Monday, January 23, 2012

Vestibular Syndrome - WTH!!

(Kruz - Taken 1/10/2012)

Wednesday, December 28th wasn't any different than any other work day, but it turned out to be a day I'll never forget.  Maybe not the date exactly, but the event, ABSOLUTELY!!

I always arrive home from work first, and let the dogs out.  The 3 of them do their 'business', and then rip around the yard for a bit.  I let them back in, and they were of course happy to have someone home.  This generally results in some celebratory toy collecting, and running back and forth from the living room to the kitchen.  Occasionally, Kruz will get bumped into hard enough to cause him to slip on the kitchen flooring, and I thought that might be what happened.  Seeker, the usual suspect in such events, was with me in the living room however, and Kruz was on a rug.  He was also NOT getting up! 

So, I rushed to the kitchen and his head was moving side to side at a rather fast speed.  Even more scary were his eyes, they were also rapidly moving side to side.  Rapidly, is probably an understatement, it was frightening. Of course, I'm thinking stroke!

I sat down on the floor with him and held his front end in my lap, covering his head and eyes with my arm.  Within 20 minutes or so, the behavior subsided a great deal.  While wobbly, he was able to get around, ate his supper and relaxed on the bed.  That evening he had two more episodes, each about 4 hours after the other, the last involved some vomiting.  

We were able to get him into the vet's office first thing Thursday morning, and learned about Vestibular Syndrome.  Thankfully, not a stroke.  As Dr. W told Bill, it's like being on a Roller Coaster that you just can't get off of and you develop motion sickness.  Since I happen to love Roller Coasters, I prefer to use the Silly Silo as an example.  I found out about 8 years ago, I can no longer tolerate that.  Either way, the feeling is miserable!  For many dogs, it's not something that just disappears, so imagine feeling like that for several days. 

The treatment was some motion sickness medication for a couple days and a quite dark place.  Kruz was not very mobile, and we had to carry him outside and back in as he couldn't climb the stairs.  You start second guessing the causes, diet, exercise, etc....but in truth the cause/trigger isn't really known. 

Of course I had an agility trial that weekend, so we discussed Bill staying home with Kruz.  The weather was going to be nice, so we knew he could stay in the van in a larger crate that was covered.  We opted to do that, and I'm glad we did.  I found a couple people that had been through it with their older dogs.  Both 13-14 years old.  Kruz will be 14 in March.  Both thought it was a stroke, and their dogs recovered after several weeks.  That gave us a lot of home. 

After 2 weeks he'll tug gently with Nettle, 
and pick up some toys.

 (It was gently!  HONEST)

Almost 4 weeks later, Kruz is doing better.  He's walking better, although still can't master the stairs.  We support him with a harness to be sure he doesn't fall.  His head still tilts, and I think he's having some low back issues.  He has a chiro appointment in a couple days that I hope will help.
I also got some great exercise ideas from Dr Laura on Saturday to strengthen his rear end, so we've started doing those.  He's very happy to be doing some 'trick' training of sorts, right along with Seeker and Nettle.

Unfortunately, for right now he's not able to sleep on the bed.  I feel really bad about that.  My fear is that he will get up during the night and fall off.  Not that he's ever done that in the past, gotten up in the middle of the night that is, but it's just not worth the risk.  Hopefully in another few weeks or months, we'll get it figured out. 
If not, that's okay too, we'll just be sure to have a lot of cuddle time in the evening. 

This weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the Quad Cities, we'll let him watch a little agility.  It will be limited however, as we don't want him to have a 'relapse', although those sound rare I guess. 

This was a good reminder for us, don't take health and life for granted.  Of course, everyone does!  G  You can't live worrying about every little thing, but be sure to remember to enjoy the moment as well.  

Hug your dogs!!


  1. Thinking positive thoughts for all of you. . . love watching Bill and Kruz run! Take care and keep us posted!

  2. We had a dog get this, I think she was 13 at the time. She recovered completely and lived normally until she died in her sleep at 16. It's hard to watch them go thru it, but if something has to happen this is actually one of the good ones. It's self limiting and as long as you can keep him from hurting himself, he'll be fine.

  3. Good boy, Kruzie. Glad he's much better and thanks for the info.

  4. I actually just covered this topic in my blog last week!

  5. So glad it wasn't a stroke! Thinking of you! So hard to watch! Wow!