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Dog Ataxia?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 1:12pm PST 
Let's try to post this again, shall we? I'm posting this to get ideas and opinions for a friend of mine. Her dog is a mix breed, seven years old, spayed female, with no prior history of health problems. Exercised daily, trained with daily, etc.

On April 29th, she was given Sentinel, a heartworm preventative.

On the 30th, she began displaying signs of ataxia(loss of motor control in legs, wobbling, etc. Was taken right to the Vet where they did a a blood panel. My friend asked if it could be a side effect of the Sentinel as that was the ONLY thing that was different from their regular routine(the dog had never had it before). The Vet denied any possible cause being the Sentinel.

They completed a neurological exam, which involved testing motor function via moving the dogs paws, which went unnoticed by the dog unless she looked down at her paws, or tried to walk. This was with all four paws. The Vets said if it had been a lesion on the spinal cord, it would only effect the back legs that way. They gave the dog some steroids, and the dog felt better for approx. a week, however, is back to wobbling uncontrollably(including when she's trying to sleep).

They want to send her to a neurologist and to have an MRI done, however, an MRI would cost thousands of dollars for the test alone.

My friend looked the night after, only to find that one of the adverse side effects of Sentinel is, in fact, wobbling/loss of motor control in the legs. The Vet STILL denies any possible connection.

The dog is still eating, drinking, acting normal otherwise, and still wants to play and is now building up energy from being cooped up. However, if she is taken for walks, etc, exercise diminishes her strength, so my friend is trying to keep her relaxed.

They go to see a neurologist on Monday.

Here's a link to the video if others have Facebook. My friend said it's supposed to be public: Leela

Any ideas on what this could be?

Edited by author Fri May 10, '13 5:53pm PST

Ava & Nix

Suburban Farm- Dogs
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 3:14pm PST 
No idea, but I just wanted to say I hope she gets better, or at least they find out what's going on! frown It sounds like it very well may be the Sentinel, and the vet sounds like they're in denial!

That's some scary stuff... Now I'm second guessing giving my two their Sentinel this month...
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 5:52pm PST 
Added a link to the video in my previous post if anyone is interested... The wobbling was originally in the legs, and is now full-body.

Ava&Nix - She said that "apparently ataxia will happen if the dog has the MDR-1 gene as a reaction to the ivermectin in sentinel. If her dogs have had it before with no reaction then they should be fine."

I also checked if she'd gotten a second opinion and she said she's seen two different Vets, and while one was upset with the other for having given the steroid, they are both of the same mind that the wobbling/ataxia was not caused by the Sentinel.

Edited by author Fri May 10, '13 5:55pm PST


Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
Barked: Fri May 10, '13 6:25pm PST 
There is no ivermectin in Sentinel. However I have heard of several cases where dogs developed neurological problems after taking Sentinel or Interceptor. It is rare but it does happen.

I would see if there are any canine rehab special-ists in her area. We have one in my area and she does a great job with neurological issues even when the vets give no hope of any recovery. It could at least help with mobility and may be able to counteract some of the effects that she has.

Rambo & Fancy CC- littermates
Barked: Sat May 11, '13 10:10am PST 
Did they do any blood-work? I have liver problems and that is one of the signs my mom needs to watch for, if I eat too much protein and get hepatic encephalopathy. Sometimes epilepsy can cause this also. Good luck....I would still wonder about the Sentinel if that was the first episode....hmmmmmm
Daisy Mae

Cute? Yeah,- that's me.
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 3:22pm PST 
I don't think vets are always willing to admit when a medication can cause a problem. There are multiple vets that work at the clinic I take Daisy Mae to. They head guy, the one with his name on the building, did not think that the Trifexis Daisy was taking could be a cause for her seizures, when there was a pattern to the seizures occurring within one week of her taking the pill, I decided to take her off of it. One of the other vets agreed, that while rare, could be a possible cause. Your friend should go with her gut. Hopefully it is only the sentinel and the side effects wear off soon.
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Tue May 14, '13 5:44am PST 
I really think the neurological back issue has to be resolved first. I would see a neurologist as they would be the best one to give a best educated guess if they can't afford an MRI. I believe there are a couple of other test options, but still expensive. But at least see what the neurologist says? I think my concern is it is getting worse.

I find it interesting the medication helped. It makes me wonder if it helped with swelling? I think you have to rule that out first before assuming it was the sentinal that caused it. I would think the sentinal is a long shot where something more neurological like a herniated disc or lesion might be more likely.

I guess I would just want to rule that out first?

P.S. i see they were seeing a neurologist yesterday...I'm curious how the visit went?
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Tue May 14, '13 12:07pm PST 
Rambo - They did blood work, yes.

Update from Neurologist - She said she still has no answers. Leela was normal almost all day, so the neurologist could only come up with guesses based on history and the neurological exam they did. They are really certain that it's Cerebellar Ataxia but they aren't sure what's causing it. They want to do more blood tests and a spinal tap. They also want to do an MRI, but as the dog is improving, my friend is waiting to see. The neurologist said it might go away on its own or it might be going back and forth in the early stages of whatever it is. Just four guesses that they can test for, so far. My friend can't remember two of the names, one is a disease that is common in huskies(Leela appears to be part husky), one is a type of meningitis(non-contagious) where the immune system attacks itself, could also be a brain tumor though, as she responded to the steroids. Could even be as simple as an infection, but the Neurologist thinks that's unlikely. My friend now has to save up and decide which tests to run and hope she gets diagnosed or gets better on her own. She mentioned the Sentinel, and once again, nothing was said about it, but it stays in the system for 30 days, so if it is a reaction to the Sentinel, they should be seeing improvement within the next week or so.

If things get worse, it'll be easier to diagnose and my friend will have the money for any treatment needed, and if things get better(which she hopes they do), then I think they're going with a reaction to the Sentinel.
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Tue May 14, '13 12:21pm PST 
ahhhh i didn't realize she was acting normally...I thought she presented with the same symptoms. I hope she gets better soon and she will be okay way to go
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Tue May 14, '13 2:09pm PST 
Scooter - she started off with it just effecting her legs and falling, then she had it effecting her whole body the following week but wasn't falling anymore, and Monday she was normal almost all day, so it's up and down.