A week ago (it's really taken me a week to write this blog post? Something is very broken)...
Anyway....a week ago last Sunday, I got a call from FB to come over because something was not right with Scout. He had been fine all day, but suddenly, he could not stand or walk. His head was tilted to one side and his eyes were constantly flipping back and forth and were not tracking evenly. He was drooling and withdrawn and we were fairly certain he was having a stroke.
Unless you want to load up a very sick, very old dog and drive 1.5 hours to the chaos and stress of a trip to Cornell, there is no emergency vet service available late on a Sunday night. Since the only thing that can be done to treat stroke is to give steroids, we gave him some prednisone and got him comfortable for the night.
FB was able to get an appointment for Scout at his regular vet first thing Monday morning and we took him in to see if anything could be done. The vet decided that it might not be a stroke, but is more likely canine vestibular disease, which is a fancy way of saying severe disturbance of balance for no known reason. It could be a stroke, it could be a brain tumor. It could be that he is just getting really old. The vet prescribed a short course of steroids, which may or may not be of any use.
Because of, or despite, the steroids, Scout is doing better. He is able to walk again and has a good appetite and seems to feel OK. He is certainly not 100% though and there is no way to know if he will recover fully or have more of these episodes. The only viable treatment options are good care and good food, which he certainly gets. For now, he is doing better and, hopefully, he will continue to do so for a long time to come.
It's not easy getting old.