Thursday, January 01, 2009


Happy New Year's!

Max and I celebrated New Year's Eve like old people - since we were both still sick we just stayed in. We barely made it to midnight - hopefully that's not going to set the tone for 2009!

Actually, today has not been a great day, although maybe in the long run, it is good? Woke up and went to take Pig out and as we were getting ready, she suddenly started to shake, fell over to one side, and couldn't get back up. She kept tilting her head to one side, and when I tried to give her a cookie she couldn't find it - like she kept moving her mouth around my hand but not landing on it. It was really really stressful and very scary. I was convinced she had a stroke. Max and I had to carry her down to the car and we headed immediately to the nearest pet emergency room. I didn't even want to take the extra 20 mins to go to our regular vet - I figured if it was a stroke, time was of the essence. We had the hardest time getting her in there and it took everything to not start sobbing once the receptionist asked me what was wrong with her. Luckily, the emergency room vet said that he thought she had something called old dog vestibular syndrome. They don't know what causes it, but sometimes it can be caused by some inner ear inbalance, which causes the dog to not be able to stand up straight and be disoriented. The vet said her right ear is indeed inflamed, and she has all the rest of the symptoms, including loss of balance, this rapid eye movement where eyes keep her moving up, and the head tilt. I guess it can take 3-4 days for recovery. He prescribed antibiotics for the inner ear. I was feeling fine about it until our neighbor (the woman who pet sat for us this holiday season) saw her and said that she had a client who had the exact same symptoms, with the exact same diagnosis, but then it turned out to be cancer - a brain tumor. I'm trying to be optimistic, and really, there's no reason to believe her over the vet, but it's been really hard. Pig is definitely not feeling well - she doesn't seem to want water, and she keeps staggering around like a drunk. It's almost funny, if it weren't for the fact that I'm terrified it's cancer. I seriously don't know what I'll do if that's what is is. She's also just uncomfortable - I mean, I would be if I were her. I guess all the nerves and the signals to her brain get scrambled so she's dizzy and disoriented. The doc suggested giving her Benadryl, which helps calm the brain down, so that did help, but as soon as it wore off, the crazy googly eyes and staggering started again. She can't get down the stairs herself, so Max has to carry her when she has to go out. It's just incredibly painful to see her this way.

I started this post tho saying that maybe it is a good day aftter all tho - if it turns out to be what the vet thinks it is and not stroke or cancer, old dog vestibular syndrom has a strong chance for full recovery. Some owners have reported that their dogs seem to be much older (failing eyesight, reluctance to take longer walks) after getting it, but they don't know if the episode really causes the damage or if it's just natural aging. And, recurrences are very rare, so hopefully it won't happen again.

We are just going to stay positive and trust that the vet has diagnoses her properly. If she doesn't improve by Sunday, we're going to have to send her to a neurologist for an MRI. But hopefully it won't come to that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forrest and I were both concerned yesterday, so I'm glad you posted an explanation on here. We had Pig on the mind. I hope that this scare is indeed just that- only a scare. Poor Pig. She must be really confused. I wish your neighbor hadn't said anything about the brain tumor. How are you NOT supposed to worry about that? jeeeez. Anyway, we're crossing our fingers for a quick recovery. Thank goodness Max is able to carry her downstairs. F and Parker and I all send love.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandy had a very similar episode many many years ago. No kidding it was scary. He managed to recover from it in a few days, only his head was slightly titled afterward.

Hugs and kisses to Pig (and you). Will call you when I am back to SF in a few days.


5:53 PM  
Blogger Sareet said...

Thanks for your thoughts, you guys. I really appreciate them.

AJ - I know, why did she have to say something? As soon as she said it, even tho I knew better than to assume that this one personal experience she had would be the same for Pig, I totally freaked out. I know she meant well and wanted me to just take her in for an MRI immediately, but frankly those are really expensive, and Pig would have to go under sedation. And I'm super reluctant to put her under unless it is absolutely necessary. Not to mention, where am I supposed to find a doggie neurologist on new year's day? I will take her in if she doesn't recover in the next few days, or show marked improvement, but I think running to get an MRI right now would not be the best thing for us.

Say-a-yee - I totally remember what happened with Sandy. In fact, that's exactly who I thought of when Pig started to show the symptoms, particularly the head tilt. I thought Sandy had a stroke tho, which is why I thought Pig must have had one as well. Hopefully she will recover as well.

6:49 PM  

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