January 2, 2010

Vestibular Disease II

My earlier thread on vestibular, Vestibular disease: leave a light on, now has over 100 comments. On some computers [that is to say, in some browsers] the comment form can no longer handle the load, so please post new comments here.

I would like to thank all those who have shared stories. Vestibular is a miserable experience for both dogs and owners, and reading about others' experiences can sometimes help. For anyone watching a beloved companion go through this: you have my prayers and best wishes for the return of your dog's health.

[That's my good girl Piper up above.]

ETA: Now with two pages of over 200 comments! Thanks, all! You may need to click "newer" to see the latest ones.


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Heather Houlahan said...

Don't know how I missed this the first time.

Our Lilly of Sainted Memory was affected twice.

I thought I was going to lose her the first time. And I knew about vestibular, warned clients with older dogs about, ranted about the celebrity SAR handler who killed her old inconvenient retired dog because of a "stroke" when her description of his symptoms was clearly vestibular disease.

And I still panicked like Dick Cheney flying commercial when she went all stumbly and tilty and wrong.

My vet was very tolerant and reminded me to look for the nystagmus. Nystagmus = vestibular, and no need to panic.

Luisa said...

[cleaning up the keyboard after 'Cheney flying commercial'] I hear you. I'd seen a friend's border collie with vestibular. And I'd read up on it. And I still freaked out at Piper's episode.

The following year she suffered a stroke that left her completely incapacitated, and the eye movement wasn't there at all [weeps].

Anonymous said...

Our dog Maria (a pibble) has IVD that never got better. She was confiscated in a neglect case in 2005 (she was about 4 at the time) with all the usual suspects: stumbling, head tilt, nystagmus. First though was hereditary ataxia, which fortunately it isn't.

In 2010 she's still affectionately referred to as Bobblehead, but she compensates well for the IVD, even running a little agility. The biggest hurdle was teaching her how to walk down stairs safely.

Moral of the story? Dogs that don't fully recover can still lead active lives. The trick is not to feel too sorry for them. Even when they fall on their face every time they look over their right shoulder.

Anonymous said...

It is so hard to not feel for them isn't it? Steph here again with an update. My Burt is basically the same. We are on day 12. We are to see the vet tomorrow for a follow up visit. The vet visits stress him out, but they will check blood again. One important thing I'll mention is that my mom recently (November ) moved into a nursing home and there was a dog next door who barked contineously for weeks prior to the vestibular showing up. I'm wondering if the stresses brought this one. I remember reading that the stress of someone passing or moving out can bring that on in dogs. We are still hand feeding him baby food (chicken/broth gerber) He will drink, but he doesn't get much as he is mainly licking....he doesn't have the motor control to get the water up with his tongue. He threw up only once ...so far... violently. He can't chew, so baby food is the only way to get calories to him. He has lost much weight and I can feel his bones. Given the range of symptoms I would have to say he is in the middle of the severity scale. I haven't noticed the eye movements (Nystagmus ) as much. He is able to eat and walk, but he walks in circles, he breathes heavy and he gags intensly. I thought we had a bright spot when I came home on Monday, I got a small tail wag. He is miserable, but because he is taking dramamine he is able to have moments of not gagging. His eyes are always watery and he salvates extremely. When he is on my lap, my shirt and pants will end up soaking wet from drool. I hope I have a story one day to tell how my dog beat this vestibular syndrome.

If you want to see a video of my beloved Burt, search youtube with "Burt Vestibular"

I also wanted to mention this "eye test" I will do later that may help someone determine if it's central or periferal. -->test- Place them on their back. If they have what is called positional nystagmus, which is this abnormal eye movement, their eye movements will change or stop, which is not a good sign. If it is peripheral form, the eye movements do not change or stop, which is very good news. <--

And if anyone has any advice or tips, I am so grateful. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful I ran into this thread! It has been huge comfort to know that other dogs have suffered through this horribly debilitating sickness.

I have a 4 yr old Bulmastiff (Riley) that began walking funny on Sunday. It then progressed very quickly into falling down the stairs, walking into the wall, vomiting and not intereseted in any food or water.

She was diagnosed with Vestibular syndrome on Tuesday mroning and we were told there would be significant improvement within 72 hours and prescribed cephaxin, predsnione and dramamine.

Saturday am she seemed to get some of her personality back even chewing on our noses when she got close to our face. She was very content laying and not panicked at all.

About 2 hours later she took a turn for the worse. She has not moved in 24 hours and seems to be in a constant state of panic. We took turns sleeping with her on the floor and comforting her since she did not want to move.

This am we ended up taking her to the emergency vet because she was so low on fluids and must have only had about 3 hours sleep in over 36 hours and been in a panic attack every 2 hours that had about an hour in between.

After a very traumatic drive to the vet, she is 127 lbs and so disorientated that she was very panicked and rolling immediatley when picked up. We did fashion a towel with 2 leg holes for her front and back that was very helpful in moving her.

The vet has now said that is a very severce case and it is a waiting game and that she may have bleeding on her brain or a tumor. They are giving her IV fluids and sedated but not much else they can do.

Has anyone had experience with a them seeming to get better then taking a turn for the worse? I am also wondering if the symptons are exaggerated because she is such a big girl. Has anyone had experience with this at all?

She is an amazing dog and I am so lucky to have her. This is such a heartbreaking thing to watch I hope she is on the mend soon.

Anything that you could add or any positive wishes that you could send Riley's way would be very much appreciated.

Luisa said...

Positive wishes sent to Riley, and to Riley's people as well. I hope she'll be on the mend soon.

I'll be talking to one of my pack's veterinarians later this week, and I'll ask her about her experiences with larger breeds and vestibular. Meanwhile, lots of good mojo has been sent to Riley from SoCal.

Anonymous said...

Thank so much for this blog. My Thomas is in his second bout of Vestibular Syndrome. I am not positive of his age. He is a rescue German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix who has been with me just over two years now. I was told at the time of adoption that he was about 5yrs or 6yrs old, but at the time of his first episode last October, the vet I took him to said his guesstimation was at least 10 yrs of age.
I love him so dearly. I suffer from major clinical depression and his presence in my life has been, and continues to be, without a doubt, my most effective treatment. He has always stuck by me, patiently waiting for walks when my depression made it difficult just to get out of bed. I am committed to do everything in my power to give him the highest quality of life and all the happiness he deserves.
Thomas recovered fully from his first bout for the most part, slight head tilt remaining and it seems a little more difficulty in getting up on the bed and sofa than before. I took about 10 days I'd say that time. This second bout seems a little less severe than before. His appetite remained healthy and in general he remained in good spirits, not nearly as scared as the first time. In fact, on walks as he stumbles around and I look on from the other end of the leash a bit concerned, he carries on wagging his tail with seemingly not a care in the world. My concern is that it has now been 9 days and there has really been no significant improvement this time other than the disappearence of the rapid eye movements which only lasted about 24hrs. Does anyone have experience with recurance of vestibular episodes over the long term? Since his second episode came only about 2 1/2 months after the first, should I expect that he may suffer from periodic vestibular episodes for the rest of his life? Although I hate to even think about it, is the incidence of him having these two episodes so close together, coupled with his age, an indication that his overall health is in rapid decline?

Luisa said...

I am not a vet and of course can't predict how this ailment might affect Thomas, but I'd like to send my best wishes for his recovery, and add that I've known one elderly dog [a border collie, not one of mine] that suffered repeated episodes of vestibular and lived happily for several years afterwards. I'll keep you and Thomas in my thoughts.

Sherri said...

Hi everyone; we are on week four of this. You can read about my girl on my blog at www.justdogswithsherri.blogspot.com She had a few small signs before hand but then it hit Jan 11 in the middle of the night. She has a head tilt and is so unsteady on her feet. She was a frisbee star; been on Pet Star twice and now she can't walk a straight line. She will be 13 next month. What a sad and horrible disease.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to blog an update on my dog. I last blogged about this back in December 2009. He is doing terrible! He is currently laying paralyzed on the couch (I had to put him there). Occasionally he has a pretty good day, but not usually an entire day. When he is a little bit mobile, he will eat. I have taken him to the vet, but when he is there he is not at his worst, so they said to wait 4-6 weeks & then we will have to take him to a Neurologist for tests. The tests are quite expensive (I think MRI's & tests such as that), and that even when they find out the exact problem, they may not be able to do anything. We are at our wits end. He is in a lot of pain at some times (yelps & crys)& is ok at other times. What an awful disease. If anyone has any suggestions beside dramamine & Bonine (which my vet suggested) please share that information. I have put the story that I put on from December just below this with more details on Skippy. Thanks!
From December 22nd 1009:

I am so glad I found this blog. I just adopted a 7 year old dog one week ago today. He is a Jack Russell, Besenji mix I am told. What a week! His former owner took him to the vet on Monday almost 2 weeks ago because he was acting drunk. They gave him a steroid shot & antibotics. We continued the antibiotic pills until they ran out last night. To back up a bit, the day after we picked him up, he began to yelp & kept falling down. We took him to an emergency clinic. They said that they did not know what is was, and that we should take him to a regular vet. They gave him a shot for pain & sent us home with pain pills. We took him to a regular vet & they said that it was probably this disease, and that we should go home & wait for 4 to 6 weeks, and he should get better. He did pretty good for a couple of days, but yesterday & today have been more bad than good. He can be asleep, wake up crying in pain & being paralyzed. It breaks my heart. I guess at this point I will just continue to comfort him as much as I can. We are not home during the day, so i will really be worried about him, but hopefully he will sleep a lot when we are out. When we are there he really tries to hang out with us constantly, which is quite a challenge for him sometimes. I have found a website that sells pills that claim to help. The website link is www.FixMyPetsHealth.com/Vestibular. If anyone is familiar with this, please tell me what you know about it. Thanks again for creating this blog. It really helped me feel better about wanting to make him better, and not give up on him.
Susan in Kennesaw,Georgia

Anonymous said...

My Sheena, is a 15-year old schnauzer that is going through her second vestibular episode. The first one was four months ago--very scary until we knew what we were dealing with. It took approx. 4 weeks for her to recover. She is now at week 3 in her second episode and has been very up and down. There are times when she seems to be doing better, but she will have a bad day or bad few hours. I am hopeful she will recover like last time.

She definitely gravitates towards lights and sound, so it is a good idea to keep lights and radios on for them. I also corral her in the kitchen when we are gone so she can't hurt herself. She was not eating but once I made up a hamburger/rice mixture and added it to her regular food, she has been finishing her food. I have elevated her bowls to make it easier for her to reach so she doesn't fall over as much. I usually have to hand feed her the first 2 weeks and then she is able to eat on her own after that.

It is horrible to watch them struggle so much, circling, falling and getting stuck in corners. But I can say that she likes me to spend time holding and snuggling her (think it makes her feel safe) and that is a real bonus for me.

I give her dramamine and that does help.Other than that, it just takes a lot of patience to get through it. For those out there experiencing this for the first time, nurture them and trust that they will get better. They will.

JL said...

I'm working on day 12 with my 14yo Australian shepherd and a stroke. Vet feels it was a stroke because there was vertical nystagmus and she had poor proprioception on her left side. Left eye also was tracking about 15 degrees higher than her right eye.

Her spirit has been phenomenal through this, and I am so proud of her. When I picked her up after her day at the emergency vet, she couldn't stand independently and had to walk with a sling. Despite this, she tried to jump into the back of the car (a jump that she hasn't been able to do for 2-3 years). She's been walking off-leash for a couple of days now and even tried cantering today, although her back legs just about ended up in front of her head. Too cute.

I still keep her food and water raised or have her eat lying down where I position the bowl so she can reach it easily. I have SQ fluids in case she's not drinking enough.

Because of her age, I'm not interested in doing an MRI or other extensive testing. She'll come back as much as she comes back, and we'll deal with whatever else may come up. I'm just grateful that I still have her here.

Unknown said...

Beasley, my 14.9 year old beagle came down with IVD just one week ago. When I carried Beasley into the vet last Friday, I was convinced that this was the end of the line for him, no dog could live spinning in circles and falling down.

This is what I learned in those seven days:

a) Move slowly around your dog, it helps him/her track you better and try to stay on the side his/her head is not tilted

b) A night's stay at the vet doesn't hurt: Beasley stayed one night at the vet, no meds were administered but he was watched carefully and being in a confined space seemed to help him learn to balance better.

c) Get a harness, keeping him steady while on the harness while letting him walk around his own turf helped him with his muscle memory. He learned to navigate the stairs by day 3. Try to let him/her walk on their own, rather than carry them.

d) PuppyStairs™ and bed rails are a godsend!

e) You are your dog's physical therapist. Beasley still went on his nightly walks supported by the harness, it would take a half hour to walk two blocks but we saw improvement every day. I spent a lot of time holding Beasley with my calves, but he was able to stand at my side as usual.

f) Children's Benadryl (check with your vet for dosage) helped with the sleeplessness

g) Small dosage of an anti-inflammatory prescription helped with the early morning stiffness

Today Beasley seems completely recovered. Head tilt is gone and he is running around on his own, though I still walk him up and down the stairs with support, which is more from my fear of not letting him fall rather than his ability to navigate the stairs.

I am convinced that his recovering is due to exercise and letting him do things on his own with support. I am lucky that I had a vet who was able to give me the correct diagnosis and who called me every day to check on Beasley's progress.

T Tauri said...

Cindi said
I've had dogs for 40 years - including showing and a couple of litters - and never even heard of CVS - till 14 days ago. Interesting that you titled this thread "Lassie, Get Help" - my dog is a 7.5 y o smooth collie bitch named Jessie who could use some help from Lassie right now.
She doesn't have the nystagmus or the head tilt, but the rest seems to match. Acute,fits of terror that the room is spinning (I think), walking like she is drunk, circling (always right, sleepless, unable to stand. This dog has always been super coordinated and so it must be so much more scary for her, I think. Our other two are mystified at what is wrong with Jessie. She's the leader of the pack, so they are lost and confused. The strangest symptom I haven't read about here is wanting to go to a corner, put her head up against the wall and just cry. She pushes harder and harder against the wall, and then gets stuck - she can't go backwards and can't turn left at all. If I can get her to sit she moves back and then is "free" and can get away. But while dizzy she just keeps doing it. She will eat (she ALWAYS eats) but has trouble drinking because she has no depth perception (same for stairs) she just wants to stare off to the horizon and trips then staggers. Blood work was normal. Vet gave us Prednisone. Slight fever on night 3 so I stopped the Pred and the fever was gone by morning. A few mornings after a few hours sleep she seems better, then the fits start again.
What do you think? Is it CVS without the head tilt and nystagmus? Does anyone else see the crying in the corner thing?

boxer said...

I have heard of a few cases, but fortunately has never happened to any of my dogs. It must be scary.

Anonymous said...

My boy (a 65 lb shepherd/border collie mix) suddenly developed CVS on Friday night. I'd never heard of it and was convinced he was having a stroke, so we rushed off to the emergency vet. He had difficulty walking and all the usual symptoms, including the rapid eye movement. They found some dried wax in his ears, but they didn't find anything else wrong. He came home after a 24-hour stay with some antibiotic pills, anti-nausea pills, and antibiotic cream ear drops. He could walk, barely, but it took two people supporting him to do it. We were told that things would probably get worse before they get better, but that he should be well on the way to recovery after 3 days. Well, I sit here completely confused on day 4. His attitude is greatly improved. He's finally interested in solid food and water, and the eye movement seems to have finally stopped. But he cannot walk. He cannot even stand. He does not seem to be in any pain, he seems mostly bored of staying still actually. But any time we have to move him to change positions, or to try to get him to walk, his body just freaks out. He can't seem to find the ground, even when we place his paws on the floor for him, everything just wants to splay out in space, if you know what I mean. So I don't know if this is part of "it will get worse before it gets better" or if its time to go back to the vet. I'm worried and scared for my boy and just want him to get his equilibrium back.

Anonymous said...

Quick update on Max (the Shepherd/Border Collie Mix).
Today (day 5) he was much improved. Appetite even better than yesterday. Head still tilted, but he doesn't thrash around as much when moved. He was able to stand today, he walked a few steps with assistance and even stood of his own accord (for about 5 seconds) which changing positions on his bed. He crawled over to his water dish to get his own water instead of waiting for me to give it to him. I'm very happy. Tomorrow we go to the holistic vet, hopefully for some acupuncture

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the last update for Max. It's been 17 days since the initial event. I'd say that he's 80% back to his old self. His spirit is back 110%. He's moving around completely of his own accord, willing to go down stairs (quickly) and up stairs (slowly). Has some issues with turning around (ex. in his crate) - he just seems to have some issues figuring out how that works again. He's still a little wobbly, has a slight head tilt, and takes the occasional tumble on hardwood floors. He's had 3 sessions of acupuncture and will have a follow up in about a week. I'm thrilled with his recovery. I wanted to post a happy ending for the next person who stumbles across this blog... good luck!

Dana said...

We are going on week 3 of vestibular disease with our 14 1/2 yro golden. Like everyone else we thought it was a stroke. He is much better but still can not get to a standing position(he has so hip/back leg problems anyway) on his own and seems very restless, has the heavy panting and will not stop licking. We have to force him to get up which is no easy task-he is 80 pounds and stubborn. Once he gets up and goes outside he is wobbly but can walk-I keep him on a leash. The vet said it was a very severe case and that it was helped that he was in good health before this happened. My question is does anyone know how long before he can get up on his own? I will be missing 2 family vacations, to take care of him. Our usual dog sitter has way to many stairs at her home; plus I don't want to leave him while he is this way.

Luisa said...

@Jack -- I'm glad your dog is better, and sorry that I can't give a definitive answer to your question. Each dog improves at his own pace -- some recover completely, and some never regain the mobility they had before vestibular. I understand your concerns, and hope your boy will make a full recovery.

Dana said...

Luisa-thank you. This site has been wonderful. Yesterday he had a really good day-even got up on his own and wobbled to the kitchen to beg for watermelon and sniff the garbage. Today was a bad day-like a little relapse with being unable to walk/stumbling/falling over.


Anonymous said...

Well we sure are sorry to be joining the ranks of folks with a dog with this awful disorder, but very grateful that this blog is here.
24 hours ago now our 13 year old bull terrier started with the symptoms you all now know.Last night he and I sure did not get much sleep,so we are both a mess today.
Although earlier we thought he was doing a little better, as the day progressed he seems more dizzy/disabled. Very distressing to see his stressed state. Hanging out with him soothes him, but he is one unhappy camper. Gave him dramamine, but did not seem to help. After almost no sleep for either of us last night, I drove to the vet for some sedatives to hopefully knock him out tonight...we both need that.Wish the vet could give ME some sedatives - it is so stressful to watch this thing work it's way with my buddy.
He will drink water intermittantly - but has not peed since 25 hours ago! Trying to get him up is NOT happening, as he is not even able to sit up without falling/rolling over,thrashing and acting very afraid. NO FUN!
We are hopeful only because of this site and without having read it all we would surely be thinking that our dog was on his way out. Still - hard to be upbeat as this thing may last who knows how long.
I'm wondering how folks have dealt with getting their dogs[not the small ones of course] outside to pee? I have a neighbors harness that helps me assist him some, but it really does not allow him to move - he's just spinning in that head of his so bad that he can't do anything.
I'll be back with updates - good ones I hope.
I sure want to thank the folks who
started this and those who contribute. Better days for all!

Anonymous said...

Have read through the blogs. Our 14 1/2 year old was diagnosed with ivd last Thursday. I woke up to find him collapsed on the floor, in a pool of this own throw up. He freaked out when I touched him. No warning signs of this. Took him to an emergency vet clinic. For 3 days, my husband and I took turns holding him and giving water with a syringe. He only weighs 6 1/2 pounds. On Sunday, he was able to eat some soft food, and take a few steps. Today, he walked around the house constantly for about 2 hours and went out for his business. We have motion sickness pills and antibiotics from our vet. He is very restless and disoriented at night. It is day 5 of the diseases and we have an appt tomorrow with our vet. My question is, has anyones dog quit barking with this disease? Our dog is a yorkie/poodle/pug and before this happened was a barker. He also has had cataracts and lost his hearing before this. He has not barked since I found him last Thursday. We have bought doggie diapers for night time, and also a small playpen to leave him in if we must leave him. SO far we have not had to do this. Any tips on dealing with this disease would be greatly appreciated. Also, does anyone know the likelihood of it reoccuring and how long to recover.

Anonymous said...

Update to my previous post of August 28th[I think]. My bull terrier is now on his 4th day of this trying disorder.
The 2nd day brought an amazing improvement - he was able to stand and walk,his eye movements[which were frenzied] calmed down,he ate,peed and pooped. We were ready for the champagne,thanking our lucky stars that he was a fast recovery case.
That night he was restless,restless,restless. Kept Leslie up until finally at 3 am she woke me up. I held Rommie and hummed him repetitive notes/tunes, figuring that feeling the vibrations of my chest and hearing a tone to focus on would help distract him from the spinning that was raging inside his head. It worked[it took about 45 minutes] and he got some sleep.
The next day [day 3] was NOT fun.
He could walk[crookedly and shaky], which was good news, but his eyes were about to dance right off his face.....terrible to watch. And yet he could walk/stagger around the yard.
He was incredibly restless all day,would not sit or lay down. This from an old dog who sleeps like 23 hours a day. It must be exhausting for him....and us.
Fed Rommie 2 tranquilizers at 1:45 am [trying to hold off on giving him them] and he and I got about 5-6 hours sleep.
Today he is walking restlessly around as per the previous day. but as I type this he is sleeping next to me on his couch...a good thing.
So - to summarize: IT waxes and wanes thus far. VERY taxing for all parties concerned. Because of this blog I remain determinedly optimistic for my boys recovery.SOON pleeeeeease!!!!
ps - I've figured out why so many "annonymous" postings - it's about the "identity"/sign-in process.So you put your dogs and/or your name so folks can follow your posts.

