Vestibular Disease in Dogs-The vestibular system, a complex network of sensors located in the inner ear and the brain, plays a crucial role in maintaining balance for animals, including humans. It ensures that they can stay upright while walking, standing, or sitting. However, this intricate system can be susceptible to disruptions, leading to balance issues.
Vestibular disease can affect dogs suddenly, presenting with easily recognizable symptoms. Dogs experiencing this condition may exhibit dizziness, causing them to stagger or fall to one side. Their head and eyes may assume unusual positions, and they might also experience vomiting. These symptoms are indicative of vestibular dysfunction, which often resolves itself, depending on the underlying cause.
What Is Vestibular Disease?
Vestibular disease in dogs is a condition that affects the balance system of the body. It can cause symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), head tilt, and difficulty walking or standing. Vestibular disease can have various causes, such as infections, injuries, tumors, drugs, or aging. Depending on the cause, vestibular disease can be acute (sudden and short-lasting) or chronic (long-lasting and recurrent). Vestibular disease can affect humans as well as animals, such as dogs and cats.
The balance system of the body consists of three main parts: the inner ear, the brainstem, and the cerebellum. The inner ear contains fluid-filled structures called the vestibular apparatus, which detect the position and movement of the head. The brainstem and the cerebellum process the signals from the inner ear and coordinate them with other sensory information from the eyes, muscles, and joints. The balance system helps to maintain posture, orientation, and equilibrium.
Vestibular Disease in Dogs: Symptoms
Vestibular disease in dogs can manifest through several noticeable symptoms, including:
Head Tilting: One common sign is when the dog tilts its head to one side or the other, indicating an issue with its inner ear’s balance system.
Walking in Circles: Dogs may exhibit a peculiar behavior of walking or running in circles, often in the direction of the head tilt. This behavior is a result of a loss of coordination and orientation.
Lack of Coordination: Dogs with vestibular disease may stumble, stagger, or even fall over, resembling a drunk or dizzy state. This is due to the disruption of signals between the inner ear and the brain.
Rapid Eye Movement (Nystagmus): Some dogs may experience involuntary and jerky eye movements, a condition known as nystagmus. These eye movements can be horizontal, vertical, or rotary and occur because of a mismatch between the inner ear and visual signals.
Drooling: Excessive drooling can be observed in dogs with vestibular disease. This can be attributed to feelings of nausea, vomiting, or difficulties in swallowing, all stemming from the condition.
Vomiting: Dogs suffering from vestibular disease may vomit or regurgitate food or bile. This vomiting can be a result of nausea or motion sickness induced by the disease.
Horner’s Syndrome: In some cases, dogs may display symptoms such as drooping of the upper eyelid and facial muscle weakness on one side of the face. This is accompanied by a constricted pupil and a sunken eye. These symptoms result from damage to the sympathetic nerve that runs along the inner ear, affecting facial muscles and eye function.
Vestibular Disease in Dogs: Cause
Vestibular disease can be caused by an ear infection, a torn eardrum, low thyroid levels, a head injury, a growth, or medicines. Idiopathic vestibular disease is a disorder for which no clear cause can be found.
Some dog types, like German shepherds and Doberman pinschers, are thought to be more likely to get vestibular disease. Even though this illness is more common in older dogs, it can also happen to younger dogs.
Vestibular Disease in Dogs: How to Prevent It
Certainly, here are those ways to prevent vestibular disease in dogs explained in a simpler way:
- Taking your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations helps catch and treat infections, injuries, or tumors early, which can impact their balance. Always consult your vet before giving your dog any new medications or supplements to avoid balance-related side effects.
- Cleaning your dog’s ears gently and regularly can prevent ear infections or inflammation that may lead to vestibular disease. Avoid inserting anything into their ears, like cotton swabs, as it can damage the ear. Check for any unusual signs in their ears, like discharge, odor, redness, or swelling, and see a vet if you notice any issues.
- Create a safe space for your dog to avoid injuries or trauma affecting their balance. Steer clear of loud noises, bright lights, or sudden movements that can cause stress or disorientation. Keep hazards like stairs, slippery floors, sharp objects, or toxic substances out of their reach to prevent falls or accidents.
- Maintain your dog’s overall health by providing a balanced, nutritious diet. Avoid foods that might trigger allergies or intolerances, such as dairy, wheat, or soy. Limit their intake of salt, sugar, or fat, as it can affect blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Make sure they always have fresh water and avoid alcohol or caffeine.
- Keep your dog physically and mentally fit by providing regular exercise and engaging toys and games. This prevents boredom and depression, which can affect their mood and behavior.
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Does vestibular disease have a cure?
Even though vestibular disease might make your dog feel a little sick or uncomfortable, it is not painful or dangerous, and it will probably get better on its own without treatment in a few weeks.
It’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s signs. If your dog’s health starts to get worse after a few days, you should call your vet. Your vet will do a check to find out if your dog’s complaints are caused by something else.
If your dog is sick and throwing up because of vestibular disease, your vet may give him medicine to make him feel better. If your dog has trouble drinking water, your vet may give it fluids through an IV to keep it hydrated.
But the best way to treat unexplained vestibular sickness in dogs is to wait until your dog gets better.
Does CBD oil help with vestibular disease in dogs?
Most causes of vestibular disease in dogs are not immediately treated by CBD oil.
Instead, CBD may provide anxiety alleviation, pain relief, and assistance in coping with the discomfort of vestibular condition in your dog.
- Assist in keeping your dog relaxed throughout the vet appointment.
- Relieve inflammatory symptoms.
- Help with nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, as well as providing a protective effect on your dog’s neurological system.
It’s simple and legal to purchase, and at the suggested quantities, it’s quite unlikely to hurt your dog.