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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33267
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Our elderly male Weimaraner who is in his 12th year,weighing

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Our elderly male Weimaraner who is in his 12th year,weighing circa 35 kilos suffered his first attack of Laberynthitis last August,which was full on..early hours of morning on his back,eyes rolling,salivating profusely..the vet duly came and injected him with steroids,antibiotics and a small amount of sedation as he suffers a regularly irregular heart murmur.
As a puppy he had juvenile Meningitis which reoccurred 3 times and we nearly lost him then as it took a while to be diagnosed the first time.After that he was on Medrone daily until some years ago when daily use nearly killed him,affecting his liver and hence heart....since then he has Medrone every other day.
He has been constantly scratching his ears of late,albeit they are clean and he has no ticks or,mites or fleas....a second episode of Laberynthitis occurred late August,albeit a lot less severe,again late night and vet administered steroid ,antibiotic and minute amount of sedation.
Last night he would not settle and I knew what was coming as again he is constantly shaking his head and scratching his ears......I rang the vet after giving him a Medrone and sitting my his bed,as he sleeps in our room...his neck which had been on fire,cooled down,I lay next to him for the rest of the vet needed,just spoke on phone...
I feel that he needs a scan as fear that X-ray will not show anything up,albeit sedation is a high risk as well.....any ideas for Shadow would be great fully appreciated,
Kind regards,
Jane-Ann Davies
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Thank you for the thorough history you provided. You've described a vestibular (balance) disorder in Shadow. The most common is idiopathic (unknown cause) and remisses within days to weeks. Most dogs will remiss unscathed but some have persistent head tilts. Peripheral vestibular disorders involve the inner/middle ears and should top our differential diagnosis list because Shadow has demonstrated repeated symptoms of otitis interna/media - shaking his head and scratching his ears. His external ear canals may be visually normal but his inner and middle ears might demonstrate pathologic changes when X-rayed or CT is performed. I agree with you, then. Imaging would be prudent at this time. Finally, central vestibular disorders involve the cerebellum or brainstem. Brain tumor is considered with these disorders and are found more commonly at Shadow's age. Once again advanced imaging would be required - this time, MRI rather than CT.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.
I can't set a follow up in this venue and so would appreciate your updating me within a week by returning to our conversation.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks for your knowledgable reply .
At this late stage in his life the vet feels that he possibly would not survive a GA,so have started him on Synulox twice daily and increased 5mgs of Medrone back up to daily,albeit a low dosage,for the time being.
Dogs....they make your life complete and then break your heart when you have to say goodbye to them,each with their individual loving characters..
Thank you again Dr Micheal Salkin,
Kind regards,
Jane-Ann Davies.
You're quite welcome, Jane-Ann. I hope to hear from you soon.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So course of antibiotics finished and on Metradizanole daily.....still scratching ears,albeit not as much,and unsettled all night,but settles all day!!
Of course I awake at night and he comes over to me,pops his head under the duvet ensuring that I am still here as we have an incredible bond.....So have decided to take each day as it comes instead of waiting for him to have another episode each night,as it has made ME I'll now!!!!
Thank you for the update, Jane-Ann. That nightime agitation suggests sundowner's syndrome. The quiet and dark of night is thought to accentuate the sensory deprivation geriatric dogs (and people) suffer resulting in anxiety.
It looks like your last sentence was truncated - "as it has made ME I'll now"?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Apologies for truncated ending..
So what would you suggest for Sundowners' syndrome that is possibly not going to affect his heart.
Any homeopathic remedies...I will google if I am out of allowed questions and appreciate your help very much...
Kind regards,
You're welcome to continue conversing with me. It's as difficult managing sundowner's in dogs as it is in people. A benzodiazepine such as alprazolam (Xanax) is my first choice for agitated dogs. There's little cardiovascular affect from such a drug.
I have no experience with homeopathy.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks from over the pond!!🐾
It's my pleasure.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I see that Anipryl is also used for this condition,so shall be contacting my vet as no sleep at night does not make me a Happy Bunny in the day!!!
Yet again many thanks for your invaluable help....have a good Sunday!!😊
I can imagine. I'm not going to encourage the use of selegiline (Anipryl). The testing of that drug's efficacy was embarrassingly faulty.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Oh many thanks for that advice....
No worries. I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Please disregard the info request.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He is on Zylkene now,still getting me up every hour until about this space........
Thank you for the update. I don't have any experience with Zylkene. Keep me posted, please. If you tried to post an image, it didn't post in my browser. I see 5 small boxes in a row...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Just a snoring tied little lace,followed by snores!!!!Have a good Sunday...
Ah! Yes, I see it in my email client. Speak to you soon.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So Shadow will turn 12 tomorrow.....night before last was up every few hours,and passing water when let out.....our vet has not heard of Xanax over or Sundowners Syndrome!!
Anyway on his 14th day of Zylkene,an alternative remedy for stressed out dogs and last night went from 0300-0845!!!!!
However he had his first walk in months yesterday as was too hot and we have an acre of garden for him to sniff around unsure which worked or whether just a fluke....whichever it is good to feel more human today that is for sure...
I thank you for your helpful advice and expect I a moneyed out of advice now...many thanks...
Thank you for the good update! Xanax is alprazolam - a commonly prescirbed benzodiazepine in people and pets. A simple google search will reveal sundowners. These young whippersnapper vets....
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately Xanax was banned from use in the UK in 2003!!!!!
Oh my goodness....who knew? Perhaps another benzodiazepine, then - diazepam, clonazepam?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately the vet will not allow him to have Diazepam due to his heart condition...did give him one of mine once and the Vets were NOT amused....he needs his daily walk as last night was back up every few hours....anyway he IS 12 today and just have to soldier on!!
Sigh. Happy birthday Shadow!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks.....