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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33251
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 12 year old lab has now had 3 episodes of '

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My 12 year old lab bitch has now had 3 episodes of 'drunken staggering' like behaviour, she appears disorientated and then collapses, she does not lose consciousness and appears to recover after about an hour, she has a history of chronic ear infections but is otherwise in very good health, no arthritis, healthy heart etc, she was checked by the vet last week who could not find anything wrong with her should I go back?
Disorientation, ataxia ("drunken sailor") and collapse can indicate both central vestibular (balance) disorders and complex partial seizures which are defined as focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body. These were previously called petit mal and now are also called psychomotor seizures. Central vestibular disorders involve the brain stem and /or cerebellum and often represent brain tumor in an elderly Lab - an example of an intracranial (within the skull) encephalopathy (brain disorder). There are extracranial (outside the skull) encephalopathies as well such as a poorly functioning liver which is intoxicating the brain. Indie's vet can perform a senior/geriatric diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests in an attempt to identify an extracranial etiology but if nothing untoward is found in such testing, MRI is then recommended to better understand what's going on in Indie's brain. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your response, I was hoping that it might be idiopathic/ old dog vestibular disease, but will take Indie back for bloods.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you think it might be this?
That was, of course, my hope as well but the idiopathic vestibular disease doesn't remiss within an hour. We do usually see progressive improvement over days to weeks, however. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for explanation I accept its probably something much more serious, sadly I thought it probably was. She is much loved and reached 12 last month, I will go back for the screening as you suggest. Thanks for your help.
Kind regards
I understand, Julie. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing. No need to reply at this time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am unable to read your complete response as it's been cut. Many thanks for your help this evening.
Let's see if this venue helps...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sadly not, when I click it takes me to an "unable to find response". I guess I've run out of Q & A time!
I'm not happy about this. You should be able to return to our entire conversation at your leisure. Please contact***@******.*** who will help you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've raised a support call as you suggested, it's now 12:10am in the UK and Indie appears to have settled for the night. So thank you again for your help.Julie
Sleep well, everybody!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks
It's my pleasure. No need to reply at this time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, indie has now had her blood screening her haemoglobin is off the scale low 3.5 and white cell count raised, she has no sign of infection, so the vet has given her a plasma drip and B12 tablets, they are looking into this being some sort of autoimmune problem they were considering a blood transfusion but have discounted this for the moment until one of the results is back as they feel a transfusion may just exacerbate whatever is causing the low red count. What do think?
I need to review all of her blood work to be more informative. Can you upload a copy of her test results to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy of the results at home but her vet should be able to give you one which you could scan into your computer and give me the link or you can photograph the page(s) and upload the images by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or by using an external app such as or