I had to rush my 15 year old golden to the hospital this past Sunday for immediate care. Her symptoms came on quickly. She had trouble walking, her head was leaning to one side and her eyes were moving from side to side.
The Doctor believes that she may be suffering from Vestibular syndrom. As of Tuesday evening she is still in the hospital and is exhibiting many of the same symptoms, but showing signs of improvements.
I am interested in hearing from anyone out there whose dog has suffered from vestibular syndrome and hearing about how this issue affected your dog. I would also be interested in hearing if they recovered and if so how long did it take. Please include anything that may help them be more comfortable as she recovers.
Dogs adjust to this condition amazingly well. She will be kind of odd for a week or two as she adjusts, but once she does, she'll be almost normal, so much so that only people who really know her will notice that there is anything different about her.
The main thing you will notice about her is her way of walking will change. Her front end and her back end will look like two entirely different dogs. Her front feet will probably move in double-time to her back feet, meaning for every step she takes with her back feet, she'll take two steps with her front feet. The head tilt will go away for the most part, although she may retain a bit of a tilt, but not much.
Has your vet given any indication as to the cause? Does he think there's a lesion or perhaps a vascular accident or does he just feel that it's idiopathic (meaning it comes out of nowhere and basically resolves just as quickly as it came)? If it's idiopathic vestibular disease, the only real treatment is controlling the nausea until the condition corrects itself.
At the outset of the disease it is PETRIFYING to watch your dog trying to cope with the symptoms. You would SWEAR they are breathing their last, and as scary as it is, it's also heartbreaking to watch because the dog literally doesn't know which way is up, so they paddle with their feet and flop from side to side while they try to orient themselves but no position they end up in feels right or feels secure so they continue to flail and flop.
FORTUNATELY, the duration of a course of idiopathic vestibular disease is short, and normally within a couple of days the dog is basically normal again except for a slight head tilt (that usually resolves after a little more time), and in the dogs I have known who did battle with this (there have been 3) the only lasting effect has been the fact that the front feet move at one speed while the back feet move at another.
Please keep us posted and let us know how your girl progresses.
Thank you for your post and information. It was very helpful.
The symptoms came on suddenly. And you are correct,it is terrifying. We thought she had a stroke. My vet isn't sure what caused the condition other than her age and they also noted that she had an ear infection.
It's been several days now, and while she has improved, she is still not able (or willing) to stand. The eye twitching has subsided, but she still has severe head tilt. She is still at the vets office for close observation and nursing care. They are giving her nausea medication and a little cortisone.
I visited her today and she does look a little better, but she wasn't her normal happy self. Although she seemed to be comfortable and resting.
I am hoping that she continues to make progress and continues to recover so she can come home.
Almost a week has gone by since my dog was rushed to the doggie hospital and diagnosed with vestublar syndrome. She has been at the hospital since, but I decided to bring her home today to continue nursing her back to health.
The eye twitches stopped on the fourth day. She is still not standing or walking on her own, but is able to stand with a little support. She also still has the head tilt, but that also has improved.
She is showing improvement everyday and am hoping that she will be able to stand and walk on her own soon.
Making progress everyday. Nine days since being hospitalized and my dog continues to show signs of improving everyday.
She is now able tonstand on her own and is capable of walking/stumbling around the perimeter of the house or to the end of the driveway. She still struggles on the hardwood floors, but is able to manage.
Her head still tilted to the left, but has subsided from few days prior.
I'm so glad to hear that progress is being made! She will continue to improve, it just takes time. Some adjust more quickly than others but as long as it was just an idiopathic incident and not due to a vascular accident she should overcome this quite nicely in time.
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