Stumbling Puppy

Our question this week was:

I have a 15-week-old puppy. She is a mix between a Peekapoo/Lhasa Apso. All of a sudden she seems to stumble when she walks, or walk sideways and will sometimes just fall down or loose her balance when standing still. To me it seems like her equilibrium is off. What could cause this? I took her to the vet and they are not sure. Things that he thought it might be were ruled out by other things that were going fine.


Becca Henry


Hi – thanks for your email. Goodness, I'm very worried about your puppy. This is what I recommend doing right now: Grab your puppy, hold her and protect her from injury, call your vet, rub some Karo® syrup on her gums, and head immediately to your veterinarians office or local emergency clinic.

There are several reasons a puppy can be disoriented and loose coordination. First, I'd worry that her blood sugar is low. This condition is called "hypoglycemia" and is common in puppies that may not be eating well, vomiting or having diarrhea. The Karo® that you are rubbing on her gums can help treat that problem while you are seeking veterinary care. Seizures is another possibility as well as a portosystemic shunt.

All of these conditions can be serious. I'd recommend encouraging your vet do some basic tests to help determine the underlying problem. Your veterinarian may even refer you to a specialist depending on what he finds on his examination and initial testing.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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