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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I've already been to the vet about this one, but the vet doesn't know what's going on. I'm looking for any ideas of what could be happening with my male, neutered, nine year old Italian greyhound.

He has had the same symptoms a couple of times in his life, and they've already resolved on their own. The vet can never figure out what's happening when it's going on.

The symptoms are:
- diarrhea (off and on) and soft stool
- pacing at night (pain/discomfort, I assume)
- more reverse sneezing than usual
- seems as though his back or neck is bothering him because he won't do the normal shake thing he usually does when he gets up
- unwillingness to jump up on the bed
- more peeing than usual but not more drinking
- worse at night, restless, clingy

BUT
- in between these symptoms, he seems perfectly happy and normal, jumps around, plays with the other dogs, acts completely happy


This has happened three times total now, and the other two times the vet couldn't figure it out. It went away on its own. But this time has been lasting a bit longer. I especially worry about him at night when he does so much pacing around and can't seem to settle.

Any ideas what we should be looking at here? The symptoms just don't seem to match anything...
 

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My guess would be a digestive reaction to eating grass or something else.

I display those same symptoms with an upset stomach myself!
 

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Might be mild seizures. My Rio had two very mild seizures where he paced and panted all night, just wouldn't settle. It only happened twice and never occurd again. Next time your boy starts acting strange video it to show to your vet.
 

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Bloodwork and xrays would definitely be a good starting point to figure out the cause of these symptoms. There are a number of things that could be going on, or even multiple things at the same time. Italian greyhounds are prone to pancreatitis, which can be very painful. Urinary issues can cause pain and even stress diarrhea. If you do have further work up done and/or get a diagnosis please let us know the outcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Weirdness continues. Our vet encouraged us to keep him on special food for pancreatitis/gastroenteritis type problems. This seems to have helped. The stool is now solid, but still kind of soft.

But now there are other weird symptoms. After a couple of days of seeming completely normal, last night he was was very strange.

He was sitting on my lap, relaxed, when suddenly I noticed that he was swaying back and forth slowly. This continued for a couple of minutes, then stopped. He then seemed okay for a bit. Then began walking around the house with a strange gait that seemed to be favouring a back right leg. Then a bit more swaying. Then normal again.

Then super happy, playful, playing with toys, playing with the other dogs, everything totally great.

Then we went to bed, and he was a bit restless during the night, but slept most of the night.

Now this morning he has eaten normally and seemed happy, but just now he did another couple of circles around the living room favouring a DIFFERENT LEG than last night (a front one this time). And he just seems… weird. It's hard to describe but his behaviour is just strange. When he came to sit down with me he did not approach in his normal way. Instead he was tilting his head at a weird angle and pushing his face into me, while sliding along on his belly. These are not his usual mannerisms.

He definitely isn't in pain, and doesn't seem upset by his own weird behaviours. The swaying did not upset him (only me) and he seems normal in between these weird behaviours. We have another appointment for him on the weekend, but meanwhile I am wracking my brains trying to figure out where to even start in terms of figuring out what's going on…

Has anyone experienced anything like this before?
 

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I'd suggest calling the vet and giving them an update, specifically about the swaying and gait. My partners family dog exhibited some of these symptoms but not others, I remember the vet saying strange eye/head movement and gait were important.
 

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If you can get a video of him displaying the strange behavior that may help to rule things in or out. Personally I would definitely be starting with bloodwork, and expect possible xrays depending on what the bloodwork results are.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'm starting to wonder if there is a vestibular problem going on here… … We have a vet appointment tomorrow afternoon. He continues to be strange but happy. The swaying is less, but still happening. He is particularly strange when walking on the bed or other soft surface. There seems to be a coodination problem. It's very odd. :(


Symptoms (for my own memory)
- about a month ago he started behaving a bit strangely in the mornings. After breakfast, the dogs normally sit together on the dog pillow. Lately he has been hiding in his house after eating.
- two weeks ago he was having bouts of diarrhea. Switched to Royal Canin gastro food. Better. Still soft stool, but much improved.
- two weeks ago he was also having a lot of reverse sneezing. This has since stopped.
- two weeks ago he was acting like he had a sore neck or back… not willing to jump up on the bed… this has also improved
- but now, swaying from side to side, seeming uncoordinated or having weakness in his limbs
- but now also seems happy, good appetite, drinking water, playful…

What on earth is going on?

Okay, will report back if I get any further information in case it can help anyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Of course none of the symptoms were present at the vet appointment, even though they had been earlier this afternoon. Figures. I tried to get video of him staggering and high-stepping earlier in the day, but missed it. So the vet cleaned his ears in case something in there was bugging him.

