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Old 02-11-2008, 12:16 PM
 
32 posts, read 94,815 times
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My 13 year old Golden mix Casey has been diagnosed with geriatric vestibular syndrome back in November 07. Here we are in February and I'm sorry to say that he is just not making progress. From all I've read and researched, this is a transient illness that will get better in time. So far we have no explanation of why he hasn't improved much. Tomorrow my husband and I are taking him to his regular vet for a check-up, however we already took him to a veterinary neurologist in December. At that time the vet told me that Casey appears to have adapted as best as he can. He has a head tilt to the left and walks as if he's drunk. As I read in so many other posts, it is heartbreaking for us to watch him struggle. I hand feed him and water him although in the last 2 days he has not had an interest in his food. My beautiful Golden went from 89 pounds to 74 pounds in just a few weeks. He wants to go for his walks but in the ice and snow, he has great difficulty. I don't know if I should even try to keep walking him. His hips are weak and if he fell and were injured I'd feel horrible. I'm especially interested to hear from anyone who's dog has suffered with vestibular syndrome for an extended period of time. Casey's symptoms started 4 months ago. Has anyone heard of signs still present for this long? I am touched to hear all of you who are nursing their pets through this awful disease. He tries to chase the squirrels (a favorite pass-time) but has plowed into trees, slammed into walls, and often lands in crumpled heap from losing his balance. I've shed endless tears and wish he had some relief, but we are commited to hanging in there. Amazing to me that he doesn't cry or wimper through his suffering. I envy his courage. Can't wait to hear your reply. So happy I found this site!
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,015,654 times
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I've not heard of this problem going on so long without improvement--usually it comes on quickly and clears up in a few weeks. I'm sure they checked for chronic inner ear infections, so the only thing I can think of is perhaps there's some neurological damage affecting the brain.

I certainly hope that's not the case. It's so heartbreaking to think of what he's going through. He must be a terrific dog, and I'm so very sorry....

I really hope he improves soon.
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:32 PM
 
32 posts, read 94,815 times
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Thank you so much Leorah, he is a great dog, our best friend for sure. He had a course of heavy antibiotics which did nothing to help. I agree with you it may be neurological or just one of those things without a concrete answer. I read about another post where the dog's owner spent $6,000 in diagnostics and still didn't have an answer. Boy, does our heart go out to them. Wish we had the answers...but we love our dog andwe're just trying to keep him comfortable and happy. I'm really torn about deciding when his quality of life is so poor that we should put him down. Who could know the answer to that? We hope and pray that he will let us know when the time is here. Thank you for your kind words.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Utah
5,000 posts, read 14,433,061 times
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My dog had vestibular syndrome for about three weeks. Luckily, her symptoms subsided. She has vision problems so she runs into walls and furniture once in a while and it's sad to see her deteriorate at only 7 years old. But her tail still wags and she seems to be happy. I remember how awful I felt when she was trying to stand up and walk while having her symptoms. My house has stairs inside and out so I was constantly worried that she'd injure herself further or more severely.

I'm sorry to hear of your dog's condition. Is it centralized or peripheral? I never paid the $1600 for the MRI because even if my dog's vestibular syndrome was centralized, I wouldn't pay for brain surgery on my dog. I'm a dog lover but I just couldn't do that.

Casey's part of your family and only your family can decide what's best for him. I wish you all peace.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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Sorry about your dog.

I am scared now I have a puppy she's going to get this bloat problem or Parvo! I never heard of either before.

We had dogs when I was growing up and you never heard about these issues.

I hope it all works out for you. My good thoughts are with you.
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Old 02-15-2008, 03:47 AM
 
13,294 posts, read 25,467,231 times
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I had a 13-year-old Shepherd mix who had a bad attack of Vest.Syndrome, and I had no idea what it was. I thought it was a fatal stroke or something. The vet did put him on a course of antibiotics due to the theory that there is some infectious process, and bit of Prednisone with it (I forget the rationale). He did point out that the dog had already begun to improve before starting the medication, and said that that often happened. The dog never had the symptoms again, which I gather is common, also. It was very alarming and dramatic to see, and of course worrisome. I wish the best for your best friend.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:12 AM
 
32 posts, read 94,815 times
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I took Casey to a veterinary neurologist for a consult. She did some physical tests on his motor skills and said she thinks it's geriatric vestibular syndrome. However, the cost of more advanced diagnostics was very costly, and she made it clear that after spending all that money we may still not have an answer. I agree with you that the cost of the MRI and no guarantee that you'll see a problem doesn't make sense. I was also concerned that the testing alone required general anasthesia and an overnight stay in thier hospital. Casey would be miserable away from home. At his age,we decided not to put him through all that. Also very hard to justify that kind of expense given his age. We aren't sure that he has vestibular problem or something else since he's had signs since October. What kind of dog do you have? I hope she has recoverd from all of her troubles. It's terrible to see your dog running into things. I'd never heard of this problem before. I hope your dog is better and never has a relapse. All my best to you.
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Old 02-15-2008, 02:36 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,286,116 times
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Gail, thanks for sharing...can you tell us what signs you first noted in Casey and how it has progressed? It might really be of benefit for folks to know what to look for since VS can come on so quickly. We'd appreciate any knowledge you've gleaned with Casey's illness.

For what it's worth, I'd be concerned about the anesthesia as well...with the older ones it just seems to get a little dicey. Prayers to you.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:31 AM
 
32 posts, read 94,815 times
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I'd have to say Casey's first symptom was the head tilt and poor balance. He looked "drunk" at first and I thought it was his hips getting bad. I even took him to his regular vet to have his hips checked out. But we were way off base with what the problem was. He developed a more pronounced head tilt and started vomitting on a few occasions. The balance became worse...he would run right into walls, collapse when off balance. Horrible to watch him suffer and hurt himself. He's had some scary falls but we are so lucky that he never broke anything. We go out with him for potty breaks to help steady him, but unfortunately, his signs never went away. He may have a neurological problem that we're not aware of . The object is to keep him comfortable and as happy as can be expected. Sometimes I think it's cruel to keep him going when he suffers with these balance problems, but when I see his tail wag, or he tries to pounce on his toy (even though he may keel over)...I have to assume their is still quality to his life. He also is a confirmed foodie. He loves his treats and is eating and drinking well with help. Thank you for your questions and concerns. I just love this forum!
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Utah
5,000 posts, read 14,433,061 times
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My dog is a Dachshund/Toy Poodle mix. She still runs into things, but her tail is always wagging and she's as active as ever. She didn't end up with the permenant head tilt or swagger. She shows no signs of the vestibular syndrome. I hope to never see it again!
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