What You Need to Know About Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Vestibular disease in dogs is not something I had ever heard of…until Red got it!

One day, I guess it was a couple of years ago (lots of things were happening to her around that time period), I saw Red standing in the kitchen and noticed her head was tilted. Not the adorable head tilt some dogs have when they look at you like they want something, or have a question to ask. This was a bizarre tilt and I had no idea what was going on. Due to Red’s age I’m not shy about calling my vet’s office with any change, but I didn’t react right away. I just thought it was a bit odd.  I noticed she was doing it more frequently, with no other symptoms or changes in behaviour.

Since I was basically a permanent fixture at my vet’s office during that time, it wasn’t long before I had another appointment scheduled for something or other. When I saw him I mentioned the weird head tilt, and that was the first time I had heard the words “vestibular disease.”

He explained that the cause isn’t always known, there wasn’t anything to do at that moment and to keep an eye on her. Things aren’t usually that simple and I accepted it, but I don’t like unanswered questions.

Anyway the good news is it passed after a few weeks. I can’t recall exactly how long, but I know it wasn’t a long drawn out thing otherwise I would have been back at the vet.

Naturally, after Red’s episode I started doing more research into the condition, and came across a lot of great information. One of the experts I enjoy learning from is Dr Karen Becker, because she educates about a side of veterinary medicine that I haven’t come across in any “traditional” practice. I prefer holistic treatment in my own life, and that has since translated into having my pets cared for, when possible, in the same manner, hence the interest.

Dr Becker’s article entitled “If Your Dog Suddenly Starts Circling or Staggering, This Could Be Why” is the one I referred to and I hope you find it as interesting as I did. 

Has your dog experienced vestibular disease? Did your vet recommend any tests or did he adopt a “wait and see” attitude. I’m very interested in hearing your story, so please leave it in the comment section below, or post on my Facebook page.



1 Comment

  1. Denise Willeford

    My 13 year old male afghan hound is currently in the emergency hospital for vestibular disease. He has the head tilt and darting eyes and is unable to walk or get up. Since I cannot manage to pick him up, he is staying at the hospital now 2 1/2 days. I visited him this am and his eyes look better and head tilt is much better. But I am concerned that he doesn’t seem to move his rear legs and cannot get up. At $600 / day, I don’t know how much longer I can afford to leave him in the emergency hospital. I originally thought he had a stroke, but as soon as I took him to the emergency vet, they knew what it was. I was told it could be from 2-14 days.


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