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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Background: Just over 3 weeks ago our Ruby (8.5 years old) started having issues with losing her back end when she shook her head. It was just here and there for a couple days...not everytime. A couple days later she stopped eating and her eyes were drifting to one side and correcting themself (nystagmus). She wouldn't drink and seemed to be stumbling around like she couldn't keep her balance. She was also drooling more than normal and her head was constantly tilted to he left. We called the Vet and got her an appointment for that afternoon. He said it was likely Vestibular disease but couldn't say what the cause was. He looked in her ears and said they looked fine (my wife cleans them every couple weeks). He said it could be swelling or a tumour or a virus.... Anyway, he prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic (for 10 days), an anti nausea medication (for 4 days), and an anti inflammatory medication (for 21 days).

Ruby started eating again the next day(which was great) and her eyes stopped drifting as well. I started reading up on this Vestibular thing.... Most posts and articles i read said it can clear up on it's own within a few days, so i was hopeful that would be the case. Ruby started to get a little better each day, but her head was still tilted and she still lost her balance going down the stairs and getting off the sofa. She seemed to be progressing a little more and getting a bit better every day. Her appetite was very strong though. before the episode 3 weeks ago she will only eat breakfast maybe 3 times a week, but she's eaten it every day for 3 weeks in a row. She's also been bugging for more food and treats right after she eats supper. We've been giving her extra food because of this hunger she seems to have.

But yesterday, 3 weeks after the vet visit, she seemed to regress a bit and was more depressed and less motivated to move. I had to carry her down the stairs because she refused to go down (she slipped a couple times already and slid down half of them). She is ok going up the stairs and getting on the sofa, be going down and getting off are worse the last couple days. She's still eating and drinking fine. She just seems more depressed and unmotivated the last couple days.

I have to take her back in to see the Vet, but i'm not sure what we should do next. When we were there 3 weeks ago he said something about doing CT scans or MRI scans, but we can't afford that. Should we get her blood work done and check for Thyroid issues? Is that the next logical step?

Really worried and afraid its a tumour in her head that's causing this Vestibular issue.... Can not afford to fix it if that's what it is. :(
 

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My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry I can't help with this specific diagnosis.
I would say it sounds like it may be neurological to me- but that's my opinion. I like our vet, but if I were you I'd get a second opinion if you don't get something better from your new visit.
I hope you find a remedy soon.
 

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My last dog had Vestibular as a result of Hypothyroidism so it might be worth the test. I really wish I had tested him earlier. When I adopted Tucker I took him straight to the vet and asked for a thyroid test. The vet came out and said "How did you know?".

I then explained that I didn't know but just didn't want to go through that again.

Hypothyroid-associated central vestibular disease in 10 dogs: 1999-2005

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17186851
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So, I spoke to the Vet yesterday and he suggested extending the Prednisone. My wife picked up another round of pills last night.

Ruby did seem more herself yesterday and last night than she did the day before. She had no trouble with the stairs last night or this morning (we live in a back-split, so there are only 6 stairs anyway). And when i was home at lunch she was fine again. Still with the head tilt, and a little ginger when she goes down the steps but all-in-all seems fine.

If the balance issue gets worse again in a couple days, and her personality changes again, i'll have to assume she has a tumour. I've read up a little on brain tumours and it seems there can be good days and bad days.

Thanx for all your comments.
 

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If you're able to see a neurologist, I would recommend that. Of course, they will also "push" for and MRI, but that doesn't mean you have to do it.
We lost our Mongo to a brain tomorrow 3/30/2017.

Prednisone increases the appetite :)
 

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Hello Nublips,
I read about your Ruby and want to offer my experience if it is helpful. I recently had my boxer exhibit a head tilt in December. The vets said it was an ear infection possibly but It was NOT. I hope that what happened with me is not what is happening to you.
Im hopeful you find what is going on with your boxer is not a tumor. I had wished I'd known how serious my little girls condition was before it was to late. She had a head tilt on and off for about 3 weeks then it progressed to paw knuckling and many other signs I wish I'd picked up on earlier...she didnt want to go on her walks...she would lay in awkward positions...she would go to dark rooms and lie down...I finally did realize something was wrong with her but all the while the vets suggested blood work which I did but all tests came back negative... I just wished I could've got to the MRI sooner for both my peace of mind and for me to better plan how I would deal with her condition as it progressed. It did progress rather quickly and I had to put her down Jan. 27th so it was less than 2 months from when I saw the first signs to when I had to make that awful decision. I just think there is often times more the vets know than they say...this site was helpful to me as some folks suggested getting a second opinion AND seeing a Neurologist which were both EXCELLENT suggestions! I would recommend the same to you...wishing you and Ruby the best from here forward.
 

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Rocco had a head tilt in November of 2016. He was bumping into things, unstable and occasionally dragging his right front paw. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with an inner ear infection. They gave him Prednisone and he got better immediately, but then after going down on the Prednisone, he relapsed. They upped the dosage and he got better but when the dosage went down, he got worse.

Our vet referred us to the U of I Veterinary Teaching Hospital. They did a brain MRI and confirmed he had a tumor on the right side and that he had lost most of his vision in his right eye. We opted to have the tumor removed. The surgery took 5 1/2 hours and was very expensive, but we felt like it was worth it. He came home 2 days after surgery and was placed on oral chemo meds and his eyesight came back. We found out in June that the tumor is back and is half the size. In October, during bloodwork, they determined his platelets were only 5,000 so our vet recommended we stop giving him the chemo (low platelets are a side effect of that). He has been his old self ever since the surgery. About two months ago, he started drinking way more than he ever has and is constantly looking for water. The vet has run tests but can't find anything wrong. We know our time is limited with him. We have decided not to do any more surgeries and will just give him the best life we can for as long as he's with us.
________________
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
To follow up on this post, Ruby made a full-ish recovery after a few months. She still has a slight head tilt when looking down, but no other Vestibular symptoms.

There is an ongoing Mast Cell Tumor issue now though. In March she started to grow one on her labia. It was removed. In September is started to grow back. It has now been removed again. the difficulty is in the area that is has grown. It's a sensitive area and there is not much tissue available to take the margins they want to take. She has had several of the tumors before (6 - 9) on various other parts of her body, all were removed successfully until now. However, this one seems to be a bigger issue since it returned.

We had the regrowth tested, and it came back as cancer, and the vet said it is quite an aggressive strain. The vet has suggested to operate again and try to get more of the tissue, but is also saying that getting enough of the tissue is likely not possible. The vet has also contacted Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph for advice and opinion on further treatment, however at my last appointment they still had not heard anything back from them. I guess the Vet feels any further treatment in that area might not even be possible, but couldn't say for sure.

At any rate, we'd rather not have to put Ruby through another surgery. She's 9 1/2 years old now and although she is still quite healthy and happy otherwise, the last surgery seemed to have an effect on her for a longer period of time. Instead of subjecting her to more operations I think we will try to treat her with Benadryl and something called 'Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang", provided i can find it for purchase and get a proper dosage amount to use.
 

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I am so sorry Ruby is still having problems but happy that you got another pretty good year with her. A 9 1/2 year old boxer seems rare lately. One of the dogs I sit for has developed a tumors which is cancerous and inoperable. About two months go I was pet sitting and I thought to myself she would not make it thru the week. She was very lethargic, not wanting to eat or move round. The vet put on on medication ( I have to risk the name as I've forgotten but normally I didn't think it was used for cancer) Ayway it must be shrinking the tumors as the dog is acting great, jumping around some going outside eating, its like she was a year ago. We know she is on borrowed time but its wonderful to see. I won't be able to ask until tomorrow, and not even sure it would help but I'll repost the name of the medication after I hear back.
 

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About a year and a half ago I discovered 3 bumps on Tucker. The vet said she was sure they were MCTs but at his age and because one was on his left cheek we decided to let them go untested. I'm sure she was correct, she has done this for a very long time.


I started giving him benadryl and tagamet after reading that it might help. I continued for an entire year. Not sure why I quit then. The benadryl made him sleepy and I felt bad.



I also started giving him whatever he wanted because I didn't feel that he had a lot of time left. Lots of bully sticks.


Well, it has been 1.5 years and the result so far is an 11 year old overweight dog with MCTs that haven't changed.




