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On May 9, Lady was stricken with Old Dog Vestibular Disease, aka Geriatric Vestibular Disease or Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. She's fine now --- got pronounced fully recovered and given a clean bill of health by the vet yesterday. But it's apparently pretty common and pretty frightening, so I thought I'd post about it here in case it happens to any of our board members.

About three weeks ago, I stopped at the vet on my way home to make an appt. for a bath for Lady. When I got home, I walked in the door, the pups jumped up and frolicked a bit, Lady ran over to her beloved water bowl and BOOM crashed down on her side like someone had thrown her.

For some reason, I stared at her, then jumped in my car and ran back to the vet, so I missed what happened in the interim. Whatever it was, it was bad --- when I got back, there was vomit everywhere, Yogi was very upset and Lady, sprawled on the floor with a crazy look on her face.

I thought at first she'd broken her neck or her back because her head was so tilted. Here is a picture of her from that evening --- excuse the quality, but it will give you an idea of how tilted her head was:



Weirdest of all, her eyes were going wildly back and forth. I found out later this is called nystagmus. In essence, what happens is, for some unknown reason, the nerves in the inner ear go haywire. The pup loses all sense of balance, has no idea which way is up or what is down, is unable to walk or eat, and sometimes cannot drink.

Often, there is no known cause and the pup recovers in 2-3 weeks, with the worst passing in 3-4 days. Fortunately, this was the case for Lady. I kept her bunkered up, wrapped in bankies and buttressed with pillows on a rug and, in three days, the nystagmus was gone. It was almost two weeks before she was walking and eating again, but once she began that phase of recovery, it was no time before she was back to herself.

HOWEVER ... and this is important ... sometimes, inner ear infections or other, more serious things can cause the vestibular system to go nuts, leading to the exact same symptoms. Lady's was idiopathic, meaning no underlying cause, but that isn't always the case. Furthermore, some dogs can't even drink water --- thankfully Lady could --- so have to be rehydrated at the vet.

And some dog's food intake is so low, it leaves them in pretty serious danger --- these dogs also require vet help. Lady ate almost nothing for several days and about a quarter of her usual until this past Monday, I believe. Somehow, though, that was enough to sustain her. She lost some weight --- but not bad. Once again, not always the case for all dogs --- if it happens and they go too long without eating anything, you must get them to the vet for help.

IOW, the help and advice of a good vet are crucial. I was in near constant contact til the worst passed.

Hopefully, this will never happen to any of the houndies here. If it does, though --- if one day, your houndie goes sprawling, starts vomiting and getting crazy eye stuff going on --- get to your vet. And, if it's Old Dog Vestibular Disease, let me know! I now know all kinds of tricks for nursing them through it. :)
 

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Thanks for sharing Lady's experience and for alerting us to this disorder. Glad Lady has experienced a full recovery! :)
 

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I'm glad this has passed and that Lady is feeling better. It must have been terrifying. Thanks for letting us know about this- I had never heard of it-
 

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How scary that must have been for everyone. We're so glad that Lady is well on the road to recovery.

Thanks so much for posting about the disease (syndome?). I hope it never happens, but if it does this post will probably help me keep my panic down.

Lots of drool being slung your way.
 
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