Friday, 26 December 2008

Acupuncture update

Ollie has now had four sessions of acupuncture. It is very hard to pinpoint the difference it is making and be specific but we are both convinced that he is happier in himself and moving more freely. It is now possible to stroke his back without him collapsing away from the discomfort and in general the incidents of stabbing pain are far fewer and when they do occur, usually seem to be less severe.

A break now until the new year, with our next appointment on 5th January.

Everything seemed to be going so well - until last Wednesday. I thought Ollie had been a little wobbly and unsteady on his legs all day, but that is nothing particularly unusual - he often has "slow" days. At 5.45 it was definitely time for him to go outside for a 'comfort stop' - he'd not moved off his bed since the pre-lunch stroll that constituted his "morning" walk. We were in trouble the minute I got him onto the patio - every step had him stumbling and dropping onto his right-hand side, lurching badly to the right as he tried to move forwards - frightening to watch and looking very much like he had had a minor stroke although he didn't seem distressed, just confused that he couldn't stay upright.

By 6.00pm we were back at Millcroft Vets. Clare diagnosed the problem immediately and it was good news - not a stroke. Apparently a fairly common condition that I'd never heard of - Vestibulitis. In English, a dysfunction of the vestibular part of the inner ear which controls balance. A key part of the diagnosis was to watch Ollie's eyes which, when his head was held still, rolled alarmingly to the right, again, and again, and again. Very distressing to observe but he didn't seem too perturbed!

Clare described this as being like the worst case of sea-sickness or motion sickness you've ever imagined - like when you get off a boat and your legs don't respond properly to solid ground. On a scale of 1 to 10 he was no more than 1½. There was no sign of inner ear infection and she described the condition as "idiopathic", in other words - "we often don't know what causes it or the best way to treat it".

We came home with instructions to give him lots of TLC, keep him very quiet, no walks except for toilet breaks in the garden.

By breakfast time on Thursday he was bouncing about wanting to walk around the block, eat breakfast, bark at the birds, and generally looking and behaving fairly normally! One week later he continues to show fewer symptoms every time he goes out although there is still a slight tendency to veer to the right as he tries to walk in a straight line, but the stumbling and falling over his own feet isn't happening too much.

Our Christmas morning walk at Rannerdale

There are times when loving an elderly dog can be very stressful . . .


  1. Poor Ollie, he is in the wars at the moment, glad to hear he's improving though. Hope you all had a great christmas, how could you not with that scenery!

  2. I hope Ollie's wobbliness continues to improve Bilbo - he is such a lovey dog it must be distressing for you to see him unwell. As long as he can get even as far as the first gate of the Ranerdale walk ..........then there can't be too much wrong.
    Take care of him for us - we love him too.

  3. Pleased to hear Ollie is feeling better. Looks like he was enjoying his Christmas Day stroll.


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