Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has he had these signs?
Any access to toxins (ie chemicals, plants, drugs, etc) or change of a head trauma?
Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
I have received your replies and will post mine in full momentarily. Just since you noted nasal discharge can you tell me what color it is?
First, if the nasal discharge is clear, its likely just a bit of irritation to the back of the nose/throat from his recent vomiting. Now when we see a sudden onset of wobbliness with secondary nausea in an elderly dog, we do have to consider a few differentials. The most common at Bandit's age would be vestibular syndrome. That said, we'd also have to be wary of middle ear issues or possibly brain based lesions (ie bleeds, swelling, cysts, growths, etc).
In regards ***** ***** syndrome, this condition is due to the vestibular system (which tells the body which way is up) becoming unbalanced. When this happens, it can start spontaneously in older dogs without an obvious cause.These dogs will be wobbly, stagger (some people say they look like they are 'drunk'), and some can also have a head tilt. Some dogs can be so severely affected that they roll, as they cannot figure out which way is up Since this can make them quite dizzy, appetite loss and vomiting are not uncommon.
In these cases, the main mode of treatment for these dogs is keeping them quiet, comfortable, and in a surrounding where they cannot hurt themselves. The condition itself usually rights itself with time (often a few days), which you may be seeing already if he is already seeming less wobbly).
The main concern is that if he is having GI upset secondary to this. Therefore, we'd want to take some steps to soothe his stomach. To do so, you can try him with an antacid. In this case, we can use Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac) or Milk of Magnesia (0.5tsp every 8 hours). These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet before use if your wee one has any pre-existing health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
If he settles, then we can try hand feeding (since dogs often struggle to get to the food or water bowl while wobbly) and offering a light meal (ie boiled chicken, boiled white fish or scramble egg with rice) to help him get food in and keep it down despite feeling dizzy. If you try this and he cannot keep anything down or just is too nauseous to eat, then that would be our cue to have him to his vet since some severely nauseous dogs require injectable anti-vomiting medication to settle their stomachs.
Overall, from your lad’s signs are highly suspicious of older dog vestibular disease is the most likely cause of what you are seeing. Therefore, I would suggest keeping him quiet and away from any potential risks (ie stairs, ledges, etc) while monitoring this for him at this stage. As well, do offer am antacid, light diet and try hand feeding. If you do this over the next 24-48 hours and he isn't settling or shows any of those other signs (ie circling, tremors, seizures), then that would be our sign that he does need to by seen by his vet for evaluation and treatment.
Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have your wee one seen today, some vet practices in our country have office hours today. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, they will see you. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find a local one via the RCVS Register (http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet/) or Vets Now (http://www.vets-now.com/find-an-emergency-vet/ ) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, there are options to see a vet locally today too.
Please take care,
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )
You are very welcome and that sounds like a good plan of action. :)
Best wishes to you both,