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Chihuahua fell from couch.

Species: Dog
Breed: Chihuahua
Age: 2-5 years
Hello. I have a sweet, loving, happy, and spoiled female chihuahua, weighing about 5 pounds. I have recently adopted her, so can't be positive on her medical history, although there are "no known" medical issues.

I went to go pick up breakfast this morning, and my fiance stayed home. I came home and laid down next to her in bed, just like always, and she started flipping violently back and forth. I thought she was just happy to see me, and running around like always, but she was unresponsive, and I noticed was in distress. I freaked out and called my fiance in her, and he held her until she calmed down.

It is now twelve hours later, and she won't walk, and has developed a horizontal nystagmus in both eyes. When she does try to pick up her head, it is very wobbly.

Now my first thought was a seizure, but her desire to remain on the ground with nystagmus and a wobbly head makes me think of a vestibular issue. However, the onset was very very sudden, violent, and not at all gradual.

Before I got home, my fiance said she got up, jumped off the couch, and kinda fell on her face. Then she curled up in bed, and that's when I came in, right before her violent flipping.

I decided to watch her and comfort her...she has had a bite of kibble, and some water, drip-fed to her by hand. But that's all.

If she is not better in the morning, I am rushing her to the vet.

I would like your opinion on what this could be...and if I should rush her NOW.

I am very scared...terrified...

Thank you for your help,
-A very scared mommy.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear. This sounds very traumatic for you and your family.

The nystagmus has me very concerned. There are a few possible reasons for nystagmus. It generally means that there is damage either in the inner ear or in the brain.

It is definitely possible that the fall from the couch has caused some brain damage. You would expect to see problems immediately after the fall, but it's possible that there is brain swelling and this caused the nystagmus and also the symptoms that sound like a seizure such as the violent flipping.

Chihuahuas will often have something called an open fontanelle which is a soft spot on the head. Dogs that have this are more prone to brain injuries.

I think brain trauma is much more likely than an ear infection. This is definitely a case where I would recommend an emergency visit tonight. I know it is an added cost but it could actually mean the difference between life and death. If the vet feels that there is brain swelling then they can administer medication to stop the swelling. Waiting till tomorrow morning could be a very bad move.

It certainly is possible that any swelling would go down on its own but that's a big gamble to take.

I really hope that everything is ok! Please keep me updated.
Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you very much. On my way to vet now.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much for your advise. I took her to the emergency vet and they will observe her for at least 24 hours. They won't really know much until they have observed her for a while, but they assume a concussion and brain swelling. I am so thankful for your website!! Bless you!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so glad you were able to have her seen. Praying that all is well!

Dr. Marie

Customer reply:

Thank you!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.