So this post is a bit different than my normal posts, partially because we’ve had an emotionally stressful and exhausting weekend when it comes to our fur baby, our first baby (she was even in our wedding!), our adorable pug. At 11-years-old, we know she is considered elderly, but it really hit home this weekend.
Saturday started off like any normal day… until it wasn’t. When our pug went out for her normal potty break, she all of a sudden lost mobility in her back, right leg, and toppled over. We carried her inside, and she continued to have no control over her leg and refused to eat or drink. My husband thought she hurt her hip or knee somehow, but when I looked into her eyes, something wasn’t right. I told him I was worried something was wrong in her brain, possibly a stroke, and we needed to go now because the sooner you treat a neurological event, the better.
Fast forward to the Veterinary ER hospital. I told them of her symptoms (though she had regained the majority of mobility in her leg, thank goodness!!!), and that I was worried the symptoms were caused by something neurological. They told me to sit in the waiting room, and I watched pet after pet come in after us, yet go back before us. They were treating our dog as a strictly orthopedic problem pup. She wasn’t the priority. At this point, I noticed her head had an abnormal tilt. And then we were finally called back.
I told all the symptoms to the student in charge. Again, they focused on orthopedic and dismissed my concerns of a neurological problem. The student left the room to talk with the vet… for what seemed like hours. As I was waiting with my pup, I noticed her always hanging in the center tongue was coming out of the side of her mouth instead… for the FIRST TIME in over 11 years. That was it. I was my dog’s voice, her only voice, and I was going to make them listen one way or another. The student came back in, and I told her I didn’t think there was anything orthopedically wrong, and stressed the head tilt and now the abnormal tongue placement. She finally listened… and the response – “I hadn’t noticed that before, but her head is tilting” Excuse me? I pointed that part out before and have been talking about being worried something was wrong neurologically since I walked in the door! My fur baby is finally taken to the vet for observation.
Fast forward an hour. The vet comes in and told me that I had a “great catch.” Nothing is wrong with her hips or knees, but she does have a head tilt, a side leaning tongue (because of my abnormal report) and her eyes aren’t behaving normally. What does this mean? Something is wrong in her brain.
The official diagnosis is Vestibular Disease, but now they are trying to figure out why. They’ve been ruling out cancer, stroke, brain inflammation, benign tumors and more. We are still waiting on final results, but at least our pup is home and appears to be recovering. She is eating, drinking, walking more normally (with a few tumbles still) so I will take that as a win.
The moral of this story is TRUST YOUR GUT. And after you trust your gut, ADVOCATE for it! If I hadn’t kept at it, they would have never even looked past an orthopedic problem. And it’s true in all aspects of life (especially with medical care). If you don’t feel something is right, it’s not. And make sure you are heard. Whether it be for yourself, your kids, your spouse, your pup, your friend, your siblings, your parents, whomever. I know I’m glad I did.
Trust your gut, and remember… YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE.