Treating Geriatric Dogs with Vestibular Syndrome

Geriatric dogs are most susceptible to the disorder known as Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome. Peripherial Vestibular Syndrome can also affect middle aged dogs as well. It is not a life-threatening condition, though it is sometimes linked to hypothyroidism.

Vestibular Syndrome Explained

Dog vestibular disease is a disease of the inner ear. Ear infections and other diseases can cause problems can occur in the connections between your old dog's inner ear and his brain; sometimes, these problems arise idiopathically, for no apparent reason, and this is known as Canine or Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome. This causes ataxia, or an inflammation of the inner ear.

Symptoms of Dog Vestibular Disease

Symptoms of Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome may be unnoticeable at first. Early symptoms include right-to-left eye movements and a slight head tilt. As the disease progresses the symptoms will worsen until your dog sways from side to wide as he walks.

Geriatric dogs with vestibular syndrome may display symptoms similar to those of a stroke. Sick dogs suffering from vestibular disease display a sudden loss of balance and may not even be able to stand up. They may stand up and fall down repeatedly, staggering as if drunk. Dog vestibular disease can cause nausea because it makes your dog feel sea sick.

Treating Dog Vestibular Syndrome

If your vet can find no cause for the vestibular disorder, such as an ear infection, then treatment will involve making your dog as comfortable as possible while he recovers.

Dog vestibular disease clears up without treatment in most cases. However, you and your vet can make your dog more comfortable while he suffers the symptoms of vestibular disease.

Treatment involves intravenous therapy with fluid and electrolytes. Treatment can't cure the disease, but it will make your dog more comfortable as he recovers. Some vets may administer antibiotics if they suspect a secondary infection. It's also a good idea to have your dog examined for other diseases, such as hypothyroidism, cancer, or encephalitis, that may occur at the same time as dog vestibular disease.

Drugs have been used to treat Peripheral Vestibular Disease, including Cholodin and Winstrol V. Rimadyl is used successfully in some cases.

Lingering Effects of Vestibular Syndrome

Your old dog may have some lingering effects even after recovering from vestibular disease, such as a head tilt. These after-effects are usually mild and don't interfer with your dog's quality of life.