Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

When Barking Dogs Don't

A patient was telling me about the 15-year-old Canine American who shares her home. While she was on vacation, the dog had a seizure. Or maybe a stroke. According to the vets, it can be hard (ie, impossible) to tell the difference in a dog.

I can understand.

(Insert Scrubs-style fantasy of a doggie neuro exam: "Follow my finger. Can you hear this? Stick your tongue out. Hold your leg up and don't let me push it down.")

But then she added, "I haven't heard her bark since it happened."

Whoa! Aphasia in a dog? Do doggie brains have a speech center? What about a Broca's area?

More: "It's kind of sad. She just stands outside the door when she wants to come in, but doesn't bark anymore."

It boggles the mind.


At Sun Sep 09, 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

Back when I was training dogs, maybe 50% of them had some degree of receptive aphasia. They could hear me, but it seems like they couldn't understand a word I said. ;)

Having a few with expressive aphasia would have been a blessing.

At Sun Sep 09, 02:29:00 PM, Blogger Elaine said...

I always said they were up there with humans in the evolutionary scale.

At Sun Sep 09, 05:56:00 PM, Blogger rlbates said...

I agree with your patient. As my oldest (14.75 yr) chocolate lab has suddenly declined, I am facing that inevitable part of the life cycle.

At Sun Sep 09, 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Val said...

Very funny comment from Ambulance Driver. Doggie aphasia... wonder if they get Wernickes? That would be really annoying (but funny in a black humor kind of way).

At Mon Sep 10, 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh that is a great story. It is funny, sad, and touching all at once. I guess you can't make this stuff up.

At Mon Sep 10, 04:37:00 PM, Blogger make mine trauma said...

My 14.5 yr old dog had what I thought was stroke about 6 yrs ago. The vet called it vestibular cochlear disease. He said it is so common that they refer to it as "Old dog disease." My dog was never much of a barker but now he has gone almost completely deaf. I guess if there's nothing to hear, there's nothing to bark at.


At Wed Sep 12, 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Dreaming again said...

We had a beautiful Shelty growing up. We got her when I was 2, and when I was almost 17, she started to limp severely, and her head was cocked to the right. She couldn't seem to chew the hard food she had.

So, we took her to the vet (who asked if we named her Tippy because her head was tipped) NO that's why we're HERE!!

Turned out to be a stroke.

We, never heard a sound, of any kind from her either.

Now, I'm sad missing my childhood doggie!


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