Anybody been through this with your dog? My lab is almost 14 and was diagnosed yesterday with Idiopathic Vestibular disease. I woke up Sat. morning and found her in an odd position with a bewildered disposition. Her eyes were twitching rapidly. When she tried to stand, she fell over. She seemed very confused, was trembling and stumbling about. She would sneak up on her food bowl and seemed scared of it. I finally got her to eat out of my hand. She could find her dog door to go out, but couldn't find it to get back in. I was guessing she had a stroke in the night. Our Vet was gone for the weekend, so I fired up the google fu. Turns out many pet owners mis-diagnose these symptoms as a stroke. She was slightly better on Sunday. Got her to the Vet first thing yesterday morning. She got some medicine for dizziness and nausea. We are taking a wait and see approach at this point. Her gait is much better today and she can find her way back in the house. I would appreciate any insight from ya'll that have been through this.
Rick, my 10.5 year old Yellow Lab went through that back in 2012. I was there for the whole thing and it scared me to death not being able to "fix" her. She went limp, eyes going in odd directions, could not stand or walk, etc. I lay on top of her to calm her while talking to the vet. She would panic when I tried picking her up to take her to the vet. Finally, two neighbors helped me wrap her into a blanket to get her to the animal hospital. She did not eat for four days at the vet but would drink water and pee on the pad under her. No poop.
That happened on Monday and we brought her home on Thursday night saying, "If she's not gonna make it, she will die at home with us." We made a hospital area with pads and blankets and slept by her on the sofa to keep her company. My wife cooked chicken and rice and she finally started eating small amounts. She would take small sips of water. By Sunday, she still had not pooped so I told my wife we have to get her outside. I had built a ramp off our deck for her to use when healed but she still would not try to walk. So, I placed a shooting mat with a carry strap on a quilt and rolled her over onto it. We gently pulled our down the ramp and as soon as her foot touched grass, she started fighting to stand. I lifted her and supported her while she took the hugest poop that I have ever seen! I held her as she wobbled and took her first few steps in almost a week. Slowly, she recovered. I promised her, "Ellie Mae, you fight your way through this and I will never leave you." Well, I had to work 8 more months before taking early retirement at age 61. I never left home overnight for 4.5 years. Ellie Mae's eyes finally straightened back out but her depth perception was effected. Her right side was effected but she learned to throw her right front foot out and could eventually lope around the yard.
We had to find suitable water and food bowls to accommodate her vision. We also placed runners on our hardwoods to help her get traction.
By the way, my vet of 30 years diagnosed her with IV Disease as well saying that dogs didn't have strokes. I love and respect Dr. Furr completely, but I have to disagree with him on this one. I asked a fellow gun club member who was also a lab lover if he thought dogs have strokes. His answer was a good one. "Dogs have a brain. Bloodclots cause strokes. Strokes are brain attacks." He went on to say that he was sure that my vet had a reason for stating that but he could not agree. He was a retired neurosurgeon.
Lot's of love and prayers brought that girl back to us. I am grateful we had her for 4.5 years after her stroke. By age 15, her hips failed and her eyes told me it was time. I became even closer to her than I was before her stroke and am a better man for having her in my life.
Best wishes for your pups recovery and enjoy every extra day you have with her.
Last edited by critter_bill; 01/26/21. Reason: Spelling
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Thanks for the reply Bill. Just from what I gathered on the innanet, dogs do have strokes, but typically more severe symptoms than my Ellie Mae had.
I've changed her food bowl to a bucket lid, and her water bucket to a bowl. She definitely needs some runners on the hardwood and tile like you mentioned. She does o.k. until she tries to turn around or shake. She is determined to keep her feet under her though. She even sleeps with her feet under her. I tried to get her to roll over and pet her belly, but she's not having any of that, period.
She is eating and drinking about normal, and her bowel movements are good. Vision seems to be improving a little. I've slept on the floor with her for 3 nights now. I might actually crawl in the bed tonight.
A doggie update: After a week, her recovery has been wonderful. She's basically back to normal. Her balance is still off a bit when she shakes, but she hangs on. She's back to eating out of her bowl and can find her way back in the house. Last night she chased a neighbor's dog across the yard with surprising agility. She can roll over on her back and get back up. Still won't know for a couple more days whether she can discontinue the medicine though.
I had a Mal that had an episode like your girl, I don’t remember her age when it happened but it scared me to death. I do remember that she had almost a 100% recovery and we shared several more good years, still miss her. I think it’s a pretty common occurrence in older dogs.
Went thru 2 similar events with cookie for about the last 17 or 18 months of his rock star dog life starting around age 12. It is heart wrenching for you and your dog. They have to feel like they are letting their human down also like we do for them.
Just make everyday from here on out a good day each and everyday for your dog and you.
Friggin something in the air messing with my eyes right now....
Last edited by renegade50; 01/31/21.
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Rick, the sad part is that you can get more attached to a pet than you do a relative. Our vet told us that dogs are very good at hiding their discomfort. Cherish these last good days with your dog, but realize that 14 is a good long life expectancy for a lab. You will need to ask yourself sometime in the not too distant future if you are postponing death or prolonging life? Just don't wait too long like we did with our lab Rex. In retrospect, we should have done what was the most humane thing for the dog earlier than we did. Tough call.
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