Anonymous said...

OK - so here is the latest with my bull terrier Rommie.
He is really starting to normalize now. We are all starting to get some real sleep-well that's still not a done deal, but we have had some good nights. The no sleep/little sleep really wears you out!
He still walks a little unsteady...but not always. There are times when he does not have a head tilt,more times. Today i took him for his 1st walk. Had to majorly assist his jump at/into the car, and had to assist at the park. At the park he actually ran, head straight, ears up...totally normal. What a treat!
We are now getting comfortable with the good luck we have with his recovery. Unless he has any set backs to report, I will leave this blog with a large THANKS and GOOD LUCK to all who search here for answers. As of today here is one more success/good luck story.

Luisa said...

I'm glad Rommie is doing better!

Thanks to YOU for sharing your story. This thread has turned out to be one of the internet's top sites for people to share their experiences of dogs with vestibular. I'm grateful to all who contribute.

Anonymous said...

My dog Max is a 13 year old black lab. One afternoon, he started to wobble. By the late evening, he threw up 6 times, urinated and defecated in the house. I thought food poisoning or stroke. But looking in his eyes, I saw the left-right darting action. Went to the internet and put in his symptons and came up with canine vestibular syndrome. Went to the vet the next morning; was given an iv for fluids, anti nausea shot and antibiotics. By evening, I was able to take him home. I was given take home antibiotics and dexamethazone. Due to the drugs, he drinks and pees a lot. His nystagmus was gone in 2 days, no vomiting, low appetite at first (you must hand feed) and put water to his nose so drinking is possible; they have spatial issues. It's been 10 days and his appetite has come roaring back; his head tilt is less severe, his wobble is less severe. He is on the mend. The vet says the frequent urination should taper off once the drugs are no longer administered. This site really helped me out in seeing the experiences others had. I hope my comments will help, too. And keeping a light on at night was a really good idea.

Aline Bernstein said...

I came home tonight to find my dog wobbly and confused. After googling "dog suddenly disoriented" and learning about vestibular disease for the first time, I'm no longer panicking. Popeye is resting comfortably, and I now know why he squirmed so much when I picked him up -- it's not that his legs were hurting, it's that he thought he was turning upside down. The tip on keeping a hand under his paws was great. I'll be sure to do that. Thanks to all bloggers for sharing your stories and offering support.

Bijou Baby said...

Monday night I came home from work and my Bijou baby was just as normal as ever. When it was time to feed her, she looked the other way like she was being finicky. So I said, do you have to go potty? We went outside and it all began. She started stumbling all over the place and I was freaked out. She was able to pee, but when we came back in the house, her legs came out from under her and she fell on the floor. I wasn't sure what was going on and I thought that it was going to be my last night with my Bijou Baby. She is a 14 year old Boxer/Pit mix and is and has been the most loving dog anyone could be so lucky to have. Anyway, I took her to the vet on Tuesday morning. He diagnosed CVD and said he wanted to administer steroids, anti inflammatory drugs, and some sedatives. He said that she should show some improvement within 24 - 48 hours if the prognosis was to be good. She didn't respond at 24 hours and she is still at the vet with an IV. The vet said because of her age that I should think about the quality of her life. She has been so strong and still bouncy until this happened. Her liver is great, her heart is strong and I can't see the vet's point of view. I am bringing her home tomorrow and am going to start doing accupressure ( I ordered books on Amazon with 1 day shipping). I refuse to give up so quickly when she was so strong before this happened. The vet seemed so hopeless and I just can't get my head around it. I have read several of the posts and my hopes are high, but my heart is killing me. I love her so much and I don't want to see her suffer, but I also don't want to give up on her so quickly. I don't know how long to give her and wondered if anyone had suggestions or felt the same tear in which direction to go.
Bijou Baby's Momma

Luisa said...

I will certainly keep Bijou in my thoughts and hope for the best.

For us humans, one of the most worrisome things about this condition is that vestibular disease, strokes and brain tumors can have similar symptoms. My Piper pulled through her first bout of vestibular just fine, but the second event was [I believe] not vestibular but a major stroke. Within less than a day, really, it was heartbreakingly clear that the kindest thing I could do was ease her passing.

Vestibular disease itself is much harder on some dogs than others. I'm sending all the best SoCal mojo I can to you and Bijou -- she sounds like a wonderful girl. I know how worried you must be, and she's blessed to have such a loving owner. I hope she's feeling better soon.

Bijou Baby said...

Bijou is home with me now. Her appetite is not with her. I had to mix AD wet food with water and give it to her by syringe. There is no way to get the meds into her, so I had to crush them and mix them with water. She seems to be walking a little better than before, but the nystigmus is still present. She doesn't want to do much but sleep. I wondered if the sleeping is normal with this disease. Has anyone else experienced this?

Bijou Baby said...

Hi Everyone:

Bijou Baby is making remarkable progress. The progress began with a pot roast. She smelled it and wanted it. I gave her some and she nearly took my hand off. Since then, she has eaten as much as a 1/2 can of science diet ID. She is drinking water on her own. She is taking her pills with "pill pockets", and even let out a growl a few times today. Her balance seems to be improving and she is gaining weight back. I took her to acupunture yesterday and she ended up receiving Laser therapy, acupuncture and acupressure. By the end of the visit, she was pulling on the leash. I was amazed. This is so awesome that I wanted to let everyone know not to give up too soon. I was extremely worried, but hopeful and I believe I have made the right choice by making her exercise. Even though she was wobbly, I made her walk and used a harness to keep her from falling. I believe that walking her has helped her regain her strength. I am so proud of my girl and I hope all of you will continue to help your canine babies!!!
Bijou Baby's Mama

Luisa said...

That is such great news!! Acupuncture really helped Piper, IMHO. So glad your pup is doing better!

Bijou Baby said...

I want to thank Suzanne. I read your post and did the same thing.
Let her walk on her own with support
Walks to the corner and back
Accupuncture/accupressure/laser therapy.

Oh My Gosh! Bijou is doing fantastic. She is barking, eating soft and hard food, drinking on her own, and trying like the devil to run. She is still a little wobbly, but incredibly much better in 7 days. Thank you Thank You Thank You! I am so glad I read your post.

Also, Luisa thank you for starting this blog. I hope it helps others that are going through this awful disease with their canine kids.

Bijou says Hi and thank you too.

Luisa said...

I'm so glad she's doing better :~))))) Give Bijou Baby lots of pats from sunny [very sunny, oy] SoCal!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog! My dog, Elvis is a 15 year old Siberian Husky. No prior health problems at all.

Thursday night he was sleeping as usual and he got up real quick and then just fell over. He has the head tilt, the eyes darting back and forth, drooling, and he couldn't sit or stand.

We all said our good-byes thinking it is the end, and took him to the emergency vet.

The vet gave him a shot to ease his stomach and told us it was probably idiopathic vestibular. He said to take him home and watch him for a few days to see if there is improvement. Or we could do a bunch of tests right then to see if it was something else. Decided against the tests (he's 15).

Friday (day 2) he pretty much slept all day. We carried him out to go to the bathroom. He hardly even lifted his head. He would drink, but not eat. Friday night he "yelled" at me because I turned off all the lights to go to bed. So we slept with the light on last night. But I was happy htat he was vocalizing.

Today (day 3). He can sit up on his own, but is still wobbly. He ate some soup and drinks lots of water. He can't walk at all still. He has weak back legs anyway so that worries me. His eye movements are much less severe. He can focus on things now for a short period and just looks more himself.

Thanks all for sharing your stories...it makes this easier.

Andrea said...

My 8 yr old collie/New Zealand Huntaway cross started out drinking excessively and thus peeing excessively! The Vet diagnosed a bladder infection and he was put on antibiotics (I must add he has been on prednisone steroids for months now for another skin complaint). Day 3 of the antibiotics and he started vomiting and stopped eating. Day 4 and 5 he became unsteady on his feet and by day 6 he had completely collapsed, de-hydrated and shaking unable to get up at all. He weighs 42 llbs and had to lift him into the car. He has been at the vets on a drip for 48 hours now and is still not eating. Vet says possibly Canine Idiopathic Vestibular Disease or brain tumor. Lets hope it is the first. However, he only has a slight head tilt and is very wobbly on his feet and just wants to lay down and sleep. Although he has had anti-sickness drugs he still vomited in the night but not today. We are going to visit him in half an hour and hope to get him to eat something. We are taking all his favourites! Will keep you posted.

Andrea said...

Update on Hunter - day 7 no change he wouldn't eat only drinking a little and he just slept - he was still on the IV with anti-sickness and the dreaded prednisone. Day 8 slight head tilt still and the nystagmus comes and goes.

The Vet agreed for us to take him home for the afternoon today to see he would improve and eat at home even though she had X-rayed his abdomen and found a mass there she thought as it was something he has had for a while that wasn't causing him much trouble. If we could just get him to eat and get stronger she could operate.

He was a little brighter today and trotted to the van and jumped in himself but sadly as we pulled out of the vets he started fitting we stopped and ran to get the vet. This told us all one thing - the vestibular was a brain tumor probably a secondary from the one in his belly.

Sadly we knew the time had come to say goodbye and put an end to his suffering.

I have done a lot of research over the last few days and vestibular can be peripheral meaning they will likely recover or central meaning probable brain tumor.

Thanks to this blog it kept my hopes up that it was peripheral. I knew nothing about this disease before and it has been really helpful but in the end Hunter told us himself which way to go.

Luisa said...

Andrea, I'm so sorry to hear about Hunter. Thank you for keeping us updated at what must be a heartbreaking time. It's bad at any time, but especially tough to lose a dog in the prime of his life. Thanks again for writing, and take care --

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Gaynor from the Isle of Man. My dog Chip 13 1/2 yr old JRT has just suffered a vestibular incident. Our vet was fantastic and diagnosed it immediately. Chip would not eat for 5 days and had to go on a drip 3 days in. on day 6 Katie our vet tried him on Diazepam (a form of valium) used to stimulate appetite in cats and it got him eating straightaway. He came home on day 6, this is day 8 and he is eating and drinking well and is almost back to his old self, still a bit wobbly and has head tilt but seems well. I read this blog when Chip was on the drip at the vets and it was a great comfort to me when I read of so many successful outcomes. It is still early days for Chip and we don't know if he will be affected again so we will enjoy what time we have left with him. He is such a great character and means the world to us.

Maureen said...

My furbaby Chakra was diagnosed with IVD about a month ago. It was so hard watching her stumble around unsure of her footing. She is still having trouble navigating at times, especially if she's stressed by something...but she never lost her appetite...she's a lab mix so she's always eaten even when she hasn't felt well.

We moved from Canada to the Turks and Caicos Islands last week and she was so stressed by the plane ride that her head titled worse than when she first was diagnosed with the disease. After a few days though her head straightened out and now she has mostly good days.

I took a video of her and her buddy Oscar at the beach. If you click on my name you can check it out. You'll see Chakra lose her balance a few times but she was so happy to be near water and the soft sand was probably a blessing to fall on rather than hardwood or ceramic floors.

She is ten years old and has never been sick in the nine years I have had her with me. She is my heart and although I hate to see her not at her best, I try not to baby her too much. She is doing much better and I'm hoping she has a full recovery.

I'm glad I found this blog as it's helped me be less fearful about her condition. Here's hoping she's completely back to her old self before long!

Maureen said...

Update on Chakra: Although she had improved greatly since she first got IVD, she seems to have relapsed. She can barely walk.

It's strange though, when Oscar (her buddy) barks and chases after something, she pushes herself up and once running she's okay, steady gait...but once she slows down she'll fall to her left and has trouble getting up.

No head tilt this time. I'll be taking her to the vet as soon as I can. I am so worried that I'll have to let her go if she doesn't recover from this.

Has anyone else had the same thing happen...a relapse during recovery that seems worse than the initial onset?

Anonymous said...

Just experienced this yesterday with my 14 yr old lab/shep mix, Chloe. I too thought it was a stroke and prayed on the way to the vet for the strength to put her down. What a relief to hear it wasn't! Chloe also has no bladder control. I haven't found any connection on the internet, but a friend suggested kidney problems. She said that kidney disease can be associated with vestibular problems. I was trying to wait the few days for Chloe's improvement, but now I'm concerned that she should have blood panel asap in case there's another issue. She is urinating MUCH more than she is taking in, though it is less today than yesterday. No longer throwing up, but appetite extremely low. Eye movements have slowed, but are still present. Anyone else have bladder issues?

Dana said...

I posted back on May 31st, our golden had a vestibular episode, it took a total of 6 weeks for him to recover-it got worse before it got better. He was doing great except when he got really tired his head would tilt a little. Last week my husband came home and found diarrhea in the living room(not the first time, its happened quite often in the last month)and found the dog sprawled out in the kitchen. The dog couldn't get up or walk on his own. Sure enough he had another vestibular episode. Not as dibilatating as the first one in May, but still bad. He can walk once we get him up, he is very wobbly and his head is very tilted, plus the constant turning in circles. He is eating and drinking fine. My husband is at the point where he thinks we should consider putting him to sleep. I have no idea what to do.

Anonymous said...

Update to Chloe 11/17/10: 5 days after episode and much better. Still a little wobbly, but eyes and so forth normal. Additional tests revealed a bladder infection. Blood panels looked good. Antibiotics are helping with her control and she is wagging her tail again!

Anonymous said...

I don't know that much about this disease other than my dog, Bruiser suffered severly from june to october...Lots of trips to the vet, every month to be exact, I tried every medication they have my cabinet looks like a pharmacy, But I would do anything for that dog! well after dramamine,and rimadyl my dog looked so sad! His eyes drooped and would litterally cry! :( had to put him outta his misery oct 26th worst day of my life!...Just wanted the vet to give me the same thing just double dose cuz I weigh more..Has anyone had to put they're best friend down from this ugly disease?

Anonymous said...

My "baby boy" Mocha was hit suddenly with this while I was out of town. My husband wanted to wait until my return to tell me as not to worry me while driving.

At that time, knowing nothing about IVD, I thought he had a stroke and rushed him to the Vet. was relieved when the Vet. said it wasn't a stroke and all his blood work came back negative. Our Vet. didn't mention IVD and actually thought he had gotten into something he should't have. Our "babies" stay indoors and we don't have anything unnatural that they could "get into".

I was so happy when I found all this information online about this. It has really set my mind at ease and given me great tips for keeping my "baby" comfortable while he gets better.

Thanks for this blog and for all the helpful comments.

Dana said...

To the mom of Bruiser-I am so sorry. We are getting closer to making that decision for our 15yr golden retriever, Jack. He has that same look in his eyes that you described. This is his second episode and its been 3 weeks, with very little improvement. I'm physically exhausted trying to get him up and outside, makes it worse now that there is snow and he has never liked snow, so I've cleaned up many accidents in the house-which hubby isn't happy about. I feel selfish and guilty. I have no clue what to do, I keep thinking maybe the next day will be better, but at 15 I don't know how well he will recover.

Kerri said...

Thank You Dana! It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. They told me with vestibular disease they will get better... Trust me he did not! And he weighed 70lbs so I was in your boat as far as always lifting him up, although he didn't have an accident in the house until the night before we put him down..I also heard after the fact that dogs will fight to live if they can sense the owners are stressed about them. I think that was very true in bruiser's case..He would look at me soo sad! :( So good luck in whatever choice you make!

Dee said...

hello, has any one experienced bloody tinged diarrhea with ivd?
my 14 yr old has just reached the 72 hr mark and is worse...been to the 24 hr animal clinic-vailum and anti=dizzy pills - very expensive
going to get prednisone next..my heart is breaking - this ismy baby and the best dog i ever had...thank you for this site and i hope to hear from someone.

Anonymous said...

Hello again Luisa, i sent you an email asking what was wrong that you had not posted any blog entries for a while. Then i browsed around in the vestibular disease posts a while and found you had lost Piper to a stroke subsequent to a vestibular disease episode. My heart goes out to you. No wonder you do not feel like posting. Strength and courage, dear heart, it does get better after enough time has passed, though that is only a cold comfort right now.
Peggy Merrill

FarmBoyrunplay said...

Finding your Lassie get help! Whooooieeee! Has helped me believe in miracles again! My lil Farm Boy Aussie almost died a few years back when he fell into my life. He was infested with fleas...weighed 28 lbs...mal nutritioned...my vet shook his head sadly and sent me home with prednisone and said he had about a week to live. I prayed. I hand fed him sweet potatoes and water and ..i prayed. Well he has been coming out of his obvious abusive past life more and more and turned in to a wonder filled loving,grateful healthy forever best pal until midnite new years eve. I heard a big thump on the floor and turned on the lite and he was peeing on the wall which he never does. I hurried him and my gracious 11 year old lab out the door and Farm Boy promptly fell to the ground. I got down on the ground with him...gently picked him up...back inside we went...and I put him in my bed and watched him all nite praying he wasn't going to die til i got to the vet. I had JUST moved across the country from FLorida to Cali and luckily had already found a great vet. Vestibular...stroke...brain tumour....she was 90% sure it was vestibular. He got much better in two days and then regressed back to wobbling alot. The twitching in the eyes is almost all gone (that has to be EXHAUSTING!) ...my question to all of you is...he is hardly eating...I know...that is expected...he is turning down his favorite foods as i try to hand feed him but he is GOBBLING down ...peanut butter clliff bars and blueberry ones. He seems more chipper after he eats them and he is getting stronger on all fours....do you think it is ok? They have grains, and soy and peanut butter...they seem to be helping him...would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you soooo much for having such a beautiful blog site and for soooo many caring dog lovers writing in with such great words. REALLY has helped me sooooo much believe that my lil Farm Boy will once again be able to run and play. We are on day five! xoxoxoxoxo

Doreen said...

Thank-you for this blog! We had the same type of incident with our English Springer Spaniel, Bud, last night. He is almost 14 and was recently diagnosed with Cushing's disease. He is responding well to the drugs. Last night, though, scared us all.

Bud had been sleeping for about 3 hours when he got up and fell on his face. As many of you, I thought stroke or that his (most likely) pituitary tumor had grown. We rushed him into emergency with fears of the worse. They called for help stat when seeing him since he appeared to be having a seizure. The vet diagnosed him with IVD.

This morning he vomited after taking his meds (1st time). He started losing control of his bowels and bladder yesterday which the vet may be due to his diorientation. He didn't eat at all. He bagan today walking unsteadily but has gone back to being unable to stand by himself.

This blog has provided me with great insight and treatment options. Thank-you for the help. It has gven me hope!

lumlumaaaaaaah said...

Wow! So many comments on this blog that I haven't been able to read through all of them but I just wanted to share my story as well. Yesterday morning I woke up to my 13 year old Bichon Frise, Abigail, dribbling urine onto my bed and looking as if she was having a seizure. I took her to the vet and explained to him that she was having a seizure. He sent me home after taking a blood sample and told me to keep an eye on her. When we got home, Abigail had 2 more urinary accidents and vomited twice within these last 2 days, always followed by what I thought was a seizure. The vet called me this morning with the results of the blood test. Turns out Abigail has a major serious urinary tract infection with a high bacteria count. Then the veterinarian asked me how Abigail was doing and I told him about the vomiting in which he sounded surprised. Since I heard surprise in his tone of voice, I looked up Abigail's symptoms online to see what else Abigail could have. Now I see the symptoms are Vestibular Disease and not seizures at all. She is losing her balance. Looks like Vertigo, not seizures. Worried that the vet may have just taken my prognosis on Abigail's health verbatim, I called the vet back to straighten out the situation and comment of Vestibular instead, suggesting that the vet take that into consideration. I spoke to one of the staff members who passed on my message to the doctor. A few minutes later the lady on the staff called me right back and said that the doctor was sure Abigail was having seizures and to start anti seizure drugs at once. So to make a long story short, I am shocked to all heck that the veterinarian isn't even interested in asking me further questions in regards to Abigail's symptoms. I am disgusted that he wants to start my dog on anti- seizure meds when Abigail isn't even seizuring. How many times this has happened with misdiagnosis and dogs being put on dangerous drugs that they don't even need or even euthanized for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile us pet owners are left with all the anxiety, guilt and trauma because of ignorance/negligence. Abigail is going to the naturalist/herbalist tomorrow to see what can be done.

soozle said...

This blog is my life saver I look it up for comfort. Louie our Golden thumped to the ground 5 days ago now. Vet trip followed, stroke or tumour advised (with no proper neuro assessment didn't even have his temp checked) and advised'take him home for the night for final farewell tomorrow' my husband googled his symptoms, nystagmus,legs flailing, unable to eat drinketc and came up with Vestibular Disease. Luckily I am a nurse and popped a drip up, called same useless vet for access to injectable anti sick meds and anti biotics and started him on a course of prednisone. Slowly he is taking baby steps to recovery. Stopped the drip as he is lapping water, syringe feeding him food with extra protein powder, massage and sponge baths! He is trying to stand but falls easily.Trying holistic vet tomorrow for some acupuncture. Here's hoping. we adore our golden boy and not ready to give up on him!!

Unknown said...

One of our old boys "Yow" (Howl Now Yow Yow) suddenly came down with what seems to be vestibular disease - absolutely fine one day, and then last week, could hardly stand, had his head cocked to one side, and one of his eyes was darting back and forth. Yow Yow will be 14 in a few weeks and other than this, has been in excellent health all his life. Found this site - what a relief it was, and CORRECT! Yow has now recovered almost fully - luckily he continued to eat and drink with some help, and we let him run loose after a week. I was so freaked out when this happened to him and I'm so grateful for this blog and reading all of the comments. Good work!

Pope County Fair said...

Most of the comments here are about older dogs, and a I fairly certain my brother's cocker spanail mix experienced a few boughts of this in his day, but we are now having issues of a different sort.

We have recently acquired a 10 week old lab puppy that was returned to the breeder. The purchaser complained there was something wrong with her. (he also complained there was something wrong with the previous dog he had gotten, we suspect there may be abuse).

She is an active, playful puppy. But once in a while she has spells where her head tilts to the side and she walks like she is drunk. They don't last over a couple minutes and then she is fine. She doesn't whine or cry and we have not notice the eye movement thing. Any ideas?

JL said...

I posted here on April 22, 2010 about my then-14yo Australian shepherd who had had a stroke, per the vet (wrong nystagmus, and some other stuff with her eyes that said stroke, not IVD). She was recovering at the time, about 12 days after the episode.

I wanted to report back that she pretty much recovered in about a month. In December 2010 I started working with a TCM vet who said that with my dog's TCM profile (she has an excess of damp heat), March through May is pretty much her highest risk time of further strokes. So far, so good on avoiding strokes or vestibular this year. The chinese herbs she is on mean that at 15 she looks and feels better than she did before her stroke.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to find this; I first commented on the original post..

Marla, our 75lb, 15yo golden/lab, was a "failed foster" & has been with us 11yrs. She's had random bouts of urinary incontinence, has painful arthritis & is losing sight & hearing. All of which our vet has observed/treated. The combination gives her a robotic gait & "head-down" posture, making it difficult to isolate new neuro symptoms from her regular bearing.

In December she had what we thought was a stroke. I'm a former vet tech, familiar with Wobblers, CVD, Cushings, Epilepsy, stroke, etc. Her symptoms were much like those of our old epileptic lab/x, Sneakers, who had multiple strokes his last yr of life from a brain tumor behind his eye (home care & PT hugely influenced his recovery b/t strokes). The difference was that Marla had a severe head tilt & slight body lean. She had no nystagmus (but her pupils were dilated for several hrs), no vomiting, no apparent nausea (normal appetite). The lean made her lose balance & fall but not walk in circles. She was generally weak & tired & had to be supported to stand & walk with a rolled towel under her abdomen. Despite that, her normal arthritic posture & gait were largely unchanged.

Based on her last blood panel, an ear inspection, spinal palpation, etc we felt comfortable ruling out thyroid, middle ear & disk issues. An MRI for brain tumor would've been a referral to a distant clinic, forcing Marla to endure a long & painful drive & procedure. After discussion with our vet of 12yrs & consideration of Marla's age, size & hatred of travel, we chose to instead aide her physically & watch her progress here at home. She improved along roughly the same timeline/progression as our stroke dog, Sneakers. She has done well except for occasional stumbling of her back legs, which could be due to her arthritis.

About 2 wks ago she began sleeping thru her urinary incontinence, startling herself awake, staggering to her feet, embarrassed. She began a slight leaning posture, but again without other neuro symptoms. She also began a mild cough when she changed position- laying to sitting, standing to laying, etc.

Friday night, she had stability issues. She couldn't stand or walk w/o assistance- the toes on all 4 feet were curling under. One back leg was uncontrolled & folding under her, she was leaning to 1 side (w/o head tilt) & had to be urged to eat.

Update: Today she can stand with assistance, wag her tail & "grin" but has no urinary control when she stands. The toes of her back right foot continue to curl under & affect her balance & ability to walk. She refused to be helped to lay in the sun & instead focused on "her" corner of the front porch. She's refusing food but drinking water when the bowl is held for her & accepting her treats & massages.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. Extensive tests aren't an option; we will not stress her at her age, with painfully fragile hips & temperament. We also care for other special-needs & senior dogs, so can't afford extensive tests if it won't change treatment options or outcome. We know a difficult decision is in our futures, but would like to ease her discomfort & retain some quality of life as long as possible. She still enjoys long naps in the grass, laying next to my husband's desk when he works from home, "telling" us when it's time for her special treats or massages, and being groomed by our other pets.

Is anyone experienced with homeopathic or home treatments to ease her symptoms? We're in a rural area without the options of a homeopathic/accupuncture vet and prefer not to use prednisone, corticosteroids, etc (controversial meds for CVD) on a dog of her age...

Luisa said...

Re Marla: more knowledgeable commenters may have suggestions for home treatments -- I'd just like to say that Marla is blessed to have such caring people with her at this time. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to make her days easier. Best wishes to you all --

jerry said...

My Bichon has been tilting his head and can't walk a straight line. Also having balance problems. This has been going on for about a week. Prior to that when we played he would yip if his left ear got into any activity like flopping or lifted up, not as much now.
Does he have an ear infection causing the walking, balance and head issue? Will it go away on it's own?

Rebecca said...

Our 12 year old Aussie, Dundee, first got diagnosed with IVD this past fall. At that time, he was admitted to the local(and very good) animal hospital for an overnight stay to calm him down via sedatives and an IV just to keep him hydrated. We picked him up the next evening, and the vet both informed and warned us it could happen again. It did just this week, Monday night. This one seems more debilitating than the last one, most likely because he was not sedated as he was with the first episode at the animal hospital. We've been in touch with our local vet, and are giving him meclazine 3 times a day and this does help. Dundee and his food bowl are the bestest of friends so when he's not interested in the bowl, well, the world has got to be ending. This morning he got up before me, wobbled to his water bowl, then impatiently wobbled to the door to potty, and wobbled back in after after I helped him potty - then there he is, all jazzed and wobbly excited right to the his girlfriend, the food bowl. He still bobbles around out in the yard for the potty bit, but he's progressed from girly squatting to the manly hikin' of that leg. He may fall a bit, but he can "tripod" to poop.

I'm still taking him into the vet just because it will make me feel better. But you folks, who post here and share that your dogs relapse too have given me some of the best comfort of all. Thank you so very much!

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Michele...Sydney my 9 yr old Golden/lab ha this !!! HOW frustrating! he is on Prednisone and Cephalexin-- head sunk in a bit on the right side and his eye is always goopy and I just got him an RX of eye medication for this. Poor DOG-- this is a God send to read others situations that have improved- I pray for all the dogs in the world right now who are suffering with this. I am going away at the end of nxt week and this mini vacation was planned a few months ago before he had this- It seems he's had this so long I forgot when it started but I noticed his head/eye sunken in first then came the dizziness- poor boy- I love him so much- he was someone else's dog until just 2 yrs ago and I asopted him from their personal ad in the paper. He drinks, eats fine--and takes his meds fine- BUT WE ALL need to know MORE about this and if any of these meds are actually hurting them instead of helping them- you know? We all obviously got here because we love and want to help our dog with Vestibular disorder. Prednisone is supposed to build up their immune system. I give Sydney his pred and antibiotic with a lump of P Butter- he always takes it perfectly. I put a gate up at the end of the stairs because he used to go up about 20 steps to sleep by me on the floor at night. He doesn't seem to want to even attempt it- I have an older dog and she is is such better shape than Sydeny 3 yrs younger- HUGS to you all and to your doggies- please post anything positive that has helped your dog. Has anyone ever kenneled your dog with this? My 2 dogs will be going to a local pet resort where they will give the meds and he will have access to an outdoor run all day every day and be next to my other dog - they can go in together but the older one will eat his food and drink his water so that won't work- prednisone will make him hungry and he will eat..he pants all the time too from it..so he needs his water too. Thanks for being here everyone- praying for your babies!
Michele and Sydney

Cari said...

This website has really helped me. Our 14 year-old husky suddenly showed signs of vestibular disease on Saturday. Friday night he did fall, but I didn't think anything of it because his legs have been wobbly for a couple of years now. When he suddenly acted drunk on Saturday, and his eyes were darting back and forth and the head tilt, I thought he had a stroke.

I started looking at the internet and found vestibular disease. I called a couple of emergency vets who started mentioning brain tumors and needing all kinds of tests. It's Memorial Day weekend, and I thought all they wanted was the money. I called a vet who does home visits and she said that our baby can wait to go to the vet on Tuesday. Even if it is a brain tumor, she said, a couple of days won't hurt.

So, tomorrow we're taking our pooch to the vet and have praying that it is just vestibular disease. He eats (turkey, cheese and rice) and drinks water. He just won't get up and that part scares me. He's 100 pounds. We love our baby so much and are so frightened that we won't be bringing him home.

Your comments have alleviated some of the fear.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My little Tootsie (a 17 yr. old chi) was diagnosed with vestibular about a month and a half ago. SHe has seemed to make a complete recovery, even this Sunday. Then she bumps her head, and is back to square one. I feel horribly guilty. I try to watch her, but with two other dogs, it's hard to keep an eye on her all the time. has anyone else heard of bumping the head (while she's walking around, she'll bonk it on a wall or piece of furniture)making vestibular worse again? ONe vet (regular) said he thinks it's something else. My homeopathic thinks it's still vestibular and that she's having ups and downs?

Anonymous said...

Hello. My dog Grover is a German Shepherd Mix. He is a shelter dog, so I don't know exactly how old he is, but I'd put him in the 12-13 range. In March, he woke up one day acting drunk, stumbling, moving to the right, horizontal nystagmus (eye movement), eye twitching, head tilt to the right,falling over. With Meclizine (for his dizziness) and lots of TLC, he eventually got back to 100% within 3 weeks. It was remarkable.

However, 2 weeks ago, I came home and he was unable to move at all. His head was straight down and near the floor (like an ostricth). Every step he tried to take resulted in him rolling on his head and falling onthe floor. This happened three times. The nystagmus was back. I rushed him to the hospital. The neurologist said he had bilateral vestibular disease. The first time, only the right side was affected, this time it was both (bilateral). I was nervous and opted for an MRI. No tumors, no lesions, no infections. It's been two weeks, and he now has a head tilt to the left, needs a lot of assitance walking, and falls on occasion. He has begun walking in circles, sometimes it lasts as long as an hour with brief breaks in between circles. I wake up every morning at 5am to his circling and my heart breaks. I have cried so much. He has an appetite, he gives me so many kisses and such affection still, but I know he's going through a lot, never mind what I"m going through. I know that it's only been 2 weeks, and it took 3 weeks last time, and this time is worse, so it may just be that he needs more time, but I keep fearing what if he doesn't get better? What if I have to put himi down? What if I do put him down and he would have gotten better if had waited a week?

Does anyone else have experience with vestibular disease coming back and it being worse? Did the dog get better again? I have constant anxiety about my friend and I can't even focus at work right now. Please help!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Grover ... has the vet tried steroids? I have a 13-1/2 year old Australian Shepherd and the steroids helped him immensely.

Anonymous said...

No, we haven't tried steroids. We are about to try a mild antibiotic in case there is a less noticeable infection that is inflaming his vestibular nerves. Smaller infections may not show up on the MRI, so I'm told. I'll ask about the steroids/anti-inflammatory drugs though. Thanks so much! Anyone else with advice or thoughts, I welcome them. Worried about my little guy!

Anonymous said...

Tears are just streaming down my face as I sit here reading everyone's blogs at 11:50 at night. My 13 year old Shar-pei, Chazz, has what I hope is vestib. syndrome & not a brain tumor. I've been online researching this for hours now & NOT to frighten anyone,(I know how us parents can overreact when it comes to our voiceless children & we fear the worst)but many of the symptoms between the 2 diseases are very similar. The main difference I've read are that seizures are mainly just associated with brain tumors, which I haven't exp. w/my dog. Nystagmus IS present in both diseases, though. (read a blog on here where her vet told her "Nystagmus=vestib., no need to panic." NOT necessarily the case.) Chazz suddenly started acting strangely the other night, with a severe right head tilt, standing in 1 spot looking dazed, with his head twitching non-stop. Rushed him to the ER vet & was told it was vestib. The waiting game is killing me. I guess I had in my mind that he would just magically 'snap out of it' in 72 hours, but that's not been the case. It's now been 5 days. He seems to be on the mend 1 day, then back to square 1 the next. He seems to be at an all-time low today-even sleeping with his head tilted. I have to physically pick him up to try to get him on his feet & he can stand, but is so wobbly that I have to carry him outside to use the bathroom, where he finally manages to hold upright long enough to go. Thankfully, he is still eating and drinking, but vomited a bit a few hours ago. I live in a 2-story home & for the 13yrs of his life, he's never really left my side while in the house. I cannot bear to leave him downstairs alone when I go to bed at night, so I somehow manage to carry my 65 lb. buddy up & down the stairs.(I've blocked the entrances to the stairs, of course, in case he tries to manage them on his own.) I have a wonderful vet & I spoke to her {again} today & based on her suggestion, we brought him in for a steroid, & also a "very powerful" antibiotic injection. 12 hrs. later-still no change-maybe even a litle worse w/regard to his balance & limb strength. I am just so glad that tonight he's sleeping & we're not reliving last night when he was pacing the floors, going in circles, panting & coming up to me as if he needed me to pet/reassure him, which of course I was happy to do. This went on for hours. My vet also mentioned that if he doesn't improve w/in the next few days after these injections, we may have to consider the possibility of it being a brain tumor & our next course of action(s) if that's the case, etc. The thought terrifies me & makes me almost physically ill. I helped his mother in the birthing process 13 yrs ago & the bond between us is immeasurable. I've read many articles on other sites written by distraught pet owners whose dogs have displayed all of the vestib. signs, but are immediately told by their vets (w/no cat scans or testing) that they have brain tumors, have "so long to live", & the "owner needs to consider euthanization", etc. Reading that burns to me no end! Never give up on your pet, if at all financially possible. Do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of it & try to resolve the issue & the hardest part-be patient-which I am having a very tough time with. This site is a Godsend & I thank anyone who takes the time to read my middle-of-the-night rambling. I think I just need to try to work it out in my own mind. I'm also researching homeopathic treatments for him, such as accupuncture, etc. It surely couldn't hurt, I suppose. Prayers & well wishes to all the dogs and pet owners going through this, or any other disease/illness. Helplessly watching our beloved pet stumbling around in a stupor & looking utterly miserable, has got to be one of the worst hell's on earth.

Anonymous said...

It's now been four weeks for Grover. He is still having trouble walking on his own outside. Inside is better because he can grip the carpet. Yet, he still walks in circles early in the morning and veers to the left. He is very hesitant to make right turns when he walks, and still doesn't walk straight. He stumbles, falls, and does forward rolls often. This happens more in the morning and late at night. He is still eating very well and is affectionate as always, but he still is not "himself." This has been extremely upsetting. I'm trying so hard to do everything I can for the little guy. Does anyone else have experience with vestibular disease taking over a month for the dog to get closer to normal?

Anonymous said...

Day 13 for Chazz. Not seeing much improvement at all with the ataxia & head tilt, but I do see improvements in his alertness, tail wagging, etc. He almost seems OK while he's lying down, except for the head tilt. Then he gets up, (or I get him up to go outside) & am once again reminded that he is not healed. I don't think you ever get used to seeing your dog like this. He gets so anxious trying to find his way back into the house from the backyard, causing him to circle & stumble more than usual. His head is so tilted it causes him to lean that direction. I usually take him out on a harness & leash (which is a HUGE help in steering him & keeping him safer & calmer), but sometimes I try to let him do it on his own, hoping it will help him get better. Just got back from his 2nd acupuncture treatment & the Dr. says she's noticed improvement from last week. Thankfully, I've learned from this site, that it takes 3+ weeks alot of times for our dogs to return to "normal." I was so stuck on the "72 hour" window I've read so much about, I thought he was doomed after day 3 - but not the case! This gives me great hope. I am so thankful to read other people's stories, although my heart goes out to each of you. Luckily, Chazz's appetite & thirst have not slowed down, so that's got to be something. His nystagmus has been gone for days, which again, I assumed would mean instant recovery, but so far, no. Just like humans, all dogs will recover at their own pace & you unfortunately just can't say how long it will take. One of the hardest parts for me is the waiting & him seeming OK one day and worse the next, but again, this seems fairly common. Hang in there everyone - I truly believe there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Grover - there are so many similarities between our dogs symptoms, etc. We're on Day 13 now with not a whle lot of improvement. I have done SO much research on this and while I'm no expert, I have learned alot. I think it's wonderful news that there was no tumor found in Grover! To me, that's 1/2 the battle. Not knowing if this is just a temporary peripheral form or a central form (tumor), is so hard. The same thoughts have crossed my mind about maybe having to put him down at some point if he doesn't recover. How is that even going to be a possibility? Been doing alot of crying and worrying and can hardly function at work sometimes. As far as using steroids and anti-inflammatory injections-everyone needs to do their RESEARCH 1st! Chazz had 2 shots last week, one of which is called "CONVENIA", made by Phyzer. Here is a link to a Facebook blog, many other horror stories on the internet, as well: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Convenia-adverse-reactions-in-catsfelines-and-dogscanines/118697391502152 So scary. You're always 2nd guessing yourself with this disease as it is, but now I wonder if the shot is impeding his recovery or making him worse. I have begun a more holistic approach with acupuncture, a healthier homemade diet, etc., so we'll keep our fingers crossed. I wish everyone the best. Be sure & let them feel your presence & touch and massage on them - I know it's helped my dog a great deal. Thank God for this site. I'm certain it's saved many dogs' lives & owners' sanity.

redassaggie00 said...

Thank you so much for this post. I read your entry and immediately realized this was what was going on with my dog!

My dog is 14, blind, and now we're dealing with this, however, he has taken it in stride. Even at 14, he continues to teach me to deal with things with grace.

Thank you for the blog post!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I posted earlier about Tootsie, my 17 yr. old chi who got CVD in mid April. She is 70 to 90% better, depending on the day. Thought I'd share a few things, since I've been going through this with her for so long. One vet told me she had a dog who took an entire YEAR to recover (and I've read about that happening). My other vet (both holistic) said that stress makes it worse or causes recurrences. He also said recurrences can happen for no reason. I've noticed tht her recurrence are more and more mild. They now consist of her walking in circles with only a slight head tilt. Though walking in circles can also become a habit in dogs if you dont watch it. Her new vet said (todAy) that she is noticing very few signs of vestibular and that Tootsie seems almost cured. This is after homeopathic remedies and twice a month acupuncture treatments. Also, I had a problem (as she is also blind) with her hitting her head on walls and furniture if left on her own. So my b/f got her a playpen for children. Wonderful with padded, soft mesh walls and a padded flooring that I also put a bath mat on so she wouldn't slip. Also I put a pillow in there sometimes so she can sleep on it. She HATES it and I try not to leave her in it for more than an hour at a time. But I can feed my other dogs, myself and clean up, etc. without having to hold her at the same time. She also has tummy issues. I studied massage and learned a technique to soothe people where you place your entire hand on the center of their back and gently shake it back and forth very slightly. sometimes this is the only thing that soothes her and gets her to sleep. She sleeps right next to me and if she wakes up agitated, I snuggle her into the blankets more and gently do this slight shaking motion on her back or side and she usu. falls back to sleep. Anyway, do not give up if it's taking your dog longer.

Allison said...

This happened to our 11 year old lab 3 nights ago, she was sleeping/lying on the floor, my 5 year old golden either tried to play with her or sensed something was off and I immediately checked her, she was trembling and shaking so hard (similar to how she gets with storms) she only has one eye due to glaucoma which was bulging and wild looking like she couldnt see and her head was roaming side to side, heavy panting and she couldnt seem to move her back half or stand. My husband and I carried her to the car in a sheet and rushed her to ER vet and I laid with her in the back to keep her calm (don't know how I was remaining calm but I was and I knew she could sense it if I was hysterical). Within 10 minutes the vet came out to let us know it wasn't a stroke and she was pretty sure vestibular. Within 30 minutes she was already improving walking a bit but falling so they kept her overnight to monitor and give fluids and also do labs. The labs were worrisome, her liver functions were elevated (ALT- 240 Alk Phosphate- >993, upper limit is 100 I believe, so when I picked her up the next morning she was doing much better wagging her tail just a tad unsteady but fine. I took her right over to my regular vet who evaluated her and agreed probably vestibular but we need to repeat labs in a week and they put her on Denamarin to protect her liver. Well I begin my research as we used for the first time Trifexis heartworm/flea/worm about 10 days ago and I'm wondering if this vestibular is really Hepatic encephlopathy due to her elevated liver enzymes. Anyone have experience with this? My girl is really almost completely back to herself, napping a little more but eating/drinking/walking fine thank goodness. We will be going back to our good old heartguard just in case, even the vet suggested that.

Anonymous said...

