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Vestibular disease in dogs. Some advice please

(14 Posts)
TheDogsMother Mon 27-Mar-17 10:18:06

I took my 11 yr old JRT to the emergency vet yesterday as he was falling over, had been sick and couldn't walk straight. The vet seems fairly confident it is vestibular disease. The dog initially showed a few signs of improvement but is very wobbly again today. He's not interested in food but has had some water. Does anyone know how long these episodes tend to last and how often they might happen ? Any other advice gratefully received. Its such a distressing sight so I really hope its something that will pass.

BiteyShark Mon 27-Mar-17 12:27:12

I don't have any experience with that disease but hope your DDog feels better soon.

TheDogsMother Mon 27-Mar-17 12:33:22

Thanks Bitey, your post is really appreciated. It's heartbreaking seeing him this way. He's usually so full of life, racing around and generally being a typical terrier. We've made him a comfy spot where he can lie and watch DP work and hoping the rest will do him good.

nebulae Mon 27-Mar-17 12:41:29

Hi OP. My bull terrier had vestibular disease last year so I know how distressing it can be. I hated seeing him like that.

He had several episodes over a period of about six months. I became quite anxious about it, looking for the slightest sign that he was going to have another episode. Not that there was anything we could do about it when it did happen, other than sit on the floor with him and ride it out. The only crumb of comfort I can offer you is that the episodes got progressively shorter and less severe each time.

He's now on long term sterods and that seems to have knocked it on the head.

TheDogsMother Mon 27-Mar-17 16:27:20

Thanks nebulae, its really helpful to learn more as I didn't know a thing about this condition until yesterday. So if it happens regularly the vet prescribes steroids ? When your DDog had an episode how long did it last ? Ours has just wolfed down a bowl of roast chicken after refusing food for 24 hours. He's had a little wobble around the garden and has barked at the dog next door which is a good sign.

Floralnomad Mon 27-Mar-17 17:01:57

My mums JRTx border has this , or has had 2 attacks in the last 4/5 months . The first time was worse and he was started on medication but that made him sick so he just had his BP taken regularly . The second attack he was fine after a few hours and his BP was nowhere near as high. He's 14 and has a few health issues .

nebulae Mon 27-Mar-17 21:09:09

When my boy had his first episode we had no idea what was going on. I thought he was having a stroke. His back legs went, his eyes were flicking back & forth (nystagmus) etc. We had to leave him at the vets overnight and the episode lasted several hours. A few days later he had another one, not as severe and didn't last as long. He had probably about 6-8 episodes altogether, most lasted about 2-3 hours.

There's not much you can do when they happen, ours liked to find a dark corner and just sit quietly. And he seemed much calmer if one of us stayed with him. We took it in turns to sit on the floor with him.

The vet suggested steroids to calm his ears down as he felt it was all part of an overall inflammatory process (ears, eyes, skin) but he couldn't tolerate the steroids, he hated them. So he had an op to clear his ears out, turned out his ear drum was perforated and full of gunk. He was better after that for a while but then he had another couple of minor episodes of head tilting and he got an eye infection as well so we gave the steroids another try (lower dose) and seems to be tolerating them now. He's been on them since just before xmas and (touch wood) hasn't had another episode since.

I hope your little fella is better soon.

TheDogsMother Tue 28-Mar-17 08:38:56

Thanks nebulae, it's good to understand what others have experienced with this. I think our boy is improving a bit but every time he shakes his head he falls over and I think he is wanting to shake his head due to the feeling in the inner ear. Like you suggest I've made a cosy corner for him under my desk and I think he feels secure there.

Also thanks floral, this information is really helping me understand the condition a bit better.

Veterinari Tue 28-Mar-17 08:46:23

It sounds as if he's starting to improve which is great!
Vestibular syndrome is very distressing but often short lived - usually you'll see improvements within 48 hours and a nice steady return to normal after this, though a head tilt may persist.

Repeated episodes can occur but aren't typical.

The main approach to treatment is medication to control the nausea, anti inflammatories such as metacam or if repeated issues steroids may be used, and a calm, quiet environment with nursing care.

Good luck OP

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Tue 28-Mar-17 12:14:15

My (now deceased) dog had a couple of these episodes last summer. With the first she improved a lot within a few days. With the second it took a couple of weeks, and even then she was left with a permanent head tilt, and was prone to falling over on walks if she got over-excited. Sadly, it turned out that she probably had a brain tumour which was causing the vestibular episodes (I say "probably" as she was too old to subject her to a scan, but she did have various other symptoms that suggested a brain tumour). Hopefully your dog will continue to improve, OP, but it's worth keeping an eye out for other symptoms as vestibular episodes can be caused by something underlying.

TheDogsMother Tue 28-Mar-17 15:54:25

Thanks vetinari and LordRothermere. We went out for a short wobble walk earlier and he had a sniff about. It's a far cry from the dog who would walk miles but am really hoping for a full recovery. I will keep a close eye on him in case of any other symptoms though. You have to wonder who is the boss around here though. I ended up hand feeding him the roast chicken that I had been saving for my lunch smile

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Tue 28-Mar-17 17:02:23

Oh yes, that sounds familiar. DDog lost her appetite during the period when she had the vestibular episodes. None of the old favourites were acceptable. We ended up cooking and feeding her fresh salmon for her final few months!

Foldedtshirt Sat 01-Apr-17 01:26:13

I think I'm a few days behind you! Ddog fell off the bed, staggered around drunkenly this morning and vommitted. I took her straight to the vets and she was given an anti emetic. She's not moved all day bar being carried to the garden for a wee and she's drunk a little water. We're back to the vets in the morning if she's still drinking or eating for a drip. She's an 11 yo mongrel and watching videos of dogs with vestibular disease I recognise it from so many other elderly dogs. I hope your ddog continues to recover OP! flowers

InflagranteDelicto Sat 01-Apr-17 01:31:10

Ddog 'fatso' developed this in Jan. She was already 12, and the vet thought the cause was viral. She ate a lot of scrambled egg! Sadly she continued to decline. I miss her.

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