Canine vestibular disease is common, especially in older dogs. Symptoms of this condition can be scary. It’s crucial that you take your pet to a qualified veterinarian if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Treatment can ease symptoms and allow your dog to live comfortably. Without treatment, symptoms can quickly become worse.
The vestibular system is responsible for your dog’s balance and sense of spatial orientation. Problems with the vestibular system can make your dog uncoordinated. This can lead to an inability to walk or function properly.
There are two different types of vestibular disease, peripheral and central. Peripheral is much more common. This is the type we will address in this article.
Symptoms of vestibular disease vary by pet. Some dogs experience milder systems than others. Common signs of a problem include head tilting, loss of coordination, circling and stumbling, falling and rolling, and involuntary eye movements from side to side or up and down. Pet parents often say that symptoms resemble those of a stroke.
Causes of vestibular disease include recurrent ear infections, overzealous ear cleaning resulting in perforation of the ear drum, trauma caused by head injury, stroke, tumors, polyps, meningoencephalitis, hyperthyroidism, and the use of certain medications. Anything that can irritate or damage the nerves of the inner ear can cause this condition.
Occasionally, the disease is present at birth, or it can come on later in life with no apparent cause. This is why vestibular disease is often referred to as old dog disease.
Your veterinarian can diagnose vestibular disease. Diagnosis is typically based on history, physical examination, and neurological assessment. Blood tests, cultures and sensitivity tests as well as cytology will be performed to rule out other possible causes. Treatment varies based on the underlying cause.
If an ear infection is to blame, medication should correct the problem. If medication is found to be the cause, discontinuing its use is generally all that is needed. Other causes of the disease are not as easy to treat. Treatment is typically focused on reducing symptoms. Anti-nausea medication might be given to reduce discomfort to your pet.
Claws N Paws Day Spa offers pet grooming in Orange County. Our groomers understand that pets need care even when they’re suffering from this common condition. We take care to ensure that pets with vestibular disease are comfortable throughout their grooming appointment. Please call 715-962-1005 to schedule a grooming appointment.