If you have an older dog, who suddenly cannot stand up, the dog may have vestibular disease. It can look like a stroke, but it is a condition that will go away in a few days.
What Is Vestibular Disease?
The condition is a nervous disorder that causes the dog to have severe dizziness and a lack of balance. One way to tell is if the dogs eyes are darting back and forth. It is traumatic for the animal because they obviously don’t know what is going on, and that can make the condition even worse for an old dog.
The dog’s head will also be tilted to one side, and that something that may stay that way for a long time,
The condition is also called “idiopathic,” which means doctors are not sure what the cause is. There are some theories about inflammation or inner ear infections, but there has been no proven cause of the condition.
One of the main points of this condition is that it starts suddenly. There are no warning signs. The dog’s head will tilt, and will fall down for no apparent reason and may not be able to stand. They may also run into things. Nausea and vomiting are also common, and sometimes dogs roll on the ground.
The main thing to do is to keep the dog comfortable as possible. Also keep the dog away from anything that requires balance, such as stairs or furniture, because they could fall and be injured.
Veterinary Care for Vestibular Disease
Even though it is not life threatening, it is a good idea to get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as you can. If their eyes are rolling, that could be a stroke, but if they are darting back and forth, that is more likely vestibular disease. The problem is, you cannot tell for sure immediately which one it is, so you need a veterinarian to make the diagnosis.
The doctor may prescribe some medications that will help some with dizziness, but the dog will still have some symptoms for a few days. The dog may not want to eat, and that is normal because of the nausea from being dizzy. However, it is important to watch for dehydration issues. If dehydration is a concern, you may want to leave the dog with the vet for a couple of days.
You may have to help the dog go outside to relieve him or herself during this time. The animal will be traumatized, so it is a good idea to spend time with them and comfort them as much as possible. The condition should clear up in a few days, but with some dogs it may take as long as two weeks. There needs to be a second visit to the vet in a few days anyway just to make sure there is not something more serious going on.
Doctors also say that larger dogs get this condition more often, but all breeds are known to have experienced it. The condition is almost always with older dogs. While it is not known exactly what the cause is, the good news is, your dog will likely recover fully in a few days.