Jamie had an idiopathic vestibular episode Wednesday. He’s shown slow but steady improvement over the last 48 hours. He’s still a little wobbly but can walk without falling. The head tilt comes and goes. He can’t access his food or water bowls when they are on the floor but can eat and drink when they’re elevated.
When I got home from work Wednesday, he was staggering and disoriented, barely able to walk and clearly in a panic, trembling and panting. I recognized the symptoms immediately, as several friends have had this happen to their dogs.
The vet said there’s no specific treatment, give Benadryl to calm and sedate and keep him from being a hazard to himself, which he was. He’s been crated in a dark room (our bedroom), which seemed to help with the loss of equilibrium and subsequent nausea.
By Thursday morning, he wanted to eat but when I put his bowl on the floor, he didn’t have the eye-mouth-head coordination to do it. I hand-fed him, matching my hand position to his head tilt. We spilled a lot of food but he ate with enthusiasm.
His motor skills improved visibly within 24 hours. He could walk without falling but circled constantly to the right. When I tried to gently turn him to the left to guide him back into the crate, he toppled over. We had to take a convoluted route through the house, always turning right, to get him aimed in the correct direction to get into his crate.
By this morning, Jamie was able to turn both his head and body left and right. He shook and stretched when coming out of the crate, two behaviors I’d not seen him do for 48 hours. His rear legs occasionally operate independently of his front legs but he was able to eat breakfast out of a bowl when I held it at his head level. His head carriage is normal when he’s moving but if he stop, sits or lays down, it tilts.
I’m optimistic about a full or close to full recovery. I don’t know if he’ll have another “spell.” Hope not. It was scary enough for both of us the first time.