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Vestibular syndrome in dogs – causes, symptoms and treatment


Vestibular syndrome is a condition that affects the dog’s vestibular system and causes various symptoms. In this text you will get important knowledge about the causes, symptoms and possible treatments of vestibular syndrome. The organ of balance in dogs is located in the inner ear. It serves the spatial orientation as well as the coordination of movement sequences. Disorders of the vestibular organ can cause vestibular syndrome in dogs. There are – depending on the cause – different forms of vestibular syndrome. Vestibular syndrome dog

Vestibular syndrome occurs suddenly and is usually a shock to the dog person at first. The exact cause of the syndrome is not always known, but there are several possible triggers.

Causes include: Vestibular syndrome dog

  • Middle ear infections or inner ear infections
  • drug intolerance (for example metronidazole)
  • Injury or trauma to the head
  • Tumors
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vascular diseases
  • Perforated eardrum

Occasionally, peripheral vestibular syndrome in dogs may also be genetic and caused by a congenital malformation of the vestibular organ.

A very common form is idiopathic (meaning no cause is found) or geriatric vestibular syndrome. It occurs in mostly old dogs due to degenerative processes. The most frequent triggers are circulatory disorders. But poisoning by drugs is also possible as a trigger. The exact causes for this form of geriatric vestibular syndrome in dogs are still unclear. Vestibular syndrome dog

What are typical symptoms of vestibular syndrome?

Symptoms of vestibular syndrome can vary widely and are often distressing. A common sign is a sudden loss of balance accompanied by severe nystagmus, in which the dog’s eyes twitch back and forth uncontrollably. The dog may have difficulty standing up and its coordination is severely impaired. There may also be dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and an abnormal gait in which the dog walks sideways or in circles. This is called maneuvering behavior. These symptoms can occur within a few hours or days and can be very frightening.

What to do if you suspect your dog has vestibular syndrome?

If you notice symptoms of vestibular syndrome in your dog, you should see a veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination to determine the exact cause of the syndrome and rule out other possible conditions. In some cases, blood tests, imaging such as X-rays or MRI scans may be needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Vestibular syndrome dog

The treatment options

Treatment of vestibular syndrome depends on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. In many cases, the dog may recover on its own and not require specific treatment. Medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. In addition, it is useful to give medications to promote blood flow, such as Karsivan. But also gingko performs well. Accompanying physiotherapeutic treatment is important so that the dog recovers quickly. It mainly helps to support recovery and restore the dog’s balance.

The recovery vestibular syndrome dog

Recovery from vestibular syndrome can take from a few days to several weeks. In most cases, symptoms gradually improve over time and the dog can resume normal life. It is important to provide your dog with plenty of rest and support during the recovery process. You should also make the dog’s environment safe to prevent falls or injuries. This includes non-slip surfaces in the house. A carrier when walking and climbing stairs, etc.. In addition, recommend that you feed your dog from your hand, as everything goes round in circles for him. At night you should always leave a small night light on. This will reduce the feeling of dizziness. Many more tips to help your dog with the Vestibular syndrome can be found here.

Conclusion on vestibular syndrome

In summary, vestibular syndrome in dogs is a condition that affects the vestibular system and results in a number of symptoms. It is important to see a veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms in your dog to get an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment option. With proper medical care and support, your dog can usually recover well and resume his normal life. Vestibular syndrome is not a reason to euthanize your dog.

Extra knowledge: A vestibular syndrome has nothing to do with a stroke! A stroke happens in the dog’s brain, while a vestibular syndrome affects the organ of balance.

All the love, your Tina

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