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Unbalanced dog and head tilting
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Unbalanced dog and head tilting

My 6 year old miniature/toy poodle started yelping whenever she jumped or went up the stairs this past January.  We took her to the vet and the vet noticed that my dog had weak knees, but wasn't sure if that was the cause of the yelping.  The vet took x-rays and didn't notice anything so she referred us to another vet.  That vet didn't find anything on the x-rays or from a physical exam of my dog.  Our original vet prescribed rimadyl, which we gave to our dog for about 1-2 weeks.  We bought stairs for the couches and bed so she didn't have to jump up or down anymore.  The medicine didn't seem to do anything.  My dog still hid under the bed and urinated in the house during the day.  

We also noticed that she seemed unbalanced and fell/tripped quite a bit which she never did before.  She also walks with the left side of her head tilted down, always the same side.  We mentioned those symptoms to our vet and they prescribed rimadyl again.  My dog took the medication for about 2-3 days, then had a seizure.  We didn't give her anymore of the rimadyl and called our vet back.  They said that seizures were not a side effect of rimadyl, and then prescribed deramaxx.  My dog has taken that medicine for a week now and seems to have more energy, but she still has the same symptoms as before (unbalanced, head tilting down, urinates in the house, hides under the bed).  She doesn't yelp much anymore, but that may be because she doesn't jump up and down on furniture.  Any suggestions as to what may be going on?    
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462827_tn?1333172552
What were the xrays taken of?  Thanks, Karla
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1653057_tn?1302371923
The x-rays were of her legs, spine, and neck.  I don't think they took any of her head because she wasn't unbalanced or tilting her head at that time.  Either she wasn't exhibiting those symptoms at that time or we just hadn't noticed them.
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462827_tn?1333172552
What your dealing with is one of two things......Please, read a post I just made a few minutes ago...It will be close to yours (On the opening page)  and is titled "Dog cannot walk ???. I'll be back with more info.....Karla

P.S. Sorry, but your Vet is wrong...Rimadyl CAN cause seizures....There are thousands of reports of Rimadyl toxicity!! Many Deaths, also.....Be very careful!
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462827_tn?1333172552
Part 2: What your describing is classic symptoms of an "Inner Ear Infection"!!!!!

The head tilt & ataxia (Incoordination)  goes along with this....An extreme (Inner) ear infection makes dogs loose their equilibrium....A culture of the ear should be taken to locate the EXACT bacteria in the ear....That's the only way to choose the appropriate antibiotic for the particular infection......DO NOT mess around with this.....The eardrum can rupture and deafness can occur.....If your Vet is hesitant about this, find another Vet!!!

This is also extremely painful.....Hiding is a sign of pain....The Deramaxx is in the same class of drugs as Rimadyl....However, there are not as many reports of bad side effects...I would still be cautious....

Here's what to do.....Ask your Vet for "Tramadol" for your poodle....It is only a painkiller, but has NO anti-inflammatory properties....It's wonderful for pain and is safer than the others.....See if they will give you some, until you can figure out what is wrong.....This will at least keep him comfortable....

Please come back with any other questions or updates....Good luck and let me know.....Karla
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462827_tn?1333172552
Sorry, I meant "Her".....Not, him......;)
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1653057_tn?1302371923
Thank you so much for getting back to me and all the info.  She does seem to have alot of the IVDD symptoms.  I also thought she may have an ear infection or problem because of the lack of stability and head tilting.  We looked in her ears and don't see anything, nor do they smell.  We will definitely call the vet first thing Monday morning and demand to get in to have the vet do another exam.

I was pretty surprised that the vet's office said that seizures weren't a side effect of the rimadyl because multiple websites said that they were side effects.  I know that it is a dangerous drug too.  Several articles said how great rimadyl was...until it killed your dog!  I also don't want to keep her on the deramaxx because of the potential liver problems it may cause.

I will keep you posted.  Thanks again!
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462827_tn?1333172552
OK, on to plan B:

Have them check her ears while your there, but I'm going with IVDD!

If her stumbling is mainly her front legs, it's a herinated disk in her Cervical area....That's her neck! It's sometimes very hard to see on an xray....
Don't fall for a Cat scan or MRI as they are extremely expensive and you might as well treat (With meds.) to rule this out......

