Yesterday morning started off perfectly normal, Joe went to work and Cora, Buddy and I came downstairs went for a walk and had some breakfast. As I was filling up the rabbit water bottles Buddy leapt up and started running all stiff legged. He has done this in the past and we always thought his legs were seizing up from his arthritis so I grabbed him and held onto him to calm him down except that this time he couldn’t calm down and he was really upset. Normally within a minute or two he usually goes back to normal and calms down… kind of like a quick leg cramp but eventually it stops and you can relax. Finally he just collapsed in a heap and he was wobbling (but it wasn’t a seizure, I’ve seen a dog seizure and it wasn’t that) but he was very upset and he couldn’t get up. I had to call Joe at work and have him come home to help me.
Thankfully Joe was able to come! Buddy thew up his breakfast while we waited and he still couldn’t get himself up when Joe got here so Joe had to lift him into the car while I called the vet (almost in tears) and we drove over there right away. They were dealing with another emergency so we thought we’d have to wait but as soon as we got there two technicians came right out and carried Buddy inside and a couple minutes after the doctor came right over to help us too. She checked him out and decided he has a vestibular disease. Sometimes this is caused by an ear infection but in Buddy’s case it is just because he is old. Basically nerves in his head, related to balance, are inflamed and it causes him to lose his balance and shake a bit. His eyes also shake back and forth super fast which makes him feel woozy. It was super scary yesterday morning and all 3 of us were very upset. The vet decided to keep Buddy there for the day just incase he got worse and because they were better able to move him around and watch him. By mid-afternoon he wasn’t much better but the vet decided that he could come home as long as we could handle him…. and of course we wanted him home so Joe and I picked him up around 4:30.
We padded our front porch with blankets and got a baby gate set up incase we needed to contain him a bit. You can see how bad his head tilt was (it is getting better and not so pronounced now!). And we hardly used the room for him although today we did gate off the stairs so he wouldn’t try to climb them on his own for some reason and he spent most of the day just sleeping in the kitchen. Despite everything, even though he feels awful, he has been such a good dog and he has been pretty happy I think…excited to go outside and get pets and to wander around the downstairs. Such a good dog!
Right now Buddy can walk a little better and he has learned to go to the bathroom even though he is very wobbly. He can’t go up or downstairs and has trouble with steps up to the house doors, although he is considerably better with those today! He refuses to eat on his own, probably because his depth and balance etc. are affected from his eyes moving back and forth so quickly. And his head has a pretty pronounced tilt and he likes to turn left 🙂 He will accept food, when he thinks it might be tasty, by hand though and that is how we’ve been feeding him. Last night he had chicken nuggets for supper. This morning breakfast was mostly cheese and a bit of milk and supper tonight consisted of cheese, pepperoni, dog cookies with peanut butter, jerky treats, and two licks of ensure which I tried to give him to get him some sort of nutrition. I also snuck Pedialyte into his water. Not the most amazing diet but at least he is eating and he can drink on his own. He is also on anti-nausea meds which must help because he hasn’t been ill since.
Joe said when he came home at lunch to check on Buddy that Chloe was sitting in the kitchen with him. Tonight she has been doing the same… I think she knows he isn’t well and wants to check on him and keep him company. He seems excited to see her so I’m glad she wants to hang out with him! Don’t worry, Buddy looks like a dork in this picture but he really can open his eyes and move around almost normally etc. he just didn’t take the best photo! Besides a horrible case of vertigo he shouldn’t be in any pain or other discomfort, although I know how I feel when I get motion sick and I would be incredibly crabby if I was him!
Big guy slept with us last night (we took the whole darn bed apart and put our mattress on the floor so he could lay closer to us) and it came in handy this morning when a bunch of strong thunderstorms rolled through and he was not only head tilted, wobbly, dizzy and confused… but also terrified of the thunder! This evening he seems to be doing a lot better and he is sleeping on the floor next to me snoring up a storm 🙂 Symptoms can last anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks and because Bud is so old, we’re assuming they will last longer for him. Today is day two and he is improved but still out of it. Most dogs seem to recover and even those with a slightly permanent head tilt can live happy lives…we’ll just have to wait it out and see how Buddy does. The vet was concerned that he has shown signs before but for now we’re going to love on him, make him comfy, spoil him and see how it goes!
On the other side of dog world in our house… Cora has begun to scratch and scratch, so much so that she will gnaw on her legs or back or whenever she can reach. We just noticed this in the past week or two but no one else in the house, including us, is itchy so we’re hoping it is just allergies. We haven’t noticed anything like fleas or mites on her and it doesn’t seem to be related to separation anxiety either. She is going to the vet in a week for routine shots and a checkup so temporarily we’re dosing her with benadryl, I gave her a bath and we did spray her down with a flea/tick spray too just incase. I can’t tell if it is working better or not yet but I think maybe the benadryl is helping. The last thing we want is our poor puppy to be bald because she is so itchy. So we’ve been paying extra attention to both dogs here and our kitchen counter looks like a mini-dog pharmacy section!
Meloxicam and anti-nausea meds for Buddy. Colace in case he had trouble going to the bathroom but he seems to be ok so far. Hot spot spray for Cora along with Benadryl and some thumb-sucking liquid incase we need to keep her from biting herself. Ensure and Pedialyte for Buddy, although Chloe likes the Ensure better than he does and out of all of the animals she is the least likely to need additional calories! There are special treats for both dogs too and I bought a big bone for Cora hoping to distract her but it didn’t work (only raw meat bones like soup bones or pigs feet will keep her very busy). Since I took the picture we’ve also gone to purchase flea and tick spray and hydrocortisone spray for Cora to try and keep her comfortable and once Buddy’s nausea meds run out we may end up getting him some meclizine if he gets sick again although right now I have a bit left from when I was sick once and had some so we can use that up first.
It’s fun to be a dog at our house right now!