This is THE MOST BiZARRE syndrome, and elicits the greatest sense of helplessness! My sweet 14 1/2-year-old visczla, Lucille Ball,now white-faced and mole-eyed, had her first bout in May. After nearly falling off the "wall" at the beach,then turning in circles and walking drunkenly, I raced her to the expensive emergency clinic, where they did bloodtests, x-rays, and hydrated her. $850. When I got her home and lookd up the symptoms, I started her on Dramamine. It didn't seem to help at all, but three days later she began to eat on her own (I had been hand feeding her), and able to get on and off my bed.
July it came again. With a vengeance. But at least I knew what it was this time, nursing her through the confusion, hand feeding and watering, and once again, after five days, she was somewhat normal again. August, a month later, while I was out of town, my son had to contend with her drunken stupor, lack of appetite, depression, rocking in corners, walking into things, circling to the left, general malaise. He took her to the same vet - who did blood tests and x-rays AGAIN - $485. Because my Lucy's eyes weren't "spasm-ing," they told my son it was not vestibular. He brought her home and was frustrated that he had spent my money to find out that they were wrong. He too looked up the symptoms on the internet and clearly concluded vestibular. Once again, no eye movements.
August, attack number FOUR. Yes it DOES return.
My son taught me few things tonight - he began to spoon feed Lucy, at EYE LEVEL, and she GOBBLED up the rest of her bowl! I felt so AWFUL! She can't eat with her HEAD DOWN!
I then put her water on a bench right in front of her eyes, and she drank and drank!!!!! I cried.
I could have starved her to death! She is calm now, at 1AM, after eating, walking incircles for an hour, pee-ing, and drooling. Precious angel.
I have to get some sleep before I hear her bumping into walls again.
Every day with her is a gift. I just don't know how many of these "atavks" are fair to let her live through.
But her tail still wags, she walks, pees, poops, and eats and drinks.
I'd say that's still livin' right?

Kathy Browning said...

Has anyone heard if this can be caused by Lime Dyp or Advantix treatment for lice? Our dogs were fine one day and the next had all the symptoms of this disease. They are different breeds, different ages but their symptoms appeared one week after a Lyme Dyp and within 24 hours of each other. They are both doing terrible. I hesitate to let my 16 year old dog go through this. He may not make it 3 or 4 months anyway. We at first thought that maybe they were poisoned since the symptoms appeared in both dogs within a day of each other.

Anonymous said...

My 10 year old plus, Laddie, a collie, started showing symptoms this morning. He is tilting to the right and bumping into things, which for him is somewhat normal. You see, he is toatally blind. I see no nystagmus and don't know if a blind dogs eyes will show that or not. He refused to leave the porch to go potty, so DD carried him down. He appears to be eating and drinking ok today. I will take him to the vet in the morning. So far, no vomiting. As a blind dog, he gets around by listening and feeling the air around him. He can't do that very well right now. So sad. Hope it clears up soon and does not come back. I will let you know what the doctor finds.

Anonymous said...

interesting i just came across this thread tonight, as my 14 yr old border collie girl is on her second relapse of Vestibular Disease. She's the second dog i've had with it, so at least i wasn't as shocked at the head tilt and inability to walk this time, but it's still frightening.

This second relapse, is the worst, she's unwilling to get out of her bed.. well she can't really, as she just falls flat down and can't walk. even with my help it's a struggle for her, we've brought in a large carpet piece to put on the portions of floor that are tile.. to slippery..

I have found that moving slowly, talking, and being a few feet in front of her helps her know where she's going, her eyes are showing nystamus.. i can't imagine how the world appears to her? I'm also using a leash to lightly guide her head, harness, and a towel/wide leash under her rear end to help hold her so she doens't fall...

I was hoping to find something that might help relieve symptoms but so far no luck :-((

Anonymous said...

interesting thati just found this thread tonight, as my 14 yr old border collie girl is on her second relapse of Vestibular Disease. She's the second dog i've had with it, so at least i wasn't as shocked at the head tilt and inability to walk this time, but it's still frightening.

This second relapse, is the worst, she's unwilling to get out of her bed.. well she can't really, as she just falls flat down and can't walk. even with my help it's a struggle for her, we've brought in a large carpet piece to put on the portions of floor that are tile.. to slippery..

I have found that moving slowly, talking, and being a few feet in front of her helps her know where she's going, her eyes are showing nystamus.. i can't imagine how the world appears to her? I'm also using a leash to lightly guide her head, harness, and a towel/wide leash under her rear end to help hold her so she doens't fall...

I was hoping to find something that might help relieve symptoms but so far no luck :-((

Stacy said...

We recently went through a very scary bout of Canine Vestibular with our 9 year old Chocolate lab, Penny. Reading all these comments during our very scary time really helped me get through it, so I thought I should share our story to give others some hope!

About 3 weeks ago, we noticed Penny was walking the very perimeter of every room- she would hug the left wall and always step to the left whenever she was trying to climb something. We took her to the vet right away, and she told us it was probably just bad stress- at that time, she wasn’t showing any other symptoms. Over the course of the next couple days, she got progressively worse. She began making large circles that became tighter and tighter, and her head was starting to tilt to the left. We made a trip to the emergency vet on Sunday, where we were told it was most likely a brain tumor and that we should probably get her an MRI, which would just confirm the brain tumor and we’d probably want to put her down. It was heartbreaking. The ER vet was so cold, uncompassionate, and gave us no other options.

Luckily, I’d done my research online and thought so many of her symptoms mirrored vestibular disease. We took Penny back to our own regular vet on Monday, who confirmed that it did appear to be Vestibular Syndrome. She gave us steroids and antibiotics, and told us to watch her for a few days for signs of improvement, and we’d take it from there. That Monday night was the worst of it- Penny couldn’t stand, was circling so hard to the left with her head titled nearly upside down. She couldn’t even uncurl her head from her left side. It was terrifying. By Tuesday morning, she appeared a bit better. She was able to stand again, although still walked very drunkenly and circled constantly and fell down often. She slowly improved, day by day, until on Friday she was able to walk like her normal self again and was jumping back up on the couch. 3 weeks later, I’d say she’s about 98% back to normal. The head tilt is gone, she walks completely straight, runs and jumps. She still seems a bit sad and a little nervous, but the vet feels she should snap out of that with time.

So the point of this long, drawn out story is DON’T GIVE UP HOPE! If we’d listened to the ER vet and then had seen her awful symptoms that Monday evening, we probably may have considered putting Penny down. But knowing that this disease existed, we had hope that she’d pull through…and she did.

Good luck to all of you dealing with this horrifying disease!

OregonKay said...

Thank you everyone for posting your stories. It gives me hope to hear of so many recoveries. My 15 year Lab Sunny showed symptoms of vestibular syndrome yesterday morning. We were very alarmed. She ate, drank and eliminated normally, which I think might be unusual. We did our best to make her comfortable and this morning she was no worse, although she is not eating as well. I either hand feed her or put the kibble on the floor in front of her.

I didn't sleep well and got up in the middle of the night to search online for an answer to her symptoms. I found references to vestibular syndrome and her symptoms seemed to match. This morning I took Sunny to our vet, who diagnosed vestibular syndrome and a possible stroke. I'm waiting for results of blood analysis. Sunny's heart seemed normal with an EKG, but her blood pressure was very high. The vet put her on a blood pressure drug and meclizine, which I had brought with me from home. She seemed a little more steady a few hours after the meclizine, but it might be wishful thinking. Sunny has a greatly enlarged pancreas and a mass in her gall bladder so we know her time is limited. We hope and pray that she will come through this episode and be with us a lot longer.

She is a true survivor. We adopted her from a rescue organization when we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska 11 years ago. Someone had dumped her at the animal shelter pregnant with eight pups, half-starving and with a deep abscessed hole in her neck from a super-tight collar. To think she was tied up outside in FAIRBANKS and left in such a condition is beyond belief. Physically she healed fast, but the emotional scars took years to erase. Five years ago we moved to rural Oregon and acquired our daughter's dog. The two dogs have been great friends and have had total freedom to be dogs...very happy dogs. Sunny has the most loving, patient temperament of any dog I've ever known. She has been the sunshine of our lives and an inspiring example of trust and resiliency.

OregonKay said...

Update on Sunny: She's made amazing progress, I'm so happy to say. First symptoms were on Sunday, Monday she saw the vet and today is Tuesday. She's about 80% improved and ate without my help three times today. She's walking around a lot and even trotted a bit this afternoon. She still tilts her head to the left and lists to the left when she walks, but she's learned to compensate and hasn't fallen, to my knowledge. She looks happier, too. I gave her one 25 mg. meclizine tab yesterday morning and this morning, plus she's getting a blood pressure med. I don't know how much that helped or whether she would have improved so fast without them. I feel so fortunate that she's doing so well, so fast and I pray her recovery is steady. I know she might regress or have another episode sometime in the future, but I'm just grateful right now, for her and for the wonderful help I found on this blog. Thank you.

OregonKay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aky13 said...

My Westie came down with these symptoms two days after I treated him with the Wal-Mart brand of fipronil (generic for the brand name Frontline). Anyone know of or suspect a connection? I am a Pharmacist by training, a retired FDA official and I am TERRIFIED of the tick pesticides*

* by legal definition, they are NOT drugs and NOT regulated as veterinary drugs!!

Anonymous said...

Hi...have an approximately 8 year old male redbone hound mix. He developed symptoms of vestibular disease about 12 days ago. He had all of the motor/balance probs plus VERTICAL nystagmus, which led the vet to believe it was central vestibular disease...likely a brain tumor. Blood tests and chest x-rays were done, and they were normal. The vet sent us home with antibiotics, prednisone, and an anti-nausea med. The nystagmus was pretty much gone within 2 days, and the other symptoms have also slowly improved. However, I have noted that the right side of my dog's face appears to have mild paralysis...the right eye has no blink reflex, the right lower lip droops, and his right ear does not respond normally to touch. I know that this can be part of vestibular syndrome (effects the facial nerve), but it could also be due to a brain tumor or even a stroke. Has anybody else seen these symptoms in their dogs with vestibular disease? If so, did these symtpoms go away? I am also wondering whether what I felt was a minor head/neck trauma could be causing any/all of these problems...my dog had a very hard head on collision with another, much larger, dog approxiamtely 2-3 weeks before the vestibular symptoms. What do you all think?

Buster's Mom said...

9 months after his first bout with IVD, Buster had a second bout. i thought that i had read that it only hits once and if it hits again it's likely something else much worse. fortunately, our vet explained that the senior canine variety can keep striking. this time was milder with a quicker recovery. no hospital time.
he had no appetite for 2 days, but kept drinking water regularly. on the 3rd day, he would take some baby food. 4th day, some I/D food, then slowly gained his appetite. today, one week after it hit, he's almost back to normal. just a little head tilt and some clumsiness. can climb up onto furniture well and follows us around. i'm curious to see if his head tilt remains and whether it tilts in the opposite direction than last year's bout. keep up the faith when your loved one becomes ill.

Anonymous said...

My 13year old lab was hit with vestibular on Thursday...after the vet trip and much researching on the internet, I've found this site. This is Sunday and she is doing much better. One thing I want to share is that I purchased dog socks with treads on the bottom. They are working wonders for her confidence on the tile and wood floors. I've also ordered "ultra paws durable dog boots" which velco on. No slipping off like the socks. Thank goodness for this website. It has given me hope for Zoey.

Sarah Y. said...

To Allison --

I just came across this post and saw your comments about Trifexis. You said: Well I begin my research as we used for the first time Trifexis heartworm/flea/worm about 10 days ago and I'm wondering if this vestibular is really Hepatic encephlopathy due to her elevated liver enzymes. Anyone have experience with this?

I just gave my 8 mth old Mini Schnauzer his first dose of this on Feb. 19. Three days later he was experiencing balance issues and has since had several seizures. My vet refuses to acknowledge that there's a connection, but I don't see how there isn't considering the timeline (I returned it today).

I'm wondering if your vet was the same way and if your Lab recovered after you stopped using Trifexis (assuming you stopped)?

Any helpful thoughts from anyone else are welcome.

Anonymous said...

Second bout of vestibular disorder since Feb 9th. Not nearly as bad-eyes are back to normal after about two hours. Zoey is walking better and has been wearing her ultra paws tread socks since her first bout in February. They have been a godsend, during the day, when we are at work. Hopefully this too will pass, as her recovery last month was almost 100%after about 10 days.

pammy said...

My beloved dog and best friend JoJo a 15 year old Springer Spaniel was diagnosed with Vestibular disease 1 week ago after displaying stroke like symptoms . 3 weeks ago she was running ,enjoying life and walking up to 7 miles a day . She has no arthritis but a few lumps here and there some of which could be suspect . Her eyes improved within 24 hours and her mobility too . The vet gave her an anti sickness jab but she seemed to go downhill . I reserved judgement and she slowly bounced back enjoyng short walks . As her appetite was very slow to improve ,with the exception of cooked chicken I thought it was due to her feeling nauseous ( no vomiting though )and as the weekend was coming up I thought another trip yo the vet was in order at this point she was doing really well except for her appetite . The vet gave another anti sickness injection and low and behold she almost instantly started to go downhill . 2 days later as before she really picked up again . I would n't want to influence anyone regarding this but monitor your beloved pets carefully .This morning I got up to a distressed confused dog .She had another attack I was distraught as it was even worse than the previous one she could n't stand this is only one week later 1 Thinking back I am sure she has had a couple of these attacks before in a much milder form but has recovered almost immediately . A few hours on as I am writing this she again is able to walk but is miserable . I have just been giving her lots of cuddles to try and take away her fear . This horrible disease breaks your heart . I don't know what the future will hold but I do find these blogs and knowing others are going through it very comforting . In the meantime" come on girlw

e know you can do it " !

Susan said...

I am so happy I found all of you. Hope supposedly had a stroke wed. night went to vet on thursday morning and they said to just watch her and bring back on mon if not better.I think it is vestibular incident not stroke after listening to all of you. I am having to force feed her and she hates it and she has peed two-three times a day but no bm and I am force feeding 1/2 oz of dog food that she hates every 4 hours but no bm. Does anyone know how long they can go without bm. She has IBD on top of this so I am limited to what she can eat. This is killing me and I don't know what else to feed her or how to help her any advice would be greatly appreciated and she is just about blind anyway. This is so depressing and I just am my wits end!

Anonymous said...

ajistoI can't believe I missed this site before. Just over two weeks ago, my dog had a cvs. There were signs she wasn't quite right the night before, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The following morning she couldn't walk, and kept falling over. I rushed her to the emergency vet, the nystagmus came on that morning. Thet gave her a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-sickness. But it got worse as the day went on so took her back and they gave her another dose of both. It has been a terrifying ordeal. For the first three days sge didn't sleep, drink or eat. I had to sit up with her and hold her, she was so terrified she was screaming out. My vet was going to have her on a drio, but she started eating. From there she made massive progress, and apart from a head tilt, was coping really well. This morning, she got up as normal, but within a couple of hours, her balance had gone again. So far, its not as bad as the first, she's eating and drinking, and it just seems to be her balance, no visible nystagmus. Bloods last week showed one raised liver enzyme, but its causing confusion as she has arthritis and colitis and these can show up with this result. Vet isnt too worried about underlying liver disease as there are no symptoms of it. She was due to go in for more tests tomorrow but we've cancelled, as feel that the second lot f routine bloods she had yesterday may have caused the stress that has triggered this episode. She is on Vivitonin, to increase the bllod supply to the brain. Its a nightmare disease, as because they dont really kow the cause, they dont really know what works, and it often just gets better on its own. I have slpt on the sofa for two weeks, but will sleep on the floor tonight, as we'll both pribablt get more sleep if I'm next to her.

Hel said...

Hey everyone,
Like you all this site has brought much comfort through what is such a difficult time. United in the fact we all love our dogs so much, every post has brought insite and comfort. When you have to battle with some people (and there are always some), to understand what you and your pet are going through, the reassurance this blog brings is invaluable.
My dog Harv is 13, and he suffered an attack last week. My vet was brilliant and after many tests we are at this point settled on vestibular syndrome as the diagnosis. Harv is doing well, though he deffinately gets good times and bad. We are camped downstairs and appart from quick showers and one very fast run to the shop, I have not left him. He is my world and I cannot bare the thought of being without him, but this time has given me the opportunity to love and reassure him while I wait through every day for him to come back to me as his old self. Like so many of you, I hope this will be the case.
Love to you all x

grandmeJ said...

Thank you so much for all of your info. My 14 yr old Jack Russell came down with the vestibular disease, after just playing with my daughter and a brand new squeaky toy. Boom just like that. Wednesday afternoon. We have been blessed as he did not experience, the vomiting, but it is so sad to see him circle, stagger and twitch and stare off into space. He actually whined a bit for a bit of hamburger yesterday, while riding home and drank water last evening. He did his pooping today, and has not pied in the house. Staying close by, carrying him down the stairs and feeding him from the hand. Praying to hear the bark or the whine.

Anonymous said...

Our girl is 14 this June. She is a Smooth Collie/Doberman bundle of love that raised me through my twenties. It is so very hard to watch her go through this, she has had a few episodes in the last couple of years. She is still very wobbly from her episode last night and we are having to carry her outside to go to the bathroom. It has almost been 24 hours since the onset and hoping it continues to get better and not worse for her. Thanks for all the great info here, it's comforting knowing there are others who have been through the same thing.

Kimberly and Sean said...

We have a 12 year old lakepoo mix - week before the onset he seemed to be having diarhea but then went back to regular bowel movements - (not sure if this was related or not) Then 2 nights ago he woke up screaming as though he was in pain - I quickly picked him up and held him. I saw the eye darting and stiff front legs. I held him until he seemed calmer and we both slept next to each other. This was at 4:30 a.m. We thought maybe he had a bad dream- Morning came and he seemed normal - Last night at 4:30 am we woke up to what seemed to be a flailing in his condo dog crate -When I got there he was completely disoriented and seemed to be walking in circles hitting the door and a walls as e went. Again I quickly picked him up and held him close as I softly spoke to him. Again I noticed the eye darting movements- (this time we thought maybe it was a seizure.) When he seemed to settle down I again laid he on the bed next to me laid my hand on him and prayed for him, and we slept again. He did seem a bit restless through the night but didn't attempt to get up. Upon getting up in the morning he was a bit disoriented and had some trouble walking. I quickly hopped onto the computer to try and figure out was was going on - Upon much research it became apparent that vestibular is what we are dealing with. As the day has wore on his disorientation and gate seem to be getting better- To note - He occasionally wants to shake his head like his ears are bothering him - No head tilt though - We go to the vet later just to be sure. Praying for all that are walking through this - One thing we have found is that the calmer you are and the more you treat them like they are ok, the better they seem to do - They are like kids- they sense when you are upset. Keep positive and pray- God loves our dogs too!!

Kimberly and Sean said...

We have a 12 year old lakepoo mix - week before the onset he seemed to be having diarhea but then went back to regular bowel movements - (not sure if this was related or not) Then 2 nights ago he woke up screaming as though he was in pain - I quickly picked him up and held him. I saw the eye darting and stiff front legs. I held him until he seemed calmer and we both slept next to each other. This was at 4:30 a.m. We thought maybe he had a bad dream- Morning came and he seemed normal - Last night at 4:30 am we woke up to what seemed to be a flailing in his condo dog crate -When I got there he was completely disoriented and seemed to be walking in circles hitting the door and a walls as e went. Again I quickly picked him up and held him close as I softly spoke to him. Again I noticed the eye darting movements- (this time we thought maybe it was a seizure.) When he seemed to settle down I again laid he on the bed next to me laid my hand on him and prayed for him, and we slept again. He did seem a bit restless through the night but didn't attempt to get up. Upon getting up in the morning he was a bit disoriented and had some trouble walking. I quickly hopped onto the computer to try and figure out was was going on - Upon much research it became apparent that vestibular is what we are dealing with. As the day has wore on his disorientation and gate seem to be getting better- To note - He occasionally wants to shake his head like his ears are bothering him - No head tilt though - We go to the vet later just to be sure. Praying for all that are walking through this - One thing we have found is that the calmer you are and the more you treat them like they are ok, the better they seem to do - They are like kids- they sense when you are upset. Keep positive and pray- God loves our dogs too!!

Anonymous said...

My friend's dog is at the vet right now for over night observation. The dog was fine last night and behaving normally except she slept in a room she normally doesn't. This morning my friend called crying that her collie would not open her eyes but was alive. She said she was taking her to the vet and I said I will meet you there. The vet sent us to an internal specialist. While at the specialist I started searching the web for answers. The symptoms are .. prefers eyes closed...walked like she's drunk...stumbling... Rocks front to back while standing still... Pacing and going in circles... Drooling... Head tilting/swaying to the right...panting... Doesn't want to eat or drink... Wasn't really responding to calling her name... And while we were at the specialist she had this odd mouth thing where the right side of her mouth was twitching... I really think its cvs but I am not a vet... They ran blood work and everything was normal except her sodium level was elevated. Also this dog does drink A LOT of water normally... Her temp was normal.. blood pressure normal... The specialist put drops in her eyes to look at them and said the pupils we equally dialated and said he felt it was neurological and wanted her to go for an MRI. We delicately brought up CVS as he never suggested it and it was completly side stepped. Unfortunately this is at the worst possible time for thus to happen to my friend. She lost both her parents in less than 2 years time so is very "gloom and doom" and I'm worried her dog will feel that and just give up. I just don't know what to do to help.... Am I on the wrong track with CVS? Would the Vet have said CVS if it was a possibility? I'm just confused... Thank you

Anonymous said...

