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What is Neurological Disorders (Aging)?

Due to leading advancements in diagnosing and treatments that are now available, there are now many options available to families with an aging dog. As your dog ages, it is more important than ever to be observant for any changes in behavior, and balance loss or incoordination that may be passed over as just ‘old age’.

It could be the start of a disease that could easily be treated in its early stages. While these disorders can be devastating to owners and frustrating to deal with, the sooner you seek veterinarian help the better off your dog will be.

As your dog ages, risks of developing neurological disorders such as strokes, brain tumors and neurodegenerative disorders increases and that may compromise their quality of life.

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Symptoms of Neurological Disorders (Aging) in Dogs

  • Changes in the activity level
  • Reluctance to venture out or join in any high energy activity 
  • Changes in their sleep pattern
  • Wandering around during the night 
  • Spinal pain
  • Limb weakness
  • Lack of coordination 
  • Unexplained changes to their normal temperament 
  • Balance problems such as wobbling and unsteady gait  
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence that may result in house soiling 
  • Vision loss or impairment 
  • Convulsive seizures 
  • Disorientation 
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety 

Types  

  • As your dog ages, dementia and other symptoms as listed above are surprisingly common but most owners put it down as the aging process whereas these conditions signal the signs of developing neurological disease 
  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is a neurodegenerative disease/condition in older dogs which results in reduced cerebral blood flow to the brain and an accumulation of free radicals in that area
  • Neurological diseases are mistakenly attributed to your dog becoming older and are ignored whereas many great advances in veterinary medication demonstrate that with early treatment your dog can live a full healthy life as it ages

Causes of Neurological Disorders (Aging) in Dogs

As your dog ages, he may suffer some changes in the way his brain works.

  • Brain atrophy - Changes in the weight and size of the brain area and reduced number of brain cells causes a gradual loss of brain function causing notable ‘old age’ symptoms 
  • Increased beta amyloid plaques - This is a protein that accumulates in the brain and damages the cells, inhibiting the normal functioning of the brain
  • Several micro sized hemorrhages (bleeding) may occur, or blood flow can be disrupted both which compromise the blood flow and oxygen needed for a healthy brain 
  • Changes to the neurotransmitter levels - High levels of Monoamine Oxidase B (MAOB) results in a lowering of dopamine levels; dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain

Diagnosis of Neurological Disorders (Aging) in Dogs

Neurologists in the field of veterinary medicine have made great advances in knowledge, with specialised training in the diagnosis and treatment areas. Your dog may be referred to a specialist who will work with your local veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet. Any information you can provide your specialist with will help with diagnosis. Details, like noting any unusual behavior and when it began, or even a video of your dog when it is acting differently will be of an immense help. Remember it is never normal for an older pet to show signs of neurological dysfunction; the more observant you are the more relevant information you will be able to provide to your pet specialist. 

After a discussion with them your specialist will perform a complete neurological exam which will include X-rays, MRI, and CT scan as well special blood tests to assist with diagnosis. Samples of your companion’s spinal fluid may also be taken. While it can be upsetting to see your old friend’s health deteriorate, the good news is that there is usually something that can be done to alleviate the condition, and the earlier you notice your dog changing, the easier and more effective it is to provide treatment.

Treatment of Neurological Disorders (Aging) in Dogs

Nutrition and personal attention are ways that you can manage your dog’s cognitive decline. A diet rich in antioxidants and fatty acids can help fight the free radicals that are attacking your dog’s brain and it has been proven through several studies that older dogs respond and can improve in just a few weeks. Your pet specialist will be able to advise of dietary changes needed or whether supplements may help. Keeping your dog’s brain active is important. A home that is rich in play, companionship and active learning is the best prevention. Hiding your dog’s treats in special places or in a dog treat puzzle toy is a good start to exercising the brain. 

Treatment depends on the extent of your dog’s condition; some things we can control, others can be slowed in their progression, and others can be managed, which will make your companion feel better. Training exercises will help strengthen an older dog’s limbs and body to avoid injury. The spinoff is that the extra activity also fires up the brain and will improve your dog’s appetite, mood and sleeping patterns. Medication may be necessary when treating cognitive dysfunction to help prolong the dopamine activity in the brain. While surgery may be required for serious conditions such as cancerous tumors in the brain, or intervertebral disk disease in the spine, most conditions can be managed with supportive care, medication and a change in diet and preferably early intervention.

Recovery of Neurological Disorders (Aging) in Dogs

Ideally from the moment you get your dog right through to the aging of your pet, prevention through diet, exercise and a happy environment will be practiced. The observant owner can notice the early onset of any health problem, even though dogs are clever and keep their pain to themselves. While you don’t want to be going to the veterinary clinic every time your dog sneezes, common sense will dictate when it is necessary to do so.

Early intervention will prevent disease from settling in to your dog’s system and taking over. It is far easier to treat a condition before it becomes rampant, it is also cheaper, and it is kinder on your dog. Home care for the older dog, including the correct diet combined with enjoyable activity and care management of medication and treatment, will see a spring in your pet’s step as he enjoys his later years.

