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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32736
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Not sure if my 11 1/2 yr old greyhound might have had a stroke,

Customer Question

Not sure if my 11 1/2 yr old greyhound might have had a stroke, or if if could be vestibular disease?

It started about 2 hours ago when he became distressed, and lost the use of the left handside of his body. At the beginning he was panting, and unable to walk, but now he is resting, and does not appear to be distressed. When we try to get him up, to see if he can walk, he struggles to move his left limbs.

I have been reading about vestibular disease while we wait for the vets to open, his eyes are not flickering, and he has not attempted to be sick. He is currently lying on his right, and what I have noticed is that both his front and left leg are twitching a lot.

Any suggestions of what might have occurred, or advice on helping him to try and walk greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. Your question came in late at night here when few vets were available. To answer your questions directly, no, vestibular disease isn't likely. Heat tilt, nystagmus (eyes flicking as you mentioned), and ataxia ("drunken sailor") are pathognomonic(particularly indicative) for vestibular disease.

Stroke is always a consideration. In most cases, however, stroke causes a sudden onset change in mentation (mental status) vocalization, and seizures. The characteristic historic feature of both focal and global ischemic encephalopathy (one spot and an effect on the entire brain lack of blood supply brain disorder) is acute to peracute (sudden) onset of brain dysfunction, which is nonprogressive after the first 24 hours.

My primary tentative diagnoses would be intervertebral disk disease (a slipped disk) or fibrocartilaginous enfarct (an interruption of the blood supply to the spinal cord). When both front and hind limbs are affected, the disease process would be found in his cervical (neck) spinal cord or brain.

I hope that TT has already seen his vet who has performed a thorough neurologic exam and perhaps X-rays and advised.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.