Ataxia is a physical condition that can be triggered by intoxication or trauma. This condition causes variations in the canine neurological system, since it affects the ability to feel the relative position of body parts; These sensitive pathways are called ” proprioceptive ” which are the main affected by this condition.
This disease is caused by variations in the vestibular system, responsible for body balance and orientation in terms of space and gravity. Some of the injuries that could trigger ataxia in dogs are canine distemper, otitis or blows related to falls of high altitude, outrages, fights or other conditions such as, for example, Wobbler syndrome.
Symptoms of ataxia in dogs
The vestibular system fulfills the function of orienting dogs in terms of space and gravity. When this system is affected, we begin to see our pet somewhat disoriented and it is very likely that it is suffering from Ataxia.
These are some of the symptoms related to ataxia in dogs:
- Nausea and vomiting associated with imbalance.
- Lack of appetite.
- Head tilted, one ear lower than the other.
- Changes in mood
- Decontrol in the sphincters.
- Strabismus or abnormal eye movements.
- Discoordination and lack of control of their extremities.
¿What to do before the appearance of the first symptoms of ataxia in our pet?
If you begin to observe the appearance of these symptoms in the dog, it is necessary to go immediately to the veterinarian, who will request a complete history on the health of your pet, record the time elapsed since the onset of symptoms and possible trauma or substances that may have developed this condition.
Subsequently, the veterinarian will proceed with the analysis, which includes blood counts, urinalysis, biochemical profile and an electrolyte panel; employing tomography and magnetic resonance is also essential when developing the diagnosis, because it helps determine if the disease is located in the peripheral vestibular system, in the cerebellum or in the spinal cord; if it is suspected that the source of the condition is lodged in the nervous system, a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) sample will be taken for analysis.
The treatment of ataxia in dogs
Normally diagnosed dogs can be treated on an outpatient basis, unless their condition is serious or the factor that caused our pet to develop this condition could put their lives at risk. It is important not to medicate our dog because many drugs could worsen the disease or camouflage the cause of it.
Some veterinarians maintain that dogs could recover from this disease if it is subjected to absolute rest combined with the intake of analgesics and antibiotics. Now, if the condition of our dog is more delicate, a surgical intervention may be necessary.
Another trigger of this condition is the consumption of foods from our own diet that can be harmful to our dogs, especially those that contain xylitol (sweetener). If this is the case, a fluid therapy treatment should be applied, which is based on correcting the altered radioelectric balance with an intravenous technique.