Vestibular disease can be distressing for dog owners to witness, however this condition which affects balance often begins to improve after as little as 24 hours. Today our Rock Hill vets share some of the symptoms and treatments for vestibular disease in dogs.
Vestibular Disease in Dogs
Canine idiopathic vestibular disease, also known as 'old dog vestibular syndrome', is a sudden and non-progressive disturbance of your pet's balance. This disorder stems from issues affecting your pup's vestibular system within the inner ear, and middle ear.
Your dog's vestibular system is responsible for controlling their balance, which is why, if your pooch has vestibular disease they will experience dizziness and have difficulty maintaining balance and walking in a straight line.
The symptoms of vestibular disease are typically most severe during the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, following that period your dog should begin to show notable improvement over the course of the following seventy-two hours. Your pup will likely achieve a full recovery within two to three weeks.
Causes of Vestibular Disease
There are a number of reasons why your dog may experience vestibular disease. Common causes of the condition include ear infection, perforated eardrum, hypothyroidism, trauma, tumors or in some cases as a side effect of antibiotics. Following a veterinary examination, if no cause for your pup's vestibular disease is found, the diagnosis will be idiopathic vestibular disease.
Although dogs of any age or breed can experience vestibular disease, it is most commonly diagnosed in older dogs, and German shepherds and Doberman pinschers appear to face an increased risk of developing the condition.
Symptoms of Vestibular Disease in Dogs
As mentioned above, vestibular disease is a condition that affects balance. If your pup has vestibular disease you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pronounced Head Tilt
- Staggering or Stumbling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Poor coordination
- Circling in one direction
- Standing with legs spread wide
- Reluctance to eat or drink
- Loss of balance / falling over
- Rapid eye movement while awake
- Choosing to sleep on hard surfaces
If your dog shows any of signs listed above contact your vet for advice. While the above symptoms are typical of vestibular disease they could also be the result of a more serious condition. Based upon your dog's medical history and overall health, your vet may recommend that you bring your dog in for an examination, or wait to see if the symptoms begin improve after 24 hours.
Treatment for Vestibular Disease in Dogs
While vestibular disease may cause your dog some mild discomfort, motion sickness and a lack of coordination, the good news is that the condition it isn't painful or dangerous and will likely clear-up on its own without treatment within a few weeks.
That said, it is important to monitor your dog's symptoms carefully. If you notice that your pup's condition begins to worsen after the initial 48 hours, contact your vet to book an examination for your pet. Your vet will examine your dog for signs of more serious conditions, and to assess your pup's overall health.
If your dog is experiencing nausea or vomiting related to vestibular disease, your vet may prescribe an anti-nausea medication to help relieve these symptoms. Dog's experiencing difficulties drinking due to dizziness caused by vestibular disease may require treatment with IV fluids to avoid dehydration.
The bottom line is that the main treatment for canine idiopathic vestibular disease is patiently waiting while your dog recovers.
Helping Your Dog Feel More Comfortable While They Recover
To help your pup as they recover, simply provide them with a comfortable place to rest, and easy access to water and food. Since vestibular disease is a balance issue, it may also be helpful to keep the floor clear of obstacles and block your dog's access to stairs.