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For those of us who keep our dogs in fenced-in…
One minute your pup is fine, then without warning, they circle, tilt their head to the side, stumble a few steps and collapse onto the floor. Rather than a seizure or a stroke, it’s most likely vestibular disease.
Vestibular disease affects your dog’s inner-ear sensory receptors, one of the main components that control’s an animal’s balance. Vestibular structures send information to the brain about where the body is in space — whether it’s moving, standing, sitting, leaning or falling. When the vestibular system functions correctly, your dog can run, jump, balance and live an action-packed life.
But when vestibular disease occurs, a multitude of alarming symptoms arise.
What Causes Vestibular Disease?
Vestibular disease is often referred to as idiopathic, meaning the cause of the condition is unknown. Sometimes it can be attributed to ear infections, a reaction to certain antibiotics or head injury. Some dogs seem to have a genetic predisposition for the disease.
It’s often referred to as “old dog vestibular syndrome,” since it’s more common in older dogs. However, it can occur in dogs of any age and breed.
Luckily, this disease is not life-threatening, and symptoms typically go away as the vestibular system rights itself. Though minor, your dog may have a head tilt for the rest of his life.
What Are the Symptoms of Vestibular Disease?
The symptoms of vestibular disease are easy to spot, but the disorder is often mistaken for a seizure, stroke or brain tumor. Luckily, it’s not nearly as severe as any of those conditions.
Still, if your dog displays any of the following signs of vestibular disease, you should take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis:
Symptoms are typically acute, meaning they come on right away and without warning.
Look for other behavioral changes. If your dog loves to ride in the back seat, but suddenly begins experiencing motion sickness, or if they have to lay on their belly to drink from the water bowl, this could be a sign of vestibular disease.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Vestibular Disease?
Luckily, vestibular disease typically goes away on its own after a few days, though it may stick around for a couple of weeks, and the head tilt could remain for the rest of his life. If symptoms don’t begin to improve after 72-hours, this may be a sign of something more serious.
Even if you know your dog is suffering from vestibular disease and not a more life-threatening condition, it’s hard to watch them suffer. Here are five things you can do to help ease the symptoms.
Though uncomfortable, vestibular disease in dogs is luckily not too serious as long as your pet is well-cared for in recovery. Provide love and support for them, and they’ll be back to their fun-loving self in no time!
Vestibular can be unexpected, so that’s where pet insurance comes in —let us give you a free quote today.
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