Neurological Disorders (Aging) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Lila
Rottweiler
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt

The hospital exam kinda confirmed my suspician of a neuro problem. However, no complete diagnoise. Been through similar situation before. Vet suggested a lot of treatments that were very expenseive only to hhim put down. I just need a straight answer. She has had regular checkups sinceabout 6months old. Twice a year to be exact, including dental care. Her eyes have always twiched and would have head tilt eposides ocasionally, getting stuck in that position. Im questioning our vet now as to why nothing was ever said. Please give us a straight answer

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Unfortunately without examining Lila and possibly doing a CT or MRI I cannot give a straight answer to what the cause of her symptoms are; if there have been issues with eye movements and head tilting in the past, these should have been addressed when they first presented but many times on physical examination a dog isn’t having an episode so Veterinarians won’t see those symptoms. I wish I could give you answers but I am in the dark since I haven’t examined her. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Samra
Belgian Shepherd
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

respiratory & neurological

Medication Used

Phenobarbital

We are currently facing a nightmare with our dog Samra and we are hoping that a Vet/veterinary scientist might be intrigued by the case and try to help us.

Here is the summary of our 11-year old Grey Tervuren; Belgian shepherd).

In mid-April, she had her first seizure followed by a second seizure three weeks later. At that point, we conducted every possible test including blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound of the abdominal area, and MRI. No cancer was found so it was ruled an idiopathic seizure. She was put on phenobarbital after her second seizure. At first, she had the usual symptoms associated with this anti-convulsive namely ataxia, some lethargy, etc. But after a few weeks, she was back to her normal self, playful and puppy-like.

Approximately three weeks ago, I started noticing what appeared to be a relapse in her symptoms. Her back legs would give out at times and she even fell the full set of stairs on one occasion. She was a lot more lethargic but that was easily explained by the fact that we've been experiencing a very heavy heatwave in Montreal.

On July 22 we left for a six-day trip to Boston. Upon our return on July 28, I could not believe my eyes. Samra looked very different. She had "crazy eyes" (very wide-eyed empty stare) and she started exhibiting respiratory problems. Over the next few days we took her to the hospital on countless occasions and finally admitted her to the hospital this past Thursday. EVERY conceivable test was conducted on her including:

1) All of the blood work did not reveal anything
2) We conducted a new abdominal ultrasound and it yielded nothing
3) We took two X-rays separated by a few days. There was an "opaque fuzziness" that increased across the two X-rays suggesting that the ailment was progressing but there was no definitive cancer diagnosis (or any other diagnosis)
4) We had a CAT scan of the chest done and it did not reveal any definitive cause. There were some apparent nodules but again it could easily appear as though it is a form of inflammation (i.e., no definitive cancer).
5) We agreed to have a spinal tap done on her => Again, there appears to be some inflammation but otherwise no apparent cancer cells etc.
6) We had a bronchial lavage => no cancer but possible inflammation
7) Lung aspiration => no cancer but possible inflammation

We have now agreed to have a test for blastomycosis, a test for heart worms (although we always give her the pills), and a test for a new battery of viruses.

Bottom line: She has some neurological symptoms as well as some respiratory disease (which seems to be improving due to antibiotics) but after spending an ENORMOUS amount of money, we have no cause and no clear course of action.

We have two oncologists, a neurologist, critical care specialists and internists working on her case and they are utterly baffled.

Her current condition is stable although neurologically she remains a bit weak (wobbly on her feet and somewhat confused).

Any thoughts? Thank you.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I'm so sorry that you are having these issues with Samra, that is very frustrating. Without knowing more about medications that she may have been on or being able to see the results of the tests or see her, it is difficult for me to add anything beyond what the team of veterinarians have found, but you do seem to have an impressive team working on her case. There are other anti-seizure medications that she might benefit from if any of this is at all related to Phenobarbitol, which is unlikely but possible.

Hi Dr. King, Thank you for the response. The only medicine that Samra was on is the phenobarbital. Since this past Friday, she has been placed on antibiotics. Her breathing seems to have improved but her neurological symptoms have not (very wobbly and unstable on her legs). Two days ago, my wife (from whose Facebook account I have signed to this forum) noticed a lump on Samra's left back paw. The vets are now analyzing it (cytology). Can you think of any diagnoses that attack the lungs and the brain other than cancer (which we've not been able to find in our beauty)? Thank you.

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Wally
Greyhound
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

nuerological

Wally ex racing greyhound, totally out of the blue is now having difficulty walking (shuffles like an old man he's 6) appears to have seizures has been snappy and did snarl at my husband, new vet is mystified previous vets checked for thyroid issues he has had a diagnosis of kidney damage with previous vets but we weren't told how much damage was there he also has the most disgusting smell (think rotten meat) any ideas ? I've spent thousands trying to help him we do know that he was disqualified from a race due to having cocaine in his system (we also had to witness him having drug withdrawals which was horrific)

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Given his history, there may be more substances which he was exposed to which may be causing long term issues with seizures and behavioural problems; I would say that the issues may be related to the drug use from his racing days since issues may present weeks, months or years afterwards. Without examining him, blood tests etc… I couldn’t start to comment on a specific cause or a way forward. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

he is also licking paws excessively, drools a lot , yelps if you try and touch his ear (right) the vet has checked and can find nothing in his ears at all, he self mutilates (bites his boy bits) this dog has been up and down to the vets since we got him (February 2016)

