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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2535
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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Yesterday, my 2 year old border collie and 8 month old cross

Customer Question

Yesterday, my 2 year old border collie and 8 month old cross breed were out on the field with me and my girlfriend throwing balls for them.
They clashed heads (i heard it, girlfriend saw it) so we stopped, checked them out, they both seemed completely fine, so we carried on walking to see how they were and they both seemed to be ok. A few minutes later we threw the ball again, i noticed when my border collie got it his legs were all over the place, criss crossing even, and his eyes didnt look right to me (although my girlfriend thinks he didnt look vacant at any point). I went to pick him up as something just wasn't right and he arched his back right up, it was stiff like he was stuck in that position. I carried him to the car, put him down beside it to see if he could walk normally, but his back legs were not doing anything, and he would have fell over sideways if i didnt catch him. His tail was also right up undereath him touching his belly. I put him in his crate in the car, phoned the out of hours vets, and as i was on the phone he was flapping around in his crate as he couldnt hold himself upright even lay down and kept going on his side which i think was panicking him as much as us. I got him out of the crate sat him on my knee and my girlfriend drove us to the vets. It took around 20 minutes. I carried him in, put him on the floor in the vets room as she instructed, and he walked over to the unit, jumped up to nosey at the treats on the side. He was walking fine, and wiggling his bum at the vet like he normally does to people for some attention. She checked him out, checked his eyes with a light (with the light on, then in the dark) had a good feel of him, and said she can only put it down to concussion from the head clash. That was last night, so around 13 hours ago, he still seems fine, ive tried to keep him from running around too much just to be safe. Ive been reading about the symptoms he shown and it keeps referring to a slipped disc, which worries me. But his miraculous recovery in 20 minutes or so is making me think maybe it was just to clash of heads? And i just really wanted another opinion / bit of advise as i didnt realise a bang to the head could cause what happened. Hes eating / drinking like normal and even bringing me toys because he wants to play. Me and my girlfriend have often joked that he would keep running for his ball no matter how much he had hurt himself, but i didnt actually think he would, this has kind of confirmed it that we need to keep a close eye on him as he still wanted to carry on in his head and looking for his ball when he couldnt stand up, he doesnt show symptoms of pain very much.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Dr. Jo :

Hello,

Dr. Jo :

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to discuss your questions about your border collie with you.

Dr. Jo :

I'm so sorry you're going through this alarming situation, but glad you're looking for the information you need.

Dr. Jo :

You may join the conversation by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Hi

Dr. Jo :

That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.

Dr. Jo :

Hello

Dr. Jo :

What an ordeal!

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Looking at him now it sounds crazy to say, but we both thought the worst!

Dr. Jo :

Please let me start by saying I'm inclined to agree with your vet. This all sounds very much like he received a concussive head injury.

Dr. Jo :

The diagnosis of a slipped disc is actually very straightforward and not easy to miss.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok

Dr. Jo :

The signs of a slipped disc always happen pretty much the same way for any dog, and what you've described does not sound at all typical of that.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok

Dr. Jo :

But it's easy for me to see how a layperson looking for information online would easily confuse the symptoms of a slipped disc with what you saw from your dog.

Dr. Jo :

What's his name, by the way?

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

So it is possible that concussion could cause him to lose control of his back legs and arch his back up?

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Jake

Dr. Jo :

Yes it is.

Dr. Jo :

Jake. I like it. :-)

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

We rehomed him at 6 months, we was going to change it but he responded so well to it we decided not too

Dr. Jo :

Most importantly, the signs of a slipped disc would not be so temporary and will not come and go.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok thank you

Dr. Jo :

I really think Jake was very lucky this time.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Yes well thinking about it now i should have just taken them home after they clashed

Dr. Jo :

Everything you described sounds typical of what can happen after a blow to the head for a dog.

Dr. Jo :

Fortunately, they're pretty resilient.

Dr. Jo :

Over the course of my career I've seen a couple of dogs who've received blows to the head like Jake, and even though they all did alarming things right away, they were fine within an hour and remained fine.

Dr. Jo :

Additionally, the way we diagnose a concussion in people isn't really possible in dogs because it involves so much responding to verbal stimuli and commands.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

So in terms of now, im being very 'careful' with him and he doesnt seem to understand why, he wants to run around with my others but im being 'paranoid' if you like, should i let him carry on as normal today?

Dr. Jo :

So the diagnosis of a concussion is mostly made based on the history and description from the owner.

Dr. Jo :

I completely understand the notion of being careful with him today, and I know how he wouldn't understand.

Dr. Jo :

I would still advise keeping things low-key for him through the day today.

Dr. Jo :

Make it a restful day for all the dogs, if you can.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok thanks

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

So no lead walk?

Dr. Jo :

And you're already doing the right thing by keeping an eye out for any new symptoms: vomiting, appetite loss, etc.

Dr. Jo :

Lead walking is okay. Just avoid running, jumping, horseplay.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok thankyou will do that to kill a tiny bit of boredom

Dr. Jo :

And be mindful that his stamina might not be what it usually is.

Dr. Jo :

Yes.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

You mean for a few days? his stamina?

