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18 May 2010

I think that my dog had a stroke today. . . Got home for lunch, and my wife was in the yard with her, and saying that she (the dog) could not get up.[More:] She's a 13yo lab-shepherd mix and pretty big. She's had wonky hips for a year or so, for which I have been giving her glucosamine and regular (if limited) exercise.

I just consulted this, and the head tilt is consistent with what my dog is doing. She was also drooling a lot. Kept trying to get up but couldn't. I carried her into the house, which she hated, and she eventually calmed down but she's sort of propped up on her side.

We have a housecall vet but we can't get ahold of her. Our backup vet is not at work today but we COULD take her in and have her seen my someone we have not met. This backup vet is also in the VCA chain which I am not favorably inclined towards liking.

After reading that page, I am inclined to let it wait over night before having her seen, since we cannot get ahold of our regular vet. It would be a MAJOR ordeal to take her in a car, and it seems like whether it's a bad hip, or a stoke, a bit of time would not be harmful.

So I gave her an aspirin, and I'll see how she is when I get off work.

This sucks. We lost a cat in the fall and this dog has been the Mother Teresa of dogs for us, her whole life.
Aww, I'm sorry to hear.
posted by amro 18 May | 15:12
Oh man, danf, I am so sorry to hear that. I really hope that you can get a hold of your housecall vet. Positive canine vibes from NC.
posted by msali 18 May | 15:28
I'm so sorry to hear this danf. Keep us posted, won't you.
posted by Senyar 18 May | 15:32
Damnit. That sucks so hard. Good luck f family.
posted by rainbaby 18 May | 15:32
Oh, I'm sorry Danf. Poor poochy.
posted by jamaro 18 May | 15:32
Like rb's dog, this dog has two surgically fixed knees, and has been well cared for. I have been sitting here thinking about how much I want to put her through, and whether she's at the end of her life. I will know more when I get home. She's the kind of dog that needs to be in the same room as her pack, so it's hard for her to stay put while we are in another part of the house.
posted by danf 18 May | 15:37
We're all pulling for the old gal, danf.
posted by Atom Eyes 18 May | 15:43
I'm really sorry, danf. Poor girl.
posted by gaspode 18 May | 15:43
Very sorry :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 18 May | 15:58
Poor puppy. Very sorry.
posted by JanetLand 18 May | 16:27
Aww, I'm sorry man. I hope she gets better.
posted by serazin 18 May | 17:08
I just stopped by the house and she's laying there, seeming comfortable. She had moved from the center of the laundry room over to against the dryer, where she usually sleeps sometimes during the day.

Told her to lay still. Gave her a little bit of cheese with another baby aspirin. We'll see how she does tonight. I had no idea whether I would find her dead, or OK, or what. . .she's about the same. . .
posted by danf 18 May | 17:18
I'm so sorry danf. I hope the vet has reassuring news tomorrow.
posted by LoriFLA 18 May | 17:41
Wife just called. . .she got home and Lacey is fine. Back to normal. So now we need to figure out how much to spend in the way of diagnostics, if anything.

Thank you all for your thoughts. . .this thread has been really helpful to me!
posted by danf 18 May | 17:57
Good girl Lacey!

The super quick recovery might be pointing to canine vestibular syndrome rather than a stroke; worth checking out with your vet.
posted by jamaro 18 May | 18:07
I'd suggest taking her to see the regular vet as soon as possible, and talk about what measures, etc. Fuss over her and stuff. She's a good girl with good folks. It sounds like an emergency type issue to me.
posted by rainbaby 18 May | 19:13
This happened to our old dog, Max. I would take her to the emergency animal hospital tonight - they need to treat her as soon as possible, if she did have a stroke. Our dog was treated with Prednisone, a cortisone-type medication that is more effective for dogs. He fell over on one side and was unable to get up, was in great distress, which sounds very similar to your dog. Don't be discouraged: our vet thought that Max was finished. He actually put this down to another condition (not canine vestibular syndrome, but something more serious that I can't remember the name of). Vets are not familiar with strokes in dogs and it took him some months to reach the conclusion that it had been a stroke. He was talking about the dog only being able to make it a few yards each day and obviously only giving him a few months to live. But the Prednisone really helped. Max just persevered, trying to walk all the time until he managed it again. Then he gradually learned to flip out his right front paw (which he had seemed to lose control of and bent under after the stroke). In a few weeks, he was able to walk quite a way and in a few months he was able to walk his regular route and distance. But it took a while and you have to be patient. So don't assume that you will lose her -- but you may need to spend a lot of time supporting her (sometimes physically - holding her by a towel slipped under the tummy helps) as she tries to come back again.
Regarding medications: Prednisone is fairly safe (as far as I know). Don't overdo the aspirin, as dogs don't tolerate it well (although if she has had a stroke, aspirin may save her). Aspirin can be toxic if given in high doses of about 30 mg per pound. Here's the recommended dose.
Beware of Rimadyl, which is not recommended for specific breeds including Labs but often prescribed for pain relief. Many vets don't seem aware of the problems, so talk to your vet about alternatives.
posted by Susurration 18 May | 19:48
She continues to be her fine (if a bit crochety) self tonight. . .ate well, misbehaved a bit, the normal stuff. Walking up and down stairs, going outside, all the normal stuff, as if this episode never happened.

But I will schedule the vet.

I was on prednisone last winter for asthma. Can't say I liked it or that it helped.
posted by danf 18 May | 21:08
Poor puppy. Poor danf.

posted by gomichild 18 May | 21:56
Oh wonderful! I'm so glad that she's mobile again. If she's walking OK now, it may well be canine vestibular syndrome. This is an inner-ear problem that is temporary but makes the dog lose balance on one side and really panic.
posted by Susurration 18 May | 21:59
oh man, I am so sorry, we have 4 pets and I can only imagine the heartache if one of them was seriously ill.
posted by desjardins 18 May | 22:46
So glad she's doing well. Getting a check-up from the vet is a good idea. Big hugs!
posted by deborah 19 May | 09:54
She ate like a hog this morning. . .seems fine. .but I DO need to get her in to the vet.

Thanks again for all the support. It's almost for sure Canine Vestibular Syndrome, probably the idiopathic type, or "old dog" type.

She seems happy to be able to function again, also.

She's really a cutie though.
posted by danf 19 May | 10:01
That's an adorable pooch. Here's a scratch behind the ear, girlie.
posted by toastedbeagle 19 May | 10:33
Glad to hear she's doing better.
posted by occhiblu 19 May | 11:29
My hotmail account was hijacked. || I really don't feel like going to yoga class today.