Oh, it has been a traumatic day. I awakened to my 14 year old border collie vomiting and with the head tilt, nystagmus and falling over. She was totally fine last night and as though she would die this morning. I was so scared for my girl. My vet diagnosed it right away. Her case is quite severe, but hopefully will resolve soon. Right now, she is still struggling a bit.

I came across this blog as I was searching for more info. It sounds like this may be more common in border collies. It is also good to hear so many dogs have successfully recovered. Thanks. LeeAnn

Buster's Mom said...

Buster's 2nd bout was in jan 2012.
he's actually much better after the 2nd than he was after the 1st. he still has a slight head tilt, but not as pronounced as before. it's almost as though he hadn't fully shaken the 1st round when the 2nd one hit.
since he's aging (14 now), his arthritis, vision & hearing problems are bothering him more, so he isn't as active as before everything hit. but i do not think the IVD is causing any of his problems now.

Anonymous said...

I'm also glad I found this site. My 13 yr old weimaraner has all the classic signs. I think she has experienced this before, but with very fast recovery. This time the "drunk walk" started on Saturday, her back legs wouldn't "jive" with her front while walking downstairs. Then once outside, she (Chloe) just laid in the sun looking off into space (not worried with the bunnies or birds)! My daughers have been giving her extra love and my younger weimaraner is vigilantly hovering (the dogs don't usually interact very much). So far we only skipped one meal, but I am going to raise her food bowl up tonight...she seems to lose her balance when she eats.

Last night her face seemed tender to the touch and her legs are very stiff. She looks at me (through her cataracts) and seems to beg for me to help her....she is afraid to shake when she wakes up, as she seems to tip over pretty easily.

Fingers crossed that this episode will pass quickly, I'm not ready to say good-bye to my beautiful girl :(

Jim Miller said...

Vestibular Diease in Dogs and Cats.

Our dog, a lab and greyhound mix, has been afflicted with this malady for the second time about 1.5 years after the first.
The first time it was entirely debilitating and he became a quadraplegic zombie. He could not stand or drink or eat for about 24 hours. He was unresponsive and his eyes would dart back and forth continuously and unconsciously. After that period and a shot of steroids from the Vet he slowly recovered. We used a harness to hold him up to go to the bathroom. We fed him rice and broth to keep him hydrated. We stayed with him day and night to make sure he was comfortable and safe. Eventually the symptoms subsided and we got our friend back. He continued to show reduced symptoms for months.
A few days ago he started to walk erratically and stumble a bit more than usual.
He is 15 years old after all. Then he kind of fell into a wall which was similar to his former state, but not total. We quickly got him to the vet for a steroid shot the same day.
He did get worse but not to the point of total collapse like before.
We just needed to watch him more often and help him down the porch stairs as he was unsteady and fell every now and then. But he could eat, drink, and eliminate as normal with a little help to keep him upright and steady.
He is now recovering and is back to maybe 70% normal. I can take him for short walks (10 min). I expect him to be around 90% in a week or so.
I am also giving him a baby aspirin at the vet's recommendation.
He looks better every day.
The main reason I wanted to post this is to let people know that the steroid shot, while not a cure, seems to have helped shorten and lessen the period of disability. I have not seen this mentioned before on the internet and maybe it can be useful to others where the cause of the vestibular disease is not known (idiopathic). Our vet ruled out ear infection and we have not scanned for brain lesions, but those are pretty rare, I guess.

Anonymous said...

My collie x spaniel, who is 13, had her second vestibular episode this morning at 4am, the last one was a year ago. The first time happened completely out of the blue, and was quite shocking to see, even though I work at a veterinary practice and was fairly sure what was going on ( the eye flickering was a classic sign ), She recovered well, although it took months for her to get back to normal. This second episode doesn't appear to be as bad as the first, at its worst it lasted about 15mins, after which she settled down and was less panicky. Now some 10hrs later she is walking, all be it a bit wobbly, has a good appetite, has been outside for a pee ( with help ) and is currently sleeping so I'm quietly optimistic that she will be fine. My next step may be to do a hypothyroid blood test, as the two conditions can be linked.
My reason for writing is to say please don't give up hope, just give them time, and lots of love. Food and water bowls are best kept at eye level, they find it hard to bend down, leave lights on, and a towel acts as a good sling to take them out in the garden, these are just some of the things I've learnt !
I feel for anyone going through this, it's hard to see your best friend falling over and crashing into things, but I cope with it by knowing it looks worse than it is, and given time they can recover , and when my girl is having a bad time I know I need to be strong for her, as she has been for me at times. It's amazing how dogs cope and overcome illness, a lesson to be learnt I think, and thank god for blogs like this ..... I'm not alone !

SuzyQ1970 said...

My 11 year old Golden was diagnosed with this back in April. She was put on fluids, and IV antibiotics for 2 days, then had a Acupunture treatment and ate on her own, came off the IV's and ate and drank by herself..as messy as it was. She was in the hospital from sun-fri. Mostly because she wouldnt or couldnt get up on her own..she wouldnt make an effort just drag herself. So sad. had another Acupunture treatment. still no change in standing. Thursday the vet thought putting her on pred could maybe help. within 12 she stood. still very wobbly and needed help. So we took her home,..and as soon as she got home..she got out of the car by herself and walked!! Its been 6 months since she had it and its been a battle with her ear infections(since a puppy) and this is what caused it for her,..2 very deep ear infections. So here I am today,..my husband just got home and he is taking her to our vet,...her eyes are doing that movement,..but she seems dizzy and lil trouble walking. Could def use a positive thought for my girl Sandie.

Kate Potts said...

Idiopathic Vestibular Disease or Not?

I've been reading all of the previous comments with rapt interest as my cat developed similar symptoms over a week ago.

My one-year-old cat, Pikachu (my son named him after the Pokemon character)is a large, fluffy, orange and white Siberian. For a couple days, we noticed he stopped eating and was sleeping most the time. After two days of this, I took him to a regular vet, who found nothing, but said he would prescribe an appetite stimulate if he didn't get better.

I took him back the next day and said he seemed even more lethargic (if that's possible for a cat). They did an xray to check his intestines for evidence of an obstruction or blockage. Again, sent him home.

By the third day, I woke up to seeing him falling when he tried to walk and ataxia. He also was presenting rapid eye movements that we were told later were nystagmus. Seeing this, we bundled him up and rushed him to the emergency vet.

The emergency vets ran through the list of possibilties: brain tumor, stroke, ingestion of a toxic substance, and vestibular syndrome.
He was given iv fluids, antibiotics, and activated charcoal.

The only thing different he had before the attack was a dosage of Advantage flea treatment 2-3 days before. The vet contacted Bayer and found that his symptoms were very unlikely to be caused by the Advantage.

He was kept at the vet hospital for two nights and finally released when he nystagmus resolved, with a diagnosis of possible Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome.

Ten days after initially developing the symptoms, he is improved, but is still falling and has trouble getting around. This morning, I realized he is deaf. It came as such a shock, but I realized he wasn't responding to my voice or his name. I stood behind him and shouted, but no response.

I'm wondering about his chances of recovery. How could a young, otherwise robustly healthy, pet contract such a condition and LOSE their hearing on top of it?

If anyone's companion has experienced hearing loss due to Vestibular Syndrome, please let me hear from you.

Anonymous said...

2Hi all,

My dog has already had two episodes of vestibular disease. The first was in January of this year and the last one was 6 weeks ago.

He has just had his third attack tonight. The vet couldn't find the cause for the past two episodes so I'm not sure why it is re-occurring.

I will take him to the vet tomorrow morning first thing. I'm so worried about him. He has only just got over his last episode of this disease and now he is unwell again.

Has anyone experienced a dog having two attacks within 6 weeks of each other?


Anonymous said...

Many thanks to everyone who has ever posted on this blog. My boy, Rebel, came down with this on Saturday. It wasn't full-blown, but he was unsteady on his feet, circling and just puzzled by his own body. By night's end, he had walked to his bowl to drink, so we thought he was fine. By Sunday morning, I had called the vet to put him down. She, in her wisdom, confirmed this condition and told me to give it a few days to see which way he took it. To read all of this was so reassuring. Everytime I read someone having to do something that I deemed tragic (puppy pads for my boy - come on!), I thought, "If they did it to get their pups through, I can do it too." For all of you have posted something that you thought was a throw-away comment, I took everything -- EVERYTHING -- in and used it in some way. I'm happy to say that Rebel sat up tonight, drank, ate, and was alert and happy. He stood up to get himself back on his bed, and even though it took a lot of assistance, he stood. I never thought that I would have ever seen that. I have learned so much, and I'm so grateful for all of you. You taught me that the things that I thought were dealbreakers -- that he's not able to get himself out to go to the bathroom -- is not a dealbreaaker, but an obstacle to be creatively overcome. I've also learned that the things that I took for granted -- like that he is still eating like a horse and drinking like a fish -- are really important positive signs. Whomever wrote to keep your hands or some surface under his paws to orient him, I could kiss you. Whomever wrote to approach him from his unaffected side and to do it slowly, I could hug you. These little things were so important to his comfort and progress. I would be nowhere without all of you, and Rebel would certainly be euthanized, out of ignorance, but also out of love. Keep posting and giving hope to everyone!

Nikica said...

My 13 year old lab had his first episode of peripheral vestibular in july 2012. First time it came during the night. He was very restless and barking and couldn't come down. I thought he had a stroke. I also thought i will have to put him down because of his age. After few days since and few vets he was diagnosed with ear infection and vestibular sindrome. He recovered very quickly and was almost his 100% within a week. He got antibiotics in form of ear drops. He didn't receive oral antibiotics because of the possible other side effects they might produce in older dogs. However, his ear infection cleared although he went deaf for approx 2 months. His hearing returned and he was his old self until now.
Yesterday evening he started barking and begun panicking again. He become wobly and disoriented. He has his appetite and drinks normally but he is very unsecure on tiles and slipery surfaces. I saw the cet today and got some natural medication for vertigo and for calming him. If it won't work we will have to try some stronger stuff. His ear are a little red, so maybe it is an infection again. Since it has been only 4 months between attacks my vet is not very keen to put him on antibiotics again. However i have to rinse his ears wit Epi-otic, solution for cleaning ears which has antibacterial properties. I was also told to give him mild benzodiazepam to calm him during the night. because otherways neither him nor I will get any. Sleep. We shall see how he progresses but i am quite discouraged because of this second episode. I hope he will be better soon. He seems in a great deal of pain. It is hard to look at him. I cannot get out of the room without him hopelessly barking. He is very scared because the world is spinning. Luckily i can take care of him whole day, but still he barks. It spmetimes gets me crazy. I really cannot do anything else to help him.

Anonymous said...

Hi again:

This is Rebel's mommy, and I just wanted to give you another update. It's been two full weeks since I last posted, and our pooch is recovered to about 85%. I can honestly tell you that I didn't think this was possible. Rebel is a very large, older Shepherd and he had some deficits before this struck. I keep thinking about what I've read and what my vet said: give them time -- far more time than you think they should have. Rebel seemed to reach plateaus in his progress. It would take him about three or four days to master a skill that he had done with ease before. He is now going to the bathroom outside and walking from room to room with assistance. He is now starting to gain back some weight but he is recovered. The head tilt is slight but that is the only remaining sign. There were many dark days, even when he was progressing, and I just want to encourage all to give them time and care and quiet and they will get better. Thanks again to all. I also wanted to say that once Rebel started to get better, I didn't come back to this blog to post. I imagine we're all the same way; you're just so happy with your progress that you don't want to think about where you had come from. I wanted to definitely come back here and post, because I didn't see as many positive posts of outcomes as would have comforted me. (The ones I did see, I clung to.) Good luck to all and remember: your dog depends on your level head, your kind heart and your gentle hands.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the support that each of you offer! My 15 year old sheltie started displaying some of these same symptoms 2 days ago. She woke up and was tilting her head to the right and walking disoriented throughout the house. She is circling a lot and was drooling. I took her to the ER vet and she said it could be Peripheral Vestibular disease or a brain tumor. I started her on the dramamine and she will let me hand feed her turkey with mild seasoning on it. She won't eat other items. She is drinking a lot of water. I made the mistake of mixing cottage cheese with her ground turkey because the vet said to give her bland food and today she had a couple episodes of diarrhea. I felt so bad. She seem to be more alert today and walking a little straighter until this evening and then she started circling again with her head still tilted. We see the vet again tomorrow for a follow up. She said that we should see improvement if it's truly Vestibular. I don't want to extend her life for me. That would be selfish. I want her to be comfortable and not suffer. Not sure what to do!

Anonymous said...

Hi all:

It's Rebel's mommy again, now a full month after Rebel was afflicted. I periodically check back in because I read the desparation in these posts and remember feeling the same. I just want to say to all that time is the most important thing. We have several vets in a practice, and the one I was mainly interacting with told me to back off of everything (I think I was really pushing Rebel beyond his physical capabilities) and just give my dog lots of affection, support and time. I had reason to visit the practice to pick up meds, and one of the techs told me that her dog strugged with vestibular for seven months! I asked her how she could do that (2.5 WEEKS of puppy pads and handfeeding for my 125 lbs Shepherd had me to the breaking point) and she just looked at me and said, "You just do. He would have done it for me, so it was the least I owe him." I feel like if I had dealt with another one of the vets, their recommendation would have been to put Reb down. But the vet I interacted with refused to entertain it, and she wasn't his "primary care" vet, so she was even unaware of all of his pre-vestibular deficits. She was adamant. I understand these posters who are considering putting the dog down because the quality of life, when you are in the middle of it, is so reduced, you think it is humane. Trust me when I say there were many sleepless nights, with a single dim lamp on, where I cried while petting Reb and hoping for the right answer. I believe I made the right decision. Reb is now on his feet, with the assistance of a hind-end harness, and doing physical therapy of a lap around the house every several hours. He gets tired, shaky, wobbly, but he does it. And it makes him more agile in the house. He's eating like a horse, playing like a pup, and snoozing like he always did. My better half thinks I was nuts to do what I did at the time, but now, who looks nuts? I was right. I only had to wait 2.5 weeks before I saw some glimmer of hope, but would I wait seven months? I think I would. I'm prepared for another bout (we have puppy pads stocked up!) and I might make a different decision, depending on how things go, but I know that if anyone had seen how bad my dog was, they would say that I was nuts for nursing him along. If they saw him now, they would never think the dog I have today and the dog that laid lifeless on the floor for weeks was the same dog. It's a crazy, horrible, sad disease, but don't give up hope!!!!

Jim Miller said...

Good for you!
My Klausi is going through his 2nd bout and is improving every day.
The vet said we were close to a decision point when she gave him the 2nd steroid shot. Hand feeding, home cooked food, frequent outside visits day and night, but he's 75 - 80% normal at 15 years old. Its been 2 months since the 2nd shot so he's doing it on his own.

Anonymous said...

As an FYI....my elderly (now 17 1/2 shepherd husky mix) had several episodes of vestibular syndrome. No head tilt or nystagmus, but walking in circles and weakness/disorientation. After the 4th episode, my vet did some additional research. After consulting some neurologists, he was told that it is often tied to low thyroid. His thyroid was low-normal, but we started him on meds. His episodes are now extremely rare and much shorter in duration.

One thing no one has been able to shed light on: he almost always has these episodes in the middle of the night...usually at 3:00AM. Any ideas why this may be?

Anonymous said...

My 14 1/2 year old golden has just come down with his second bout of IVD and it is almost a year exactly. It seems that it is occurring the same time as allergy season began in this area...when the trees started to come into full bloom. I'm wondering if that could have any connection??? Anyone else notice a possible allergy trigger???

Janet said...

Our 9 year old Chow/Husky Kuma began having trouble walking up the six steps three weeks ago, we thought she was getting arthritis and were given Metacam for pain. Slowly she began crying as she climbed the stairs then not being able to walk up at all. Since last week she can not do stairs, walking in the house or outside she needs to be held up. She does not have the rapid eye movement and threw up for the first time last night. She is drinking very little from a syringe and food is next to nothing. I'm getting a little nervous in that she is not showing any signs of improving in fact seems to be getting worse as the days go by. Is anyone else's dog taking longer to begin to recover from this vestibular syndrome? My heart breaks as she looks up with very sad eyes and just lays all curled up not wanting to move.

veronnica said...

My Shepherd Mutt girl was diagnosed with this this past Monday night. In reading all 116 of these comments, only a couple seem to have the issue that she has. She has all the usual signs and symptoms. She cannot stand, even if I help her up, she couldn't walk for sure. All she does all day and night long is lay on her bed. We've been rotating her regularly to keep her moving a little bit and to clean her up, but it's like she just doesn't have any legs. This is day 4 and she can't move anything but lift her head for a little bit. She doesn't have the eye issue anymore and we're giving her an anti-neausea medication. We stopped the sedative because it didn't seem to be doing anything for her and we were hoping that maybe that was the reason she wasn't even attempting to get up. She doesn't sleep much, will take a little water and a piece of a treat here and there, but that's it. I'm kind of worried. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Without the nystagmous, it might be something else. How old is she?
If you haven't taken her to a vet, please do so. Maybe she can use a steroid shot?

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU. I am so grateful to you. My ~12 year old rescued golden/chow mix has always been prone to ear infections and has arthritis, but I did notice she seemed to have a particularly bad ear last week. Then 3 days ago, she was wobbly progressing to not wanting to walk at night. Past 2 nights she has vomited after I carried her outside. Visited the vet yesterday morning and I am sad to say scheduled an appointment to put her down this afternoon. Cried my eyes out all night, canceled all meetings today to sit with her, however thank GOODNESS I noticed her rapid eye movement and began to internet search. Found this site and others and called the vet - I sadly got the feeling that they think I am grasping at straws, but I am planning to go in at 6pm and be firm in wanting to treat the nausea and ear infection and see if I have improvement. A particularly helpful tip you had was to put the dog on flat ground - I read this and moved my agitated girl off the sofa to the floor and she was immediately happier. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. <3 Prayers for all our dogs' recovery.

Flpup said...

I have a 15 year old mutt, he's part mini-poodle not sure what else. He's about 20lbs. 2 days ago he had all the signs of vestibular disease. It hit sudden and hard. He was stumbling around, couldn't keep on his feet and then came the vomit and uncontrollable bowels. Immediately went to the vet who treated him with injections of a steroid, antibiotic, and anti-nausea. He is now on the same medications in pill form at home. Today is day 2 and I do not see much improvement other than the fact he is willing to eat and drink (by hand). He is peeing but has not pooped in over 48 hours, this is starting to concern me. He is still not able to stand, walk, or sit up. Nights are restless, he cannot sleep. Because we are on day 3 and improvements are not visible, I am feeling more concerned. Has anyone else experienced this?

FLpup said...

I should also mention there is no rapid eye movements.

RebeccaC said...

Just took my 14-year-old border collie/german shepherd to the vet this morning and he was diagnosed with IVD, based on exclusion. He was given an anti-emetic injection at the vet (it stung - ouch!), and we were sent home with three anti-emetic pills, to be administered once every 24 hours starting tomorrow.

My biggest concern is that he can't seem to sleep. His eyes are constantly going and he can't drift off and get some rest. If he doesn't sleep tonight (my husband is going to stay downstairs with him so we don't worry about stairs), I'm going to call the vet to see if a sedative is an option.

If anyone was watching my husband and I a few minutes ago, they would have laughed (or cried?)! It took both of us to coordinate a bathroom break for Cole. He looks a mess, but his tail was wagging as he breathed in the fresh air, which was so nice to see.

One tip - I made the mistake of picking Cole up and taking him down some stairs to our lawn earlier today. He completely lost it and looked like he was having a seizure. I didn't realize he needed to stumble around himself, with his feet on the ground, so he didn't get so disoriented. Picking him up and putting him down really threw him and he just couldn't handle it, even though I thought I was helping.

Anonymous said...

My 13 year old Aussie showed signs of illness on Saturday. She was weak in her hind legs. She's an outside dog, and I prepared a bed for her and brought her in. She refused food and water, and she seemed content to rest. She showed no sign of pain. I planned to take her to the Vet on Monday morning. She remained stable Saturday and Sunday. I che on her several times Sunday night. She was resting comfortably. Early Monday morning, her breathing changed, and she died. I am heartbroken.

Anonymous said...

My 12yr old lab fell down the last two stairs this morning and was staggering and falling to the right when he went out to the toilet. I took him to the vet who said could be his back legs giving up as he has bad arthritis but I wasn't convinced and sure enough an hour after I got back home with him the nystagmus started and the head tilt. I googled and found all these posts and realised that the symptoms are identical to those which he is suffering. I rang the vet and explained about the nystagmus and head tilt but she said it is best just to keep him very quiet in his own home and see how he goes. She didn't mention any drugs at all but I cant help wondering if there is something she should be giving him as I see some of you have been given antibiotics etc. I will update further later.

Anonymous said...

