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Ischemic Event--Need Advice


Guest KTPrime
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Guest KTPrime

So last night (we were out of state to attend a wedding), I get a call from my brother who was dogsitting Optimus that he was having trouble standing up. I told him to take him to the e-vet. The e-vet called me and told me he was stumbling, had a head title, circling, falling, and was unable to support himself. She said it looked like central vestibular disease and he was unlikely to recover.

I was devastated, and we got on the first plane home the following morning. We went to the e-vet and the doctor said he was much improved, still somewhat unsteady but now able to walk, so there was hope. Then we waited for the neurologist. Basically he was said he had some sort of ischemic event (which I guess is analogous to a stroke), and that he has a central vestibular problem, but the cause is not known. It could be a brain tumor, or it could be a transient attack. I found out from my little brother that something similar but less severe than this happened two years ago when he Optimus was staying with him, but it passed (he never shared this with me). I've never noticed any symptoms like this. So, basically, they need an MRI to try to figure out what is going on inside his head. He is able to walk now so we were able to take him home. He's shaky and still has some weakness/lack of awareness on his right side. He still seems happy and has an appetitie and is drinking water, so I think those are good signs. The e-vet said there was no harm in waiting until Monday to get him seen by our regular vet and seeing what she thinks.

It has been a very emotionally draining 24 hours. I am heartbroken for my sweet boy, and really scared. I can't imagine life without him. If anyone has ever experienced a similar event, or has any advice, I'd love to hear it. We just don't know what to expect or hope for.

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One of my seniors boys had occasional vestibular episodes. It can be very scary to witness. It only took a few hours for him to recover after each spell. He otherwise had a normal life.

 

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No advice, just hoping the best for Optimus. I had to google ischemic event, and from what I read, it doesn't sound hopeless at all.

Many dogs recover with only slight weakness. One of the causes is a clot elsewhere that travels to the brain. Which I found very interesting,

because in the spring of 2012, Desi had a bout with blood clots, although his did not go to the brain, they were in muscle masses. The last

one was pretty scary, he couldn't use one rear leg at all, just drug it like a stick of wood. ICU at OSU put him on aspirin therapy (1/2 of a low-

dose aspirin) daily, and he's recovered completely and has not had another episode. But if it's a brain tumor, then that's a whole new ballgame.

 

Don't panic yet, just breathe & thank doG he's doing well right now. We'll panic later if need be.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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Mimi had a pretty severe bout of vestibular when she was maybe 12 or 13. She was fine one minute and then couldn't stand the next. We rushed her to my vet and if he had said we should put her down I would have without a second thought. She ended up being just fine. Took her about a month to be back 100% and for the head tilt to be totally gone. We saw a little improvement each day. Never had another incident of it and she lived to be 15. Hope your boy is OK.

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No experience, but sending lots of cyberhugs to Optimus and you. Appetite and drinking water sound good. :

In humans who have had ischemic events, some light stimulation of the weak side can be helpful for increasing awareness of that side. Gentle massage, movement of the limbs, etc. And it can decrease your feeling of helplessness, too.

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remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Keep treating as if it's a vestibular event. If that's what it is, your boy will continue to improve. If the problem is a brain tumor, you can't fix it. I'm not sure an MRI will be an efficient use of your financial resources. If your vet recommends the MRI, ask what the scan might show and what the prognosis or treatment will be for whatever shows. Then ask if it would be dangerous to treat without the scan. For instance, if it's a question of a clot (treatable) vs a tumor (not treatable), would it be dangerous to just treat for a clot without the scan?

 

Right now, you're in a more vulnerable state than Optimus. I'll bet the ER vet you've spoken to didn't give you as much reassuring advice as the people here have--and will. Please run stuff past the folks on this forum before you get panicked into deciding your boy's case is hopeless or into spending a lot of money for tests that won't actually show you what to do. There are vets on this message board--and lots of experienced owners--and you'll get more helpful advice than "it's a central vestibular disease" and your dog "is unlikely to recover." I'll bet more of us know of vestibular events the dogs recovered from fully than of events that wound up being fatal.

 

Deep breaths. Optimus is better today than he was yesterday. Hang on to that, and consider how much better he might be before he sees his own vet. In fact, take some videos of Optimus as he stands--or tries to--and you'll have something to compare things to on Monday when you and his vet are assessing his condition.

Let us know how he's doing.

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Sending best wishes for you and your boy. It is so hard not to panic when our hounds are hurting or sick but if your ER vet is not greyhound experienced I would try not to panic and wait for your regular vet and like someone said look to Greytalk for support.

I went to a health seminar by Jenifer Barker and she recommends giving greyhounds 7 and old 1/4 of a lose dose chewable asprin once a day. It helps keep the platelets be less sticky and it not a large enough dose to cause any issues with other medications or dentals.

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:grouphug Sending good thoughts. Keep us posted.

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My boy had what the neurologist believed to be a Transient Ischaemic Attack two years ago. Different symptoms from your boy (depends where the clot is - my boy's was thought to be in his brain stem) but he recovered fully within a week. Not sure I'd be doing an MRI if your boy is already recovering. Sending good wishes to you and Optimus - I know what a scary time it must be for both of you. :grouphug

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The only other thing I'd be asking is why Optimus has these episodes only while staying with your brother. I'm just wondering ... not if your brother is neglectful, but if there is a source of some kind of poison which could mimic an ischemic attack. Many which act neurologically could, in theory.

 

Is there anything at your brother's house which is not at yours, and could cause this if eaten? Human drugs, plants, glues, fumes, etc .. What houseplants does he have? Does he use any of the older rodenticides like Bromethalin?

 

If the answer to all those is negative, well, I agree with the others. Many dogs have vestibular episodes and recover. Some have repeated episodes and recover, then relapse. If it's a stroke or a tumour, all you can do is take the best advice you can, do what you can, and hope for the best. I really hope it's not a tumour. :goodluck

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The only other thing I'd be asking is why Optimus has these episodes only while staying with your brother. I'm just wondering ... not if your brother is neglectful, but if there is a source of some kind of poison which could mimic an ischemic attack. Many which act neurologically could, in theory cause vestibular-like symptoms.

 

Is there anything at your brother's house which is not at yours, and could cause this if eaten? Human drugs, plants, glues, fumes, etc .. What houseplants does he have? Does he use any of the older rodenticides like Bromethalin?

 

If the answer to all those is negative, well, I agree with the others. Many dogs have vestibular episodes and recover. Some have repeated episodes and recover, then relapse. If it's a stroke or a tumour, all you can do is take the best advice you can, do what you can, and hope for the best. I really hope it's not a tumour. :goodluck

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest KTPrime

The only other thing I'd be asking is why Optimus has these episodes only while staying with your brother. I'm just wondering ... not if your brother is neglectful, but if there is a source of some kind of poison which could mimic an ischemic attack. Many which act neurologically could, in theory cause vestibular-like symptoms.

 

Is there anything at your brother's house which is not at yours, and could cause this if eaten? Human drugs, plants, glues, fumes, etc .. What houseplants does he have? Does he use any of the older rodenticides like Bromethalin?

 

If the answer to all those is negative, well, I agree with the others. Many dogs have vestibular episodes and recover. Some have repeated episodes and recover, then relapse. If it's a stroke or a tumour, all you can do is take the best advice you can, do what you can, and hope for the best. I really hope it's not a tumour. :goodluck

Well the first episode was at my parents house, they do have some plants I don't have--but I also lived there with him for a yearish and he didn't have any episodes. Friday's incident was at our apartment (little brother travelled here to watch him). No toxins I can think of, I don't know if stress is a factor but Optimus certainly doesn't like it when I leave.

 

Thank you everyone for all your kind words and advice. I'm trying to think positive and hope for the best. He seems to be doing very well today. If I didn't know he was sick, I don't think I would neccesarily think anything was out of the ordinary. He did stumble a bit when moving from the sidewalk to the grass (a few inches down), but he seems to be walking pretty well. He doesn't seem to be overly crooked or unbalanced or anything. I will be interested to hear my vet's opinion over the e-vet at VCA. I haven't had a great experience with them in the past (the branch I went to one time was the type of place to advocate for every test in the book for the littlest thing). I am encouraged that he seems to be doing well, and he's eating and drinking normally. I'll update after we go see the vet tomorrow. Thank you all again.

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No guarantees but ... dogs often recover very well from vestibular / ischemic incidents. It can take some time and patience. Glad he is doing better already!

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i had a dog that had a couple of these events usually after I ran of their vitamins, pet tabs. needless to say I made sure to keep the stock level up on their vitamins.

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Guest KTPrime

So we had our appointment with our regular vet yesterday. She can't say definitively, but she doesn't think it's a brain tumor, so that's good news. She says his reflexes and all other vital signs are good, and that he doesn't appear to be ill, which is a good sign. Basically now we just have to watch and wait. She said sometimes events like this happen and never re-occur--but sometimes they do. Optimus is doing really well though, walking just fine and still eating and drinking normally. Just trying to stay positive for the time being. She said she wouldn't go ahead with the MRI unless he has another incident, and then we might want to consider it. Hoping he will continue to improve and fingers crossed that he won't have another incident. Definitely the scariest weekend of my life.

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So glad he's continuing to get better. :) Did any of the vets suggest taking a preventative such as the above-mentioned portion of low-dose aspirin?

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Guest KTPrime

Vet didn't recommend any preventative treatment, just said to monitor him.

 

Not sure about his BP, evet said his blood work was unremarkable, but not sure if they checked his BP. I'll ask my vet about both things in our followup thus week.

 

Also happy to report Optimus is doing super well! Seems to be back to his old self. Relieved beyond words. Thank you all for your advice and support!

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