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13 yrs old golden retreiver 8th nerve syndrome

April 4th, 2008, 08:10 PM
hello all i'm new to this site.

I would like an opinion. I left the house this morning and my dog was fine beside being deaft since he turn 11. When I came back home 5 hour later I was shock to see him try to come to me like if he was drunk. hard time to hold is balance and his head was toward the left. He was trying so hard but he was so unbalanced. I went straight to the vet and after a few test she told me it was probably the 8th nerve syndrome "old dog desease". Apparently if that is what he's got, all you can do he to keep him calm and make sure you follow him around so he doesn't himself. After 1 week to a month he should be back to normal. It's the 8th nerve coming from is brain to his hear that is inflamed. When the inflamation goes down he should be fine. I then went on the internet and look it up more. There was some info about mistaking it with major depression disorder. My dog always lived with my first dog that past away 2 yrs ago. He was alone with us since december when I adopted a 1 yr old dog. She's obviously way more active then him and bugs him a bit. I'm wandering if anyone has any input on it.

sorry for the lenght, thanks

Claude :dog:

April 5th, 2008, 12:30 AM
Claude, I am no vet but it sounds like vestibular disease. My beautiful 13.5 yr old golden was afflicted with it in September. It was the scariest thing ever! I have not heard of 8th nerve syndrome but they sure sound the same. The vet prescribed gravol at the time and tho Ginger took at least 96 hrs to show any improvement it has been many months since she manifested with the symptoms and she is certainly much much better now.

The head tilt is tell tale. In the past dogs were put to sleep because it is so difficult to watch. Our vet was very reassuring and made sure we understood that Ginger was NOT in any pain, despite being uncomfortable. In the past, dogs were euthanized from this but it is NOT necessary as it will stabilize. I know it is scary but please stay with your dog and make sure he/she knows you are there and taking care of him/her.

Please update us and let us know how you are all doing.

btw...Ginger is 98% now and we are SO HAPPY to have her with us ;)

Dr Lee
April 5th, 2008, 12:06 PM
It sounds like your veterinarian gave you accurate information. If you are looking to search for more on this disease, you may want to look for 'old dog vestibular disease' which may be a more common term. The 8th cranial nerve is the Vestibulocochlear nerve and is used for maintaining balance and posture and for hearing. Disruption of this nerve can lead to the following symptoms: Ataxia, head tilt/leaning/circling, nystagmus, strabismus, vomiting, deafness.

If the cause is idiopathic (no known underlying cause) then we classify it as old dog vestibular disease and these cases will usually have full to near full resolution. Some of the patient will maintain a constant head tilt.

There are some clinicians which will use steroids however there have been no studies to my knowledge that have proved that steroids help this. I personally do not routinely use steroids to treat this.

This can be a very scary syndrome but luckily most have a very good outcome. Please note: with this syndrome, it should NOT get worse. If the clinical signs begin to worsen, please contact your veterinarian immediately as there may be an underlying cause suspected and further workup will be suggested.

Good luck. :pawprint:

April 5th, 2008, 12:42 PM
My senior shepherd had this disease also, she made a 99% recovery. It was very scary,never had heard of the disease before. But at least it was something that she could recover from. Good luck and keep us informed!!