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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32799
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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What is wrong with my dog? Hes a 13 year old english springer

Customer Question

What is wrong with my dog? He's a 13 year old english springer spaniel. He had a suspected vestibular episode 3 weeks ago, out of it for 24 hours, non-walking, non-eating, twitchy eyes, unable to rest. Recuperated with home care in 7 days. 3 weeks later he was sick this morning, peeing like a girl a lot over last 16 hours, not interested in food until 2 hours ago then ate hand-fed chicken, very very lethargic, ploddy, little giddy, looks like he's aged 10 years overnight. Body spasms on occasions.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Yes, his episode three weeks ago was a vestibular one but perhaps not the idiopathic ("old dog") vestibular syndrome. There are peripheral and central vestibular syndromes to consider as well. Peripheral syndromes involve the inner and middle ear. Central syndromes affect the cerebellum and/or brainstem and cause more profound morbidity such as changes in behavior and bizarre behavior, obtundation (change in mental status), and seizures.

You're correct to consider brain tumor at Kali's age. It's the most common cause of central vestibular disorders. Unfortunately, basic diagnostic testing won't clarify a central vestibular disorder. We need to MRI these patients. I have to disagree with Kali's vet who says it's not neurological. There might be an inner ear and urinary tract infection but these infections don't cause what you've described to me - profound lethargy, little giddy (!?, please clarify), body spasms, and aging 10 years overnight. These symptoms suggest encephalopathy.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.