Update on Harry from yesterday...as he had not drunk anything or weed since last night I took him back to vet today, saw the vet who knows him quite well and she said almost certainly vestibular disease but small chance could be mini stroke or brain tumour, cant really tell without MRI which they cant do. She gave him antibiotic injection and some oral antibiotics to start on Sat. There has been quite an improvement since he had that injection, his eyes aren't so bad, he can walk better with less falls and doesn't seem quite so disorientated. Vet said if he is going to improve should happen within 3 or 4 days. Just really praying that he will get over this.

Anonymous said...

My almost 16yr old border collie came down with vestibular in Feb, her symptoms lasted 2 long weeks. She had troubles eating and drinking, and of course walking and getting around. I found that leaving a light on for her helped a lot and also just letting her get about in her own time was beneficial. I hand fed her on boiled rice and chicken when she would eat it, and went back to feeding twice a day. She has made a good recovery & is mostly back to her usual eating and sleeping habits. It was a wonderful day when she was feeling good enough to use the stairs again! It's the small victories that get us through :)

Anonymous said...

This happened to my 12 y/o Norwegian Elkhound last week. She was flailing around, flush up against the dining room wall, here eyes tracking back and forth constantly. This dog NEVER cries, and she was crying!

I called the animal rescue in town and they took her to the vet (she's 60 lbs. and dead weight; I can't lift her myself.) The vet said it was vestibular disorder. By the time the vet saw her, she was starting to top with the eye thing; I called her and she looked right at me!

She stayed at the vet for two days, on IV fluids. Vet (who isn't my regular vet, but it was an emergency and he was close) said she wasn't improving, that she just laid down in her own waste. But by Day 2, when I came to pick her up and nurse her on my own, she had gone outside and gone to the bathroom on her own without falling.

This is a long Memorial Day weekend, so I devoted it to taking care of her. She can get up on her own; about every third time, her butt goes crooked and she falls, but then she picks herself up again.

Her appetite is fine. She drinks water with no problem. Part of this 'rehab' is making her get up and walk. I do notice she's sleep very soundly, and it's hard to wake her up (and when she wakes up, it takes her a few minutes to figure out who we are and where she is.)

I wake her up every few hours and make her walk (we have front and rear slings for her to support her so she doesn't fall, but we make sure she's walking.)

A question: has anyone noticed after this that the dog sleeps a lot and deeply? I'm thinking this is just part of recovery, but I'd like to hear someone else's experience.

Anonymous said...

first let me thank you all for posting about this horrifying illness. the last 3 days have been agonizing watching my boy go through this, and reading other peoples experiences is at least giving some kind of hope. he is a 5 yr old English springer spaniel and Saturday morning was the onset. I am very disappointed with the emergency animal hospital as they were very vague in helping us. antibiotics prednisone and meclizine, which doesn't seem to have helped in the least bit, and then of course a $500 bill. I gave him a shot of Haldol a little bit ago which seemed to have calmed him down a little anyway. it suddenly started Saturday morning with the same symptoms everyone else has described. it seems to get slightly better, then worse. at least reading your posts on here it gives me a glimmer of hope that he has a chance of recovering. ever since he could fit in the palm of my hand he has kept my feet warm at night and gives me companionship words cant describe. the thought of not having him here is terrifying. he is truly my 75 pound lap dog. I am still full of uncertainty, seeing your best friend suffer like this is something no one should have to go through. If anyone has any other suggestions to help in the healing process please share.

Anonymous said...

My 14-year-old Border Collie ad her first bout with IVD about a year ago. Symptoms cleared in the usual 10 days and then returned and remained a month or so later. In Taz's case these include slight head tilt, intermittent unsteadiness, and loss of hearing.

This past weekend, she bagan to have what seem like seizures as well. She falls, goes rigid, stares into space, screams, and empties her bladder involuntarily. The whole episode lasts less than a minute and then she is up and back to herself again.

We're going to the vet tomorrow morning. Today I've been reading up on IVD (again) on line. I'm curious whether anyone here knows whether seizures can be a part of the disease or whether Taz now has a second disease process going on.

Unknown said...

Our 13 year old Black Lab,Bird had what seemed to be a IVD episode this morning. I had never heard of this before, but I can tell you that I had never been so scared. He is 85 lbs and I could not pick him up by myself, so I made him laydown so he would not hurt himself. The animal control person came and took him to the vet in a van. He is spending the night at the vet and I hope I still have my old dog tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hello all- I'm going a different route here- so bear with me and don't all throw stuff at me at the same time.

Our 14 year old Lab was diagnosed with vestibular last night after a trip to the Emergency Vet. As you all know- it's a wait and see approach. He's eating enough and I'm giving him Dramamine. He's urinating- hasn't had a BM yet. Badger already has severe arthritis- so this disease is REALLY taking its toll on the dog. (If you had seem him prior to yesterday, you'd have thought he already had it) We have just installed hardwood floors...lord.. so you can just imagine...

Ok- so here's the throwing stuff at me part. After reading NUMEROUS posts- I'm noticing a couple of trends. This tends to be an "old man" type of disease and can come back. At what point do we as pet owners need to recognize the quality of life for our pet is NOT okay. This dog is stumbling and has to be carried in and out of the house. He's 70 pounds and if I wasn't home for the summer, I don't know what we do. We are leaving in two weeks to get married. WHAT are we going to do? He has underlying anxiety issues and as I mentioned, severe arthritis.

We've all had pets and we go to the ends of the earth to help them and help prolong their life. I've spent thousands of dollars for an extra month or two, but at what expense for the animal? At what point are we as pet owners responsible to recognizing that our pets are OLD and this is NOT a good quality of life?

Ok... throw your stuff at me.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have a 11.5 yr old Shiba, walked in on Sunday there was poop, pee and she was laying on her side with a pool of saliva and tongue hanging out, all legs Tremoring. Emerg Vet clinic said seizure, she had slightly elevated WBC so they think something toxic or infection. Took her to reg vet next day he told us not sure He thinks its a Toxin in her body. Ive been researching online and find this site and other ones. The only thing my dogs head is not really tilting but everything else to me points to Vestibular disease. Please comment .... BTW why dont any of these vets know this ??!!!

Buster's mom said...

2 years after Buster's first IVD hit, he's doing well. Almost no head tilt anymore. Unfortunately, he developed a few other issues -- calcium build-up breaking off of his cornea, but that's doing pretty well also (didn't lose an eye as vet feared he might); horrible arthritis in his elbows (though shoulders are fine), so he isn't as active as he once was. However, if there is cat food or poop to be found, he will find a way to get to it, so he is living a contented little life. At 16yrs for beagle/rottie(?) mix, he's doing pretty well. Just wanted to let ya'll know that the IVD does stop running their lives. An informed, experienced vet is really helpful, ours are great!

Anonymous said...

My almost 13 year old female german shephard was diagnosed with vestibular disease back in early March. The first two weeks she would not even stand up. My vet said it usually resolves itself within 10 days. I made an appointment to have the vet come and put her down on a Monday. At 3am I was lying down next to her and she got up on her own and started barking. I knew she wasn't ready to go. It took almost 8 full weeks for her to almost fully recover with the exception of a slight head tilt and a little tilt while walking. She has since gotten an ear infection in the opposite side of the ear she was tilting. I have been treating her with drops the vet prescribed called Posatex. About a week ago I notice she has seemingly lost her hearing. Since she has colitis, athritis in her hips and torn CCLS in both hind legs I know it is only a matter of time. I have her on Rimidyl, Tramadol for pain and Cosequin DS. Hopefully vets will realize that not all cases of Vestibular Disease clear up in 10 days. I am happy for every day I have with my baby and grateful that I went online and did my own research. Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

hi i have a five year old staff i came home on night to find him lying on the floor semi unconcious and salivating i immediatley took him to an emergency vet where they treated him for a seizure the next day i took him to his own vet who took a blood sample and did some checks over his body the blood results are fine my dog is in healthy condition he is quite lethargic for the next 2 days wich i put down to the jab he received and he started to show signs of his former self and then things got abit worse he stumbles about, a slight head tilt, flinches, dont want to move and started urinating without caring where he is he fell on his side howls and the rapid eye movement starts he has had 2 of these episodes in 1 night and the original 1 wich was mistaken for the seizure are these all vestibular symptons it has been nearly 2 weeks so far and everyday im on edge with worry

Anonymous said...

We've been through a lot with our 15-year old pup ( colitis, torn ACL and basic old age) but this is the worst. It started last Sunday with him walking/staggering in circles and vomiting. I then noticed something wrong with his eyes. I immediately thought my dog had had a stroke. Our regular vet was off so we saw someone else in the group. After dismissing us as hysterical parents, he gave us the wrong diagnosis. Luckily he looked in my dogs eyes an realized it was geriatric vestibular syndrome. The sea-sickness medication helped within 2 days. Getting him to eat and drink has been far harder. We've had to administer both through syringe and still worried if he was getting enough. We saw our vet on Wednesday and he said our boy had improved since Sunday. However, he paces around the house, it's still incredibly challenging to get him to eat and drink and his head tilt seems even more pronounced. We have lots of stairs so we're forced to lift him. This proves very difficult as his balance is off and he squirms like crazy. It's day 6 and it feels like day 200. I keep reminding myself that it can take 2+ weeks before he will regain his equilibrium. He just looks so sad...

Anonymous said...

The dog won't eat because he feels sick. Continue to make it available but give him time. You are doing fine. It took longer than the crap on the internet says it should to get more normal. Our vet gave prednisone 1 x to help get over the transition. Not sure, but it may have helped. Careful with the kidney's though.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the response. Really concerned that the head tilt seems to be getting worse. When we try to right his head, we see that his eye seems to have compensated for the tilt. He was able to climb stairs from the outside to the inside up until today. Now he won't even try. Has anyone experienced the head tilt getting worse? It's throwing everything's off. Thanks for any words of wisdom you can give.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - your site has given us hope.
We have a lovely GSD that is just over 13 years old that we rescued from some very poor treatment about 10 years ago now. Last year she gave us a bit of a scare and was diagnosed with CDRM yet now copes pretty well having adapted how she walks - she also lost a vast amount of hair (her tail was no thicker than a finger and she is long coated!) but she bounced back from this too and now has more fur than ever, seeming reluctant to ever let it go again! She's been ticking along fine considering and yesterday she was pottering around as normal and keeping our youngest GSD in check.
Then last night things went awry. Just as so many of your previous contributors have said - it's is just one of the most terrifying things to experience and now watch. She was sick where she lay and we instantly knew this meant she couldn't move or she would have done.
Sure enough she couldn't walk or stay balanced. Her head was tilting and her eyes were darting back and forth. Despite it being 10pm here in the UK we just had to call the vet as we thought she'd had a stroke. He was great - talked through what was going on and said he is sure it is Senile Vestibular Syndrome (never heard of it before!). She was sick again a couple of times after this through the night. Luckily she is drinking so far and now she is resting.
I just want to say a big thanks to you for this site and all the people that have commented as it has given us a huge sense of reassurance and hope - fingers crossed she makes a good recovery with our help and support...

Anonymous said...

Well; I've done a lot of reading tonght about this. Our Border collie/shephard mix was rescued by SPCA and we have had many issues with her over the past 13 years costing me thousands of dollars in flooring and furniture. Still; we love her and she is a big part of our family. In February, she had her initial bout with this disease. It was horrible for my daughter who thought we would need to put poor Millie down. She pulled through and has had a good quality of life since her recovery a few weeks later. After 5 months,however, tonight she started her second bout of it. She can no longer go up the stairs to the second level of our house, and I will be sleeping on the couch again tonight with her at my side. To address the quality of life issue... sure; she has a rough couple of days while recovering, but she still enjoys swimming in the lake; chasing balls on the beach like a puppy and unsuccessfully chasing squirrels and rabbits in the back yard. I don't know how long we will have her for since she is getting up their in age; but the tilted head and inability to always hear us does not seem to stop her enthusiasm. What I'm trying to say; is that our dog has adjusted to the situation and doesn't seem to be at all uncomfortable after going through this. I will say that if she ever gets to a point where her quality of life is poor; then yes; I WILL DO what's best for Millie, regardless of how much it will cause our family sorrow. Remember.. our pets are part of our family, and family members deserve what's best for them!

Stacy L said...

Five weeks ago today, my 14 1/2 year old schnauzer/staffie mix Daisy had an episode of CVD - my husband and I were terrified. Like everyone else, we thought she was having a seizure or a stroke. We had no idea what to do and it was 4 AM, so we took her to the emergency vet. They were pretty quick to diagnose CVD based on the nystagmus, and our regular vet confirmed that diagnosis a few hours later.

The first few days were awful for all of us - she wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, couldn't stand up. The worst though, she couldn't shake. About a week later though, we had her eating and drinking and she was wobbling around the house. I'm not joking, incrementally each day she got a bit better. One day she could shake her head without falling over. A couple days later she could get in a full shake before falling over, then eventually she could shake and keep most of her balance. It took four weeks for her to get up enough nerve to jump on the couch again.

I'd say she was probably at 90% of full capacity - back to walking a mile every day, playing ball and wrestling with her little sister, eating and drinking normally, etc. She had a bit of a head tilt, but we expected that.

Last night, she had another episode. It wasn't nearly as bad - not much nystagmus, but she was stumbling and falling and dizzy and disoriented. Happened around 2:30 this morning. She was fine at midnight when she crawled up to the top of the bed to hide from the Thunder Monster. I'd read somewhere that stress can sometimes trigger another episode...wondering if that's what happened here?

Anyway, the good news is she's probably at 30% function as opposed to the 0% on the first day last time. After a few hours she was walking somewhat normally, ate breakfast (had to put it on a plate, she couldn't navigate the bowl), drank water, and went on our normal mile walk. Don't get me wrong - she's still Dizzy Daisy, but it isn't nearly as bad as last time.

That's what concerns me, though - it's only been five weeks since this last happened. Our vet did a pretty thorough workup last time, but I'm scared that we'll have to go through all of this every month. I get she's old, but man...is this how it's going to be for the rest of her life? She's still sharp as a tack, and it kills me to see her so physically screwed up again after all the progress she's made. We'll see what our vet has to say later this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading these blogs but my outcome is very different. I put my beloved German Shepherd to sleep on Mon. I've had him for 9 years and he was a rescue dog so not sure how old he is maybe 13? Anyway I got home on Mon and he couldn't walk, kept falling over and nystagmus and head tilt. I immediately thought stroke and rushed him to the vet and we decided that it was his time and wasn't much hope of any recovery. He also had very arthritic hips and was on daily carprieve tabs. I'm feeling now that had a read these blogs I would have given him a chance but to what point would his quality of life be. It doesn't seem that all dogs get better and the weeks of nursing etc is awful for both. I also thought that as there is only me at home he is outside when I am at work. I am so sad and feel physically sick and wonder if I have made the worst decision of my life or maybe he would have had a miserable time had things been different. I'm trying to gain some sort of sense out of this and would appreciate any comments. Linda Auckland NZ

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
An update to my last post. I spoke to my vet again, it seemed that my dog had vertical nystagmus (eye movement), which he did show me when I took Luke in. This is a much more serious sign and recovery not likely whereas horizontal eye movement has a better outcome. I also found this mentioned on medical/vet sites - (Vertical nystagmus in any head position is most consistent with central vestibular disease) and (The nystagmus seen in vestibular disease can be helpful in localizing the disease process. While horizontal and rotatory nystagmus can be seen with disease anywhere within the vestibular system, vertical and positional nystagmus are almost exclusively seen with central vestibular diseases.) Central being the brain and peripheral the inner ear. I was in a bit of shock when I first read about Vestibular disease and still feel heartbroken but I think I did the right thing. The most important thing is to put your animal's quality of life first. All the best to your fur buddies.
Linda (Auckland)

Mary said...

I am going through the samething right now, I have a 10 yr lab with it but he is unable to eat also has many long lasting full body muscle spasms which render him completely helpless.
He has not ate since Sunday now 5 days he is unable to swallow.
I am struggling to decide what is best for him. Am I prolonging his pain.

Anonymous said...

I'm on Day 6 of what hopefully is peripheral vestibular with my 13-year-old border collie/golden mix, Holly. I'm really worried and have questions and hoped to share my story.

Day 1: Sunday at 7 a.m. she keels over with the classic symptoms. My on-call regular vet says I could just give her some over the counter meclazine or to be sure I could have her seen by the ER clinic. They admit her at the clinic but luckily the vet determines vestibular and we don't do a lot of fancy diagnostic test now. Her doggie BP is 211 so they think that's bad.

Day 2: Monday. She gets released, even though I have 3 flights of stairs. I tell them no big deal I can handle it. Turns out carrying a 55-pound dog who is physically spinning in your arms and clawing the bannsiter and walls....not so fun. But I tell them I'd do anything for my dog. At home, she must be dragged and physically moved. She is leaking urine and I've put out some pads. Her eyes are still spinning.

Day 3: Tuesday. More of the same. I'm going to take her back to the vet but her human friend visits and she perks up trying to stand, one small bark and collapse. This is a good sign. She drinks water for the first time! I decide to go to my parents. My friend helps me carry her back down the stairs. She pees all over me but somehow we get her into the car. When I set her down at my parents house in the yard, she squats! Drinks a little water.

Day 4: Wednesday. I go to work and leave my mom to feed her water through a turkey baster. Still no eating. But she can stand for a few seconds.

Day 5: Thursday. Now getting really worried she won't eat. My poor parents give her water all day through the dropper. I go to work and worry so much I can't concentrate. Make the decision today to stop antibiotics maybe they are upsetting her stomach? Continue Meclazine and start low thyroid meds after call from ER vet after her testing bacme back. Other blood work was normal.

Day 6: Friday (that's today). She ate 5 tiny spoonfulls of baby food. Liked 5 drinks of water from her bowl. Out to pee with 3 stops to lay down. I just thought it would have been a lot better by now. My plan is to go back to my regular vet on Sunday if it's the same. I'm so worried I keep crying even though I think I'm doing everything I'm supposed to. Any suggestions? I can't believe how stressful this is.
Thanks from Holly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Holly, yes I agree 100% that seeing your beloved companion go through this vestibular syndrome is very stressful, frustrating and heartbreaking. but you got to have faith and more importantly a lot of Patience!

My 16yr 3mos old Japanese Spitz is in his 6TH week of recovery (that is including suffering a relapse too) I am all stressed out too but he is slowly recovering and getting better every day.

He incurred this terrifying episode on June 22, 2013 and I really thought I would lose him that day. The whole day he was fine then in just a instant he was having a violent seizure and I rushed him to the emergency vet hospital. Very fortunately, the vets there diagnosed it as vestibular syndrome and explain it to me so I left him overnight and in the morning I was able to pick him up with all his medications 25mg of meclizine (given every 24hr) and high blood pressure pills (just like your dog he had very high blood pressure)

He was slowly recovering in the next 10 days but on July 3, 2013 he suffered a relapse but fortunately it wasn't as terrifying as the 1st episode and knowing now about vestibular syndrome I did not panic and gave him the meclizine and just had him sleep.

Since his relapse he would only walk in circles and I had to spoon feed him water and hand feed him his food, but eventually he started to get weaker and could not even get up on his own so I had to help him everyday to do his daily business. It was a lot of work and it really stressed me out but I was patient enough and determined to not give up on him.

Finally all this is paying off as even though I still have to hand feed him food and water he is a lot stronger now and is able to get up on his own and do his daily business on his own too. He has only a slight head tilt but at least now he is able to walk in a straight line as in the last couple days he actually followed me to the kitchen which he had not done so since his relapse and also the other night he was waiting for me at the front door when I came home which I was just surprised!

As I had mentioned this has been 6 weeks now and he still has some ways to go for his recovery but everyday he is making significant improvements like today he was able to pick up his treats from the floor on his own. But you got to have a lot of patience as it may take a lot longer for your dog to recover but just don't give up on him.

Cliff from Hawaii

Anonymous said...

A cautionary note to all concerned. After your dog recovers adequately from the vestibular issues, you should have their blood checked out to determine if any levels are too high as indication organ damage or infection.
My dog had 2 bouts with vestibular disease and after the 2nd appeared to be fine. He got very picky about his food so we fed him what he wanted which was mostly meat. It was hard on his kidney's and there may have been other issues that escaped notice, but soon after his bun was 106 and he was diagnosed with kidney insufficiency. We changed his diet and got his level down to 57 but its still high and probably indicates his kidneys are 2/3 gone. Its best to catch this before the blood levels change so drastically. Do not wait for his annual checkup. Best of Luck.

Anonymous said...

Update on Holly: Day 10. Just wanted to provide everyone with an update on my girl. She is up and about, though very wobbly. She stays at home by herself during the work day and is starting to eat normal food again. She tries to play (but still falls over every once in a while) and smiles a lot so I think she is going to be jsut fine. I don't know when I'll move back to my 3-story apartment, but I'll give her at least two weeks. Thank you so much for this blog! Good luck to everyone going through this.

Patty S. said...

