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The Cuppercake Update

April 27, 2016 15 comments
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.:)

 

Wordless Wednesday #287 – Popcorn

April 26, 2016 8 comments

Popcorn

 

Black and White Sunday #169 – Precious Cupcake

April 2, 2016 11 comments

Cupcake the day she started to show consistent signs of central vestibular disorder

Cupcake may just be my most photogenic dog, Isn’t she beautiful? Isn’t she precious?:)

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Cupcake has Idiopathic Vestibular Disease

March 27, 2016 29 comments

Just sniff 'inIt started three Saturdays ago.

I was cleaning the kitchen when I heard Cupcake fall in the living room. I thought maybe she had slipped on the wood floor and was having trouble getting up because it was slippery. I ran over to her and helped her to her feet. She fell over again. I picked her up again, and that was when I noticed her eyes. They were darting back and forth. Rapidly. I immediately thought it was a seizure, but before I could analyze her further,  it was over. It had only been a matter of seconds, and unlike most dogs coming out of a seizure, she was alert, walking around normally and acting like her usual self. I was stumped. It was was such a weird incident. I attributed it to standing up to quickly and getting disoriented. What else could I think?

Then it happened again. The following Friday. Cupcake stood up, started to walk, and then fell over. Her eyes were darting back and forth again. Just like before, it was over in seconds and she was acting normally. I made a note in my iPhone to record the date and time (as suggested by the vet’s office when I called them during the week).

On Saturday, the next day, Cupcake had two more incidents. Each time, she walked like a dog that was drunk and often fell over and her eyes would continuously dart from side to side.


After the second one, I started googling “dogs” and “darting eyes” and saw one thing come up again and again – vestibular disease. Cupcake had all of the symptoms – unsteady gait, falling down, and darting eyes. Based on everything I read, she had what feels like vertigo in humans.

When it happened a second time. I remembered to videotape it. I wanted to be able to show the emergency vet what was happening since she always seemed fine when it ended.

Unfortunately, the behavior did not end. Unlike before, Cupcake continued to have problems walking and kept falling over. Her eyes did not stop darting side to side, like they had before, and now she had a head tilt and would circle in one spot over and over again. It was really upsetting to see her like this.

The head tiltEverything I read said that there wasn’t much that could be done for vestibular disease, but I still felt a trip to the emergency vet was needed. Unfortunately, the ER vet was in emergency surgery with a dog hit by a car and would be in surgery for at least another hour, so I brought Cupcake home, contacted her vet and sent her the videos. After some consultation, she agreed that it was likely vestibular disease and got her some anti-nausea drugs until I could bring her in on Monday.

Cupcake’s Monday appointment confirmed it, she had Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. If you have not heard of it before, I recommend looking it up.

Here is what I know from reading up on it. Some dogs, often older dogs, get it and recover over a few weeks or months and never get it again. Other dogs get it once, recover, have a relapse, and recover again. Many times the cause is unknown (thus the term “idiopathic”).

Idiopathic vestibular disease can be caused by an inner ear infection, but it can also be caused by a brain lesion or hypothyroidism. Cupcake’s blood work came back normal so it rules out hypothyroidism. Based on her other behaviors, the head tilt to the left, the circling to the left and the eyes darting quickly to the right and then moving slowly back to the left, the vet thinks Cupcake may have a lesion on her brain. If it is a lesion, it is likely on her left side and pressing on her brain, which is what is causing the strange behaviors. If it is not a lesion, Cupcake may recover fully and never have it again (she is showing improvement every day).

Right now, we are in a wait and see mode. Since last Saturday, she has steadily improved in the walking department. She still has the head tilt, and will circle to the left, but now she is able to go outside and come back inside on her own. With the help of several new rugs in the house, she rarely falls down, and if she does, she gets back up all on her own. She even went for a very short walk today (she was not happy about being left behind when I took Daisy and Jasper to the dog park this morning, so a walk was a must), and tonight, she wagged her tail several times, squeaked her stuffie over and over again (which she does when happy and excited) and gave her brother some sass (trust me, he needed it).  :)

Cupcake's third eye lid issueUnfortunately, she also has another symptom – her third eyelid is now showing in her left eye. It could mean the lesion is growing or passing in on her eye. I’ll be calling the vet about that tomorrow, but for right now I am focusing on the positive changes I have seen this past week. Cupcake is acting more like herself and her personality has returned (I sure did miss that speaking sound and her cute little wagging tail).

 

 

Wordless Wednesday #282 – The Beautiful Cupcake

March 23, 2016 5 comments

Black and White Sunday #167 – Sleeping girls

March 20, 2016 10 comments

Untitled

This picture is grainy because it was taken on my cell phone instead of my regular camera. Cupcake has been sick, so when Maggie made the unusual move last night to lie next to her (and on her rug) I wanted to capture it. Unfortunately, all I had was my cell phone.

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Black and White Sunday #166 – A stick is never a stick

March 5, 2016 5 comments

Jasper and his stick (bffs)

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

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