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Sudden ataxia (lack of coordination) in older dog


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Hi, our 13 year old Genie got up on Sunday morning and seemed a bit unstable. By mid morning she was seriously wobbly so we rushed her to emergency in ARH. Since she has nasal cancer they were concerned the tumour may have invaded the brain and they put her on seizure watch. By evening her condition hadn’t worsened so we brought her home and slept next to her so we could be aware of any changes. Next morning ( yesterday) we took her back to the hospital for a full CT and MRI, as well as blood panel check. Everything came back normal. 
The only thing out of the ordinary was that the night before her ataxia attack we had given her Nexgard. Now, she has been on Nexgard for about 5 years without any side effects. But we feel her reduced immunity due to chemo may have caused the reaction. The vet thinks that it could be idiopathic vestibular disease (no discernible cause) or the Nexgard, but there is no way to confirm. They did flush out her kidneys though.

Today Genie is much better though still a bit wobbly. Has anyone here had a similar experience? I think it’s too much of a coincidence that it happened the day after she got Nexgard.

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I've had an old dog with suspected idiopathic vestibular disease.  He recovered quite quickly and it didn't happen again.  He was on Bravecto but I can't remember if the dose was recent or not.

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I haven't had experience with bouts of ataxia under the same circumstances but my advice would be to avoid giving strong chemicals like Nexgard to a dog with a compromised immune system, unless where you live makes the risks associated with not giving it, greater than the risk of an adverse reaction to the treatment. In Justice's last few years, he didn't get preventative treatment for anything (although I would have treated him if he had gotten worms, fleas etc of course) and didn't get vaccinated (but was vaccinated regularly earlier in his life), because his immune system was compromised. For me it was an easy decision though, as we don't have paralysis ticks in SA and regular ticks aren't in the metro area, we're very low risk for heartworm, and he only had contact with a few dogs we knew who were all vaccinated. If I lived somewhere else, I may have had to make a different decision. 

 

When I was in a group for dogs with Canine Cognitive Disease, it didn't seem uncommon for senior dogs to have episodes of idiopathic vestibular disease. I'm afraid I'm no longer in the group and can't recall what anyone did to help their dogs afterwards, as it wasn't something we were dealing with. It may be worth doing a Facebook search to see if there are any groups specifically related to IVD though, if you'd like some support and more information from people who have been through it. 

 

I hope your Genie has a full recovery and is back to her old self quickly. 

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Posted (edited)

Those attacks can be very sudden but I agree with Snook  I wouldn’t be given meds without truly weighing up the pros and cons 

Edited by Dogsfevr
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I had an older dog who had an episode of idiopathic vestibular disease. One of the main giveaways is the eye flicking. A vet should have been able to pick that up. My boy took a few weeks to recover but there was no real treatment.

I'm with Snook, unless really needed I'd be backing off the chemicals especially the all in one's.

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2 minutes ago, Rebanne said:

I had an older dog who had an episode of idiopathic vestibular disease. One of the main giveaways is the eye flicking. A vet should have been able to pick that up. My boy took a few weeks to recover but there was no real treatment.

I'm with Snook, unless really needed I'd be backing off the chemicals especially the all in one's.

Oh yes, I remember now that you say it, that the eye flicking was a key thing that people in the CCD group said to look for to try and work out whether it was vestibular disease or not. 

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Thank you all. Very helpful advice. Yes, we are going to stop giving Nexgard and will ensure she doesn’t go near bushy areas.

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