How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask knstrand Your Own Question
knstrand
knstrand, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 519
Experience:  I'm a small animal veterinarian - dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, rabbits, pocket pets
71139618
Type Your Vet Question Here...
knstrand is online now

hello, we have a little 2 year old chihuahua. on wednesday

Resolved Question:

hello, we have a little 2 year old chihuahua. on wednesday 27th of november we came home at around 4 o'clock in the evening and our dog was going in circles and kept turning his head to the side. we went to the vet with him and he said that it is a stroke. they took him and told us that they are going to give him really strong antibiotics that should start working within 12 hours ...in the morning they called us that the dog didn't get better or worse that he is the same way we left him so they said they'll call later... they called us nearly at 11 o'clock at night telling us that we need to make an appointment to talk to the vet that was helping our dog. we think that he is going to ask us to sign papers to put him asleep. but i was looking on the internet today trying to find out what was wrong with our dog and i read a good few articles and nearly all of them said that there is nothing really that the vet can do, that all he can do is confirm that it was a stroke what our vet did confirm... there also was that dogs recover faster when they have their owner around them to help them recover and make them stronger. can you please tell me if it is a good idea to bring him home and try to help him recover at home where he'd have 24 hour attention because we don't want to loose him. and from the articles i read ( there was a lot) none of the dogs died from stroke, they recovered at home after few weeks. please answer immediately thank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  knstrand replied 3 years ago.

knstrand :

Hello, my name is Dr. Strand. I can try to help answer your question about Lucky

knstrand :

Sorry to hear he isn't doing well.

knstrand :

So typically when we have a dog with a head tilt and loss of balance, this is something called vestibular syndrome.... not the same concept as a stroke at all.

knstrand :

This can happen when there is inflammation around the vestibular nerve which runs close to the middle ear. Possibilities include a middle ear infection, inflammation around the nerve and we don't know why this happens "idiopathic", or even a cancer (which would be unusual in a 2 year old, but not unheard of).

Customer:

hello, and what happens when he has a vestibular syndrome ?

knstrand :

Sometimes hospitalization is necessary to keep these guys hydrated but I typically put these patients on 2 different antibiotics (amoxicillin or clavamox) combined with ciprofloxacin or baytril. This helps to cover the middle ear infection.

knstrand :

The key I find is also combining a tapering course of prednisone (a steroid) to quickly bring down the inflammation around the nerve. It also simply takes time for them to adjust to the vertigo like symptoms.

knstrand :

Most of the time these guys improve dramatically within 2-3 days of antibiotics and steroids at home. However, depending on the underlying cause of the vestibular symptoms, these guys are prone to having recurrence of the disease.

knstrand :

I think your idea of bringing him home would be okay, as long as you are able to get food/medications down him at home.

knstrand :

These guys also benefit from being kept calm, quiet and in a dimly lit room

knstrand :

Are you there?

Customer:

isn't another symptom of a stroke eyes moving all the time ? because that's what our vet told us as well .. and yes we are able to be with him 24 hours

knstrand :

The rapid eye movement is called a nystagmus..... this also happens with vestibular disease.

knstrand :

Do you know if his pupils were moving from side to side or up and down?

Customer:

we haven't seen lucky since wednesday and we don't really know what's going on with him

Customer:

they were moving from side to side

knstrand :

The side to side movement is typically related to vestibular disease

knstrand :

Many people relate these symptoms to a "stroke" but dogs typically don't suffer from strokes in the same sense that humans do. However this disease looks similar, but is not as serious as a human stroke

Customer:

should we say that to our vet that it might not be a stroke ?

knstrand :

I would suggest at home treatment to your vet and see what he/she says..... it's hard with the holidays.

knstrand :

Just suggest that you were reading about vestibular syndrome and was wondering if this could be the case. I think so many clients relate these symptoms to a stroke and many vets don't have the time to explain exactly what's going on medically.

knstrand :

Please feel free to continue to ask questions, and I will be back momentarily

knstrand :

Do you have any other questions or specific concerns.

knstrand :

I would be most concerned about a middle ear infection, causing the vestibular disease in Lucky.

Customer:

and when you were lisitng the symptoms you mentioned loss of balance but when we brought him to the vet, lucky wasn't walking at all he was only going in circles but lying on the bed.. is it still the vestibular syndrome ?

knstrand :

Ask your vet if his ear drums were intact and/or he had an external ear infection.

knstrand :

I was going off of the 1st sentence of your description - sometimes they can start with the head tilt and circling (as you described) and progress to not being able to walk without falling to the side.

knstrand :

So many dogs in this state choose to try not to walk at all because they will simply fall down

knstrand :

Again, the steroids I have found to be key in bringing down the inflammation around that nerve so the dizziness goes away. However, a good broad spectrum combo of antibiotics must also be used to cover for a middle ear infection which might not be visualized externally to the ear drum

knstrand :

It's hard because all I can do is explain and suggest, you will have to approach these things with your vet today.

knstrand :

Do you have any other questions?

knstrand :

Are you still there?

Customer:

no. thank you very much for your help, we really appreciate it, we just hope the vet won't kick us out with the dog thinking that we're trying to be smart.

knstrand :

Some vets do get offended so chose your wording carefully but what's most important is that Lucky is being treated properly

knstrand :

You are welcome

knstrand :

and good luck

Customer:

thank you very much

knstrand :

You are welcome

knstrand and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you