I like the word "Demand" so here's what to do:

Ask for the "Tramadol" for pain, for starters......However, she HAS to have Prednisone (Steroids) for inflammation....Your Dr. is going to say that the Pred. cannot be mixed with Rimadyl or Deramaxx and she's right....There has to be a wash-out phase of 3 days......Start the Tramadol immediately and ask for the steroids to start in 3 days.....

Tell them you want to rule this out!!!  You will see improvement in less than 24hrs....

After that, you can look into surgery (Because she is so young) which is very successful or continue to treat reoccuring episodes (Which can be done)!

Oh another note: If your dog is due her Vaccines & they are given in the Shoulder area....DO NOT get them!!!!  That's another story...

Please come back and let me know what you find out.....Your girl will feel better by tomorrow evening if this can all be done tomorrow & WAY, WAY better once she can start the steroids..........Good luck!    Karla

P.S. The good news is that Full paralysis is rare if the disk is a neck disk although excruciatingly painful!....Anywhere lower down the spine, paralysis is likely....Been there, done that, damm!t......  :(

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1653057_tn?1302371923
Thanks again for your help!  I called the vet's office this morning and we have an appt. tomorrow afternoon.  There are 2 vets at this office and I specifically asked for the 1 that spends more time with us.  The other vet keeps prescribing rimadyl, so I didn't want to end up with her again.

Do you think the ear infection is related to the IVDD or are they completely separate?

FYI - My dog got her vaccinations in January when first went to the vet's to check on the yelping issue.  Her annual is every January and I believe all the shots were in her shoulder area.  Hope that didn't care any more problems!
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462827_tn?1333172552
No, the ear infection is not related to Disk Disease...They both can sometimes have the same symptoms...It has to be an INNER ear infection...NOT just an ear infection....The head tilt through me off!! I just figured, while your there, go ahead and let them check her ears....

You mean your Vet went ahead and vaccinated your dog while you were at the office for her pain issues? If so, that's a huge Red Flag! No sick dog should ever be vaccinated and expecially if the Vet did not even know what was wrong with her... :(  Be careful w/this Vet!

FYI: The new vaccine protocol from ALL 27 Veterinary Teaching Hospitals in North America is every 3 yrs....Period!.......Did you know that your tiny poodle receives the same dose as the German Shepherd in the waiting room? Well, she does.....I'm very supicious of these vaccines in the shoulder area, but that's my opinion.....I'm not saying don't do your yearly checkup...The checkup is the most important part of all of this!!

I'm glad you've got another appointment, please let me know how it goes....I'm still going with a disk problem in her neck.....Let me know & good luck....Karla

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1653057_tn?1302371923
Karla, the vet hit on everything you mentioned above.  She thought it may be an inner ear infection, but didn't see anything.  Then she thought it may be IVDD.  That is what she is going with for now, although she said if the steroids don't work then we may have to consider that my dog has a brain tumor.  I don't even want to consider that, so I am really hoping that it is just a disc problem.  fingers crossed!!!!!
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1655240_tn?1302042430
You said she is poodle. You do take her to groomer to pull the hair from her ears correct?  These are one of those breeds that have hair that grow inside the canals and you have to get them clean or you can get a bunch of problems.  I dont know why your vet could not see if the ears were infected or not.  Maybe a 2nd opinion.  You obviously have several issues to address.
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1653057_tn?1302371923
The vet checked her ears and didn't find anything.  Her ears don't smell either.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Hello & thanks for the update....When do you get to start the steroids? You might as well be prepared for any side effects.....Usually, excessive thirst & urination is normal side effects.....Panting is common, but to me, means the dose is too high for the dog....
Don't panic if any of these happen.....Oh yes, makes them very hungry, too!

Your Vet threw the "Brain Tumor" thing in because of the seizures...Has your dog had any more of those? Past or present?

I'm still going with Disk Disease. It happens to be more common than people know.....And common in poodles, too...

