• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Geriatric Vestibular Disease

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Geriatric Vestibular Disease

    Have any of you ever dealt with this in your dogs?

    My oldest Lab (thirteen years young) is currently suffering from it. It started Saturday evening/Sunday morning, and Sunday was a very very hard day on our family. Riley was unable to get up or walk at all, but was still very lucid and has a good strong heart, so would try to get up and get very frustrated, causing us to stay down on the ground with her to keep her from struggling. She also kept her head cocked to one side, with that ear and lip being a little droopier than the other side, so we thought she might have had a stroke during the night.

    Through tears we started a trek to the Emergency Clinic, where we all thought we would need to put her down. Riley had had a regular vet appointment less than two weeks prior and got a very good bill of health, so it was a surprise to all. Especially me, I guess, because she was living with me at the time and was just her normal, happy self. I'd had her out to the park, running and swimming, on Friday... I guess I just thought we'd have a little more warning, and I was also thinking that she'd get at least one more good summer.

    Anyway, we get there, and the vet says she's showing signs of Geriatric Vestibular Disease, which should improve drastically in 72 hours, though some lasting effects can take up to 3-4 weeks to disappear. We decided that since she was still happy and apparently pain-free, we would take her back home and hope for the best. She had not given up yet, so we were not going to give up on her.

    She HAS improved... but not as much as we were expecting from the vet's detail of the disease. When we get her outside (the stairs and floor in the house where she's currently staying are too slippery for her to manage), she walks around happily, does her business, smells stuff, etc. She's still got the serious tilt (which is a normal sign of the disease), and she stumbles around like she's drunk, but it's a definite improvement from Sunday. She even stood up on her own on her dog bed as soon as I walked in the door yesterday.

    However, she's still not eating much (hasn't had a proper meal since Friday), and she can't hold her bladder. She was outside to pee at 10:30 last night, and when we got up this morning, her dog bed was soaked.

    I guess I am just at a loss at what to do. We scheduled a vet appointment for Friday, and of course our decision will be largely based on what our regular vet (who is wonderful) has to say, but my family thinks it may be time to put her down. I'm not allowing myself to think that far ahead yet, because I'll just break down (I'm tearing up right now - she's really "my" dog; I've had her since I was eight).

    She's an old dog and she's lived a very good life, but I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that this is it. She's so happy and full of life, and otherwise healthy. Obviously this is no way for her to live, and if she will not improve, we will of course make the responsible decision and have her humanely euthanized. I'm just hoping beyond hope that the original vet is right, and she'll continue to improve.

    I'm torn between wanting her here because she's been my best friend for over thirteen years, but mostly because I want her to have one last summer running around on her beach, swimming every day and barking at every person who dares present themselves to on on HER beach. I thought she would "tell" us when the time was right... but maybe this is her telling us.

    So, the point of this super long post (thanks if you've read this far)... have any of you dealt with Geriatric Vestibular Disease? If so, did you have any problems with bladder control and lack of appetite? How long did it really take for your dog to come around?

    I'm going to go do a little more research and then go hug my dog... it's been a rough week.

  • #2
    I've seen it in multiple patients and also had it in my own dog.

    It can be transient, lasting 48-72 hours, or it can take several weeks for them to completely improve. Some will still have a head tilt, but can get around quite well.

    IME, the majority of dogs significantly improve in 7-10 days, so I wouldn't give up on your girl yet. She might need to be hand-fed for a period of time, and you should make sure the water bowl is also close by.

    I am assuming she is on prednisone, as that's a typical treatment. In that case, a known side effect is increase in drinking and increase in urination. It affects some dogs more than others: my old girl couldn't hold her bladder even on the smallest dose of pred, and she was an extremely fastidious dog. I wound up putting her in dog panties while she was on it.

    Hold the course--if it is vestibular disease, she could easily make a complete recovery. The dog always looks awful in the acute phase, and clients always think it's the end, but it's really not as bad as it seems.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


    • #3
      My oldie has this as well. Came out of nowhere, one second he was playing and fine the next he was flailing around unable to stand (his is much more pronounced as he is 3 legged so can't stabalize himself). He spent the night at emergency and took about 2 months to look pretty normal. He still staggers when he first gets up, and has difficulty in the dark, but it is now 2 years later and he is a 15 year young, 3 legged wonder mutt. Don't give up yet, the loss of appetite might be because the vet told me they get super dizzy and nausious so perhaps she thinks she is going to vomit. Syd was given anti-nausia medicide but no other steroids. He has a funny bladder for 2 weeks so he slept on a crib pad matress over his bed so it wouldn't soak through and was easily hosed off. If you saw him now you really wouldn't notice it if you didn't know. I have noticed he will have smaller attacks though if he gets really tired, so we just limit him back a bit when playing with the other dogs.


      • #4
        My own 13 year old Malamute/German Shepherd (A malamutt) has had this off and on and like you, scared the willies out of me! I thought he was having a seizure or stroke, took him in, had everything checked and she said he is just an old dog. I had to hand feed him a few times as he was not interested in his food but I found, if I mix his food with a little hot water, ground chicken breast and for a treat, rice, he scarfs this down and the protein is good for him too.

        I also started to give him L-Lysene, it is a vitamin that is suppose to be good for his coat but it also has other beneficial things too. Do a google on it and maybe your girl would benefit from it.