Thank you for all the encouraging blogs. My beloved pekingese, Bud, will be 16 next month. He is on his second bout with Vestibular Disease. The first was last year and I thought it was a stroke because of his age. After research on the internet the classic symptoms were all there and I wanted to make him comfortable since he didn't seem to be in pain. He could not stand, nystagmus, and incontinence.
total loss of balance. After 3 days of refusing food and not moving (many pee towels under him) I dripped water in his mouth with a spoon. I hand fed him steamed ground beef with white rice. It took many weeks of tender care but he improved, could walk but could never again go down the 3 deck stairs. His hind quarters were permanently impaired. Head tilt stayed with him. 4 months ago he started screaming at night, peed himself and eye movement reoccurred. I bought a playpen and put it next to my bed so he wouldn't get scared.(The screaming isn't pain, it is terror that his world was spinning. I discovered puppy pads (what a blessing) towel washing got better. He hadn't had an episode in weeks. Yesterday when I woke, he staggered and fell, eye movement, peed, circular head movements, same as last year. We are in the sleeping constantly stage though I stroke him periodically to let him know I am there. Give him spoon water and I steamed boneless chicken breast cut up very small and put it in his mouth while he is lying down but head up( still head bobbing I had to steady his head with my other hand to ground him.) After the first tiny piece he ate the rest of 14 little pieces. I repeated this every 2 hours. He is totally deaf. I move into his eye range in very slow motion and pat him gently and frequently. This sounds, I know, like a lot of effort but I am 69 and retired, and he is my best and most loyal friend. At this point I am able to do this. Perhaps I will need help in the future. I would like to think someone will care about me. The eye movement has stopped. He still can't walk. It is still day 2 after all. If I sense pain I will do the right thing of course but perhaps he will recover like last time. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give pet lovers hope that if they are in circumstances to provide tender loving care, and if it is vestibular syndrome, your precious friend can recover. Patty

Deborah said...

Such a gift to have a community of people sharing this debilitating, scary, but potentially non-life threatening disease. My heart breaks for those who didn't find it soon enough and have perhaps put down a dog prematurely. Although we'll never know what kind of pain those pets were in and it could have been a kindness.

As for me, this is not even our dog, but we are looking after her for her owner, who works away from home each day as a self-employed contractor and has no other resource. Little Slinky is a 12 yr old Dachshund who was diagnosed with Idiopathic VS two days ago. Poor girl is making some progress in less thrashing around and seems more aware of her surroundings, but little else at this stage. And she is yelping or rather howling constantly and I am so hoping it's from confusion and disorientation and not actual pain. Slinky is on carsickness medication, but that's all. Yesterday she was sleeping a lot, but today she seems in more distress.

We have to carry her outside to urinate and so far I have not seen any bowel movement, which makes me worry that she's constipated. She will drink from a towel dipped in water that I drip into her mouth. She cannot find her equilibrium to even be held to lap from a bowl, although she will lick soft food from a bowl held sideways.

Based on everything I've read, Slinky has a long road ahead of her. She's such a sweet, spunky little thing that it's incredibly hard to watch, but I'm glad we're giving her owner a break. He is devoted to her.

Anonymous said...

Our 9 year old Golden was diagnosed with IVD by our vet after exhibiting all the classic signs. She was provided a steroid and an antibiotic, and we were instructed to buy meclizine. She was able to drink water and be hand feed. On day 10 she seemed to be getting worse. Our vet said she should be getting better by then. We figured out that maybe she was not getting enough water with the steroid so after a few days with a lot more water she seemed to be perking up a little, she was eating on her own but still needed great assistance to go out to potty. On day 17 we took her back to the vet and she thought it was a brain tumor, because she was not getting better. She suggested a visit to neurologist. We have not made an appt. yet, because the last few days her head tilt has improved greatly, she was able to run in large circles in the yard with some help, and she seems to be more mentally alert even though tired from her first big "run". Tomorrow will be day 21. Has anyone experienced very, very slow progress that wasn't a brain tumor?

Maggie said...

Hi there, I'm the mom of an almost 15 year old 45-pound German shepherd mix named Maggie.

I anticipate a rough night ahead of me, as my Maggie endures the first night of her second bout of IVD (the first one was in late July).

Lights are on, bumpers (rolled up towels) all around, and harp music playing (some say it's soothing for dogs, but who knows. Maggie has always had free reign of my apartment, so am hesitating to close off the bedroom. I think it might make her more stressed.)

What do people do at night when their dog is restless and wants to get up? I've always jumped up to help her, but what I would really like is for her not to be restless and for both of us to be able to sleep through the night. I'd prefer not to give her major drugs. She is already on plenty due to liver disease and hypothyroidism (all controlled)

My vet diagnosed IVD, even though Maggie never had the nystagmus. Anyone else's dog have IVD w/o the fluttering eye movements? Just curious.

Has anyone tried the homeopathic medication, cocculus compositum, for the motion sickness? It's made by Heel. My holistic vet recommended it. I tried it with Maggie's first bout and couldn't tell if it helped or not. I was also somewhat concerned about adding another supplement. She's already on plenty.

For those of you whose dogs have a bit of neuropathy as well - Maggie has one hind leg where the toes curl in sometimes - I am wondering if trying to stimulate the neural connection by curling her toes and helping her find her paw - would help hasten her progress. Has anyone tried that?

A couple of tips for others...

If you have a larger dog and need to negotiate stairs or don't have a yard and have to walk on the public sidewalk, the Help Em Up Harness is a godsend! You can google it. I never leave it on Maggie when I am away - as she can get stuck - but I have to go up three floors to an apartment for every walk, we are able to do it, and Maggie can keep her paws on the ground. Also great for getting your dog into and out of a car for vet visits, etc.

For those who are picking up their dogs, I recommend that you try NOT do it. Again, it is very disorienting. That's why the harness is so helpful. Your dog can keep its paws on the ground and you can support as much as needed.

Re. meclazine/dramamine: One of the side affects is tachycardia (racing heart rate). Maggie had that problem, so the vet took her off of it ASAP. I read of a few dogs here who had high heart rates and was wondering if the meclazine had something to do with it, like it likely did for Maggie. We use pepcid for nausea now.

There was also someone on this board whose dog was getting stuck against walls and corners. That's pretty classic Canine Cognitive Disorder. Maggie had a bout of it (it's really scary and dangerous too). My vet recommended Novifit (SAMe). Maggie has not had an episode since then. There are other remedies to try as well.

If your IVD dog isn't getting enough hydration, don't be afraid to administer sub-Q fluids, if needed. It is more directly absorbed by the tissues and easy to do. You will need a second person if you have a bigger dog - one to squeeze the bag, one to hold the dog.

I recommend canine massage, laser therapy and chiropractic treatments to assist with stress, muscle tension, and head tilt.

Where I don't have carpet, I've laid out yoga mats for Maggie. The tackiness helps tremendously with traction. We have wall to wall yoga mats in our kitchen and hallways. Maggie can push herself up most of the time and who knows, maybe being able to do it herself might help her regain some of her muscle memory. (Plus, she's a stubborn old lady and likes to do things by herself!)

I hope these tips are helpful. I look forward to hearing feedback on what has worked for others, especially with that disrupted sleep!

Anonymous said...

My 11 1/2 yr old male gsd suffered his first episode (and hopefully last!) of CVS seven days ago. I was not aware of CVS and thought he was having a mini stroke as he was able to stand but had poor coordination and balance with a right sided head tilt. The vet diagnosed CVS (I was over the moon as I was expecting to put him to sleep) and gave him an anti-nausea jab, ear drops and told me that there should be a gradual improvement. He has been improving each day and showing me signs of his usual cheeky behaviour. I think his head tilt has become more pronounced though but I'm still learning about this horrid condition so don't know if this is 'normal'. Has anyone noticed a connection between water getting in the ears when swimming because this has always happened with my boy and it has made me question a connection.

Tara said...

I just wanted to thank the OP and everyone who has shared their stories. My 13-year-old Boston terrier is suffering from CVD right now, and it is reassuring to know that other dogs have been as bad or worse than she is and have made full recoveries. It's also comforting to realize that I'm not the only one who finds watching their dog go through this to be extremely disturbing. I'm reading people's accounts of discovering their dog in this state and being absolutely terrified, crying, rushing them to the emergency vet in the middle of the night and thinking it was the end, and so on, and it feels like I was the one who wrote it. Best of luck to everyone's dogs. And just for the record, if it helps anyone, the ER vet prescribed my dog a med that helps with nausea, and encouraged me to give her a 25 mg Benadryl in peanut butter at night to help with the restlessness (it seems to be working great).

Maggie said...

Which nausea med?

Hannah's Mom said...

I'm guessing the nausea med use was Cerenia as my dog was given this to stop her vomiting!!

Emma Dee Jones said...

Hi I really want to thank you. This blog has really helped and told me that there is hope. my dog isn't as old as everyone else's dog that has posted. i was hoping to see more dogs roughly his age but the symptoms are the same so hopefully the outcome will be also.
My dog Bow is 17 months old. he is a staff and a very loving pet. Me and the family went out for the night and came home to find Bow a bit scared in his cage. he didn't want to come out at all. We just lost our cat yesterday morning so we thought he was just pining for the cat. come to think about it he hasn't been that lively today at all. Not like he usually is. Anyway we took him for a walk to help cheer him up. When he got home he went and lied down straight away. I called him over to me to brush him down as he likes that. All off a sudden he started to tilt and then he fell down and started rolling over and over.
He was then sick and that was when we tool him to the emergency vet. Our first thought was he was having a fit then secondly he has been poisoned. The vet checked him out and said he has got vestibular disease. She gave him a shot of anti sickness and then told us to take him home.
When we got home he had done it again twice already with tilting falling over and rolling over and over. he did it once in the vets reception area and again in the car and it seems to be carrying on every 20 minutes or so.
By reading all the blogs many ove you have experienced the same thing. I am pleased to say it does improve even after a few bad days it does get better. I am worried that with him rolling over and over so much if he is worse than we thought. The vet did mention giving him sedatives to calm him down but she never offered us any.
Can you please let me know if any other dog was having these attacks with the rolling over and over frequently on the first day? I am hoping it has and that he will be ok. The vet did say its more common with older dogs but its not unheard of with younger ones. It would be nice to hear if there was a happy ever after with a younger dog aswell for reassurance really. I am just clinging on hope that he will get better. This blog has been a comfort to me even though I am only dealing with it on the first day. To know there is a light at the end of the tunnel helps me. I just feel so useless that there is nothing I can do to help him at this stage He just seems so out of it. hardly responding to his name or recognising anyone. Thank You.

Maggie said...

Dear friends,

I have sad news to report. My dear dog, Maggie, who I have posted about here, passed away last week at the age of 15.

I am also posting because I think it is very important that people understand vestibular issues, not only as a disease, but also quite possibly, as symptomatic of a larger problem.

Based on Maggie's symptoms, which included vestibular episodes, it is now my opinion that Maggie had central nervous system problems and quite possibly, a brain lesion/tumor. In addition to ataxia and neuropathy, at the end, she was also having seizures.

If I have any advice it would be to get your dog to a bona fide veterinary neurologist ASAP - not a general practitioner - if you think it could be more than vestibular disease. And, watch for any twitches that might be neurological in nature. They could point to a bigger problem.

My best wishes for all the dogs and pet parents on this blog.

Unknown said...

Hi everyone. Our beautiful girl Molly, an american cocker spaniel age 19 yrs, uas been having all the symptoms of vestibular disease. Last nigt she started yelping and flailing as if in severe pain. This has happened many times through out the night. We lovenher with all our being as she is thelittle girl we got to have together. We realize her age and know that it wont be long but I am scared she is in pain. She wont eat or drink and when we try to dropper her water, she starts yelping and crying. It pains us to see her suffering so. We have made the heartbrwaking decision to let her sleep peacefully. I just wanted to tell you all about our baby as maybe you will see that these precious beings we have blessednwith in our lives, are kore than just an animal, they are our babies, our angels. God bless all of you for loving our babies as they deserve to be loved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to everyone who has posted. Our Charlie, a 15yo border collie/terrier mix (and the love of our lives) had a ver mild incident June 2012. Then-vet brushed it off as a mild seizure. Last week Thursday I found him in the kitchen in a puddle of drool and unable to stand.

Rushed him to our new vet who dx'd IVD. We are now +4 days and while he's drinking regularly, he is only eating from hand. Still heavily staggers to the left and has sever diarrhea. He is unable to squat to poo, which is difficult, because it's clear that he really needs to.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to everyone who has posted. Our Charlie, a 15yo border collie/terrier mix (and the love of our lives) had a ver mild incident June 2012. Then-vet brushed it off as a mild seizure. Last week Thursday I found him in the kitchen in a puddle of drool and unable to stand.

Rushed him to our new vet who dx'd IVD. We are now +4 days and while he's drinking regularly, he is only eating from hand. Still heavily staggers to the left and has sever diarrhea. He is unable to squat to poo, which is difficult, because it's clear that he really needs to.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

We lost our beloved Charlie on Wednesday. Either the IVD simply wakened him too much, or it was, indeed, a brain tumor. We are simply lost without our boy.

Good luck to those treating their companions. I wish you all very long lives.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to share this information in case it may help anyone. Our female yorkie was diagnosed with vestibular disease over a year ago. It was just terrible and I spent hours and hours researching treatment. Our yorkie is a older female (13 years old) and the emergency vet clinic first gave her some antibiotics to help with any infections she had. We took her off when she was have a bad reaction to the pills. They never saw any infections anyways. They sometimes think an ear infection can cause vestibular. Anyways, our yorkie was also wetting the bed so we took her to the vet to see if we could get something to help that issue since that is not related to vestibular. They prescribed her estrogen pills. Within the hour after taking the first pill our yorkies eyes stopped tracking and she seemed fine! It was a miracle. We give her one pill a week now and it has been over a year. We notice if we forget to give her a pill she seems off balance. Once she has her pill though she is back to her normal self. I have told the vet about this and he just pushes us off. I find this very annoying. I looked up studies on humans and found many that show females with vertigo showing improved symptoms with estrogen pills as well. Since many of medications we give animals are often medications humans take I feel like this something vets should be looking in to. I don't want another pet owner to suffer who doesn't need to. Talk to your vet about this option if your female dog is suffering from vestibular. Especially if she is older. I hope this helps someone. It has really made our life and our yorkie's life so much better!

Anonymous said...

My thirteen yr old border collie woke up last night exhibiting symptoms of IVD. We took her to the vet ER and that is the diagnosis. Has anyone also had their dog appear to be smelling something in the air? I am so worried about her. I just can't believe how quickly she changed into a completely healthy active dog to one who won't even try to stand up. All prayers are welcome for our Cookie.

dasko said...

My rescued Boxer went through this in September and it was awful.

I am now writing an article on vestibular old dog syndrome for a magazine and would like to get some stories from owners.

Please email me at nickdasko@hotmail.com if you are willing to share your story with my readers.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

Thanks for the blog... I did not know about Vestibular. My beloved 13 yrs-7 mths-5 days old Yellow Lab Allie acutely experienced episode 1 day ago. She has other arthritis issues and wobbly legs already. I thought it might be her time. Heartbreaking. Took her to our trusted vet, and he diagnosed Vestibular. Came home and searched web, found this post and so many comments. Thanks all to posted here, Me and Allie are not alone. She has already shown great improvement in ~30 hrs, so I'm hopeful for full recovery and get some more time to enjoy her and our time together.

Anonymous said...

8 days ago I thought I was going to lose my 12 year old Sheltie, Clyde. He had not been acting like himself for a few days, such as not eating, then on 5/28 he was unable to walk up a small hill and flat out refused a treat. Something was definitely not right. We took him to the vet who wanted to test him for arthritis. We left him at the vet and went to work. He was able to walk when we left him but could not get up on his own. The vet called and said it was negative and that we could pick him up after work. When we got there to pick him up the vet said we needed to talk. At that point he was unable to stand up. His back legs were drawn in and his front legs were stiff. As I looked at my completely helpless dog, the vet started to throw out all these words that I had never heard...and brain tumor, I heard that one and got really scared. Neithet one of us said it, but my husband and I looked at each other like this was the end. The vet said to bring him home and see how he does....thank God! I got home and started sorted out what he had said and remembered Vestibular, that is when I found this post and became hopeful. That night and the next day he could not get up, stand or walk. He would not urinate when we took him outside with us holding him. He finally did urinate inside after 30 hours of not going. He was still drinking some water but the only food he would eat was some turkey sandwich meat. By day 3 he was able to stand on his own and urinate outside after we carried him out. That night we stood him on the carpet and he walked about 10 feet, leaning up against the wall the whole time. He had a bad tilt to the left. On day 4, we had him laying on the carpet and he was able to stand up on his own and walk, still against the wall...he did that 6 times that day. On day 5 we woke to him standing next to the bed, not leaning. We took him outside and he was walking great. He also started eating better that day. Our main concern at that point was that he had not had a BM since this all started. I called the vet on day 6 about that concern and they said to bring him in if he didn't have one in two days. The next night he finally did, after 7 days...talk about exciting! Today is day 8 and he is doing great, getting up, standing, walking, eating his normal food, and using the bathroom. He is going to get a full blood test in 2 days to check everything out. Thanks to this site I also know it could happen again and could possibly have an underlying cause. He has been on prednisone and an antibiotic and a nasea pill in the beginning. I am so thankful I found this site that gave me hope but I am most thankful to have my Clyde dog back!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who has posted on this site. Your comments were so helpful. Our family dog, Hunter, who is a german shepherd mix that is 15 years old had started showing symptoms of vestibular disease in the last few days. Her hind legs were already in pretty bad shape due to her breed and when she couldn't walk straight and was banging into walls, we thought that it was the end. I called a doctor to have her euthanized at home. Fortunately, we noticed her eyes were twitching and looked up her symptoms. We are putting her on dramamine for now. She is a wonderfully resilient dog. Her legs are still pretty bad so there's probably a difficult decision coming our way fairly soon. She's still a puppy in our hearts. Our family's understanding is that so long as she is happy and can get out of bed, she's stuck with us.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

We though the vestibular-symptoms also meant time to have our beloved Allie (13-yr lab) put down. Thank GOD our vet knew what was wrong.

I told a friend about our situation, and she said her dog had exhibited same symptoms... however they DID have their dog put down. OMG, it may have just been vestibular for Gage (their dog).

So glad you found the info to understand vestibular and have more time with your dog.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

My husband and I carried our Lab outside. Used a towel under her belly to help her stand. We each stood very close on each side of her to give her stability. Helping her poop/pee for a few days seemed like forever, but she improved each day a little bit, making our 'babying' totally helpful. Hang in there. The first many days are horrible, until the dog improves and adapts.

Unknown said...

Our Sapphire (14 yr old Golden Retriever) had her first bout with Vestibular Disease about two months ago. We woke up to to our normally stoic girl whimpering and crying, shaking, unable to stand or move. Like many we were afraid she was suffer from a stroke and that it might be our last day with her. Luckily the emergency vet identified it as Vestibular Disease ( something we'd never heard of) and assured us most dogs started recovering from it in a few days to a few weeks. It took Sapphire about a month to fully recover, though she did maintain a slight head tilt. The first week was miserable she was scared and agitated, it was difficult for her to eat, drink, move, sleep or go potty, she . But after that she started to recover quickly.

Just yesterday though she had a second occurrence. While no picnic it hasn't been as we've all been able to take it in stride. We were able to find a vet that does physical therapy related to Vestibular Disease. That seems to help. Also she's been able to eat this time round which has made it easier to get her to take her anti nausea meds. I did recently find a couple helpful articles:


This one covers some simple things you can do at home to help with recovery. The simplest of these recommendations is having your pet stand for 5 minutes every hour and giving your pet a ginger supplement to help with nausea.


This covers a physical therapy treatment initially developed for humans suffering from this condition with recommendations for adapting it for dogs. Depending on your own size and strength and the size of your pet this is something that could probably be tried at home.

Anonymous said...

We are 30 hours in to an episode with our 6 year old German Shepherd. He has a history of seizures, but is not on anti-seizure meds due to the infrequency and short duration of his seizures.

We took him to an emergency vet, described our dog's symptoms, pointed out the Nystagmus, etc. He wanted to put him on anti-seizure meds but we simply weren't confident with the doc's "diagnosis."

After doing our own research we are sure that our boy has CVD. We are watching him carefully and have decided to give it some time to resolve itself.

We recently dealt with a different doc who diagnosed our cat with an inoperable tumor. The tumor was actually an enlarged Thyroid.

Sadly, we are losing faith in traditional veterinary medicine but we are very grateful for the wealth of knowledge and information available online!

Sammy said...

Hi, we have a 10 week old Labrador, Jess, who we have only had for 2 weeks. As soon as we got her home we noticed she wasnt steady on her feet and sometimes kept falling to left side, sometimes looked like she was drunk, but put it down to being so young. Anyhow, took her to vets for jabs and discovered a yeast ear infection in both ears which she was prescribed ear drops. I asked if this was why she was so unsteady and vet said maybe. The ear infection did not seem to bother her in any way. Anyway, a week on and her symptons seem to have got worse. Most of the day she is absolutely fine but then sometimes after play she will tilt her head usually to the right but sometimes left, then she will fall down and roll over constantly approx 10-15 times and then try to get up but will still have head tilt for another 10-15 seconds. Then she is completely normal again. This will happen 2-3 times a day. She is eating, drinking and sleeping fine. I have not noticed any of the eye movements.

We are back at the vets on Tuesday for second lot of jabs so will show vet videos but just wondered if anybody has experienced this in a young dog.

I think it is Vestibular Disease caused by ear infection and hoping she just needs different ear drops.
Any ideas?

Ginna said...

