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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2005
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    the great PNW - DuPont, Washington
    Posts
    317

    Default canine vestibular disease - Anyone have experience with this???

    I don't know, for sure, that this is my dog's diagnosis, but she has the symptoms.

    A little background..... Annie is an almost 16 year old Australian Cattle Dog that has been the best little ranch hand that anyone could want. I've had her since she was only a few months old. She's been on trail rides, pretended to herd horses from outside the arena and watched many a rodeo.

    This last Sunday night, she seemed drunk. She could hardly walk..... listing to the left with a left head tilt and almost falling over. I thought it might be a stroke. Monday morning came and I had to carry her down the steps from the second floor. A good friend suggested that it could be an ear infection, so I took her to the vet. The vet pulled some icky stuff out of her ear but could see no sign of real damage. Nevertheless, he prescribed some antibiotics for her.

    MY QUESTION: If she doesn't respond well to the antibiotics and it is something more serious, what do I do. Is this a case where her quality of life is such that I should make a serious decision? I don't want to lose her, but I don't want her to suffer.
    ---------------
    I once belonged to Charlie (but now he lives with another BB member). I still have Sissy-1982 Quarter Horse Mare and Chrome-Percheron/TB Mare



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2005
    Location
    Malibu, Ca/Ligonier, Pa.
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CharliesMom View Post
    I don't know, for sure, that this is my dog's diagnosis, but she has the symptoms.

    A little background..... Annie is an almost 16 year old Australian Cattle Dog that has been the best little ranch hand that anyone could want. I've had her since she was only a few months old. She's been on trail rides, pretended to herd horses from outside the arena and watched many a rodeo.

    This last Sunday night, she seemed drunk. She could hardly walk..... listing to the left with a left head tilt and almost falling over. I thought it might be a stroke. Monday morning came and I had to carry her down the steps from the second floor. A good friend suggested that it could be an ear infection, so I took her to the vet. The vet pulled some icky stuff out of her ear but could see no sign of real damage. Nevertheless, he prescribed some antibiotics for her.

    MY QUESTION: If she doesn't respond well to the antibiotics and it is something more serious, what do I do. Is this a case where her quality of life is such that I should make a serious decision? I don't want to lose her, but I don't want her to suffer.

    The symptoms should subside with the proper medication - I think the hardest part
    of this is watching and waiting. Also, you may have to help her eat and drink water.
    Some years back I had a Great Dane with uncropped ears - she had cronic ear
    problems and went thru the canine vestibular disease -- she only had one
    attack and after scaring me half to death - she came thru will flying colors.

    I can't remember what my Vet gave me for her - but trying to control
    a 150 pound dog standing 38" at the withers was hell but getting her to eat
    was also problematic ----- just hang in there, give it some time and see
    how she reacts on medication -- she will definately need your
    help in these early stages.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2009
    Location
    Bedford, New York
    Posts
    167

    Default

    When my dog had canine vestibular disease, all the vet prescribed was something to treat the nausea. It is typically self-resolving but, as mentioned in the previous post, you want to make sure the dog stays hydrated and eats at least a bit.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2007
    Posts
    45

    Default Just went thru this!

    Ditto to what has already been posted! My 15 yr old lab cross just went thru this. I thought she was having a stroke! The vet prescribed anti nausea meds and antibiotics. They also recommended dramamine which I used.
    It can take 3 days to 3 weeks to resolve. My girl took 2 weeks. I was close to putting her down. Afterall she is a very large 15 yr old dog who was starting to have issues anyway....but I hung in there. Saw a little improvement after 4 days. It was very hard. You have to help them eat and drink and somehow get them out to potty.
    She still has a serious head tilt but yesterday she made it out to the barn with me! She really is pretty much back to her old dog self!
    It's a tough one and the quality of life is a biggie. You know your dog. Certainly don't feel guilty if you make the decision to let her go. Hang in there!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    1,506

    Default

    One of the basenjis went through vestibular. Same symptoms as the OP. We treated with prednisone. One dose and a mild sedative and he was good as new in less than 24 hours. We did a short course of pred; can't remember how long.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2005
    Location
    Paris, Kentucky
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    3,200

    Default

    She is far more likely to eat if your vet puts her on motion sickness medication. It is often self resolving, but unfortunately, some cases do not resolve although most do.
    Holly
    www.ironhorsefrm.com
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2006
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    676

