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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28493
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My dog is think has had a stroke she's restless with heavy

Customer Question

My dog is think has had a stroke she's restless with heavy panting
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

Jason, I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Please let me know if you still need help. Can you tell me, please, what was seen at the beginning of the month that prompted her vet to consider stroke? Her current heavy panting and agitation are not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of stroke and can indicate any number of disorders in a 13 year old. Classic strokes in dogs will cause obtundation (altered level of consciousness) and coma but symptoms vary with the severity and location of the stroke in the brain.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
My vet saw her lost stability of her legs kept collapsing on her left side and her head was tilted then eventually will straighten after a day this time her head is more tilted and unsteady on her feet and keeps looking left and more panting if that's any help cheers
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. The "old dog vestibular syndrome" should be the most important differential diagnosis. Caretakers often think that their dog has suffered a stroke when, instead, a balance disorder exists and can be represented by nystagmus (eyes flicking back and forth), head tilt, and ataxia ("drunken sailor"). A vet needs to distinguish this balance disorder from peripheral vestibular disease involving her inner/middle ear(s) and central vestibular disorder involving her cerebellum or brainstem.

A 13 year old who has experienced a second event may not recover completely. A lasting head tilt is common. There's no specific therapy for the old dog vestibular disorder. An antiemetic such as meclizine or maropitant can be prescribed if vomiting/nausea are severe. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
the prognosis doesn't look good then she had bloods taken and they were clear she drinks a lot when she's up but hasn't been sick and looks she has gone more blind and she has still got her appetite but reluctant to stand unsteady trysď
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

Blood work isn't helpful when differentiating one vestibular disorder from another but it's good to hear that it looked good at her age. Be patient with her; she can still improve but her recovery is likely to be protracted - 3-6 weeks - and incomplete. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
She's doing well not collapsing anymore head tilt nearly gone just her eyesight is bad panicking when its dark sometimes a bit wobbly and she seems happy tail still wagging took her to local vet he seems optimistic that she will improve or just stay the same he reckons it's a geriatric episode
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for the good update. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.