View Full Version : I don't know what's going on with Polly..please read!

12th November 2010, 04:45 AM
Sorry, this is long but please read if you may be able to give advice..
Polly is just over a year and a half. She's been perfectly healthy and happy since I have had her at 10 weeks old. About 6 weeks ago I went to pick her up from my parents house (they have her almost every day while i'm at work) and they had told me that for the past hour or so, they'd noticed that something was "off" with her. She kept toppling over when she was sitting and couldn't walk straight-she kept losing her balance. Also when she was sitting still, she would gently sway from side to side.

We rushed her to the animal hospital right away. They did a full blood panel, Xrays and an EKG. Everything came back normal. The only thing that caught the vets eye, is that her kidney levels were a bit too high. The only conclusion we could come up with was perhaps she ate something (like a pill) and they kept her overnight, treating her with fluids and charcoal. They re-tested her kidney's and they were back in the normal range. We got to pick her up the next day and she was 100% herself. She hasn't had a problem since.

Tonight after work I went to pick her up from my parents and it's the same thing all over again. She threw up as well. My parents ADORE her like a grandchild and are very very careful with her. They keep all the bedroom and bathroom doors closed and she is in their sight at all times. Their home is immaculate, so I can't even imagine what she could find to eat. The fact that she may have ingested a pill last time was a long shot-as again they are very careful with their medication, but who knows, something could have gotten dropped at some point in time. My mom is 100% positive that this was not the case tonight, she said she spent the entire day with her.

I was about to take her to the emergency again tonight but decided to give her a little time to rest and see how she does. It's been 3 hours now and she seems much better. She is much more alert, wanting to play, drinking, urinated and she ate some treats. Her balance is much improved but she still slightly sways (like her head will gently shake back and forth) when she sits. I've been researching all night and have no idea what's going on. Her ears look and smell completely clean and she shows no signs of discomfort so I don't believe it to be an ear infection. She's been seen by a cardiologist and 2 vets in the past year (including having an xray) and her heart is strong and healthy so it's not that.
She's on a pre-made raw diet (Bravo) which she's been on for a year and does wonderful. They have not had any recalls in almost 4 years. I was worried maybe it was something to do with the food..? Like food poisoning? But from what I read, this seems to be unlikely. But I have no idea what it could be! :confused:

Any advice?? I'm worried about my baby. Thanks so much!!!

12th November 2010, 08:57 AM
So sorry - this sounds very scary for you and your parents :(

Obviously I'm not a vet, but have considerable experience with Cavaliers and their health problems :(, so here are a few suggestions:

A full blood panel should have ruled out anything like a liver shunt [a possibility with undersized dogs]; but did they check for a PDA [Patent Ductus Arteriosis]? Both are persisting blood vessels which should have closed at birth and occasionally fail to close or only partially close. This is a good explanation of PDA http://www.heartydog.co.uk/diseases/...teriosus.shtml (http://www.heartydog.co.uk/diseases/en/patent_arteriosus.shtml)

What is going on when these episodes start? Is it in relation to periods of exercise or excitement? If so, it *might* be Episodic falling. Have a look at the videos on this site:
it may not be something your vet is familiar with, as it's specific to Cavaliers.

Arrhythmia - can be hard to detect as by the time you get to the vet. it has often corrected itself. You can arrange to have a heart monitor fitted foe a period of a few days.

Seizure activity - try to get the activity filmed to show your vet or a specialist - if your vet suspects it is seizures of some sort, then a referral to a neurologist and possibly an MRI may be needed.

Last thought is poisoning of some kind - do your parents have a garden - could she have got into something like mushrooms? [See Cathy Moon's post] You say their house is immaculate, do they use a lot of cleaning products? These can be very toxic. Could she be nibbling at a house plant?

Please keep us posted and I really hope that Polly keeps well now.

12th November 2010, 09:19 AM
From what you say, this has happened twice, both times while at your parents' house. Therefore it seems likely that there is something in the house or garden that is causing these episodes.

