My mom’s dog had a serious, and shocking, attack yesterday morning. According to Mom, Poopie collapsed and stretched his legs toward his head. He rolled on his side and back, and he writhed. She noticed his eyes were darting and circling in their sockets.

She didn’t know what it was. It came on suddenly, without any previous symptoms of ill health. He simply collapsed, writhed, stretched his forelegs up toward his head, and had a fit. No matter what she did, she couldn’t keep hold of him or bring him out of it. At last, she managed to gather him into her coat and went downstairs in her apartment building to see if somebody could drive them to the veterinarian—whom she was planning on making an appointment with for a checkup for Poopie.

The first vet she saw, a younger one, suggested she consider the possibility of putting Poopie down. They did blood work, which came up clean for anything indicative of a stroke. The vet didn’t tell her he’d done anything to help Poopie come out of the fit, and told Mom to bring him home. When Mom flatly stated she couldn’t since he wasn’t better (she still had no idea what was going on) and was herself somewhat freaked out by everything, distraught, and wasn’t thinking clearly herself. The vet agreed to keep Poopie, and Mom went home, where she called me.

I thought the same thing, and suggested to Mom to go back to the clinic to have Poopie put down. We were both in tears. However, after she hung up, Mom did something else. She researched Poopie’s symptoms on the internet and discovered what the problem may be: Geriatric Vestibulitis.

They’re not precisely sure what causes this condition in older dogs, but it does often lead to them being euthanized. The dog can take up to several weeks to recover, and may be left with a tilted head. Some dogs need to be nursed through their recovery—hand-fed and watered, and carried out to potty. Another “attack” may occur in some dogs—but by far not all. Most dogs recover with minor side effects—or none at all.

Mom went back to the veterinary clinic to fetch Poopie in the afternoon and met the other veterinarian who runs it; he had a much better “bedside manner” and told Mom the other vet had given Poopie a steroid shot. They’d put Poopie in a cat kennel and padded it well so he wouldn’t hurt himself. When he came out to Mom, he was shaky, but seemed back to himself for the most part. The shakiness Mom took care of by taking Poopie out to some grass to potty and they went home.

Poopie’s spent the day recovering today, and Mom says from what she’s seen, there are no averse effects like head-tilting or walking in circles. He’s slept, eaten, and had water and seems to be well on his way to a full recovery. When I last talked to Mom, she said she’s going to wait a couple days before calling the vet, so she can be sure Poopie’s fully recovered.