Thoughts on my step brothers poorly dog please

Shady

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I am picking the collective brain here as my step brother has a poorly Tibetan Terrier and perhaps there is something positive I can pass on to him from your experiences of many years of dog owning. I am way better with cats but would like to offer him some support as he is so worried about his dog.
This is coming via my mum at the moment but have left a message for my SB

Dog is young , under a year and was castrated very recently ( not quite sure when). No problem from what I can gather.

2 weeks ago he suddenly started tilting his head and falling over . Couldn't stand and didn't want to eat etc. Rushed to vet
Vet did various tests and found nothing wrong but suggested he went to a more specialist hospital for major investigation. I can't remember the name but it's a big one starting with L..Lang... something, does horses , ?? they have done extensive xrays and tests , maxed out the insurance and then some more, but have found nothing at all except TT 's have smaller brains apparently .

They have put it down to vertigo and have given tablets to combat nausea
Am I right in thinking this is vestibular syndrome?
If so , have any of you experience of this in young dogs?
He doesn't want to eat or drink so the situation is worrying, tho the vets seemed to think he's better at home. Obviously if he continues not wanting to eat it's not good at all but I think it's early days with the medication.

Any thoughts or advice I can give him please. x
 
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bonny

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I am picking the collective brain here as my step brother has a poorly Tibetan Terrier and perhaps there is something positive I can pass on to him from your experiences of many years of dog owning. I am way better with cats but would like to offer him some support as he is so worried about his dog.

Dog is young , under a year and was castrated very recently ( not quite sure when). No problem from what I can gather.

2 weeks ago he suddenly started tilting his head and falling over . Couldn't stand and didn't want to eat etc. Rushed to vet
Vet did various tests and found nothing wrong but suggested he went to a more specialist hospital for major investigation. I can't remember the name but it's a big one starting with L..Lang... something, does horses , ?? they have done extensive xrays and tests , maxed out the insurance and then some more, but have found nothing at all except TT 's have smaller brains apparently .

They have put it down to vertigo and have given tablets to combat nausea
Am I right in thinking this is vestibular syndrome?
If so , have any of you experience of this in young dogs?
He doesn't want to eat or drink so the situation is worrying, tho the vets seemed to think he's better at home. Obviously if he continues not wanting to eat it's not good at all but I think it's early days with the medication.

Any thoughts or advice I can give him please. x
Sounds exactly like vestibular syndrome, presumably it’s so unusual in such a young dog but I think I’d be a bit sniffy at paying such a lot of money to diagnose something so common. When my dog had her first attack she wouldn’t eat anything at all for days and it was when she would eat hand offered ham that she turned the corner.
 

Levrier

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Does the dog have rapidly flickering eyelids? That’s a key sign of vestibular. I’d be bloody surprised if he went to Langfords (if it was Bristol?) and they didn’t recognise that.

It sounds rather an inner ear infection - so vertigo as they have said? Similar to vestibular but without the eyelid movements.

Mine also had uncontrolled diarrhoea when she had a vestibular attack, other dogs I’ve known have had vomiting
 

LR

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I cannot offer advice but wanted to say that I had an inner ear infection years ago and every time I moved it was like your brain being in a washing machine. Poor dog, I do hope he’s feeling better soon 😕
 

Shady

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Thank you LR.
Have just had a message to say little dog is back in Langford on a drip as he just won't or can't eat or drink. Brother is hoping he will stabilize a bit there. Anti nausea meds haven't helped.
It does appear to be VS but I am personally pretty shocked that it's cost over 4k to arrive at that diagnosis. I'm going to guess it's because he's young
 

deb_l222

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Does the dog have rapidly flickering eyelids? That’s a key sign of vestibular. I’d be bloody surprised if he went to Langfords (if it was Bristol?) and they didn’t recognise that.

It sounds rather an inner ear infection - so vertigo as they have said? Similar to vestibular but without the eyelid movements.

Mine also had uncontrolled diarrhoea when she had a vestibular attack, other dogs I’ve known have had vomiting

^^ As above with regard to the eyes flickering

As far as I'm aware, 100% of the time, to one degree or another, dogs with vestibular will have the tell tale flickering eyes which makes it pretty obvious to spot. Some move slower than others and some eye movement is really rapid but it's always there.

I've had a couple of dogs vomit with the dizziness but not all of them. Rufus was soooooo bad with his first attack he couldn't co-ordinate his mouth to eat for 2 days.

The thing with vestibular though is they always show some signs of improvement after 24/48 hours or so if your brother's dog is still poorly after 2 weeks I would be suspecting something else.