        • #5
          We rushed our elder daxie to the vet thinking stroke, poisoning. He was diagnosed with the same thing and told "tincture of time". If I ever had another dog I'd save going to the vet, although if you never have seen a poor little dog running around like a drunken sailor with his head tilted and his eyes zig zagging, it is pretty terrifying. It can be a number of other things - according to some posters on another thread - but this was pretty obvious. People get it too, and feel out of balance and nauseous. He started to get better almost immediately, although I think he is more deaf than before. He is actually very fine, happily.
          Since then, of course, we have found several people who have been through the same thing. Gosh, our vets get the largest slice of our financial pie, it seems.
          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


          • #6
            My 14 yr old Lab had this last August. Same symptoms, treatment was antibiotic ear drops for ongoing infection. I gave her Dramamine for the nausea and dizziness which helped. It took about 4 weeks to resolve. She seemed to lose her hearing worse for several months, then it seemed like Dec, her hearing returned somewhat. She still is tipsy on her feet, but that is probably age/arthritis.

            I had never heard of it before. Did you notice how the eyes moved rapidly from side to side?
            Wierd disorder.
            There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bank of Dad View Post
              My 14 yr old Lab had this last August. Same symptoms, treatment was antibiotic ear drops for ongoing infection. I gave her Dramamine for the nausea and dizziness which helped. It took about 4 weeks to resolve. She seemed to lose her hearing worse for several months, then it seemed like Dec, her hearing returned somewhat. She still is tipsy on her feet, but that is probably age/arthritis.

              I had never heard of it before. Did you notice how the eyes moved rapidly from side to side?
              Wierd disorder.
              Our dogs eyes did the same thing B of D...that was why I had to wonder if it was a seizure...but since this he hasn't been the same...suddenly he seems just "old" now...poor guy.


              • #8
                My shepherd-lab mix had this at either age 14 or 15, I think. He made a full recovery in two weeks.

                The eyes moving back and forth (there is a technical term for it that I forget) is diagnostic.


                • #9
                  Hang in there...it will get better!!!!

                  My parents' 14 year old JRT came down with this about 3 months ago. It was also a very sudden onset and her symptoms were identical to your pup's. It is so scary to see them like that. My mom thought Gabby had a stroke...staggering, head tilt, darting eyes. We rushed to the E-Vet and learned about Canine Vestibular. She also would not eat until we took her back to our regular vet a few days in for a check up. They gave her some anti nausea meds and back came her appetite. I guess she felt too drunk to eat! Our girl is FINE now!

                  Just be patient and give lots of love & supportive care. (Hugs)
                  Animals are not disposable!!!


                  • #10
                    the technical name for their eyes twitching is nystagmus. It can be either vertical or horizontal; horizontal is most often due to vestibular disease, which vertical is often seen more with brain disorders or head trauma, and is pretty rare.

                    How long and how severe the symptoms vary greatly, but overall most dogs improve with just time and supportive care. Sometimes it is thought to be brought on by cronic or severe ear infections, but you can see it without any signs of infection.

                    It is most closely related to vertigo in people, and essentially they are suck on one heck of a never ending rollercoaster. You don't know which way is up, and (for those of you who can relate) it's like when you get too drunk and you want to lay on the bed but have to touch the floor so the room doesn't spin, except they can't get to the floor(ya know, so I've heard )

                    Vet Tech
                    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                    • #11
                      It's acutally a "good" diagnosis in that full recovery is typical. I usually expect a longer period for recovery than what you were given. There's a drug which is relatively new to the veterinary market, Cerenia which often works well for these pets. Non-drowsy dramamine can also be used. Your vet can tell you better, but the prognosis for your dog is still likely quite good.


                      • #12
                        My brother's 15 yr old Shep/Red heeler mix had it about 8 months ago. Prednisone and antibiotics cleared it up. The dizziness can make them nauseous and not want to eat. It's important to make sure they are getting fluids and nutrition. Anti nausea drugs can help.

                        My brother's dog was completely normal within 10 days.

                        As mentioned in another post, the Prednisone will make them drink/pee more. You might need to help them go out often, as they can be too dizzy to want to try at first.


                        • #13
                          Our dog got this when she was 15 or so (lab/chowish mix) We thought it was a stroke. She was also slower than the prognosis in recovery - I'd say it took 3-4 months till we saw no signs and 3-4 weeks before the serious signs were gone. She went on to live another 3 happy years after it!

                          As far as food goes - it really helped her when we put her food in a round bottomed cereal bowl so it would all fall to the bottom and she could keep her head upright. When she tried to eat out of her cylinder shaped dog food bowl and turned her head to get food from the side she would fall over and after a few tries of that kind of gave up. The rounded bowl helped her get back to eating on her own (after 3 or so days of hand feeding.) We actually slept on the living room floor with her for a week so she wouldn't have to do do stairs. We also had to hold her up when she was going to the bathroom at the beginning and walk on the slide she lilted to so she could just lean into us.

                          Good luck!


                          • #14
                            We had an Australian Cattle Dog that had vestibular syndrome. It was really scary the first time. Rushed to the vet at 11:00PM and by the time we arrived he was a little better. The vet gave us a medication to lessen the duration of the seizures and hasten the recovery. I don't recall what it was--this was about seven years ago - he's been gone about four years.
                            His second seizure was about a year after the first. We were told that it could be frequent or not...there was no way to know. It didn't seem to affect his day to day living.


                            • #15
                              Hang in there....just went through this with my Sheltie who is old, 13. It took past the 10 days before he was normal in behavior and able to move around well. More like 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. The eating was longer. I had to make him homeade meals for a while, then, add it to his dogfood...we still struggle with his meals. It will get better, it just takes a while.