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peanut
Border collie mix
14+
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Border collie mix 14+ years old (weight 49 lbs, is tubby) has hardly moved for 3 days, he will not stand on his feet and is completely limp regardless of what we do, however if you catch his attention he will look at you (only with his eyes, will not move his head), he shows no signs of discomfort. If we hold food/water in front him he will eat and drink sparingly, if we put food on the floor just out of his reach he will attempt to reach it but generally will have difficulty getting it. Our Vet has done a check; heart, lungs and temperature seem to be in order. Urinating and defecating is done in the house as getting him outside is almost impossible.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
The cause for Peanut’s condition may be due to a variety of different causes which may include neurological disorder, spinal disorder, poisoning or another cause; without examining Peanut it is difficult to say what the possible cause is and any effective treatment. I would suggest having an x-ray done to see if there is any vertebral instability or other issues which may explain the symptoms Peanut is showing; if there is still no success, you should consult with a Neurologist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bam
pit bull terrier
12 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Growling
manic pacing
Muscle Tremor
Disorientation
Pacing
Seizures
Weakness in back legs
Weak Bladder

Medication Used

Pimobendan
Spironolactone
Phenobarbital
prednisone
amlodipine
Benazepril
Furosemide

My dog had a "seizure" or a "collapse" attack back in January. I brought him in to emergency due to breathing issues that progressed throughout the day. He was discovered to be in the early stages of heart failure and was kept overnight so that they could give him i.v diuretics and attempt to get him out.They were able to reverse him out of it and he came home on 5 medications. When he came home I noticed his behavior was changing. He was growling at me, in an almost defensive manner, at the touch or if I looked at him a certain way. I passed this off as him just having a traumatic experience. This behavior has not changed but then he had a seizure last Friday night and another one on Tuesday night. Both of these happened around 11:45pm while he was sleeping. Since the first seizure he has started manic pacing, regular pacing, disorientation, weakened limbs, minor muscle twitching, aggression if you try to pick him up or go near his back end, pressing his head against the wall, etc.. After speaking with his normal vet and his cardiologist they are both thinking brain tumor. The only thing that is throwing me off is the close timeline of the CGF and the other symptoms. It is clear that something neurological is going on but are there other possibilities other than a brain tumor? I know this cannot be diagnosed without extensive testing (which I can't really put him through due to his heart) but I am just looking for some other answers that can quiet the timeline question in my mind.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I'm sorry that this is happening. Sometimes things just start to happen all at once, especially as our pets age. I would have to agree with your veterinarians, that a tumor is most likely causing his seizures and behavioral changes. I hope that you are able to keep him comfortable for a while longer.

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Lucky
Bassett hound mix
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Vision Difficulty
Vision Problems

Medication Used

Amoxicillin

My dog (8 year old bassett hound mix) woke today and wouldn't open his eyes. after warm gentle compress he was occasionally opening the right but the left seemed rolled up in his head or at least not looking in same direction as the right but mostly he shuts them. He is at vet now. They think it may be neurological.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Your veterinarian is the best place for Lucky to be right now - I hope that everything goes well for him.

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sophie
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Aggression
Coughing
Pain
Depression
Incontinence
Muscle Tremors
Wobbly
Shaking

My pooch has started to have muscle tremors all legs, she lost control of her bladder for a day but this has happened before and we only noticed it as she noticed it first. She has become leave me a lone don't touch me, she’s snapped at her dad when she was sat next to him for no reason at all. She is now slow to walk and wobbly on her feet. She had lumps, years ago we had some tested and they were fat cells, but she does not like the vets it really stresss Sophie so we have not had the others tested. She has a check up every April but the Vets don’t get to look at them as she is muzzled but growling at them. Years ago she had bad legs she couldn’t get up and was in pain, the vets just gave her pain medicine, we found Riaflex which was like a miracle a new pup. Recently we have run out, and I don’t know if what has happened is linked to this (new arriving Wednesday) or if there is something else is going on. She is currently sleeping more than she did before and does not want to play, she didn’t want to go for a walk at first, we did eventually which she was o.k.
She will start growling if you look at her, talk or try and touch her, so I’m trying not too. Sophie booster is due next week I don’t know what to do?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
It is possible that the aggression is due to Sophie being in pain, you need to see how she is once you start the Riaflex again; there is however the chance that the symptoms are not related to the Riaflex but until you start her on them again and monitor her we cannot be sure. Your Veterinarian should make a thorough examination of Sophie which may be difficult to do with her temperament; without examining Sophie myself I cannot give you any guidance unfortunately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kiko
Mixed
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Weakness sudden vision loss

Medication Used

Gabapentin

Kiko an almost thirteen years old, very mixed breed thirty-five to 40 pound rescue dog. He has been very healthy up until recently when he developed an arthritic knee. Our vet prescribed gabapenten and a doggy version of ibuprofen. The meds seemed to be working. Last week he took a turn for the worse, unable to walk without severe wobbling and limping. His eyesight suddenly got much worse (he already had some clouding in the lenses) and he was bumping into everything! And now, less than a week later he needs assistance getting to his water bowl, and going outside to do his business. His appetite has decreased considerably in the space of a week. I did coax him to eat a bit of wet cat food and dry cat food. He's not interested in his food. His rear legs can no longer support him and his front paws "knuckle". He shudders when he sleeps. He's more or less alert, turns to face me when I call his name and reacted to some very loud thunder and the sound of hail hitting the roof. He's going to the vet in the morning. I think his situation is grim.

