ZABALAZ SIBERIAN HUSKIES

Born to run, whatever the distance

VESTIBULAR SYNDROME AND LASKA

This is Laska’s and our experience with Vestibular Syndrome, on Saturday 10th January 2009 we arrived home at about 9.30pm and immediately fed Laska, Ski and Nush (they are quite impatient in their old age, 14 years, and we had a Chinese Takeaway to eat), after we had eaten we fed the younger dogs and let them all have a stretch around the garden for a few minutes before bringing them in for a chill and a cuddle, everything seemed fine. When Reece called them in Laska appeared wobbly and drunk, Reece supported her and noticed that her eyeballs were moving frantically from side to side, she could hardly stand. I rang the vet straight away and he said that he would meet us at the surgery in 15 minutes, Laska regained her balance and walked to the car, got in the back of the car with no assistance and off we went to see the vet. She got out of the car and into the surgery with no trouble and was examined by the vet, he didn’t have a lot to go on as she was behaving normally whilst in the surgery and said that she’d probably had a small stroke, he gave her some medication 10 days (one a day) Corvental-D and a injection Dexadreson which I think is a Corticosteroid. We were to take her home and obviously keep an eye on her, she came to bed with us, she did need a bit of assistance to get upstairs but only a bit of guidance really, and all was fine until it was time to get up.

At 7.50am I heard a couple of small bumps which woke me up, it was Laska trying to get up, she just kept falling over, it was awful, Reece carried her downstairs and into the dog pen so that she could have a wee (it seemed to be what she wanted), she just kept falling and going around to the right all the time, and her eyeballs were going frantically from side to side again, we got her in and after a short while offered her her breakfast with her 1st tablet prescribed by the vet, Laska has always been food orientated but we were still a bit surprised that she came around a bit to eat her food. She laid in her crate (she likes it in there) and we fed and dealt with all the others, what should we do, should we ring the vet again? he had said that it could happen again.

We decided to wait and try to find out about strokes, whilst reading up on one particular website there was a link to follow if your dog was doing what Laska was doing, it described her to a tee, movement, eyes and just how her ear was tilted. I had given her the first tablet, but if this is what she had was it the right thing to do? I remembered talking to someone about a friend that had a dog a few years back with what sounded like something similar, I rang her and when I mentioned Vestibular syndrome she said that that’s what hers had had. I asked what treatment her dog had been given and she told me that her vet didn’t treat it only maybe a little sedation at the beginning, and if it was really bad she believed they could have steroids. I rang the vet and he sort of said that that’s more or less what he had said and to keep giving the medication, OK I’d get prepared to give her 24 hour care and see how she recovered in the 72 hours that had been suggested (on the internet) to see a marked recovery.

When we took her out to do what she had to do she had to be on a collar and lead and needed your left leg to support her right side, if we’d had a walking harness I think it would have been more appropriate, but we hadn’t. She had to lean on your leg otherwise she’d have fallen over, we managed between us on Sunday but Reece was at work on Monday so I’d be flying solo, I slept in the kitchen with her and on Monday morning I couldn’t get her to have even a wee. I got her back into the kitchen and I sat on the floor with her to calm her down as she really didn’t know which way was up, it was awful, I was crying, if she didn’t improve we really couldn’t keep her like this. When Reece got home he took her out and she did her toilet stuff but she was still quite poorly. Not many people have wished for 72 hours to elapse more than us at this time.

Monday was the worst day, I slept in the kitchen again (as I did for over a week), Tuesday morning and I did get Laska to have a wee etc. when I took her out, was she improving? She did seem a little better, and to need less support, although still turning to the right, when Reece returned home from work on Tuesday afternoon I was walking outside with Laska nearly unaided with no support from my leg, he was astonished, relieved, call it what you want, ecstatic even!!!

Since then the rest of her recovery has been slow but she can now just about get in and out of the van (in with the use of a step, she is 14 years old) and trots around the garden, she does sometimes fall over if she tries to shake her body down, but she has learnt to cope very well, her head is still a little tilted but she has yet another name “my wonky dog”. Up until the Friday following the onset there was no barking from Laska which was strange for such a barky dog at mealtimes, she seems very able to communicate now, we may just be more aware of her but she certainly tells you now when she wants to go out, before she used to ask once and if you didn’t notice her then you got a puddle, as soon as she could get out of her crate she would walk up to the sink and almost demand a bowl of tea, looking at her bowl and then at me, when she wants her dinner now she stands and looks at the door to where her food is prepared ready.

I’m not saying that every time a dog goes wonky it’s vestibular syndrome but it is suspected that a friend of our’s dog (not a husky) had it at Christmas, had it not been over the holidays he probably would have had her PTS but by the time the vets had re-opened she had started to recover, so just something to consider.

Believe it or not You-Tube was a great resource in this case!

Maz (written on 24/02/09)