Dogs can of course get these events when there is something major going wrong in the brain (sorry Shady) like a tumour but this is rare. I would be requesting a second opinion to be honest. If the dog isn't eating or drinking, how can he be best off at home?
 

Shady

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^^ As above with regard to the eyes flickering

As far as I'm aware, 100% of the time, to one degree or another, dogs with vestibular will have the tell tale flickering eyes which makes it pretty obvious to spot. Some move slower than others and some eye movement is really rapid but it's always there.

I've had a couple of dogs vomit with the dizziness but not all of them. Rufus was soooooo bad with his first attack he couldn't co-ordinate his mouth to eat for 2 days.

The thing with vestibular though is they always show some signs of improvement after 24/48 hours or so if your brother's dog is still poorly after 2 weeks I would be suspecting something else.

Dogs can of course get these events when there is something major going wrong in the brain (sorry Shady) like a tumour but this is rare. I would be requesting a second opinion to be honest. If the dog isn't eating or drinking, how can he be best off at home?
Thanks Deb
Dog has had negative scans for tumors.
My mistake regarding time. It's been a week
Agree regarding improvement , bit worrying. If I am understanding it correctly he started at his local vet, then went to Langford, then was given meds for nausea and sent home. Meds haven't worked so he is back in Langford .
 

Levrier

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That's very strange - I would doubt vestibular given that time frame to be honest, but I'm not sure what it could be? He is definitely in the right place for the best of care though, Langford are brilliant - I will keep my fingers crossed
 

Aru

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It's a specialist hospital they will have considered vestibular....And ruled it out as very very unlikely reason due to the age. Theres a much higher risk of much more common nasty things in this age bracket that present like this that need to be screened out as treatments for several of these issues are very different.

Toxins/Meningitis-bacterial...viral...steroid responsive...gme.../toxoplasmosis/neospora/ inner ear infections etc all need to be screened for before calling it vestibular in such a young dog or the dog could die from lack of appropriate treatment as all of the above worsen over time..some worsen even with the correct treatments. Vestibular is pretty much unheard of at this age. Infectious disease or even congenital defects are much much more common at this age.
Hunting down and screening in and out possible issues is what at least some of that 4k has done. advanced imaging etc are all very expensive and costs are going to add up extremely quickly as more and more common issues get ruled out.

Without a definitive diagnosis they do not know what they are treating and can only try and keep the dog alive and see if the body is capable of fighting and repairing whatever has gone so wrong internally.

If your brother has a limit on how much he can spend he should start discussing this now and they will likely change from trying to find a definitive diagnosis(workups are very expensive) to know exactly what they are treating to providing supportive care and trying keep the dog going so the body has time to heal and see if it's something the dog is going to be able to fight off with help.

Your poor brother and pup this must be so stressful.
Neurological issues are the worse because they look so benign initially.

Langfords do have am excellent reputation as a referall hospital if that helps.I am not even based in the UK and I've heard of them.
Hopefully he'll start to improve soon.
 

Shady

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It's a specialist hospital they will have considered vestibular....And ruled it out as very very unlikely reason due to the age. Theres a much higher risk of much more common nasty things in this age bracket that present like this that need to be screened out as treatments for several of these issues are very different.

Toxins/Meningitis-bacterial...viral...steroid responsive...gme.../toxoplasmosis/neospora/ inner ear infections etc all need to be screened for before calling it vestibular in such a young dog or the dog could die from lack of appropriate treatment as all of the above worsen over time..some worsen even with the correct treatments. Vestibular is pretty much unheard of at this age. Infectious disease or even congenital defects are much much more common at this age.
Hunting down and screening in and out possible issues is what at least some of that 4k has done. advanced imaging etc are all very expensive and costs are going to add up extremely quickly as more and more common issues get ruled out.

Without a definitive diagnosis they do not know what they are treating and can only try and keep the dog alive and see if the body is capable of fighting and repairing whatever has gone so wrong internally.

If your brother has a limit on how much he can spend he should start discussing this now and they will likely change from trying to find a definitive diagnosis(workups are very expensive) to know exactly what they are treating to providing supportive care and trying keep the dog going so the body has time to heal and see if it's something the dog is going to be able to fight off with help.

Your poor brother and pup this must be so stressful.
Neurological issues are the worse because they look so benign initially.