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Emma
Cock-A-Poo
13 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Still blind after cataract remo

My little cockapoo who is almost 13 had cataract surgery 10 days ago. The surgery was successful. Although her eyes are now completely normal....retinas, corneas, etc. she is still blind. Her ophthalmologist doesn’t know why. He suspects a dementia and feels her brain is not connecting with her eyesight. Is this possible?? And if so, is there any hope it just might take longer? I am so sad, I wanted to give her the chance to see for her remaining years.

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Buddy
Jack Russell Terrier
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance

My Buddy, about around 2 weeks ago started to slip losing controll of back leg thought it was a combination of tiled floor an perhaps a mild infjury, didn't seem to be in any pain. Now at 3 weeks is regularity loosing conroll (5 times in 30 minutes) took him to the vet who diagnosed neurological disorder effecting spine and message to limbs. Is there mediation to slow down and does it cause pain. Symptom shaking head and rump, bit a a snap of teeth and lost of controll in back legs resulting in slipping or falling.

Buddy's Mate

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email - Im sorry that Buddy is having these problems. Since your veteirnarian has seen him and examined him, that would be a great question to ask them, as they knwo what is goign on with him and will be able to suggest medications or physical therapy that may help with what he is going through. I hope that he does well.

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Diesel
Chihuahua
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

allergies
Seizures
Wobbly
Redness
swollen paws

Medication Used

apequal
Phenobarbital

I have a 10 year old male chihuahua named Diesel. About a year ago he started having seizures. 10 months ago he had bloat. He developed a head tilt and ataxia at which was treated as an inner ear infection but thought possibly something neurological. It took a couple months and the tilt an ataxia went away. Meanwhile he has been on Phenobarbital for the seizures for 10 months. He also developed some sort of allergy, red belly and licking his feet a lot. Changed diet He is now on long term allergy meds, but the red belly is not going away. My vet feels its from the Phenobarbital. In the past 2 months all 4 paws have become swollen and he no longer wants to go for his walks. He also displays signs of discomfort when laying down. His appetite is good, he is very alert. Wobbles a lot when walking but he has always done that.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
As far as I am aware there are no adverse side effects of phenobarbital which include an irritated abdomen or paws; irritation of the abdomen and paws may be related to other allergies including grass, food or others. It is difficult to say what exactly is going on there with Diesel, but I would try to keep him comfortable and continue with treatment as prescribed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.noahcompendium.co.uk/?id=-459394

Thank you for the quick reply. Things have taken a turn for the worse. This morning Diesel could not walk on his front right paw, holding it straight out and obvious pain. On vet examination there is no evident signs of trauma or strains. It seems to be part of his slow decline in mobility. Have him on Tramadol for the pain but its not giving much comfort. He was quite active yesterday and in good spirits, so maybe he pulled something and we just can't pinpoint it. I am hoping.

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Mollie
Lab mix
9 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

anxiety
Destructive

Medication Used

Fluoxetine

My dog has had severe separation anxiety since we adopted her 4 years ago. We tried training and eventually put her on fluoxetine with much success. Over the past 4 years she still is slightly anxious at times, but no longer has accidents in the house or gets severely anxious. We have kept her on the same dose of fluoxetine for the past 4 years without issues. Recently in the past 2 weeks, she has began to have severe cases of anxiety again. Now causing damage to the house (which she never did before). I'm wondering if this is related to aging (she is 9 now)? Or is there any suggestion in changing dosing of her fluoxetine as she ages.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
There should not be any needed changes in the dosage of Fluoxetine in general, but each dog is individual, and there may be something going on in Mollie's life that is making her more anxious again. I don't know what dosage she is at for the medication, but she may need a temporary increase - it would be a good idea to call your veterinarian and let them know what is going on, as they know her and will be able to recommend any needed changes or treatments. I hope that she is okay.

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Buddy
Chien Francais Blanc et Noir
7years
Moderate condition
2 found helpful
Moderate condition

That told me today my dog has a brain disorder he did a test on his foot by bending it and the dog dident respond he also now walks unsteady am I going to put my dog down is he going to lose all fiction it kills me to c my friend like this u love him so much he is takeing starioids now will he b able to walk again I'm so sad

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without examining Buddy, I cannot give for you any indication of prognosis or the possible efficacy of treatment; you should allow any treatment given time to work and to assess Buddy’s condition and any improvement day by day. If you have concerns or want a second opinion it would be best to speak with a Neurologist who would be able to guide you better after examining Buddy; also CT scans may help to to better understand his condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you

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Kiki
German Shepherd
13 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pacing