Please, keep me updated as I will be wondering about her......I'm hoping she will feel much better in 12hrs....I'll be timing it!  :)
Let me know...I've got my fingers crossed!!!!         Karla
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462827_tn?1333172552
Here's a good resource on Disk Disease:

http://www.lbah.com/canine/ivd.htm
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1653057_tn?1302371923
Wow!  What a difference the steroids have made!  We gave her a pill this morning and she was noticeably better by the time we got home from work.  She is much more stable/balanced, she holds her head a little higher, and she is more attentive.  Her head still tilts slightly, but she seems much better.

We have only seen her have 1 seizure before.  It is possible that she has had them before and we just weren't home to see it.  Even though the vet doesn't think rimadyl and seizures are related, I don't think it was a coincidence that the seizure we witnessed happened while she was on that medication.

Thanks so much for all your help and advice Karla!  Things are looking better for my little girl.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Yippee!!!!!!!!  I do love good doggie stories.......I'm tickled she's feeling better.....After you get the inflammation under control, it's possible to cut back on the dosage of the Pred...Cuts back the side effects, too....

You also need to look into a GOOD joint supplement for her....Your Vet may sell one, but it will be very expensive.....If your Vet will recommend the name of a good one, buy it online....You will save alot of money.....

I have a favorite that my Holistic Vet has had very good luck with......I can share the name if your interested...He doesn't sell it, so I have to get it elsewhere....

OK~~~~~ I guess I'll move on....Good luck to you both & check in with updates when you can....Again, I'm sooooo glad shes better!!!!!    Karla
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1653057_tn?1302371923
Unfortunately, the improvement was very short lived.  My baby girl died this afternoon.  The vet thinks it was a brain tumor.  

Thanks for all your assistance and support though.  My husband and I really appreciated it.
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462827_tn?1333172552
OMG!!!  I'm sick and soooo sorry for you....Honestly, I'm at a loss here.....

My heart goes out to you and your husband...I'm also sorry that I was unable to steer you to that conclusion! Well, my day has been ruined along w/yours.....

My prayers are with you and I know your little girl is running free....Please, know that you did everything you could for her & she knows it.....You sound like a wonderful Pet Parent and sometimes life just *****!

I'll be thinking about you and if you need to talk or even gripe, I'll be here.....

RIP Little One!~~~~~~~~~~~ Sincerely, Karla
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Avatar_f_tn
I am sending you & your family some {HUG's}.  We just lost our pet dog a little over a week ago. It's so hard, but like Karla says above...you did everything you could and she knew it.   I did everything I could for my dog too, but he wanted to go to doggy heaven, so we let him go.  Hope you all feel better really soon.....
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1653057_tn?1302371923
Karla, thank you so much for your kind words.  I didn't mean to ruin your day.  You're right, life ***** sometimes.  Our other dog is just starting to notice that Sophie isn't around.  Hopefully it doesn't hit him too hard.

sm820, thank you for your hugs.  It is hard to lose a member of the family.  I really wish we had more time with her.  I thought she would be with us many more years.

Thank you both!
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Avatar_m_tn
I was reading your comment's, and was wondering if you can help me...I bought kirkland flea and tick, and put it on my 2 yr. old chihuahua's. I after read that it was all bad, so I got my money back...but didn't take it off them. I thought nothing bad would happen. 4 day's ago, one of the dog's was unbalanced, had a little seizer, and didn't look to good so I took her to the vet. I told him that the father has seizer's, but they are not bad at all. He gave me some seizer edicine, and some ear drop's. I told him today about the kirkland product, and he told me to shave her where I applyed the drop's and he would give me medicine for her shaking and unbalance. What do you think it could be. She seem's to be doing pretty good 4 now...
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462827_tn?1333172552
Hi Chi-dad....She's being poisoned....Very common w/these OTC products and especially worse for small dogs....You don't say how long it's been since you applied the drops....The first line of defense is to bath the dog in dish washing liquid (Blue Dawn is the best as it can break the oil down in the drops).

I would have bloodwork done to see if flushing her kidneys would help get the poisons out quicker...Liver enzymes need to be checked, too......

Hopefully, it will run it's course and she'll return to normal.....Either way, I'd bathe her in something that has NO chemicals, scent or toxins.....Plain bar soap would be better than nothing.....

Hope this helps....Karla
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