Anyone experience an older dog with mild stroke?
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Thread: Anyone experience an older dog with mild stroke?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone experience an older dog with mild stroke?

    BLF, she will be 13 at Thanksgiving, yesterday she started acting "drunk", eyes dilated and a bit wobbly. Took her to the Vet today, he said she looks like she has had a mild stroke, not uncommon to older dogs. All the blood work shows her to be very healthy. She was nausous today, but probably due to her eyes darting back and forth. Her mind is moving a lot better than her legs, so of course, she doesn't want to stay quiet.
    Has anyone been through this with an older dog? I guess what I am asking is if it gets better?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member 3blackdogs's Avatar
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    Sep 2005


    Yes, I've been through variations (what seems to be the same).

    One old dog kept going quite a while in a a somewhat confused (but reasonably happy) state but always veering to the right when she walked... She could get lost in our large yard on the way down from the kennel for food.

    Another didn't last very long.

    (A third had doggie alzheimers or a stroke, we don't know...)

    Sorry to read your old gal has this problem. Enjoy the time you've left the best you can.


    With Tess, we hoped it was vestibular response, but it was a stroke - she didn't re-gain control of her rear legs.
    Last edited by Keith Stroyan; 09-18-2008 at 05:00 PM. Reason: saw second post after mine

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Wyldfire's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Middleton, Idaho


    Yes, ended up being caused by a Hemangiosarcoma. Vet found it with an ultraound after the second stroke in a week.

  7. #5
    Senior Member JusticeDog's Avatar
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    Jul 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by Agilebon View Post
    Has anyone been through this with an older dog? I guess what I am asking is if it gets better?
    Yes. I had a cocker spaniel that had a stroke the day before her 17th birthday. Her birthday was December 12, 2007. She couldn't use her rear legs for 3 days. I swam her in a harness in the whirlpool tub (God knows I never use it), puting a hot dog on a small fishing pole...... Three days later, she stood up on her own, wagging that little stubby tail. She couldn't believe it herself. Sat down, and stood back up just to try it out again! It was a great moment.

    But, I knew that where there was one stroke, there would be more to follow. In her case, she had developed high blood pressure, and she was on meds. Ultimately, she had a bigger stroke in February, 2007 that caused much more neurological damage, from which we all knew she wouldn't recover.... and I lost her.

    But, at that age, it's always bound to be something. Just enjoy the time you have left.

    Good luck.

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  8. #6
    Senior Member RedstarKennels's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your Best Friend. Unfortunately I have had way too many experiences this summer with canine strokes... I have lost two of the "Old Guard" in just three weeks... I guess they decided to head for the Rainbow Bridge together.
    Yes...they had "mini"'s....that affected their motor skills developing a Head Tilt that caused them to travel in a jerky circle. I gave them aspirin...and Valium...and a nice thick pad in a wire crate in our family room. The crate kept them in a safe place so they wouldn't fall and injure themselves as their gate and balance was compromised severely. Unfortunately it was just the beginning...and subsequent strokes of a greater degree followed within days.
    Finally the quality of life was less than what Great Dogs deserve, unable to stand or walk unaided...and failing to all very hard...Loyal Friends...
    I raised "Pennie" the elder from a bottle she was one of those Goldenherds...a result of an unplanned/unwanted litter. So I grabbed her out of a box (just three days old) from a "Gentleman"?? who said he was going to drown the lot. But not this one...and for the next 14 years...She was by my side...protecting,comforting, listening and leading...What a great Gal....
    So...Comfort your dog...enjoy whatever last moments/days/months you have.. They deserve the Best...cause they give us their Best every day!!!
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  9. #7
    Senior Member 1st retriever's Avatar
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    I had a dog that had quite a few strokes within a period of two or so years. She always walked in a circle when they happened, had problems getting up and couldn't control her bowels. After a day or so she always come out of them. Two years ago she was unable to get up and had problems breathing so we knew it was time. We always knew it was coming but we left it up to her to tell us when (within reason). On another note when we took her in to "you know" the vet told us that dogs are not capable of having strokes. Ok, so what do you think it is? Oh, just old age! No longer our vet!! With a little help they can be just as good as they were! Just be there for her because she will give you that look that says "What's happening here?". It is hard and you will know when the time comes. Enjoy her!

  10. #8
    Senior Member TXduckdog's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Republic of Texas


    Things usually don't get better. You and senior friend will learn to cope.
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  11. #9
    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    NW WI


    If it is vestibular syndrome, common in old dogs, they can come out of it with time or maybe experience some symptoms like a head bobble for the rest of their life. Mine was sudden, eyes twitched back and forth, vomiting from the nausea created by the dizziness, walked with a list to the right and would fall sometimes. I was convinced it was a stroke and rushed her to the vet. Mine happened to be due to an inner ear infection and not just plain old dog syndrome as my vet calls it and responded to antibiotics but it took a while and I'm pretty sure she still has some deficit the way she acts sometimes. Hope your old girl comes along whatever it is and gives you more years together.
    Kim Pfister, Rainmaker Labs

  12. #10
    Senior Member okvet's Avatar
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    Jun 2006


    copied from Encyclopedia of Canine Veterinary Medical Information

    "Vestibular Syndrome

    There is a syndrome, variously referred to as peripheral vestibular syndrome (the current "preferred name"), geriatric vestibular syndrome and idiopathic vestibular syndrome. This disorder is more common in older dogs and thus the name geriatric vestibular syndrome -- but it can occur in middle aged dogs, too, so the name was changed. Idiopathic just means "happens for no known cause" -- so it is a good name but not the preferred one. It does sum up the situation well, though. For some reason dogs can suddenly develop vestibular disease. The problem seems to be due to inflammation in the nerves connecting the inner ear to the cerebellum (which controls balance and spatial orientation). It usually lasts between a couple of days and three weeks. A few dogs have residual signs beyond this time, such as a head tilt. This disease normally affects dogs that seem normal up until the signs appear. Then there is sudden loss of balance with many dogs unable to even stand up. Rythmic eye motion known as nystagmus is usually present. Dogs may be nauseous from the "sea sickness" effect of vestibular disease. Most dogs will not eat or drink unless hand fed or given water by hand because they have a hard time with the fine motor movements necessary to eat or drink from a bowl. As long as they are nursed through this condition almost all dogs will recover. There is no known treatment. Some dogs do have relapses but most do not.

    Peripheral vestibular disease can be confused with anything that will cause cerebellar damage or inner ear disease. Inner ear infections are probably the most common cause of similar symptoms and if recovery does not progress satisfactorily it is a good idea to do whatever testing seems necessary to rule out inner ear problems, such as ear examination and X-rays. Cancer affecting the cerebellum, the peripheral nerves to the cerebellum or the inner ear can cause similar signs. In golden retrievers lymphoma is a common cancer problem that can cause CNS signs. Trauma is a possible problem that could be confused with peripheral vestibular syndrome if brain damage occurs. Granulometous meningoencephalitis (GME). Infarcts (blood clotting leading to lack of circulation in part of the brain) occur in some dogs. If the damage to the brain is minimal then recovery may occur quickly. If the damage is severe, recovery may not occur at all. I do not know the incidence of infarcts affecting the brain in dogs but I think it is pretty low.

    Even when dogs do not recover fully from peripheral vestibular syndrome they normally have a good life. They adjust to residual problems like head tilts and do not seem all that bothered by them. If progress towards recovery is not evident, then the other disorders mentioned above need to be considered. "

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