My girl Kiki is 13, almost 14. She has some German Shepherd in her along with Keeshond. About 2 yrs ago my wife and I noticed some changes in her. It all started with her jumping up from her sleep and dart into another room. We jokingly thought that one of our dogs that we had to put down was messing with her, that maybe she farted and it freaked her out. Slowly she started pacing around a lot and panting. Jumpn to present time where she sleeps peacefully during the day. Then late in the evening she'll start pacing around and I call it digging, where she's like trying to dig through the carpet and make sounds like she's crying. She will do this almost all night. When this behavior started we took her to the vet, they ran a blood test and took xrays. They said she has some air in her intestines and her blood cultures came back good. They did think it was early o sey of doggie dementia! Any ideas?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
It does seem like that may be a change caused by aging brain disease if she was otherwise deemed healthy by your veterinarian. There are medications that may help with that that your veterinarian can prescribe if it is appropriate - Selegeline is one of them that has helped in some situations. Anti-anxiety medications may help as well. Your veterinarian can advise you on these, as they have examined her and know more about her physical condition. I hope that she is okay.

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Bull
Rat Terrier
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Staring at walls, balance problems,

I took my aging dog to vet because he was losing weight.They did blood work and said he was anemic. We changed his diet but there's no improvement.Now he's staring at walls for no reason and walking sideways.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
The cause of the anaemia is important, it is due to a decrease in production or an increase in destruction? I would take Bull back to your Veterinarian for another examination and blood test to see if there are any new issues arising like kidney issues (kidneys produce a hormone which stimulates red blood cell production). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sweetie-pie
Maltese poodle
15 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Dizziness, wobbling, disorientation

My 15 year old maltese/poodle has started stopping and being wobbly on her feet. Over the past week these symptoms have increased and she has stumbled and fallen a few times. She recovers within seconds and will carry on walking. If this is a neurological condition that will eventually end up with her passing away would she be experiencing pain before that time. Our local vet wants to do tests and x rays which are beyond my financial capabilities and if my little dog is going to pass away even with treatment I would rather watch over her all the time and make her as comfortable and happy as possible as long as she is not suffering. Thank you for your help.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Without seeing Sweetie-Pie, I'm unfortunately not able to comment on whether her condition might be neurologic or musculoskeletal, and I suspect that is why your veterinarian wants to take x-rays. If you are not able to have those tests done, it is okay to tell your veterinarian that, and see if they think that she is in pain or is suffering. They may be able to suggest possible treatments for her so that she is comfortable.

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Chunk
Rottweiler Rhodesian ridgeback
6 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Destructive
Runny Nose
heavy panting
nervousness
anxiety
Jolting
Pacing

I’ve had our dog Chunk since he was 8 weeks of and he is now 6 1/2. He has always been very independent. He’s not much for cuddling or even petting him for all that long. He’d rather play with you and then go lay down a few feet away from you. For the past several months he will all of a sudden jolt up or if he’s standing he’ll jump forward as if someone pinched him from behind or something. He then seems very scared and will jump on our laps if we’re sitting (he’s 90lbs) or sit on or feet if we’re standing and be glued to us and just keep pawing at us as if he’s begging us to help him. Nothing we do can calm him. He also tries to squeeze himself into places he does not fit like in the freezer or under the bathroom vanity. His nose starts to run, his tail will be down (almost between his legs) and he pants heavily when this happens. He will also pace obsessively and then glue himself back to us. When we leave the house he has gotten extremely distructive. In the past he would maybe knock the trash over once every few months, but now he will knock pictures off the wall, bikes down, the tv was tipped over and scratched on a few occasions, he has scratched paint off the outer wall of the house, bent a metal shed door and list goes on and on. We took him to the vet and blood work was okay. We thought it would work itself out but the “fits” have been becoming more and more frequent (many times a day). Any thoughts? We’ve come to the conclusion that we’re going to have to make another vet appointment and probably pay to ying yang for more extensive tests. I’m just scared it might be something neurological now. We were originally thinking maybe a pinch nerve in his hind leg, but his behavior is getting more impulsive and bizzarre and he’s seeming more confused when his fits happen.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
That is bizarre behavior, I agree. It sounds like Chunk is becoming much more anxious, and I'm not sure if it is related to a physical cause, or an anxiety disorder. Without examining him, I can't say for sure, but it would be worth a conversation with your veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety medications might help him. I hope that you and your veterinarian are able to get to the bottom of this problem for him.

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BANE
Malamute
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance

Medication Used

prednisone

I HAVE A 10 YOA MALAMUTE HUSKY MIX I RESCUED 5 YEARS AGO. HE WAS A SLED DOG ABANDONED IN THE UPPER PENINSULA AND WAS IN BAD SHAPE-EMACIATED, HEART WORM THE WORKS--- HE WAS NURSED BACK TO PERFECT HEALTH EXCEPT HE HAS DISCOID LUPUS THAT AFFECTS JUST HIS NOSE, NOW I COOK HIS OWN FOODS, I DO NOT OVER VACCINATE, I DO NOT LET HIM
INGEST ANYTHING I WOULD NOT INGEST MYSELF INCLUDING PEST CONTROL EVERYTHING IS ALL NATURAL 4 WEEKS AGO HE WENT FROM BOUNDING UP THE STAIRS AND JUMPING INTO MY TRUCK TO ALMOST COMPLETE LOSS OF HIS LIMBS. HE WOULD SLIDE ALL 4 FEET OUT ON THE TILE. COULDNT MAKE IT UP THE STAIRS ON HIS OWN ETC.... I GO TO VET REGULARLY. VET DID X-RAYS-- NO ARTHRITIS, NO DISC OR LUMBAR ISSUES NO HIP ISSUES. FULL BLOOD INDEXX EVERYTHING WAS IN THE GREEN. HOWEVER 6 WEEKS AGO THESE LESIONS STARTED APPEARING ON HIS BACK. LARGE HORRIBLE PAINFUL PUSS COVERED ONES. DOC SAID COULD BE A FEW THINGS INCLUDING AUTOIMMUNE. NOW HIS LOWER LUMBER HURTS, HIS PUPILS ARE DIFFERENT SIZES AND HE CAN BARELY WALK. DOC THINKING POSSIBLE BRAIN TUMOR. I AM NOT SO SURE--A FEW DAYS OF PREDNISONE AND HE IS WALKING AND TROTTING AGAIN. STILL DIFFICULTY GETTING UP THE STAIRS BUT HE DOES IT. EATING GOOD. HE HAS HAD NO HEAD TILTING, STARING AT WALLS, NO SEIZURES, NO LOSS OF BOWELS, NO BLINDNESS, NO VOMITING, NO PERSONALITY CHANGE, NO EYE FLUTTERING NOTHING ELSE THAT POINTS TO TUMOR. COULD SOMETHING AUTOIMMUNE BE ATTACKING HIS SYSTEM? HE WAS ON MINOCYCLINE FOR YEARS FOR LUPUS HE GETS NIACINIMIDE AND OMEGA 369 DAILY. BUT THE I BELIEVE THE LESIONS SOMEHOW FIT IN TO ALL OF THIS.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Autoimmune disease is a possibility, however without examining Bane and reviewing the medical history I am unable to confirm whether this is the case or not; you should follow the treatment prescribed by your Veterinarian and monitor for improvement. However in a case like this, you may need to consult with an Internal Medicine Specialist if there is no improvement in the sores or the overall condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sadie
Chihuahua
17 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Spins and balance

Sadie has good bowel control and eats well,but her balance and this circling and spinning appears to be getting worse. What could it be related to and can it be treated?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email . There are many causes that could be the source of this behavior for Sadie. Ear infections, neurologic infections, or brain tumors can all cause these signs, among other things. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they can examine her, determine what might be going on, and recommend any treatment that might help.

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Aly
American Bulldog
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Walk Unevenly

Medication Used

none

My 8 year old American bulldog had an episode a year ago where I came home and she was hiding in the corner of the room fearful and shaking. When she walked towards me she was walking sideways and her back legs kept crossing. I rushed her to the vet but they said maybe a seizure but they couldn’t be sure. Her only medical concern is a grade 2 heart murmur. A year later, the same thing happened again but it took a full day for her to start walking better versus a few hours the first time. I have noticed some weakness in her back legs in regards to jumping on the bed but doesn’t appear to be in pain.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without examining Aly, I cannot really say what is going on or whether this is a neurological issue or musculoskeletal issue; you should return to your Veterinarian whilst Aly is still unsteady on her feet for a thorough examination to try and determine the cause of the unsteadiness. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Taffy
Cocker Spaniel
11 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Seizures

My cocker spaniel had idiopathic epilepsy for 11 years and then had a facial stroke and cluster seizures. No brain tumor found at that time and was put on medication zonisimide and for five months was slowly losing weight but was doing ok, she was starting to eat less after five months and weaned off zonismide thinking it was a side affect of the medication. She was shaking and not eating much and then kicked her right leg out and a week later was knuckling and the doctor gave her steroids and was doing ok for couple of days and then continuing oral steroids and a few days later woke up to her on the floor with paralysis of legs and scooting all over panting and didn't seem to know who I was, took her to ER to see neurologist and he said disc or tumor but had a bad heart murmur and pausing between breathing, she seemed like she was suffering and after tests done to see why she was losing weight found polypoid gastritis and enlarged liver, and the best interest was to let her go due to nothing can do about the legs, so no MRI done. Not knowing what happened has devastated me, any conclusions?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without performing a necropsy on Taffy I cannot say what the specific cause of the symptoms were; tumours, organ failure, poisoning, aging among other causes may have contributed to her death. I wish I could give some closure for you, but I do not want to speculate about a cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Missy
Miniture schnauzer
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Medication Used

Steroids, muscle relaxer, Pain
steroids

My Missy is a 13 yr old miniature schnauzer 6 years ago she got a spinal injury from trying to jump on our brick wall. So she has her left back leg that isn't useful anymore she has feeling in it but it doesn't work for her. She goes on 2 walks a day normally, every so often she might tweak her injury and she and she does nothing that day. well she definitely did more than tweaking it on Sunday , by the end of day she was not mobile at all. we do regular vet visits including today Monday. Our Vet scribed us 3 different medications for her. if they don't work she suggests we see a Neuro DR. She isnt eating only drinking water. gave her pills today she is exactly same cant move. How long before medication to work poor little Missy?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I'm not sure which medications you were prescribed specifically, but generally the medications starts to help within 4-6 hours. Since I don't know exactly what she was given, it would be a good idea to call your veterinarian and ask them what the expected time frame for improvement may be for her.

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Chance
Pit bull
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Noticed a spontaneous onset of problems with my dog (most severe within 1-2 days). She is a 14 year old pit bull who recently had oral surgery (removed two teeth) due to an abscess/infection which went to the bone in her nose and made a large lump on the top of her nose (which never fully healed after multiple rounds of antibiotics). Two days ago I noticed she hadn't eaten or drank in two days and her rear legs appeared weak and seemed to be crouching down to the floor and her tail was tucked in between her legs. She seemed uncomfortable before this as she would pace throughout the night. While standing she is making a head/body "twitch" which looks like a person would do/make when they feel/catch themself falling asleep. She seems unsteady/ wobbly on her feet and has been very inactive/tired. But also at times (very few and far in between) gets bursts of energy and runs around like she is a puppy. Her bloodwork and urinalysis were "unremarkable for a 14 year old dog". Thought to be some sort of neurological problem and just given prednisone to see if it helps any of the symptoms. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
In cases like this, there is a large unknown area of whether the symptoms are due to aging, a tumour, poisoning, hormonal conditions or another cause; also these cases are never exactly similar to other cases making treatment or prognosis difficult. At this point with many unknowns, prednisone is a good starting point to see if there is any improvement; without spending money on x-rays, MRI etc… it can be difficult to determine what the specific cause is and sometimes after that you’re still in the same place due to the result being unremarkable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jazz
Labrador Retriever
11 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Vision loss
Behavior Changes
exposed third eyelid
Vision Problems

Medication Used

Prozac

Our 11-year old Lab recently had a change in behavior; digging in boxes and shredding cardboard, shredding cardboard soda cases, destroying a chair cushion, burrowing in the closet, panting, "smiling". The last 3 things he has done before when he was stressed, like during storms and fireworks; the shredding and destruction are completely new.

After a vet visit he was placed on Prozac and kenneled during the day, and these behaviors seemed to diminish (but not completely disappear); because he used to roam freely through the house, we are not sure if the diminishment is due to the Prozac or being kenneled.

In the last few days, his third eyelid on the left side has been exposed and will not retract. It occurs sporadically in the right eye as well. He appears to have serious vision issues on the left side (husband playing fetch with him stated Jazz could not see anything thrown to the left of him).

A vet visit yesterday showed that his pupils will not constrict when a bright light is shone into them. Given the other symptoms, our vet ruled out Horner's Syndrome, and is leaning toward Canine Dysautonomia or another neurological disorder. Everything I read says that Dysautonomia occurs in much younger dogs, so I'm unsure of this diagnosis. He also does not seem to have any other symptoms (seizures, head tilts, dizziness, etc). Is there anything else this could be?

Thank you for your time.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I'm sorry that this is happening to Jazz. Unfortunately, at his age, with a change in behavior and the signs that you describe, it is possible that he is developing a tumor on his brain. The next best step may be an MRI to see what is happening, as that would give you more information on how best to treat him. I can't examine him, of course, but it would be worth discussing with your veterinarian.

Thank you for the quick reply. The brain tumor possibility did occur to our vet, and to us. It is good to hear another opinion, even if it wasn't what we wanted to hear.

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Sadie
Poodle x Shih-Tzu
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Walk Unevenly

Medication Used

prednisone

We took Sadie to the vet bc she has been walking sideways and not with it. Her hind legs are giving out. She has also lost her bark. The vet suspects neurologial issues bc he sees her eyes are not matching. One eye looking down and the other is normal which why he thinks is causing her to walk sideways. He suggested to see a neurologist so they can do an MRI on her but he said it could be expensive and in the end the meds they will prescribe will be the same my dr will give us now. So we decided not to go through with it.He prescribed Prednisone and I’m
Not sure if it’s Fonitidine? I can’t read their writing. And Tobrex antibiotic for the green muk my husband found on her eye. I hope all these will bring down some inflammation on her brain which is causing her eye to look like that! And do you think we should still see a neurologist or should we just wait to see if these meds will work! We r hoping for the best because this is devastating watching my dog go through this.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I think that it is reasonable to wait and see if the medications help with Sadie's current signs, and if they don't improve, have the consultation with the neurologist, since your veterinarian seems to think that there is a chance that this will happen. The treatment plan that your veterinarian has recommended is reasonable. I hope that all goes well with her.

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Lexi
King Charles Spaniel
5 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking, licks paw occasionaly
Head Shaking

I have a 5yr old King Charles Spaniel that went completely deaf in a matter of 2 weeks. I took her to the Vet looked in her ear and one was infected from a fox tail that he had to remove the week prior. He was able to pull it out with out sedation and said to just keep an eye on it. She was groomed at the groomers a week in a half later. Then she started going deaf. And now it completely deaf. Heard perfectly the first 5 yrs. I took her back to the vet and he said the ear that had the foxtail got a little infected and the other looked great. Put her on Baytril to heal infection. Finished rx and she is still completely deaf. Took her to dermatologist and he looked in her ears with scope for fear that she had primary secretory ottis. (Apparently common in King Charles)He said her eardrums weren't "blugging" out which is symptom but they say it is still a possibility and suggest doing a scan. Is that still a real possibility? She shows no signs of stroke. Shakes her head occasionally. Licks front paws occasionally. Very worried and miss being able to "talk" to her. Any thoughts?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Hearing loss in dogs may seem to be sudden, but generally it is gradual and since dogs compensate very well it appears to us humans that hearing loss was sudden; also, if you used any medicated ear drops containing gentamicin, this may also cause temporary loss of hearing. Without examining Lexi I cannot say whether or not any imaging studies are needed but if you have concerns I would recommend getting another opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Monie
Rat Terrier
Ten Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Blindness

Medication Used

Optimunne
Azopt
Latanaprost
Soloxine
Vetsulin
Maxitrol

I have a 10 year old, diabetic, hypothyroid, spayed Rat Terrier mix who had successful cataract surgery approximately 14 months ago. She began losing her vision again 3 months ago. She is under constant Ophthalmological care, as well as our regular veterinarian (diabetes and thyroid are stable). She is scheduled for an MRI in late August (this was the soonest appointment available) to look for any neurological disorders causing her blindness. She has no other symptoms, is active and social. Obviously cancer is a possibility, but what other conditions could be the cause (all of her bloodwork is normal)? Also, can you tell me what I need to be watching for between now and her MRI appointment? Thank you so much.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
I’m sure your Ophthalmologist has rule out the usual causes associated with diabetes, increased blood pressure, glaucoma and other similar issues; with the MRI we would be looking for tumours or abnormalities which may indicate a possible loss of vision. In the meantime you should look for changes in behaviour, gait and general well being; if you have concerns about any new symptom visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bailey
Pomeranian
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Pom / spaniel mix, rescue so don't really know age or breed. Out of the blue yelping and over couple days full screaming and leg lifting up. Tried med of pain and anti inflammatory with no response. Has episodes mostly while lying down and occasionally when in movement. Attacked me when had episode as sitting beside her at the time. Vet added toro doll and did X-rays which showed mid back age related damage and stated was responding overly in pain for damage shown. Still having episodes even with both Meds on board and lifting her front paw. The smallest subtle movement sends her into a screaming pain yet can also easily do stairs and eating. Drinking and still excited to leave the home or greet family. Does this seem neurological as Meds not really helping but only on Meds 21/2 full days? Unbearable to see her in pain if prognoses poor

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Without examining Bailey I cannot give you much indication to the severity of the condition, but if medical management of the symptoms seems to be ineffective I would recommend you consult with a Neurologist to get their input on Bailey’s condition. It is difficult to pin down some neurological conditions and further testing may be required (MRI), a visit to a Neurologist would be beneficial to cover all bases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cosita
Chihuahua
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Change in temperament.

Medication Used

Cosequin DS

We recently adopted an adorable, 4/12 lb., 7 year old chihuahua who was a hurricane survivor from Puerto Rico. We noticed that sometimes one of her hind legs would lock up so we started giving her Cosequin DS and she is doing better in that respect. At other times she would be in a deep sleep and wake up as if she had a nightmare and appear disoriented and growl, but these episodes did not last long. She has always been very affectionate, but recently we have noticed a change in her temperament. She has started growling sometimes when she is resting and you approach her or if you try to pet her. We are at a loss to explain her behavior. Could it be neurological and what can we do to address this?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Cosita may have some trauma from her experiences that are bothering her. Dogs often have a change in behavior as they become comfortable in a new home, and this may be happening with her, as she becomes more comfortable with you. It would be a good idea to have her examined by a veterinarian to make sure that she doesn't have any health concerns that need to be addressed, and if she is healthy, it would help to have a trainer work with her, and you, to curb these behaviors. Without knowing her history, it may be difficult at her age, but it is worth trying, and a trainer will be able to pinpoint any triggers that cause this behavior.

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lily
Labradoodle Miniature
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

pinched nerve

Medication Used

Prednisone, gabapentin,
prednisone

Good Morning, I have a 6 year old mini labradoodle. She has always been active and lively. For the past 6 weeks we have been dealing with her yelping out in pain and kind of favoring her neck... I've taken her to the vet where they did xrays on her neck and lower half- both came back clear. . . the vet gave her prednisone, methacarbomol, and gabapentin... she also has gone to the chiropractor 2x and somatic therapies 3 times... I also just started her on CBD oil. She was doing great then she woke up in extreme pain... yelping and moving very slowly.. hardly able to walk up three stairs. Her bowel movements are normal, no temp and she's eating fine (whimpered while eating today). I have already called her vet again but would like a second opinion, do you believe it is just a pinched nerve or could it be a bigger issue?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
From my own experience, a pinched nerve is painful so I can imagine the distress a dog goes through when they don’t understand why they’re in pain. Without examining Lily and possibly having an MRI or CT I cannot give you any other idea of what may be the source of this pain. Give Lily plenty of rest and give the medication as prescribed, it may take a while to see any progress. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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