Thanks to this site and an awesome Vet, my 8y/o Collie, Casey is fine. His onset was so sudden I thought for sure it was a stroke and we would lose him. He recovered pretty quickly, 3 days of assistance and then a few more with close monitoring. Casey has the collie hips and he's been left with some slight residual affect. Every once in awhile he'll stumble a bit in the back end and recover his footing quickly. Vestibular is scary to see and hard to help the large dog heal. So happy my pup is ok. I've always joked that he's a Diva but watching him weather this so gracefully, he's tough and determined. Very proud of him. Thank you for all the education!

Unknown said...

My 13 yr old Border Collie Bovva is affected by this condition. He was fully fit until 2 weeks ago, running after a ball with my younger dogs, and even the night before it happened, I was training my young BC indoors and Bovva was showing off that he could do sit, stand, down etc much quicker than him. The next afternoon, my Dad had taken the dogs for a walk and mentioned that Bovva had fallen over a few times. Within the next 2 hours, the head was tilting badly. I took him to the vet and he had a steroid injection and came home with motion sickness pills and Vivitonin. He improved over the next few days and was about 90% back to normal, just had a slight head tilt but sadly the following week he had another attack of it.

I've had 2 elderly dogs before with this condition. The first one, Shep, had 4 over 4 years. His were worse than Bovva's and I'd find him unable to walk at all at the start. He always improved quickly. He eventually died of a heart attack aged 18.

My second dog, Teddy, also a Collie, was 15 when he had his first one. He'd been agitated all day but I didn't know why. He was pacing around and couldn't settle. I thought it was because we'd got a storm coming and he could sense it. About 6pm that evening, I noticed he couldn't get up and when I helped him up, he had the head tilt and I noticed the flickering eyes. I had to carry him to the car and take him to the emergency vet because mine was closed. The young vet there said that he was very old and very poorly and perhaps it would be kinder to let him go. I had to argue with her and beg for a steroid injection/ She eventually did as I asked and I carried Teddy home. I put his bed in the living room and I slept on the settee. Halfway through the night, he stood up and turned round so I knew he was going to be ok. By the morning he was walking again and improved over the next week. He suffered another attack about 3 months later and also recovered from that one. However, 3 months after that, he suffered a 3rd attack. This time he sadly didn't recover. He was in the vet's on a drip for 36 hours but the light had gone out of his eyes and this time I did let him go although it broke my heart.

Bovva is coping well with his condition. He has learned to keep his back legs further apart so that he doesn't fall over so much. He still runs for the ball and only falls over if he tries to turn quickly. It's still early days for him so I'm hoping there will be more improvement. The head tilt seems to be worst in the morning and gets a bit better as the day goes on.

Good luck to everyone who has dogs with this condition, but just remember it seems to worry us more than it worries them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories. Certainly helpful to find this much discussion and detail.

We are on day two with our 14 year old. She threw up in the middle of the night and was unable to walk without assistance. Has the typical eye movement and is showing little interest in food or water. Took her to our regular vet and came home with some several meds, cerenia, prednisone, and antibiotics. Just mentioning the meds for reference. Our vet is very optimistic she will recover in that 3 to 4 day window.

She was very restless last night, thrashing around when she got confused, going to leave a light on tonight.

Very lethargic today, taking small ice cubes if I am persistent about it. Not able to stand without assistance.

Will follow up with how she recovers.

Anonymous said...

Update, early morning of day 3 for our 14 year old. Last night she still refused to eat, tried her regular food, some scrambled egg and both of the above with chicken broth, not interested.

As suggested we slept with the light on the nightstand on. Huge difference, no panicing or thrasning around at all. She woke up after about 4 hours, but after about 15 minutes simply flopped over and went back to sleep.

Still not even trying to stand on her own, but she is a little more alert, things like, moving her wobbly head to watch one of the other dogs. Have seen her yawn a few times as well. Little things I know, but she was so lethargic yesterday.

So very slight improvement, worried about nutrition and hydration, hope she starts taking something soon or an office visit for an IV might be next.

Anonymous said...

Update day 4 for our 14 year old.

Yesterday we did go to the vet for some fluids, electrolytes from an IV bag, they put it under the skin behind the shoulders, so she has a bit of a hump there.

Vet was concerned she had not responded better. They offered her several types of specialty foods, which she refused and/or spit out.

Bought some people baby food, turkey and gravy, gross stuff, worse than potted meat, used a syringe to inject the turkey slime from the side of her mouth and she swallows it!!

A little good news, she is slightly better again this morning. Eyes look better, if helped up will stand in place without assistance, not walking just standing. Head still wobbly/swaying when she first sits up.

So she might be one of the cases that improves very slowly.

Plan on several ice cube and turkey slime sessions today.

Anonymous said...

Day 8 for our 14 year old.

She is still struggling, will little improvement in the last 4 days. Not taking food or water without being syringe feed.
Today is the first day without cerenia, wondering if that was making her groggy. Still taking prednisone and antibiotic.

Going to increase the frequency of feedings and fluids from the syringes to see if that helps with her energy levels.

Anonymous said...

Day 10 for our 14 year old.

Finally have the really good day that we've been looking for.

She is eating and drinking without much trouble. Not her normal kibble, boiled a whole chicken and used the broth to make some rice. Chopped chicken with rice and a splash of broth. Smaller feedings than usual, but she has more per day.

The head tilt and stumbling are still very prominent, but she is willing to get up and move around.

Very promising for her.

Anonymous said...

Day 12 for our 14 year old

Continued improvement overall, she is eating well and starting to be herself.

Head tilt and staggering walk is still very obvious. She is doing most of her own moving around. We dont let her go down steps.

The bottom was probably 7 or 8 days in. Very tough days and we struggled with this constantly.

Anonymous said...

My 14 y.o. German shepherd mix Angel was diognosed with Vestibular syndrome 5 days ago. The vet said this was the worst case she had seen! We've been nursing her at home and though all the eye twitching is completely gone now and shes eating and drinking normally, she refuses to walk! If we try to coax her up she panics and just starts rolling violently to the left! Shes restless and we can tell she wants to get up! We give her motion sickness medicine and homeopathic calming tablets for her anxiety. When you talk to her she'll wag her tail and and you can tell its the same dog looking back at you as before! The vet ruled out ear infection but didn't do blood work or x-ray. I think she assumed since my dog was so old i'd want to just put her down. But i want to give her a chance! I can tell she hasn't lost her will to live but i dont want to be selfish either. Its been close to 6 days now that she hasn't got up! We have to help her out to go potty. How long should I wait?!?! Has anyone dealt with a similar situation? Please help!!!

L.A. said...

Our almost 14 y/o Std. Poodle came down with Vestivular Disease 5 days ago. Like most, we thought she had had a stroke, but that was not the case. She has had seizures for years & is on phenobarbital. Our amazing veterinarian clinic, Bayshore Animal Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL is very supportive and kept our hopes up. While this is only Day 5, she still has a slight head tilt and stumbles when she shakes her head, but she is up & walking, sometimes with encouragement. She is finally eating well and drinking fluids, so she is peeing fine, but her bowels are still catching up. We will NOT give up. We are extremely encouraged with her improvements. She is still on a multitude so meds, but that will diminish. We look forward to a complete recovery.

Anonymous said...

My 14 year old 65 pound shepherd-pointer? Mix rescue Ammi came down with idiopathic senior vestibular disease. I got her acupuncture and Chinese herbs on a Saturday, which helped tremendously cause she looked on death's door. Then we went to the Vet who suggested two 25 mg Benadryl twice a day for a 65 pound dog. I put Ammi in a harness. Looped a shorter leash through her harness creating two handles. Helped her. Within two two months she is tons better, when I back down the dosage of Benadryl it gets less good so I kept her on the Benadryl. I always supervise her on stairs. But she is eating okay, snuggling with me, and taking it easy. I t happened last February and it is now June. There is also a Harness place www.petsupportsuit.com and we have one of those which I use when we bother to go up a flight of stairs. I have a ramp to get in the car.. Ammi also has hind end weakness but some physical therapy and acupuncture and Chinese herbs helped that. Her back foot reflexes are good. I probably won't read this again but it can go quite a bit better. I have got the quality of life charts for the future health hurtles so I can continue to figure out what is best for her. Nice to read stubborn good pet people.

Unknown said...

This blog has really given me hope for my little 1.6kg Chihuahua Archie. He started circling and falling over after he got his paw caught in his collar nearlly three weeks ago. I rushed him to the emergency vets who told me it was an inner/middle ear infection.He gave Archie anti biotics and a steroid jab and said to return the following week. Archie did not seem to get any better and by the time I took him back the vet said that if he was not better in another week I would have to think about putting him to sleep. I was devastated!! Archie is only six years old and despite his small size has been very healthy. I decided that I was not going to give up on him. I am holding him so he can eat and drink. No problem there. He is still going around in circles but he is steadier and managing to stand for short periods. I am giving him lots of cuddles, raw minced beef and enchinea to builld up his immune system. I am also giving him hemp oil to calm him. I am waiting to see another vet and hopefully get him in for some accupuncture. Through this post I now know it will take time and I will not give up on Archie unless I think he is in pain or has decided enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

Simply heartbreaking for our furry babies to experience such a frightening thing. My 7 pound, female Yorkie is 12 years old and diabetic. She had a severe pancreatitis attack, then 2 months later was diagnosed with diabetes. Anyone with a diabetic dog knows that eating is imperative in order to administer insulin injections.
Two years of insulin injections without any major problems. Then about a week ago, she started vomiting and her behavior was very erractic. She kept pacing back and forth, hugging the walls. She would stare with a glazed look in her eyes and acted like she was spaced out. This went on for 3 days, then bam!!! the wobbling in her walk and head tilting came on suddenly. She fell over many times, not being able to balance herself. I took her to the vet within 2 hours and all the blood tests were normal, except her glucose level (which was expected due to her vomiting and her insulin being withheld to avoid low blood sugar). The Vet gave her an injection of Cerenia and sent me home with pills to give her each morning. She ate food that night without vomiting, which was a huge improvement. Today is day 2 (after the vet visit) and she is still very imbalanced and has a head tilt but no eye movement.
I know my Yorkie and all her behavior patterns. I can tell she is struggling, but she is pressing on. I think this has affected me more than it has affected her. We are taking one day at a time. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that I will do whatever is necessary to aid my Yorkie through this awful time. As I've read through many of these post, I have cried with empathy. It has been said "tough times make us stronger". I don't feel strong at the moment, in fact, I feel very helpless, as I'm sure many of you do too. My hope and prayer is that all of our animals have a quick and total recovery.

Crysania said...

Count me as yet another one thankful for this blog and the information. And all the comments! On Wednesday (12/16) we woke up at 5am to find our dog, Dahlia, had vomited. Not thinking much of it, we got up to clean it up and discovered she couldn't walk. She'd try to take a step and then fall over. I tried to get her to move and see if she came out of it, but no go. We ended up carrying her downstairs and out to the car and running to the e-vet. We were sure she had a stroke and this was goodbye. She's not even 10 (that we know of -- adult rescue, 9 1/2 is our best guess for her age). And prior to this, she was very active...doing agility, racing around the backyard with her new "brother," no signs of being an "old dog" despite being close to 10. The vet took one look at her and said "vestibular disease." We hadn't even noticed her eyes were darting back and forth until she pointed it out. But she had the classic signs...eyes darting, drunken walking. We took her home after getting her some sub-Q fluids and a shot of Cirenia for nausea and were advised to get Miclazine (for motion sickness) and basically just tend to her. She said if it were IVD she would start to improve in the next 3-5 days and be on the road to recovery in a couple weeks.

Later that day she got worse. She couldn't walk in a straight line, kept circling to her left whenever she tried to walk, and her head started to tilt. Absolutely classic signs.

Yesterday she still had the eye darting, but it had seemed to slow down by the evening. She was able to walk, but still looked drunk and still circled to the right on occasion. Last night she was trying to right her head and sometimes lost the tilt. The eyes had slowed down further.

This morning her eyes seemed to have stilled and aren't doing the crazy motions. She still walks like a drunken sailor, but she's not circling as much. Her body starts to list to the left and she corrects herself.

Thankfully, she's eating and peeing normally. She had some diarrhea (likely stress and food related as the one thing she would eat was hamburger and sometimes the grease upsets her stomach), but otherwise she's been well in that regard. Her spirits are there, even if she can't quite get around and we have to lift her down the stairs to get her outside (which is super fun as she does NOT like being lifted up).

We're waiting to see what day 4 holds for us, but we've been seeing steady, if incremental, improvement.

Unknown said...

My Marley is only four years old. Tonight has been the second episode I have had with him (the first being about 6 months ago or so) He's dizzy seeming,the head tilt,little twitches,and, he is most comfortable sleeping,so letting him rest now. Can anyone give me a link to a video instructing me on exactly how to massage his neck and shoulders? And also,is vestibular disease something that can come and go like this? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. This forum possibly saved our sanity.

deb said...

My 16 year old miniature schnauzer has had 3 attacks since February 22 of 2016. The first one was the worst znd required an overnight stay at vet. First she was diagnosed with stroke but her blood work was perfect. Then I started reading about geriatric vestibular disease. She's had two more episodes with the latest happening 5 day's ago. She was in a coma like state not eating then she sinned to to the left with head tilted for two days. She is finally coming around walking slow and eating and drinking on her own. Horrible thing to watch!

Unknown said...

I never post comments on blogs, but this blog was an absolute lifeasaver, port in the storm when my lab/shepherd mix got idiopathic vestibular disease 9 days ago. At 13 years old, we grappled with the decision to put our old boy down. It just looked so severe and so helpless at first. But after reading this blog, and doing a ton more internet research, we took the wait-and-see approach. True to form, within 72 hours, our dog was starting to show signs of recovery. Those first few days were rough, though.

Here we are on Day 10, and while not back to normal yet, he is up and about, walking, even running once (which he hasn't done in three years)...happy, smiling, eating...with only an occasional weeble-wobble! He's back!

I'm no vet, and I would never presume to second guess anyone's decisions when faced with such horrifying prospects. But I wanted to provide a glimmer of hope to those in my shoes 9 days ago. I was looking for hope, and I found it here. May you all have the strength and courage to get through this. And here's hoping your beloved pet will get through it as mine has. It really is remarkable what a difference a few days makes!

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

Our lab had the condition around age 13. Frightening, heartbreaking. We stuck w/ her. Our vet was great. She lived another 2 yrs.... had her 15+ and she never had a relapse--the vet said she might, but we enjoyed her every minute after this terrifying situation for another 2+ yrs. Keep with it... be patient and love your pet!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this blog and all our stories .
Our 12 yr old developed vestibular symptoms since Sunday and now its been 3 days and she seems to not be improving .

She was diagnosed with a mild yeast infection in her ear and prescribed topical treatment which we are continuing . However her drunken gait , lowered head and tail and refusal to sit / lie down only started after the visit to the vet .
I ve got her started on Dramamine since today and keeping my fingers and toes crossed that she gets better soon.
Its heart wrenching and the vet looking at her age is already hinting on ' dementia' / 'cognitive failure' etc .....
the only puzzling thing is she is refusing to lie down or sit and spends hours at end standing ( all of last night she didnt sit / sleep) . has anyone experienced this before and if yes how did you help ??

desperate for advise

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

When Allie was afflicted... we have soft sided kennel, the top zips open, as well as an entry door. It seemed that the tight space was a comfort to her (her world was spinning!) We zipped the door closed, and zipped top open so we could monitor her, help her up if needed. She would push up against the inside side of the kennel... this seemed to steady her.

Manisha, you may not have a kennel like this... but try different things... until you can get your dog into a more comfortable setting, then she may be able to relax and lie down. In this state, she'll act really confused too, of course she will, she is bewildered at what is happening to her world--don't let the vet talk you into dementia/cognitive failure. You know your dog better than anyone else in the world! Maybe try two chairs and a wall, to make a confined feeling area (3 enclosed sides)? It took nearly a week for our Allie's drunken-sailor symptoms to diminish, and longer to really recover. The hardest part is being patient, while fearing for the worst. If your vet doesn't have experience with Vestibular symptoms, find a vet that does. A friend of mime, their dog had the symptoms (vomiting, unable to walk, falling down) and the vet talked them into putting their dog down. She is now sure that the vet did not know about vestibular issues.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad to have found this site, I'm just sorry to see that so many people are suffering through this with their beloved dogs. My sweet boy Oscar, an 18 year old dachshund, developed vestibular symptoms 6 days ago. One minute he was fine and the next his head was tilted to the right, he was walking in circles and seemed totally disoriented. I rushed him to the vet who immediately diagnosed canine vestibular disease, which I had never heard of. She sent me home with steroids and a medication for his stomach. He had his regular appetite through the next morning and then immediately quit eating or drinking. I've managed to give him some water and broth through a syringe but he has no interest in solid food at all. I've been taking him to the vet daily for an IV and an injection for his nausea. My vet instructed me to use a food processor to mix prescription canned food and Supplical and try to feed it to him with a syringe, which I am beginning today. She also showed me how to swaddle him with a towel, which she said makes him feel more secure while his world is spinning. He does seem to like that. Last night he began having fits where he barks as if he is in pain and the only thing that will comfort him at all is to hold him closely and talk softly to him. He can't walk right now but he will occasionally get into a sitting position. Occasionally I think I see a slight improvement but then he develops another symptom, like the barking, and it just seems worse. I haven't given up hope that Oscar will recover, my vet told me it's not uncommon for it to take 6 weeks to resolve in a dog of his age. I'm trying to cope as best I can but it sure is hard on both of us.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

Elizabeth, be patient the first many days are the hardest, while you fear the worst. You are blessed to have Oscar for 18 years--which in some ways makes it even harder. Positive thoughts and prayers to you and Oscar.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Oscar passed away unexpectedly September 23 from an unknown cause. He had been given a mild sedative injection at the vet the day before in attempt to calm him as he had been extremely agitated. Unfortunately he never fully woke up from the sedative, at least I don't think he was ever fully conscious again. He would occasionally open his eyes and try to bark in a very low voice but he didn't really seem conscious. I slept a few hours on the couch next to his bed that night and when I awoke I found that he had passed away. This is really difficult because I feel that I missed something or didn't do something I should have done to help him. I know vestibular disease is not fatal and he had started to improve slightly from that so I feel like something else had to have caused his death. I will try to reach my regular vet today and discuss it with her to try to gain some insight as to what may have happened to him. The grief from losing him is terrible, I miss him so much.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

Elizabeth, I know how terrible your heart is aching. (I lost my beloved Allie--we had a deep and special connection--she was a very large Labrador, saying good-bye last Oct, she was 15+). I can tell you that I focused on how lucky I was to have her so long (average Lab life expectancy is 12-13 yrs). At times I still shed a tear for her, nearly a year after her running over the rainbow bridge. What was hard for us, is that we had to make the decision to put her down. A terrible feeling, knowing your best friend is in pain and wanting her suffering to stop. I don't know much about your situation... but do not blame yourself, as it sounds like you gave your dear Oscar everything possible. Of course you will struggle if you made the right decisions--I can tell you, you did! You put Oscar first for the last many weeks.

To make things a little easier for me, I found a vendor (on Etsy) that etches pictures on Stainless Steel pendants. I have worn Allie's picture/etching every day since it arrived, about 2 weeks after she left us. Literally, her picture is next to my heart every day. We have another Lab, Irie, 9yrs--but finally decided to add another furry-four-legged family member 4-mths ago. I named Lab #3 after Allie, her name is Callie. She is very much like my old girl and having her really has helped me adapted to Allie not being here. It took quite a bit of time to make that decision.

Prayers to you... Focus on how lucky you were to have such a great Oscar for so long... you are lucky indeed.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your prayers and words of wisdom. It really helps to know that someone else understands the connection I had with Oscar. I'm indeed very blessed to have had him for 18 years and I'm doing my best to think about that right now. My heart aches and I still can't believe he's gone, he was such an important part of my life for so long. Of course, I know he will never truly be gone because I'll always have him in my heart.

I've found a vendor on Etsy and am in the process of finding the perfect picture of Oscar to have made into a pendant so I can wear it close to my heart. That was wonderful advice and I appreciate it so much!

I'm keeping you and your sweet Irie and Callie in my prayers.

TwoYellowDogs.Terri said...

I was very happy with PersonalizedJewlery shop on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PersonalizedJewlery). I have NO affiliation with them. They provided good service and fair pricing. I purchased a SS heart--the etching of Allie came out well. On the back I had etched: "Allie. No longer at my side, forever in my heart." Read the recommendations for selecting a picture. I love it, wear it daily. Having it has really helped me at sad moments. Over time there will be slight scratches, but SS is the best material if you will wear it daily. (Thank you moderator for letting me post this info).

Unknown said...

Someone asked above about barking.. my dog, a 12-yr old mix (of who knows what) is on day 3 for her first attack of this. I didn't initially connect the lack of barking - she usually only barks at deliveries (postman etc), but hasnt since around Dec 4th.. Beginning of her IVD was Dec 14th, so 10 days of no barking? No idea if related.

I also want to thank whomever said it might get worse before it gets better, the vet seemed to imply it'd just get better in 72hours or so. Our first day was mild, no head tilt, minor eye-flicking, just less balance and nausea. Second day was much worse, developed a head tilt, eyes more twitchy, didn't want to get up on her own to go out.

This morning I left the room for 2 mins to toss her bedding in the wash, and came back to see she'd gotten up, been sick somewhere and gotten back onto the sofa - by herself.

Crossing my fingers its better from here.. :(


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