Vestibular Syndrome and my beautiful Occa - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2013, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Vestibular Syndrome and my beautiful Occa

Hello from London - have been a member of the forum for a while and have learned a lot of valuable information from everybody and their experiences. We have a rescue GSD (she came to us at 9 yrs old). She is now nearly 13. She is a beautiful girl having been a champion herding dog in her youth and then a mom many times. She was given to a family who could not care for her thus we had the good fortune to find her and have her in our lives. She suffered from vestibular disorder earlier this year which knocked her back after having to be spayed for early pyometra and mammary tumours. That surgery in itself took a toll on her when sometime between dropping her at the Vet and coming home she tore her ACL. This lady has seen a lot of pain and discomfort but she did come back. In just the past few months her leg has healed nicely and she has been enjoying playing with our pup (15 mths) and has even started running a bit.

This morning I woke to find her with many of the same symptoms - her head was moving back and forth, her eyes twitching and she couldn't stand up. I called the Vet and he thought she may be having a stroke. I am not sure if it is possible for a dog to have more than one episode of this disorder. Has anyone had this experience? As the day goes on it certainly does appear like the same symptoms as before. She still has an appetite but is not drinking so have enticed her with some broth which she loves.

I was wondering if anyone has had this happen more than once in an older dog and what the outcome was. For her as always, quality of life is important. Any thoughts/comments would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2013, 03:41 PM
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Yes, I had an older GSD who developed vestibular syndrome. It looks VERY scary, but actually looks worse than it is. When it first struck my old girl, I was terrified because she couldn't get up. Basically it is just an imbalance problem, the dog feels dizzy. I kept Storm on her bed and bolstered her with pillows so she felt secure. It does get better. Within about two weeks, she was back to normal. It may recur, however, as it did with Storm. She had another 2 or 3 bouts of it, and the last one left her with a permanent head tilt, but no other issues.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2013, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response. The interesting thing this time is it was in the other ear. She still cannot walk without help and I suspect it will be a few weeks before I can get her down the stairs myself. She is bright and alert...just dizzy and has the head tilt but the other side.

We will get through this and yes it is scary when you see it.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 09:54 PM
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If yiu are able, look in to chiropractic work on her. My old girl had this as well, and she improved faster the second time after we started visiting the chiropractor.

Hugs to yiu and her, it is hard to deal with but it gets better. I bought a fancy harness that covered a lot of her body and it was a HUGE help navigating her up and down stairs and into and out of the car.

~ ~ ~ Melissa, Emme (A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!), and 4 Cats ~ ~ ~
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 01:51 AM
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Too had bouts with Vestibular Syndrome in her senior years. The first time she had an attack I honestly thought she was having a stroke. I rushed her to the vets and she had to stay in the hospital for a couple days but was okay when she came home. After that initial episode, the attacks were much shorter, usually just a matter of a few minutes to maybe 20 or 30 minutes maximum. All I did was sit on the floor with her until she "returned to normal".

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 12:29 PM
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I recently bought a gsd, hence being in this forum, but my previous dog, a border collie, had this condition. It's really scary when it's happening and can sometimes take weeks to recover from. Main thing was keeping them calm and making sure the vets supplied you with some anti sickness medication so your prepared for the attacks. Lady had this condition for 5 years and lived till the ripe age of 17. The attacks were more frequent in the latter stages of her life but I think it's to be expected as the body takes longer to recover as old age doesn't help. But please don't worry, your dog can still live a healthy active life 😄 I hoped that helped you feel a bit better.

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