Dr. Jo :

Even though the boredom is frustrating to deal with, count it as a good sign that he is not seriously injured

Dr. Jo :

Take it one day at a time.

Dr. Jo :

If he still seems fine tomorrow (like he does today) you can return to normal.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok, just when you said his stamina might not be what it usually is, you dont mean like it could affect it permanently?

Dr. Jo :

You just have to be extra cautious with dogs like Jake because - as you discovered- they're highly motivated to play regardless of pain or injury.

Dr. Jo :

No.

Dr. Jo :

Not permanently at all. Just while he heals.

Dr. Jo :

Which may only take a day or two.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok ok. We have been working on upping his stamina you see thats why i asked and dont want to push it too much. he does flyball, supposed to be racing next weekend. do you think i should withdraw him even if he seems ok over the next few days?

Dr. Jo :

I love flyball1

Dr. Jo :

1

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

:)

Dr. Jo :

No.

Dr. Jo :

I think he'll be fine for next weekend.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok brilliant

Dr. Jo :

As long as he continues to act normal.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

he will be happy you have said that

Dr. Jo :

Dog brains are much less susceptible to serious injury than ours: less brain mass, more solid skull structure.

Dr. Jo :

A blow to the head leaves the brain briefly stunned and not functioning properly, but recovery is usually very quick.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

yeah i was amazed at how my girlfriend was literally hysterical he was like a dying dog, then 20 minutes later back to himself

Dr. Jo :

Yep.

Dr. Jo :

Not dying, thankfully. Just brain not working.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

but it could have been 10 minutes, anywhere between when he was fine, coz he was on my knee for 20 minutes

Dr. Jo :

They're tough, resilient, and highly motivated creatures. Brilliant animals. I live with one, too. :-)

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

ok well thanks for that, im happy. Just reassures me that ive had two people tell me, i do trust our vet but you do hear of horrible stories where somethings been misdiagnosed and i think with 2 people agreeing who are experienced it puts my mind at rest

Dr. Jo :

Glad to be of assistance.

Dr. Jo :

Peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

Dr. Jo :

Is there anything else I can help you with today?

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Its off topic so might be a bit cheeky to try and get that in am i allowed? lol Just wondered if you feed your dog raw or not or advise it, the vets here advise against it

Dr. Jo :

Ah...

Dr. Jo :

Good question!

Dr. Jo :

You can place me in the "against" camp.

Dr. Jo :

I see a lot of dogs made ill by their owners misguided efforts at feeding something "healthy".

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

But is that because some people might do it wrong?

Dr. Jo :

It's primarily a food safety issue.

Dr. Jo :

Right.

Dr. Jo :

It's incredibly difficult to feed raw in a safe and completely nutritious manner.

Dr. Jo :

While it's very easy to feed commercial diets in a safe and nutritious manner.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok

Dr. Jo :

Most people don't have the time and resources to do it correctly.

Dr. Jo :

I also believe that all the hype against commercial diets, including the grain-free craze, are just that - marketing hype.

Dr. Jo :

They're not backed up by scientific evidence at all.

Dr. Jo :

And there's a huge amount of $$ at stake.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Im far from clued up on nutrition, and i have been following an online vet dr becker?

Dr. Jo :

I'm not familiar with her...

Dr. Jo :

Which is a good thing, because some of the more visible raw-food advocates are real quacks.

Dr. Jo :

Give me a moment and I'll check on our veterinary database for references to her.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

so at the moment im feeding 65% raw meat direct from the local farm, 15% vegetables, 10% bone and 10% organs.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Karen Becker

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

It takes me alot of time preparing weighing etc but i make sure they have exactly that, with fish 3 days a week.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

But im going to continue to look into it, as im still yet to find another vet to advise it.

Dr. Jo :

Hmm...

Dr. Jo :

Looking through some of the things she's said it's easy to find statements she supports that have been completely debunked by the scientific community.

Dr. Jo :

Then again, feeding raw isn't generally supported by the scientific community.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok thanks, ***** ***** means i can stop taking her word for everything

Dr. Jo :

Right.

Dr. Jo :

That's the problem with a lot of these gurus.

Dr. Jo :

I don't think anyone knows enough that you should take their word exclusively.

Dr. Jo :

Not even me. ;-)

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Ok Jo well thank you for your help. I could ask you questions all day but i best let you get on with your work.

Dr. Jo :

Thank you so much for using our website.

Dr. Jo :

Enjoy your somewhat quiet day with Jake and the fur-beasts.

JACUSTOMER-mq0tnqui- :

Will do :) enjoy yours too thanks again

Dr. Jo :

Likewise.

Dr. Jo :

You're very welcome.

Dr. Jo :

Please remember I am here for you and am happy to discuss this with you until you are satisfied with the information I've provided.

You may return to this page at any time to review the information and/or post more at no additional charge to you. I will be notified of your response via email and will do my best to help.

If you are satisfied with the information I've provided so far, I'll kindly ask you to rate my response on your way out of the chat, as this is the only way I am compensated for my time and effort.

If you are not, please let me know how else I may be of assistance.

Thank you for using our website.

Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2535
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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