Langfords do have am excellent reputation as a referall hospital if that helps.I am not even based in the UK and I've heard of them.
Hopefully he'll start to improve soon.
Aru, thank you so much for this reply.
I have just had a message to say brother is waiting on more blood tests but Langfords are still saying it's looking like vestibular.
He confirmed dog has the eye flicker
He cannot think of anywhere he could have eaten something toxic. Castration went well a while back. All jabs were done and pup was bought from an apparently good breeder up north.
I have to be honest and say i'm not convinced it's VS due to his age and if it was a cat i'd be thinking a genetic problem/ lurking tumor that is manifesting with age. No tumors have been detected tho.
This dog means the world to my brother, he has been so diligent in his care as far as I know and luckily he is a wealthy man so can probably continue investigations for a while yet .

I feel terrible for him . We have all been there and it's awful not knowing what's wrong with any animal we love.

I guess I was hoping somebody would have a lightbulb moment and have had something similar in a young dog and I agree that given the time frame VS is an odd diagnosis .
 

Shady

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Any update on this yet Shady? I've not commented as I have no knowledge or experience but have been reading.
Hi Jenn.
Well the latest is odd and i'm having to piece bits together.
Little dog is very poorly and nothing seems to be improving. He is being fed intravenously. The vertigo effect is not diminishing as yet.
Despite all symptoms echoing VS, , he is really too young to have this, as we all noted, so it's now been ruled out.
I don't know what further tests have been done but nothing has been found except he has brain inflammation . They are putting him on steroids and brother is waiting on one more blood test but i'm not sure what that is yet.
I'm not sure it's all boding very well if i'm honest ,but i'm only getting bits and pieces as we don't talk directly.
I get the impression that unless he starts to eat and drink by himself there is not a lot of hope and they don't seem to know definitely what is wrong.
So that's all for now and it's so sad as they waited until they had their lives in a good place before getting a dog and put an enormous amount of time and energy into doing everything correctly. He's only a year old and they adore him. It's so unfair.
I know you know exactly what that's like Jenn . x
Hope all is well with you and your lovely dogs are well. xxx
 

palo1

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My young dog went to Langford with a nasty case of steroid responsive Meningitis (SRMA) and was looked after brilliantly. I so hope that whatever the problem is, your step brother's dog soon makes an improvement. Horrible for everyone :(
 

deb_l222

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Awww I'm so sorry things don't appear to be improving much. It's a very stressful time for all concerned. Fingers crossed he turns a corner soon.
 

Shady

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Just doing a little update as I found this interesting and who knows perhaps it could help somebody somewhere in the future.

Little dog Digger is believed to have , by elimination of every other possibility tested for, Cerebellitis better known as Little White Dog Syndrome. It usually only affects small dogs like Westies, Maltese etc, hence the name , but it can be all small breeds under a certain kilo and the odd bigger dog occasionally .
The cause is unknown and most vets arrive at this diagnosis after they have ruled out everything else. Dogs are nearly always 1-2 years old. Symptoms can vary in severity and Digger is quite an extreme case.
He has inflammation of the cerebellum part of the brain, but should respond to steroids within 10 days.
I had a little read up on it and prognosis is good, however it is often linked to the immune system.
He's back at home , is eating a little and seems much happier but has to be watched every minute of the day apparently. I am not sure if this was the vets order or my brothers worry over him. He is delighted to have little dog back again so I am so so hoping this ends well for them all.

So there you are guys. I have learned something myself, which is always a good thing.
 

JennBags

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Wow that's really unusual, and thank goodness he's getting better. Your stepbrother and family must be so relieved.
I must admit that the symptoms reminded me of Woolfie a little but it wasn't quite the same as when she got meningitis, and I didn't want to suggest it.
Thank you for updating us xx
 

Shady

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Wow that's really unusual, and thank goodness he's getting better. Your stepbrother and family must be so relieved.
I must admit that the symptoms reminded me of Woolfie a little but it wasn't quite the same as when she got meningitis, and I didn't want to suggest it.
Thank you for updating us xx
I was thinking about Woolfie tho Jenn and I knew you'd be doing the same. xx

Thanks for all you kind words. I shall pass them on.
Apparently Digger is loving all the extra fuss.
Lol that is a terrible name but apt apparently, as he trashed the immaculate garden big time
 

FinnishLapphund

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I was thinking about Woolfie tho Jenn and I knew you'd be doing the same. xx

Thanks for all you kind words. I shall pass them on.
Apparently Digger is loving all the extra fuss.
Lol that is a terrible name but apt apparently, as he trashed the immaculate garden big time
Sad that Digger is sick, but at the same time a little bit oddly fascinated by the unusual diagnosis. What a relief that it is something they have a treatment for.

Lovely to hear that they love him so much, even though he created havoc in their previously immaculate garden.

Onwards and upwards {{{{{{vibes}}}}}} to Digger.

 
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