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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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We have a 16year old west highland white terrier who has just

Customer Question

We have a 16year old west highland white terrier who has just had an operation last friday 31st october due to large absess on her side. Today monday 3rd november she is still walking as though she's drunk and going round in circles and not walking properly.is there an answer to this please
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 3 years ago.

Hello Bruce, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Sally hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response,but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I have several thoughts as to why Sally may be reacting as you describe although I realize that this must be incredibly stressful for you to see her this way.

1. She is having a continued reaction to the drugs used during her procedure. I'm assuming that blood work was done prior to surgery to evaluate her liver and kidneys. Even if that blood work was normal, she could have some issues with clearing these drugs from her system, primarily her brain. If that's the case, then it may just be a matter of another day or so before she returns to normal.

2. She could have had the equivalent of a stroke or vascular event during or after the procedure. This type of condition will be hard to diagnose without additional testing such as an MRI.

Many of these dogs will slowly return to normal although it can sometimes take weeks to do so and some dogs will continue to have deficits (although their quality of life can still be good).

3. If she's currently taking any medication such as Tramadol or Buprenex for pain, then she could be having a reaction to this medication. Most dogs tolerate these drugs very well, but a few will have significant side effects such as balance issues, sedation and drowsiness.

4. I'm not a huge fan of coincidence but her current behavior may have nothing whatsoever to do with her surgery. She could have an inner or middle ear infection (for which she'll need antibiotics) or she has a brain mass, I'm sad to say.

Both of these conditions can present with similar signs and sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the two unless the patient is clearly non-responsive to antibiotics or symptoms worsen.

Unfortunately, it would also take an MRI to diagnose either one of these problems.

I hope this helps although, again, I'm sorry for the delayed reply. Deb