And he took some blood for a geriatric blood panel (Emory is 9 and a half)… and said he figured it was probably "ideopathic Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome" and that it would go away on its own.

Here's hoping.

We are supposed to go back if it persists. And he will call us with blood panel results. I'm hopeful that it will resolve itself because I have freaked myself out by reading articles about brain tumours and so forth, which is always a bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The vet says the blood panel was normal. So now I'm really worried that it's something neurological. His head is still swaying back and forth, and he's losing his balance and walking very clumsily.

What's going on?

Has he had a stroke?

Do symptoms of brain tumours come on this abruptly?

The vet has said we need to "wait and see" if he improves. Waiting is pretty awful. I don't know what to think. :(
 

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Oh that's got to be difficult, waiting is awful. Unfortunately it could be anything, hopefully it's vestibular. Try not to read too much on the net for diagnoses, the information is variable in truth and often pessimistic, if he's comfortable maybe take some time to do something lovely with him to take your mind off things. My thoughts are with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh that's got to be difficult, waiting is awful. Unfortunately it could be anything, hopefully it's vestibular. Try not to read too much on the net for diagnoses, the information is variable in truth and often pessimistic, if he's comfortable maybe take some time to do something lovely with him to take your mind off things. My thoughts are with you.
Thanks, I'm driving myself a little bit crazy worrying about it. I'm trying to let him rest in hopes it will help with recovery, but he must think I'm nuts because I'm following him around like a stalker and constantly taking video of him trying to capture the head swaying… Sigh. I hope he's okay.
 

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The vet says the blood panel was normal. So now I'm really worried that it's something neurological. His head is still swaying back and forth, and he's losing his balance and walking very clumsily.

What's going on?

Has he had a stroke?

Do symptoms of brain tumours come on this abruptly?

The vet has said we need to "wait and see" if he improves. Waiting is pretty awful. I don't know what to think. :(

Going by his symptoms and your video, and by what I went through with my old dog, my two guesses for the new symptoms. Are vestibular disease, and stroke. The two often mimic each other.

My old boy had a few mini strokes that seemed like seizures when I saw him having them. He'd be laying next to me seem the be sort of out of it, with his head swaying, then it'd just go away. He did that a couple times, the first time I thought maybe I imagined it, and I was going to take him to the vet to see what was going on but he had a large stroke before I could.

I'd not wait and see with your boy, I'd try and get a second opinion and a third one if necessary, explain to the new vet what's going on, what he's been treated for, and how he's steadily getting worse.

If nothing else ask your vet about giving him baby aspirin in case it was a mini stroke, the aspirin may be able to prevent any more of them, BUT ask the vet before giving them to him. They are what my vet had me giving my boy after he had a second stroke a week after the first large one to try and prevent more.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for that good advice. We went back to the vet today with our video - and it was a different vet (there are two who share the practice, so we can get a second opinion pretty easily). He said that he noticed that Emory's thyroid levels were just slightly low when he looked at the blood panel. (The first vet mentioned this too but did not think it was an issue.) So the second vet has ordered another test on the sample for TSH levels, hoping for more information about the thyroid.

He also said that if we don't see improvements, we could try administering fluids and mild antibiotics, which would flush any potential toxins (I don't think there are any toxins present) and would fight any possible infection (like meningitis).

Meanwhile, Emory's head seems more steady today. He is still a bit off balance, and the head sway is still present but far less noticeable. I really hope this is a good sign that things are moving in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Waiting for TSH results today. Meanwhile, strange symptoms continue. His head swaying still seems a bit better (though not completely resolved). He has times when he seems perfectly normal, plays with the other dogs, acts happy. Other times he hides in his crate and shivers. :( Yesterday he had an erection - which is really abnormal for him. He was licking at it and seemed quite uncomfortable. I had to stop him and get him to walk around so it would go away. This worries me because it is completely unheard of for him. First time in his whole life that I have ever seen him with an erection. Makes me think something is misfiring in his neurological system. Sigh. This is very worrisome. I'm really hoping it's just a thyroid thing that can be managed…
 

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Okay, vet just called and said that he has confirmed that Emory has hypothyroidism. So we are picking up some medication to start him on immediately. I feel glad to hear that there is some kind of diagnosis - and hoping that all this weirdness stems from that and nothing else! The vet says we need to bring him back in 6-8 weeks to have another blood test and see if he is responding to the medication. I will report here too to let you all know if we see a reduction in his strange symptoms.
 

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