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Old 05-11-2008, 12:33 PM   #1
cristina61
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My dogs are staggering around!
Okay, you guys, this is really weird. Maybe someone here will have some clue as to what's going on, because the vet doesn't really know.

One morning back in February I woke to find the youngest of my three old dogs (12, 14, and ?) staggering around, unable to walk. It looked like one side of her body was paralyzed, and of course she was very scared -- as was I. I got her to the vet ASAP, but by the time we arrived she was totally back to normal. We thought she may have had a small stroke, so I was told to keep an eye on her and bring her back if this reoccurred.

Everything was completely normal, until this morning. My DH woke me up at 7:30 and told me that Pinkie was staggering around again. It was exactly the same thing! This time I noticed that her head was tilted to the left, and she was panting heavily, but no drooling or vomiting or upset stomach.

My DH left with our big male dog, and I was left babysitting Pinkie, trying to keep her calm. I phoned the vet and left a message . . . and then shortly after that I discovered that our third dog, another female (the mother of Pinkie) was having the EXACT same symptoms! She wasn't panting but her head was tilted to the left and she couldn't even stand up, let alone walk.

Okay, this can't possibly be a stroke, it must be something they ate in the yard. But we've had these dogs all their lives and lived in the same house the entire time, and all of the sudden these two incidents occur?

By this time they're both gradually getting back to normal, just like the last time. I did talk to the vet on the phone and make an appointment for later this afternoon, but by then I don't think either one will be having any symptoms.

So, what do you think? Any ideas about plants that are poisonous to dogs? I know there's info on the internet but I'm terrible at plant IDing, so I'll really appreciate any feedback you guys can offer.
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:56 PM   #2
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CECS is a disease that occurs among border terriers sometimes that sounds like what you describe. You didn't mention what type of dogs you have but does this sound like it fits the symptoms you see in your dogs? Also there is a video on Youtube showing the symptoms.

http://www.borderterrier-cecs.com/cecs_symptoms.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OBwVpW09pE
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:14 PM   #3
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I'm leaning toward a plant, too, or maybe a chemical around that they coud get into. The vet should maybe do some bloodwork.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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Wow, the symptoms do sound very similar. I looked at some of the videos and I'm not sure it's that, though. My dogs are terriers but not border terriers -- the older one is a Staffordshire and the younger one (Pinkie, who first showed symptoms) is a mix of Staffy, Doberman, and Rottweiler.

Thanks for the idea; I'm going to mention it to the vet to see if he thinks there's any possibility this might be what's going on.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:20 PM   #5
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I know from watching animal shows on tv that in Australia there is a type of tick that causes paralysis, don't know if you have ticks in the US. Ours aren't the paralysis kind here.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cynamar View Post
I'm leaning toward a plant, too, or maybe a chemical around that they coud get into. The vet should maybe do some bloodwork.
I think I'm going to have to learn something about the weeds in our yard; both dogs like to graze, and they've been doing it on a regular basis all their lives. I saw on one web site that wild oats are poisonous to dogs and might cause similar symptoms, and I think we may have some of those weeds (we've given up on having a "perfect" lawn, with three dogs that's a losing battle).

I wasn't looking forward to spending Mother's Day at the vet, but getting blood work is probably a good idea.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lucy78green View Post
I know from watching animal shows on tv that in Australia there is a type of tick that causes paralysis, don't know if you have ticks in the US. Ours aren't the paralysis kind here.
Yes, we definitely have ticks and spring is the bad season for them. Not sure if they cause paralysis. I'll check into that, too. Thank you!
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:12 PM   #8
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Any close (within a couple hundred yards) neighbors upwind? See if they've been spraying any insecticides or pesticides or leaving any rat- or mousebait out.

I nearly lost a cat to eating a poisoned mouse, and did lose a pet tarantula (seriously!) when I got fresh dirt out of the back yard for her terrarium---not knowing that the neighbors had sprayed tick poison all over the adjoining yard the day before.

I hope you find the cause, and therefore the cure, soon.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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I'm not sure if this will help at all, but the same thing has happened to my dog and my vet thought it could be a seizure due to a collapsed trachea. When it happens his body squishes up, his head leans to one side and it's as if his left side is paralyzed. It takes a little while to get over, but he does. Possibly your dogs could be having seizures?
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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Years ago I had a mixed breed dog who all of a sudden started staggering and sometime couldn't stand. It was a tick in her ear. She was given medicine and I made sure to get the tick out and she did get better for a little while but the damage was done and she finally did die a few weeks later. But the staggering did not stop and then start again. So it may not be ticks. Sounds more like something they are eating. I hope your doggies get well and live a long life.
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