    Default

    My 15 year old dog has it. He had his first bout 2 years ago. We thought it was a stroke and were on our way to the vet knowing he wasn't coming home. The vet said "old dog disease" (vestibular syndrome) is usually misdiagnosed as a stroke, but the key is in the eyes. If they are moving back and forth quickly, then it is vestibular syndrome. They feel dizzy and out of sorts, like we do when getting off a serious roller coaster. The vet recommended motion sickness meds (get them at your local Walgreen's) once a day, keep the dog in a quiet place for a few days, offer water and keep him comfy. After a few days, he was up, eating, going outside, and being his normal happy self. He will always have a bit of a head tilt and not be able to walk a straight line, and his balance is off, but otherwise he is just fine.

    Good luck! I know it seems scary at first, but dogs do adjust and do quite well. It can reoccur (and has in our dog), so don't be alarmed. Let us know how your pup is doing.
    Member of My Balance is Poo Poo Clique



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 22, 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,906

    Default

    Ditto all the other great advice listed here. Dramamine can be your friend if she stops eating, it's usually because she's really nausous. It's very similar to vertigo in people, as sometimes it is kind of an idiopathic disease, meaning we don't know how/why they devolped it. Other times it's due to a bad middle ear infection. Either way they usually resolve pretty close to normal if not totally normal on their own with time. Making sure they're comfortable and eating/drinking is the most important, and then just time. In most cases the worst symptoms resolve within 48-72 hours of onset. In very rare cases they symptoms can be caused by a brain tumor, but usually those dogs present with a little different symptoms, and get worse week by week instead of better. I think of the 100s of cases I've seen maybe 2 or 3 we suspected tumors, so I wouldn't be too worried about that.

    Katherine
    Vet Tech



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2007
    Location
    AreaII
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    1,348

    Default

    Ditto to pp's... my 14yo mini schnauzer had this just a few months ago. Woke up one morning - couldn't walk straight, hind end falling down, dizzy, eating grass and throwing up.

    Vet said textbook vestibular. Gave her nausea meds for 5 days. It worked itself out. She still has very minor residual head tilt but is doing great.

    They said they vomit bc of the motion sickness and won't eat. Important to keep them hydrated. Vet said I could treat at home (treated meaning watch her to be sure she ate/drank). If she didn't drink within 24hrs of visit at home, I'd have to take her back to vet clinic for 2 days for IV fluids.

    I cooked her chicken and rice for 2 weeks- she ate that great and drank lots of water! I put the bowls right next to her lil bed so she didn't have to walk through the house to get to them. Took me 2 more weeks to get her back on her dog food- she wanted cx/rice!

    Good luck!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    2,020

    Default

    I've had good luck treating dogs such as yours with Cerenia which is a canine anti-nausea which is also labelled for treatment of motion sickness.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2005
    Location
    the great PNW - DuPont, Washington
    Posts
    317

    Default a little better today

    Annie is still disoriented this morning, but she is getting around with less assistance. Her appetite is no worse that before she started having all these symptoms and so far no vomiting.

    Thanks to all for sharing your experience and advice. It helps a lot knowing that others have been through this.
    ---------------
    I once belonged to Charlie (but now he lives with another BB member). I still have Sissy-1982 Quarter Horse Mare and Chrome-Percheron/TB Mare



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2007
    Posts
    679

    Default

    Years ago I had an aged australian shepherd with vestibula syndrome. It took a few days but it resolved on it's own. Now my husband has the human equivalent of vestibular syndrome- He is not nearly as easy a patient as the aussie was.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 1999
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    3,173

    Default

    Ditto all the advice given here...Just wanted to offer one more suggestion--you can use a towel (folded in half or thirds and run under her abdomen) as a sling to help her walk. Since she's probably a short little thing, I'd recommend using a big old beach towel. Obviously you may want to carry her down the stairs if you have any! It is super scary, but I'm so glad she's feeling better. I hope she continues on in that direction!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2013
    Posts
    14

    Default

    The motion sickness drug is meclizine. The OPs dog should have head tilt and nystagmus (twitching eyes) if vestibular. This is an inflammatory disease so a low dose of a steroid for a few days should help. I like either valium or klonopin as either will relieve the poor dog's anxiety, both increase appetite and if this is unfortunately a tumor, both help a little to prevent seizures.
    Dog needs to be force fed if necessary. Mirtazapine will stimulate appetite and cerenia is a wonder drug. discuss these meds with your vet



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