September 30, 2023
Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Are you a dog owner who has seen odd behaviors in your pet? Vestibular illness may be present in your dog if they exhibit symptoms like balance issues, lightheadedness, or trouble walking. The inner ear disorder known as vestibular sickness can impair a dog’s sense of balance and coordination. In this post, we’ll look at the stages in identifying the cause of these symptoms and how to diagnose canine vestibular illness.


Canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome, commonly known as “old dog syndrome,” is another name for the disorder known as vestibular sickness. Balance and coordination are maintained by the vestibular system. Both the dog and the person may experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms when this system is thrown off.

Understanding Canine Vestibular Disease

Vestibular disease can be brought on by a number of conditions, such as metabolic problems, inner ear infections, tumors, and trauma. To select the best course of therapy and care, it is critical to ascertain the underlying reason. Idiopathic vestibular illness, on the other hand, is a diagnosis made when the reason is uncertain.

Common Vestibular Disease Symptoms

Depending on the underlying cause, vestibular illness symptoms can range from moderate to severe. Some typical signs include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Head tilt
  • Circling or falling to one side
  • Nystagmus (involuntary eye movements)
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Vomiting or nausea

The Diagnosis Method

A thorough examination is necessary to identify the origin of canine vestibular illness and rule out any other potential problems. The following steps are often part of the diagnostic process:

Visual Inspection

The veterinarian will watch the dog’s posture, stride, and overall behavior while performing a physical examination. Additionally, they will look for indications of inflammation or infection in the ears.

Neurological Assessment

The dog’s reflexes, coordination, and responsiveness to stimuli are evaluated neurologically. This assessment aids in locating any neurological anomalies that might be causing the symptoms.

A blood test

Blood tests are performed on the dog to look for any chemical anomalies, such as infections or organ malfunction. These examinations can provide important details about the dog’s general health and aid in ruling out some underlying diseases.

Imaging Exams

To view the inner ear structures and spot any anomalies or cancers, imaging procedures like X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI scans may be advised. When used to diagnose the underlying cause of vestibular illness, these tests can produce precise images.

Multiple Diagnoses

Sometimes, the signs of vestibular sickness might be confused with those of other illnesses, necessitating the use of a differential diagnosis. This procedure entails eliminating any further probable reasons, such as brain tumors, neurological conditions, middle or inner ear infections, or both.

Treatment Options

The underlying cause of vestibular illness determines the course of treatment. Antibiotics or antifungal drugs may be recommended if an infection is the root reason. Surgery or other specialist therapies could be required when a tumor or other structural abnormalities is found.

Management and Care Support

Supportive care is necessary to assist in control of the symptoms and comfort the affected dog while the underlying problem is being treated. This might comprise:

  • Providing a safe and quiet environment
  • Assisting with mobility and preventing falls
  • Adjusting the diet to aid in digestion
  • Administering medications to alleviate nausea and dizziness

Prognosis and Recovery

Depending on the underlying etiology, different dogs with vestibular illness have different prognoses. With the right care, some dogs may fully heal while others can still have some symptoms. For the best outcome, it is crucial to adhere to the veterinarian’s advice and give the required care.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

A: Can dogs with vestibular illness be treated?

A: Depending on the underlying cause, the treatment and prognosis vary, but with the right care, many dogs make a full recovery.

A: Do dogs experience pain from vestibular disease?

A: Vestibular illness is not normally unpleasant, although the symptoms it brings on might be uncomfortable. Should You Put a Dog Down with Vestibular Disease

Is canine vestibular illness spreadable?

A: Vestibular illness cannot be spread from one dog to another and is not contagious.

Canine canine vestibular disease return?

A: Vestibular disease can occasionally come back, especially if the underlying cause is persistent or chronic.

Can vestibular illness cause long-term harm?

A: Even while vestibular sickness can be upsetting, it normally does not have a lasting negative impact on a dog’s general health.

Can Vestibular Disease Kill a Dog?


Due to the wide range of probable causes, canine vestibular illness can be difficult to diagnose. The underlying reason must be identified in order to develop an effective treatment strategy, which requires a complete physical examination, neurological assessment, blood testing, and imaging scans. Many dogs can recover from vestibular disorder, regain their balance, and improve their quality of life with the right care and management.

4 thoughts on “How is Vestibular Disease in Dogs Diagnosed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *