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So, we have a new diagnosis to deal with: vestibular disease. Kiley has been a little wobbly lately and has has a few episodes where she seems off balance, the vet just figured it was related to one or both of her other health issues since each episode followed activity (their best guess was her heart/lungs couldn't keep up so she got dizzy or out of breath or something.) But on Monday my mom texted me while i was at work saying that she got sick (threw up) and wouldn't come out from behind the couch, they couldn't get her back in the crate, and she was a little wobbly when she was wandering around. Sometimes she gets like that, at first i thought "oh just loop her with a leash and pick her up", but i guess gut instinct told me something else was up. I went home early and "a little wobbly" was an understatement.

She couldn't stand at all without falling over. Her eyes where twitching side to side like crazy. Head weaving, barely aware. I thought for sure she had a stroke or something - she had been fine that morning so this happened literally within 3-4 hours and go worse in the time my parents where with her. We rushed her to the emergency vet and he immediately said "looks like vestibular disease". I'm not unfamiliar with it - my bosses dog had it, and some of our client dogs have it. Now that she's not in an active episode i can see it - head tilt, wobbly gait, etc. They gave her anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for a UTI they uncovered and sent us home: We have a follow up with her normal vet tomorrow.

My question is: they ran blood work and there are a few high/low points that he didn't seem concerned about but said we should re-test in a month or two. Baseline he said was unremarkable and unconcerning. When we go in tomorrow to her normal vet i guess we'll compare these to her previous tests. Bottom line: GLU was high at 150 mg/dL, ALKP was high at 340 U/l, Cl was low at 107 mol/L, LYM was low at .89 K/pL, MONO was high at 1/18 K/pL, and PCT was high at .49%. There are a few others that are edging pretty close to low/high as well: EOS was borderline low, MPV borderline high, BUN borderline high, PHOS borderline low, ALT borderline high. I have no idea what any of this means except he mentioned something about her liver possibly being a problem to keep an eye on and everything else seemed on par with Vestibular and about "normal" for an almost 12 year old dog with grade 4/5 heart murmur and a lung tumor.

She's home and has improved dramatically. She's sleeping a lot (fairly normal) but she gets up to go to the bathroom, she eats, she drinks. I have to hand feed her and her bowls have to be elevated. She's having a hard time with kibble so she's on chicken/rice and i'll be picking her up some soft food today but she eats. She has a head tilt, lists to the side, and stumbles but she can walk which she couldn't on Monday when i got home. Her eyes aren't doing the side to side twitching anymore. She seems to be as comfy as can be and is pretty perky when she's awake. We'll be discussing everything at her vet tomorrow, including involving a specialist again, but i wanted any suggestions you guys might have as far as moving forward. Maybe help understanding the blood test results?

Also: i've been googling (which i know can be dangerous) and talking to another pet parent i know at work who has an older dachshund with multiple health problems. Acupuncture has come up more than once as a potential aid for a number of things including Vestibular and cancer as far as providing comfort and such. The vet my friend knows charged around $200 for the initial consult, the first treatment, and a bunch of other stuff/suggestions. Anyone have luck with this, for anything (vestibular, cancer, or anything else)?
 

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I'm so sorry. Poor Kiley :(

I have a vestibular condition and it can be truly hellish. I get the most relief from meclizine (an antiemetic) and it's very important I'm never interrupted during a sleep cycle.

I can't even imagine what it's like for a dog to feel that way and not be able to communicate. Based on my own experiences, to give her some relief when she's having an acute episode, in addition to the antiemetic, I recommend giving her easy access to a hard, non-slip surface (even the softness of a blanket contributes to my sensation of falling), ideally in a sparsely furnished room with no busy patterns. Water should be within easy reach. No food. I can't even describe what it's like to try and eat when it's bad. So medications that don't require a full stomach are important.

I wish I had dog-specific knowledge for you. I'd definitely give acupuncture a try if you are confident in the provider.
 

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So, we have a new diagnosis to deal with: vestibular disease. Kiley has been a little wobbly lately and has has a few episodes where she seems off balance, the vet just figured it was related to one or both of her other health issues since each episode followed activity (their best guess was her heart/lungs couldn't keep up so she got dizzy or out of breath or something.) But on Monday my mom texted me while i was at work saying that she got sick (threw up) and wouldn't come out from behind the couch, they couldn't get her back in the crate, and she was a little wobbly when she was wandering around. Sometimes she gets like that, at first i thought "oh just loop her with a leash and pick her up", but i guess gut instinct told me something else was up. I went home early and "a little wobbly" was an understatement.

She couldn't stand at all without falling over. Her eyes where twitching side to side like crazy. Head weaving, barely aware. I thought for sure she had a stroke or something - she had been fine that morning so this happened literally within 3-4 hours and go worse in the time my parents where with her. We rushed her to the emergency vet and he immediately said "looks like vestibular disease". I'm not unfamiliar with it - my bosses dog had it, and some of our client dogs have it. Now that she's not in an active episode i can see it - head tilt, wobbly gait, etc. They gave her anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for a UTI they uncovered and sent us home: We have a follow up with her normal vet tomorrow.

My question is: they ran blood work and there are a few high/low points that he didn't seem concerned about but said we should re-test in a month or two. Baseline he said was unremarkable and unconcerning. When we go in tomorrow to her normal vet i guess we'll compare these to her previous tests. Bottom line: GLU was high at 150 mg/dL, ALKP was high at 340 U/l, Cl was low at 107 mol/L, LYM was low at .89 K/pL, MONO was high at 1/18 K/pL, and PCT was high at .49%. There are a few others that are edging pretty close to low/high as well: EOS was borderline low, MPV borderline high, BUN borderline high, PHOS borderline low, ALT borderline high. I have no idea what any of this means except he mentioned something about her liver possibly being a problem to keep an eye on and everything else seemed on par with Vestibular and about "normal" for an almost 12 year old dog with grade 4/5 heart murmur and a lung tumor.

Maybe help understanding the blood test results?
I'm assuming the vet gave you the print out. Be aware that the bar graph showing lows and highs is not particularly useful in showing how high or low the result is. Most of those changes are very mild.
Some of what you are seeing is what is referred to as a stress leukogram. Physiologic response to stress. This includes your reported mild decreases in lymphocytes and eosinophils, and mild increase in neutrophils. A mild increase in glucose often goes along with that (the units you have are not the ones I am used to seeing though).
One thing that could be a possibility, given the increase in AlkPhos but not ALT (those are both liver enzymes) in addition to the stress leukogram, is Cushing's disease. Not necessarily related to the vestibular disease, and only really needs to be further looked into if it's affecting her quality of life. It doesn't tend to cause further health issues.
Cl is chloride, an electrolyte. That is commonly a bit low from vomiting which fits.
PCT is the percentage of blood that is platelets. It needs to be read in conjunction with the other platelet measurements, but along with the higher MPV (average platelet size) it means there is a slight increase in platelet production, which can be related to Cushing's or just generalized stress.
Overall, pretty good results for a 12 year old dog, rechecking once she is over this episode will look for two things: If the liver enzymes are increasing, in which case you might want to look further into that. And if the stress leukogram is still present, that might indicate it was not just due to short-term stress from the vestibular but might be due to Cushing's.
As far as management, PtP's suggestions are good for dogs too. Anti-nausea meds, rubber underfoot, and simple, plain, calm surroundings seem to help.
 

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Our fourteen-year-old Aussie Terrier had his first incident last March. We thought that he'd had a stroke since he couldn't walk. The vet said that most dogs recover at least for a time. Our d-i-l is a vet and she agreed.

Within about two weeks he regained his balance and the head tilt was lessened. But he could no longer do stairs. He also suffered from serious arthritis issues in his hips and legs so that compounded things.

We cossetted and loved him until we lost him in mid-December. He awoke one morning and could no longer walk. We're grateful that we had the extra time with Fred; he was happy - just limited in what he could do.
 

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Our German Shepherd had a case of Vestibular disease when he was about thirteen. We waited about two weeks, then I had the "talk" with the dog telling him if he wasn't better in the morning I was going to have him put to sleep. The next morning he came trotting out of his crate, wagging his tail, without falling over. He lived another 4 years. Guess he got the message. Of course, I have now heard that this is typical for many Vestibular cases.
 

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When i got home on Monday and saw her, I was honestly terrified that this would be it, and the first two days where just as bad - there where times when she was just so out of it.... she didn't look like herself at all.

Having the vet say he thought it was vestibular was a relief - could have been a much worse diagnosis. She's only been improving since she got home - today she tried to get out of her pen by herself and she was trotting around waiting for her breakfast, she's begging for bits of my breakfast (scramble egg) and even showed an interest in toys. She still has a crazy head tilt and still wobbles, but there's much more awareness and she looks more like herself.

We'll see how it goes - from what i remember when my bosses dog went through this he had good days and not so good days. I guess the biggest concern will be how this plays out with her other health issues. We see her vet later today and i have a call in to the vet who does acupuncture.
 

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Our Aussie Terrier's head tilt improved but never went away entirely. It didn't seem to bother him. But then dogs just want to be loved and do cope well with their problems as long as they have us.
 

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TK9NY, I hope that your old pup will continue to improve and that like my GSD, Vestibular will just be a passing illness with no lasting effects.
 
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