but we are all updated technologically now (laptop and desktop both went down at once and then the phone followed) and can once again blog to our hearts’ content. Today, I’m attempting a post from my phone. Let me know how it looks.

We all wanted to wish everyone our very best for your holidays and share with you a cute little thing we tried.

This year, while trying to make my yearly accoutrements du tree, I ran out of clay and, after some research, we discovered salt dough ornaments. Basically you do this:

One part salt

Two parts flour

One part water added slowly

Knead them up and get your little friends to smoosh their tiny feet into them! Check it out:

Salt dough

We didn’t have time to paint but we’ll save that for next year.

Happy new year to all!!

Love,

Alana.

Ps. The tree is almost entirely pet ornaments at this point. Who else’s tree looks like this?

Update on the MomFOD

And, last but not lease, we have the MomFOD update.

Pinkle

Like a Monkey on my back.

It’s me. Alana. You may notice it’s a little harder to be consistent these days on the blog. It mostly comes down to time. I’m working a full-time job now while doing some creative work on a part-time and hobby basis. The CATastrophes Web Series is currently on hiatus. One of our actors moved to Los Angeles and so it’s been sitting, hanging out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reruns!

Other than that, I’m living in a house I renovated and have built a great cat sun room for the little ones to enjoy!

I’ve gone through a saga of having barn cats at the house, which turned out not at all the way I’d hoped or expected.

I’ve still been fostering when able, answering mail from the blog/web series, and doing what I can when I can.

I also took up trapeze!

And I’m STILL trying to teach Pinkle to ring that damned bell.

That damned bell.

Life is different, that’s for sure. I miss Crepes, but she’s well cared for and I still get to see pictures of her and visit once in awhile. Pets and a breakup aren’t easy, but it’s easier if you make the plan before the possibility comes up, and that’s what happened in my case.

I have lots of posts planned, but I’ve been struggling with two dead laptop batteries, two bad orders for said laptop batteries, and time. But I promise, I’m still learning about pets, working with animals, and trying my hardest.

More posts soon!

 

FOSTERS!

 

Trapeze!

 

More Trapeze!

Still more trapeze!

Love,

 

Alana.

 

PS I am sending  heart felt hugs to all my friends in the path of Hurricane Irma. I’m thinking about all of you and your fur babies. I know you’ll all do your best to keep everyone safe.