"Man's Best Friend"...

Wanda Holderman: April 21, 20080 Comments

...and women and children of course...ah yes, our beloved canines. What is it about a dog anyway? They never talk much about themselves, yet love to listen to us, and they act interested with what we have to say, they agree incessantly, are pleased with what we do versus what we should do, and provide unconditional love, security, and warmth (unlike the puppy peeing on your lap!). One minute you want to shoot them for tearing out the new bush you just planted, then the next, you inherit a fulltime job when you sratch their neck. Oh, and they're so adorable when they are sleepy and curl up so lovingly next to you!

I was devastated this weekend when we observed abrupt and severe symptoms in our german-shepard mix who is 15 years old named Missy. Our son came to visit and she was awaked from her nap by his presence, she jumped up to greet him, but as she neared his vehicle, her front legs just collapsed under her...she slowly recovered, we laughed and thought her legs had "fallen asleep" during her nap, and that she was just experiencing some short-lived numbness and tingling...within 45 minutes she deteriorated dramatically to the point of an unsteady gate, falling into the walls, severe eyelid twitching and nystagmus. I was so frightened. I thought, "can dogs have strokes?" Within minutes, we were able to get her to the "Pet ER" and receiving assessment and care.

I'm glad to report that she has been diagnosed with "Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome" (some inner ear thing that can present quickly in older dogs and can manifest itself post Valley Fever, which she had about 4 years ago, go figure!), which is usually self-limiting and treated with meds for balance and intense rest. I was relieved, I was thinking the worst and dreading the options.

Speaking of "strokes"-here's a few tips for humans-don't mess around with these symptoms: sudden weakness/numbness on one side of the body, sudden trouble speaking and understanding, sudden trouble with vision, sudden dizziness/confusion, and an abrupt severe headache...call 911. This may be signs of a "brain attack" and very similar to a "heart attack", time if of the essence...need to get to an ER fast and have an urgent assessment and if it's determined that you are having a stroke caused by a clot, there are amazing medications that can be given to preserve the ole' gray matter! Oh, and watch your risk factors: high blood pressure, artery disease caused by high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Hey!...stay around for a long time to come, so you and "man's best friend" can make some great memories!