Farli 16 Sept – Vestibular Disease

Farli went to see Dr. Adams on Thursday 7 Sept. She tested all of the cranial nerves and their function was normal. She showed rotary nystagmus, head tilt, and severe ataxia. The techs also took blood, feces and urine for their senior dog complete exam.

By Friday 8 September, Farli seemed to be getting her sea legs. I don’t think the ataxia was any less, just that she coped with it better. She seemed to walk straighter when called for a cookie than when just looking for the best place to pee. Both Thursday and Friday I carried Farli so she did not have to deal with the steps. On Saturday she seemed to be coping with the steps better.

Sept 9 Saturday night, I was going to give her a bath. I put a soft, bath mat with good traction in the tub. She started to struggle when I picked her up to put her in the tub. When I placed her on her feet and let go, she fell down than then started rolling. It was a roll by definition because it was about the long axis (along the spine). But the rolling was in a flipping fashion and very jerky.

Wesley and I picked her up and put her in the bathroom. She had to be held or she continued to roll-flip in place on the floor. We carried her to the couch so Wesley could hold her in place to keep her from hurting herself. She did settle eventually. Sometime that night Farli came back to bed and lay down on top of Ritka (who was hiding under the covers). Ritka growled, but Farli could not hear her (hearing loss). So I slid Farli off Ritka. This triggered another flip-rolling session. At this point I thought moving Farli triggered the flip-rolling.

Sometime on Sunday, Farli was laying on the floor and started flip-rolling without anyone touching her. Sunday evening, Dr. Adams called to ask about Farli. She looked up information on Veterinary Information Network (VIN) and read some things to me over the phone. I appreciated her efforts. We both thought it odd that the rolling started on Saturday with the onset on Wednesday. This is not typical for Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. We talked about other possible causes, diagnostics and treatments.

Dr. Adam called me back on Monday. She had talked to a neurologist from the east coast. The neurologist said that Ehrlichia can cause the ataxia, etc without other symptoms. Dr. Adams and I thought a course of doxycycline while we waited for lab results on ehrlichia would be worth while. So on Tuesday we went back in for more blood work and chest x-rays to look for any tumors or infections that could be both in the brain and the lungs (I’m not sure I have that explanation right). Besides x-rays were on the list for the senior exam. The lungs looked ok on the x-ray. The x-ray did show quite a bit of arthritis in the spine – so hip surgery would probably not reduce the pain enough to be worth while (I had been thinking about that since she has hip dysplasia).

On Wednesday 13 Sept, Farli seemed to be doing better. The head held straighter, walking straighter etc. She even cantered in our walk around the baseball field. But Thursday she seemed worse again. Friday night she whined to Mom a bit like she wanted something fixed. Then as Mom rubbed her hind end Farli settled down to “purr”.

Sept 16 Saturday night, Farli was very restless and whined a lot in the middle of the night. She could not seem to get comfortable and had some roll-flipping events in bed. However on the good side, several times on Friday and Saturday she lay on her right side without roll-flipping. In the past, laying on her right side (with her head tending to be upside down) seem to trigger the roll-flipping.


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