Vertigo or Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome

Image of an old dog laying on the ground.

Vertigo is a syndrome in the elderly dog, which can be very frightening to the owners. The dog is suddenly afflicted with a balance problem, usually staggering, but occasionally unable to stand, and more rarely actually rolling over and over. There is a tilting of the head to one side and nystagmus, a rhythmic flicking movement of the eyes. Nausea and vomiting may also in present. It is not due to a stroke, as most people assume. It is thought to be due to an abnormal flow of fluid in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear. It is more common in older medium to large breeds of dogs. It is rarely seen in cats. Although the symptoms are alarming and often incapacitating to the dog, the prognosis is good. Improvement of clinical signs usually starts within 48-72 hours and most patients are normal within two to three weeks, even with no treatment. A mild head tilt may persist. Veterinarians should be consulted as the symptoms can also be caused by ear infections, foreign bodies in the ear, or tumors. The vestibular system may need treatment, with motion sickness drugs, or intravenous fluids if the nausea is severe or the dog is unable to eat or drink for a few days.

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Thursday:

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Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "You guys were the best!!! Supportive, caring and honest. I was in an emotional state with my dog and if you would have asked for $1000 I would have said yes! Instead, you gave me Cost effective options that I was able to afford. Finn is getting better because of your wonderful and caring staff! THANK YOU!!!"
    - Carolyn
  • "Our visit was great. Koda is usually so freaked out at the vet but Dr Albright was great. Koda loved him."
    - Beth P.
  • "We trust PLPH with our "kids"! Super professional and caring."
    - David D.
  • "We trust you with our "kids"! Super professional and caring."
    - Mary A.
  • "Love that Dr S cares fir Boomer as a valued pet in spite of his 16.5 yr old age. He also does a great job balancing care and cost with Boomers age. Techs are all super kind and caring. Love this place!"
    - Judy M.
  • "Thanks for the hospitality. It made me more comfortable knowing the staff and the vet actually seemed to care and didn’t treat it as job. They have passion for their job it’s not a do my time and go home mentality. Thanks again for everything!"
    - Ryan E.