Did the benedryl and tagamet help...I honestly have no idea.



I thought it might be worth a google search.


Good Luck
 

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About a year and a half ago I discovered 3 bumps on Tucker. The vet said she was sure they were MCTs but at his age and because one was on his left cheek we decided to let them go untested. I'm sure she was correct, she has done this for a very long time.


I started giving him benadryl and tagamet after reading that it might help. I continued for an entire year. Not sure why I quit then. The benadryl made him sleepy and I felt bad.



I also started giving him whatever he wanted because I didn't feel that he had a lot of time left. Lots of bully sticks.


Well, it has been 1.5 years and the result so far is an 11 year old overweight dog with MCTs that haven't changed.




Did the benedryl and tagamet help...I honestly have no idea.



I thought it might be worth a google search.


Good Luck
This made me lol. Glad Tucker is doing well
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am so sorry Ruby is still having problems but happy that you got another pretty good year with her. A 9 1/2 year old boxer seems rare lately. One of the dogs I sit for has developed a tumors which is cancerous and inoperable. About two months go I was pet sitting and I thought to myself she would not make it thru the week. She was very lethargic, not wanting to eat or move round. The vet put on on medication ( I have to risk the name as I've forgotten but normally I didn't think it was used for cancer) Ayway it must be shrinking the tumors as the dog is acting great, jumping around some going outside eating, its like she was a year ago. We know she is on borrowed time but its wonderful to see. I won't be able to ask until tomorrow, and not even sure it would help but I'll repost the name of the medication after I hear back.
Thanks for the comment. I'm hoping if the tumor comes back that there will be something they can give her to slow the rate of growth. She has had a few of these tumors before and none have regrown, but she has also never had one in this area before. The vet says it is very rare to have a MCT in this area.

She is fine otherwise, still acting like a young dog at times. Still quite active and alert. The vet has been saying for a couple years now that she is starting to show the signs of age, greying of the muzzle, cloudiness starting in her eyes, and such. She also has a largish fatty tissue lump on he side that we have had tested a couple times now. The fluid they pull out of it is still just fatty fluid so there is no need to operate on that they say. We just keep a close eye on it and will deal with it if we have to.

It's gonna kill us when we have to let her go eventually though.... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
About a year and a half ago I discovered 3 bumps on Tucker. The vet said she was sure they were MCTs but at his age and because one was on his left cheek we decided to let them go untested. I'm sure she was correct, she has done this for a very long time.


I started giving him benadryl and tagamet after reading that it might help. I continued for an entire year. Not sure why I quit then. The benadryl made him sleepy and I felt bad.



I also started giving him whatever he wanted because I didn't feel that he had a lot of time left. Lots of bully sticks.


Well, it has been 1.5 years and the result so far is an 11 year old overweight dog with MCTs that haven't changed.




Did the benedryl and tagamet help...I honestly have no idea.



I thought it might be worth a google search.


Good Luck
I'll have to look into this Tagment stuff. I haven't read about it yet. And you might be right, all the extra benadryl and tagment might have done nothing.... Ruby has had several of these tumors through her life. The first 2 we had taken off her when she was 1-2years old we had tested. One came back fine and the other came back as cancerous. Our 'old school' vet at the time just said to keep an eye out for them in the future, and anytime one grew we would take her in to have it checked out. Sometimes they would stay small for months and other times they would grow quickly. When they started to grow and expand the vet always suggested taken them off. We have had a good success rate until now and haven't been using benadryl or tagament or anything....

Our hope is that we can prolong the inevitable as long as possible. She's still quite healthy and alert otherwise. Still quite active and happy to be alive. We'll do what we can, while we can. Maybe we'll have her around for a couple more years still....
 

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Our hope is that we can prolong the inevitable as long as possible. She's still quite healthy and alert otherwise. Still quite active and happy to be alive. We'll do what we can, while we can. Maybe we'll have her around for a couple more years still....
That was my plan exactly. It bothered me that we were doing nothing and when asked the vet said that benadryl and tagamet wouldn't hurt anything.

Even at 11 Tucker is still sharp. He chases squirrels and knows exactly what time he gets which treat.
 
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