Any abnormalities of the dog’s vestibular system are referred to as canine vestibular illness. The ability of the dog’s brain to distinguish abnormal body positions is harmed by vestibular illness. Furthermore, the condition impairs the brain’s ability to rectify these defects. Vestibular disease in dogs, often known as ‘old dog vestibular syndrome,’ is a non-progressive impairment of balance that occurs suddenly.

This condition is caused by problems with the dog’s vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear and middle ear and is controlled by the brain. The vestibular system is in charge of balance, which causes dizziness and makes it difficult to walk in a straight line. Vestibular disease in dogs’ symptoms are usually at their worst during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours and then improve after seventy-two hours. Most dogs will recover in two to three weeks.

Vestibular disease in dogs affecting the white German shepherd

An ear infection, perforated eardrum, hypothyroidism, trauma, tumors, or possibly as a side effect of drugs can all cause vestibular illness. Idiopathic vestibular illness occurs when no identifiable cause can be identified. Some dog breeds, such as German shepherds and Doberman pinschers, are thought to be particularly prone to vestibular illness. While vestibular disease in dogs is most usually associated with older dogs, it can also affect younger canines.

Canine vestibular illness is divided into two types. There are two types of vestibular disease: central and peripheral. Central vestibular illness develops as a result of a brain malfunction. Inner ear problems cause peripheral vestibular illness. The majority of canine vestibular illness instances are peripheral.

The vestibular illness usually strikes suddenly and with a wide range of symptoms. It’s possible that the dog is dizzy and falling to one side. It’s possible that the head and eyes are in an unusual position. It’s possible that the dog is also vomiting. These symptoms point to vestibular impairment. When your dog has a vestibular condition, what happens? Dogs with peripheral vestibular disorders normally recover in two weeks or less.

Some dogs may develop a small but persistent head tilt once they have recovered. A dog with central peripheral disease caused by a brain tumor, on the other hand, will almost certainly require additional treatment. Surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy may be used. It is possible that dogs with central vestibular illness will not fully recover.


Symptoms of Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Poodles with symptoms of vestibular disease in dogs

The majority of dogs with vestibular impairment appear awkward and bewildered at first. That’s because they have dizziness as a result of an issue with their vestibular system. Symptoms often appear out of nowhere. Symptoms that are common include:

  • Circling in one direction indefinitely
  • Standing tall and wide-legged
  • A refusal to eat or drink
  •  Pronounced Tilt Your Head
  • Falling over due to a loss of equilibrium
  • When you’re awake, you have rapid eye movement.
  • Stumbling or staggering
  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Coordination issues
  • Making the decision to sleep on hard surfaces

Diagnosis of Vestibular Disease in Dogs And Identification

During diagnosis of vestibular disease in dogs, the veterinarian will examine your dog thoroughly and, most likely, take blood and urine samples to check for symptoms of systemic disease or malfunction. To screen for tumors or structural abnormalities in your dog’s head, X-rays may be ordered. It’s also a good idea to write down your own description of your dog’s symptoms. If all of your dog’s testing comes back normal, the diagnosis will most likely be idiopathic vestibular syndrome, which means the origin of the illness is unclear.

Diagnosis of vestibular disease in dogs

Management and Treatment of Vestibular disease in dogs

For vestibular disease in dogs, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-nausea medicine if your dog suffers from nausea and vomiting as a result of vestibular disorder. If your dog is having trouble drinking water, your veterinarian may administer IV fluids to help him stay hydrated. Waiting while your dog recovers are the basic treatment for canine idiopathic vestibular illness.

Advanced imaging, such as CT or MRI, is frequently used to diagnose tumors and cysts. The tumor or cyst may be surgically removed in some situations. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be prescribed if a malignant tumor is present. Some dogs never fully recover from the head tilt. Even if your dog appears to be in good health, it’s vital for the dog’s veterinarian to see him or her again just to be sure.

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