The slightly 'off' kidney results may indicate something she has drunk or which contains liquid that she may have had which is either toxic to her or she is allergic to. The word 'immaculate' stands out for me. Could there be some cleaning product involved which is okay for humans but not dogs.

I think perhaps you have to sit down with your parents to go through everything that Polly may eat or drink while in their home, then find out what it contains. Then you should go through everything in your home in a similar way. Perhaps something will stand out as being different when you compare the lists.

Of course the same process could be used when comparing the two gardens or yards.

Sorry this is very painstaking and time consuming, but I can't think of any other way to identify the problem.

Hope this helps.

12th November 2010, 04:22 PM
Just a thought... I worked at a pet store for a while that occasionally had puppies. We were cleaning the cage with a new cleaning product (I wish I could remember the name of it. It's been so long!) And the puppies suddenly started getting weak, wobbly, and would throw up. My boss decided to stop using the spray cleaner and go back to the original one we were using and the puppies were fine again. The product sat untouched for at least a year and a new employee used it again... same thing weak, wobbly vomiting puppies. My only guess is they were licking it off the crates that had been cleaned with it.
All of our puppies were from customers who only had an occasional litter of puppies. They were all very well cared for family pets & vet checked before and after arriving. The puppies went onto be totally normal once we switched cleaners.

I would guess it could be totally possible that maybe Polly licked a surfice that had been wiped down with a cleaner? Flash is the only animal I have ever had that will walk around and lick the kitchen floor so after I mop I then "Re-mop" with just plain water.

Just some ideas!
Good Luck!

12th November 2010, 04:28 PM
I do not believe they checked for PDA, I just looked at the link and she doesn't really have any of those symptoms. No heart mumur, no shortness of breath etc. I will certainly still mention this to the vet though. The only water she has access to is her and the cats shared water bowl..it gets refilled and changed often, I can't imagine it would be that. My mom said she noticed her starting to act ill when she was holding her. She could feel her swaying slightly and she started to gag. There's not really anything she could get into in their yard-it's pretty small and she's only out there on a leash with my parents. Their neighbor does chemically treat his grass and sometimes she likes to go potty near their yard. I will have to check with them and see what they are using on it. Not 100% sure on my moms cleaning supplies..I will have to check. I personally only use non toxic "green" products. When we first brought her in for the emergency visit, they did say she had an Arrhythmia (after looking at her heart through an xray and further EKG testing they said it looked like it could have been caused by whatever she possible could have ingested..?) I'm just at a loss! She will be going to the vet tomorrow to be checked out.

13th November 2010, 12:39 AM
Hi, although maybe not relavent i hope this might help you on your way to finding the cause to your cavvies episodes,
A while ago the new owner of one of my puppies (about 5 months old) if i remember found similar symptoms to what you describe, although i dont think bloods were taken from him, it turned out that they had their carpets shampoo'd and he was allergic to the chemical they used.
Since all this the puppy was returned to me as the new owners had both been made redundent and could not offer him a stable family home at the time, and hes stayed with me now.

15th November 2010, 12:33 AM
Sorry to hear you are going through such a worrying situation -- it is really hard when a source of a problem cannot easily be found. This is a good link on arrhythmia: http://www.heartydog.co.uk/diseases/en/arrhythmias.shtml Unfortunately this is something seen more commonly in cavaliers. It could as Flo says be more likely to be something at your parents... but at the same time if they often look after her during the day and they would have her many of her waking hours it is likely they just happened to have had her when these sessions have happened. It would likely really help if you could get a future session, should it happen again, on video.

If no obvious physical cause can be pinpointed I'd make an appointment with a neurologist. I was recently looking at a video of a chihuahua that looked a bit like what you have described with Polly and it ended up being epilepsy (which can be managed through medication). But I'd think you'd also have to consider hydrocephalus, unfortunately -- it is one of the known conditions in cavaliers, too, which seems to be more prevalent in undersized dogs, and often is associated with litter runts (one of the known health risks with runts especially in small breeds). What you describe does fit some of the symptoms, so that might be something to check out along with EFS. A video would help a neurologist make a decision on whether an MRI is needed.


I hope you can figure out the source. :flwr: Hope you find it is just a short term reaction to something in the house that you can pinpoint.

16th November 2010, 03:41 AM
Just a random thought here .... could your mom be using a skin cream or lotion that your dog is licking off her skin? Our skin moisturizers, creams, and lotions truly are a chemical cocktail (read the ingredients---ack!) and there could be something in it that your dog is reacting to. If all else fails with the cleaning products, this might be something to look at. Our Sophie is a "licker".

16th November 2010, 11:28 PM
Well we took Polly to the vet yesterday and the vet heard an arrhythmia right away. So she referred us to a cardiologist which we took her to today. The cardio doctor and her assistant both heard it clearly and decided to do an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram for further testing. It was good news! Her cardiac function, blood flow, etc were totally normal. No signs of a murmur, MVD, heart failure, etc. :thmbsup:The one frustrating thing was she was hooked up to the machine for about 20 mins and never had an arrhythmia! :confused:Although the vet clearly heard it like 15 mins prior. So on friday she is being suited up with a holter monitor that she was to wear for 24 hours to monitor and record her heart rhythm. The results of that should show whether or not she needs medication, etc. So...we should find out more in a week or so but so far things are looking pretty good. Thank goodness for pet insurance (through Pet Plan!) because we've spent about $1900 (thats about 1200 british pounds) so far and almost all of it is being covered.

17th November 2010, 12:04 AM
The issue though I think for you is more that she had these strange sessions of wobbliness -- something must be causing those, whether it is the arrhythmia or an external problem that is sometimes causing an arrhythmia. Did the cardiologist talk to your vet about her earlier symptoms? Did they understand how extreme they were?

She wouldn't have signs of MVD at such a young age, so they wouldn't generally expect to hear anything like that though there could have been other types of heart murmurs -- it is good nothing can be easily heard. :thmbsup: The issue comes back though to those strange sessions -- there has to be either some harmful/toxic substance that has affected her twice, or an illness of some sort underlying that problem. As someone noted earlier, the arrhythmia may only be a symptom of the problem rather than the cause.

17th November 2010, 01:54 AM
Well they said that the arrhythmia can cause her to feel weak and/or dizzy which is what she seemed to display. Very tired and off balance. The vet I've been working with has been in direct communication with the cardiologist. All of her files, paperwork, etc was faxed over to the cardio doctor and the cardiologist actually works 1 day a week at the clinic I take her to. She was confident her heart was in great shape by looking at the echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram. Everyone seems to have ruled out anything toxic. Both times the "episodes" occured she was in a very controlled environment. The cardiologist said that sometimes an arrhythmia can indeed be caused by some underlying illness but on a positive note, she has had extensive blood work done and everything has come back normal. She said the next step would be after they check the results from her heart monitor, if she needs medication, they usually try them on it for 4-6 months and take them off the meds and check their heart rhythms again as sometimes it can correct itself and they can go off the medication. But she said if she has another episode while on the medication that the next step would possible be to see a neurologist and think about an MRI although they are cautious about doing that with dogs that have any heart problems because they have to be put under anesthesia. She also said that sometimes an arrhythmia just happens for no reason and no underlying issues can be discovered. Hopefully we get this figured out!

18th November 2010, 11:14 PM
Yes I think that's right -- arrythmias at an exam -- where a dog may be stressed -- are not that uncommon according to my cardiologist. I just wonder how likely an arrythmia that cannot be detected most of the time would have caused such serious symptoms though it may well be that it can come and go and be quite strong when it does. Not an area I know much about.

I just had a read through this new information from Rod that he posted into this forum today and think maybe this would be worth copying over to your vet/cardio as well:


I hadn't realised Dr Dewey believes there's a close connection and as almost every cavalier has the CM part of COMS it adds another thing to watch for that might explain weakness/fainting/ etc.

18th November 2010, 11:57 PM
Thanks Karlin, thats excellent information. I saved that link and will certainly pass that along :)