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The Cuppercake Update

Walking with Cupcake (3/27/16)

The head tilt remains, but that does not stop me.

Sometimes I forget that when I blog about one of my dogs, I am not the only one reading it.

When I shared with you Daisy’s diagnosis of an insulinoma you were right there with me, following along on Facebook, so the blog updates were not as urgent or necessary. But when I shared Cupcake’s recent bout with idiopathic vestibular disease, I failed to provide frequent updates on her progress.

Why? I am not sure. I think perhaps because we were dealing with it in real-time and I wasn’t so sure where this was going to go. My apologies if you have been wondering how Cupcake has been doing.

So how is she?

Falling off the bed

She rolled off her bed again mom.

Health wise, she is doing pretty well. The first few days were pretty rough, she was so sick from the vertigo that I had to give her Bonine to help with the motion sickness, but thankfully, that passed fairly quickly and she began to adjust to the vertigo and the unsteadiness that came with it. She still has the head tilt, but she has learned to work around it.

Once she adjusted to her new world, her personality started to come back too. For me, that was the best news of all. I probably haven’t always shared this with you, but Cupcake is the life of the party in our house. She is silly and sassy and brave and smart, and she oozes personality in all that she does. I love Cupcake from head to paw, but her personality is what sparkles and what makes me laugh and smile every day. Trust me, a home without Cupcake’s personality is a very dull home.

She's just that damn cute (Cupcake, April 2016)

I’m still a little wobbly on my bed, but I no longer roll off while trying to steady myself.

With the return of her personality, has come a few challenges. Cupcake is no longer as agile as she once was, so she has had a few tumbles and falls. I am careful to keep an eye on her, but she is determined to live life as she once had (I think that is a good thing, right?).

She nearly gave me a heart attack when she decided to leap off the raised concrete patio two days after being diagnosed, but I should have known Cupcake would not be deterred by a little vertigo. I thought she would be seriously injured after that leap, but she just tumbled onto the ground and then got right back up and moseyed on her wobbly way. I should have realized it would be a sign of how she would be moving forward. Nothing stops Cupcake.

One day, she ran out the back door with Jasper and ran right into a planter pot that she did not see sitting in her path. I gasped in horror, but the fall only left her stunned for a moment before she was up and chasing Jasper across the yard, barking excitedly.

I am now careful to block the basement stairs and to move things out of her way when I can, but for the most part she seems to have found her own way around this new life of hers. She is unfazed by her unsteadiness and limited vision. (I’ve come to believe that Cupcake probably has some form of peripheral vestibular disease, because she seems to look at us out of her peripheral vision and can’t always see what is in front of her.)

Breathe deep and strong. Smell tells you who was there before you. Cupcake 2016

Deep sniffs bring good smells.

Cupcake still has the head tilt, but the motion sickness is mostly gone.

Probably the hardest part of Cupcake’s illness has been the need to leave her at home when we go to the dog park. If she were more stable and her vision was better, I would feel safe bringing her with us, but I cannot trust other dogs to leave her alone or to understand why she falls over sometimes.

She has also slowed down quite a bit. Walking for long periods of time are no longer possible. I suspect the constant movement makes her a little dizzy. Even walks halfway down the block are enough to tire her out, so I have been taking her with me to locations where she can just mosey along sniffing at her own pace. These are not walks, but more an exploration of sight and smell. She loves checking out the new smells and exploring a new location on her own terms. I think she likes having these special excursions where she can set the pace.

Sometimes, Cupcake gets disoriented and turned around, but she seems to figure it out on her own. Occasionally, she has gotten turned around and has walked under the kitchen table and gotten stuck or gotten stuck between my bed and the bedroom wall and needs my guidance to get back out, but those don’t happen very often. Even when they do, she does not seem bothered by the strangeness of it all. I cannot help but wonder what she is saying to herself when she finds she is surrounded by kitchen chairs and cannot figure out how she ended up there. Leave it to Cupcake to bring the humor to everything she does. It’s hard not to smile sometimes.

When sight and sound are no longer available, smell remains. Cupcake April 2016

It’s fun to explore new places.

So how is Cupcake? The same and different. It has taken some time for her (and us) to adjust, but what remains is what matters most – her smile, her personality and her zest for life. Perhaps there is a lesson in there for all of us. 🙂


  1. April 27, 2016 at 9:22 PM

    Thanks so much for the update.

    • Mel
      April 27, 2016 at 9:49 PM

      You are welcome. 🙂

  2. April 27, 2016 at 9:24 PM

    I’m so glad she is doing ok. Dogs are so resilient, and she is adjusting well.

    • Mel
      April 27, 2016 at 9:49 PM

      Thanks Mary. Me too. I am constantly amazed by how resilient dogs are.

  3. Three Pups and a Couple of Kitties
    April 27, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    What a precious pup! Thank you for the update.

    • Mel
      April 27, 2016 at 9:48 PM

      Thank you. She is most definitely precious to me. 🙂

  4. coniatthebeach
    April 27, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    So glad to hear she has recovered most of her character and is doing well. Thank you for sharing the update.

  5. fredrieka
    April 28, 2016 at 5:44 AM

    glad to hear she is doing well. I learn from every blog when the pawless parents share what is happening to their paw babies. Thank you for the update

  6. April 28, 2016 at 5:53 AM

    It’s so hard when the furry ones are ill. We are happy to hear she is doing fairly well. We understand the pain of leaving a pup at home. Katie hasn’t been able to go anywhere with us for quite a while now. It has become normal, but it is still sad.

  7. Sue
    April 28, 2016 at 7:35 AM

    So glad to see this update. Dogs are amazing. So glad that Cupcake is taking this in stride.

  8. April 28, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    Sorry to hear that Cupcake is ill, but it’s good to know that she is adjusting.

  9. April 28, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Sorry to hear of your dog’s illness and am glad to see she is doing better.

  10. Sylvie McGee
    April 28, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    What a beautiful description of living with an elder dog with vestibular syndrome. They adjust so much better than we do, often!

    • Mel
      April 29, 2016 at 7:54 AM

      Yes they do Sylvie. I am so amazed and happy that is the case.

  11. April 28, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    Sometimes it is definitely hard to blog about things as they are happening. I’m glad Cupcake is doing quite well and came to terms with her challenges. XOXOX

  12. May 1, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    Thanks for the update. Im so far behind in reading but wondered how Cupcake was doing. Please keep us posted. ღ

  13. Sonia T.
    March 18, 2018 at 10:03 PM

    My 10 year old pekingese, Arielle, began with some of the same symptoms as your dog, the dizzy spells, the eyes darting and she also has a heart condition. The vet told me also there was not much that could be done and suggested seizure meds which never worked. However, Arielle had been on 5mg of Prednisone previously for a skin condition. I began to notice that this medication coincidentally helped. When I ran out of the meds,she had up to 5 dizzy spells during the day and found her collapsed during the night. So, I asked the vet if he thought Prednisone would help and told me that he didn’t think it would, but asked vet to allow me to test it. He agreed, but warned me of its side affects. Nevertheless, I did some research on a product called, Immunocal Platinum, whey protein powder. I read that although this has helped a few people cure themselves from various diseases even cancer some gave it to their pets. I thought I would test it on Arielle. I began giving Arielle who is 14 lbs a teaspoon twice a day mixed with a little yogurt on an empty stomach to maximize absorption back in December 2017. Arielle started on 5mg twice a day of prednisone and I have been able to reduce dose to 2.5mg once a day after a month after giving her the Immunocal. I also give her Milk Thistle for her liver due to the meds. Arielle has improved greatly! She is full of energy and thank God , has not had any dizzy spells or eyes darting.

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