Oscar, the best dog ever, had an unexpected and undesirable vet visit this morning. G. texted me just as I was getting out of the bus tunnel with “Oscar is sick we are at the vet.” I immediately started freaking out and he called a few seconds later to say Oscar had been curled up all small, and drooling, which is unlike him, and when he tried to walk he held his hips like an inbred German Shepherd and then started staggering like he was drunk and eventually gave up walking completely. I tried to think of all the things that he has been eating or may have eaten lately — cat poop from the cat box (so gross, we just got a new one with a lid to prevent it), soup that I spilled that had lots of various kinds of veggies in it, and, most alarmingly, the rat poison I have been putting out in the greenhouse (I know, it’s horrible, we’ll get the cat unleashed on the world soon) that has been only in the greenhouse but maybe he found a dead rat outside of the greenhouse and ate it?
Much churning of this sort went on over frantic texts and emails, with me starting my day at work all distracted, laying groundwork for having to leave and come straight home again right now to say goodbye, and G. running the gauntlet of the super-worried vet receptionist and the super-worried vet tech. G. discusses the fact that it seems like he’s having a stroke, or a seizure maybe. Eventually the doctor, who we really like, arrived, looked at Oscar, and said oh, it’s probably an ear infection.
WHAT. We thought it was a stroke or rat poison but it is probably an ear infection? OK, I’ll take it.
Ultimately not quite so simple, but also not the worst news. It is something called vestibular disease or disorder, which could have many causes. Ear infection is a common one — and Oscar is prone to them, especially during allergy season, which it is for him right now. But my second-hand info via Garth is that it is not a straight-up ear infection; they didn’t send them home with any antibiotics, so it seems like that’s the case. For now it is diagnosed as idiopathic, which means we don’t know why it is there, and it may resolve itself eventually. We hope.
In the meantime, poor Oscar is hugging the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning. He doesn’t want to lift his head up because he is so dizzy he can’t hold his head still when it’s not attached to the floor. The biggest risk at this point is of malnutrition/dehydration/pooping all over the floor because he hasn’t the balance to get up. There’s nothing wrong with his muscles or anything, it’s just his balance is all messed up. He hasn’t eaten or drank anything since I got home from work just over 3 hours ago, so I’m going to agitate for figuring out how to make sure he’s staying healthy while his ears recalibrate themselves.