Who doesn’t want to nurture a healthy pet? But just like the human body, your furry buddy could go through health problems requiring medical intervention. One such disease commonly found in canines is one that impacts their vestibular system. Known as vestibular disease, this is a neurological condition which tells upon your dog’s ability to maintain balance, posture, and overall physical orientation.
How to identify if your dog has vestibular disease
Dogs with the vestibular disease usually display a loss of balance or orientation which can also be visible in their physical movement. For instance, tilting their head to one side, uneven eye movements could be caused by this ailment.
However, not all dogs are intensely affected by this disease. Depending on the severity of the disease, some dogs could hesitate to stand or walk. This can be quite distressing for your dog and you as well. It is often observed that affected dogs tend to lean or fall in the direction of their head tilts.
Some common clinical signs of vestibular-affected pups include drunken gait, tilted head, wide-based stance, squinting in the downward direction when the head position is changed, and motion sickness among other symptoms.
What could have caused your pet this ‘old dog’ syndrome?
Also referred to as the old dog syndrome, vestibular disease could be caused by an array of factors. Some of these conditions include metabolic or neoplastic conditions, trauma, nasopharyngeal polyps, or even toxic.
A specialized clinical vet should be able to advise you appropriately on what could have caused this disease in your pup. Read more about an acute condition in old dogs at https://thebark.com/content/idiopathic-or-old-dog-vestibular-disease
If you spot any such signs in your fuzzy companion, you can check with your vet. Most medical experts will recommend a neurological examination to determine if your dog has a syndrome that is central or peripheral. Different causes are treated differently and diagnosis is typically done using diagnostic imaging technology.
MRI, CT scans, or Radiography are usually recommended depending on the symptoms. Sometimes additional tests are also suggested to be undertaken by the doctor to determine if your four-legged buddy has an inflammatory disease. At times, your dog could be tested for deafness as this can help in identifying the problem.
What should you do if your dog shows vestibular symptoms?
Aside from taking your pet to the vet, here a few things to take care of:
– Help your dog with vital functions such as bringing him food and water. This can be done to support him so that he doesn’t drift or put his head too far.
– It’s best to feed your dog light food that’s easily digestible.
– Avoid carrying your dog as they need to be trained to find their way. This will help them steer their vestibular system. You can have them walk with your support. So, if your dog’s trail is wobbly, you can place your hand on either side of his body to simply guide him.
– Make your home safe for your furry friend by keeping it clutter-free and limiting the space through which he can freely wander in your home. Preferably keep him away from stairs to minimize chances of tripping over.
– You can make sleep time comfortable for your pet by rolling a towel under his head for support.
The vestibular syndrome is a non-surgical condition, although its certain underlying conditions might require surgical intervention. Antibiotics are administered along with adjunctive surgical treatment. In a few cases, radiotherapy treatment is also suggested. For instance, if your pet is diagnosed with a neoplastic disease of the ear, a surgical intervention of the tumors might be needed.
Based on the underlying condition, a specific line of treatment will be recommended by your vet. From antifungal medicines to antibiotics and corticosteroids any grade of medication can be prescribed by his neurologist. Check this out to learn more about how long it takes for your dog to recover from this disease.
Akin to treatment, aftercare is equally important for your dog’s recovery from the vestibular disease. There is no doubt that the extent to which recovery can happen or the rate at which it will take place would vary depending on the severity of the ailment and your dog’s overall health.
Some dogs might show signs of recovery within weeks while it could take months for other dogs. Some vestibular diseases may require lifelong intervention. A definitive diagnosis can enable a rather accurate prognosis.
Spend more time with your dog on the floor to help cope better!