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Old August 7th, 2014, 06:08 PM
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SuperWanda SuperWanda is offline
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Vestibulitis

Our poor dog Timber is almost 14 and yesterday after eating dinner she suddenly started to stumble. I thought she was having a heart attack or stroke and really thought this was it. She came inside and her eyes started to rapidly move from side to side then I remembered my brother's senior dog who had two bouts of vestibulitis. The horizontal eye movement, head tilt and inability to walk are classic symptoms but I was still pretty worried. As she tried to get off her bed she just collapsed and it was difficult to see her in such extreme distress. She was shaking with fear and I couldn't comfort her. This is day two and our vet recommended waiting a day or two to see if the symptoms subside. The other thing to worry about is the nasal tumor perhaps causing this but I feel it came on too suddenly and her head tilt is on the right while the tumor is on the left but who really knows. Trying to keep positive. Otherwise she has been doing so well for her age. The positive thing is that she is still eating a little and drinking lots with no sign of nausea.

Just thought I'd post to see if anyone else has experienced this and if you have any advice. It sounds like time is the key but it has been hard to get a 65lb dog outside to pee and try to stabilize her. A few times she fell so hard so we put a scarf around her tummy and walk with her but she is really hesitant to move.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 07:03 PM
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Grace has had a bout of vestibulitis--but luckily is just a wee little thing of about 35 lbs, so it was easier on her human folk. She seemed to feel dizzy and did a lot of staggering--and she had that look that told us she was feeling at least odd, if not uncomfortable. We just waited it out. It can take a fairly long time for the symptoms to resolve, though in Grace's case the stumbling disappeared quite quickly (within a week or so, as I recall). The head tilt took almost a year to resolve, though.

I hope Timber starts improving quickly! Is she still shaking? Poor girl. Give her a big hug for me!
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Old August 7th, 2014, 07:19 PM
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Thanks hazelrunpack. Yes, she still shakes when we get her up and try to get her outside to pee. That was always her fear reaction in the past to thunderstorms etc. She obviously has no idea why this is happening and it seems to give her much anxiety. She is so stiff when we get her up she really doesn't want to move. It must be strange to feel that disoriented. I really hope we see some type of improvement in the next two days but it has only been 24 hours now since this started. They say there should be a marked improvement within 72 hours and she might show symptoms for 1-2 weeks. My brother's dog is 17 and she has had two episodes. Unfortunately, she still has a head tilt and is fairly wobbly. This seems permanent since it has been months since the last episode.

I'm glad your Grace got better after a week. Just curious how old she was at the time? Was there any known cause in her case?
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Old August 8th, 2014, 07:39 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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It was called Geriatric Vestibular Disease when my sister's dog got it at age 12. Geriatric is a misnomer as it happens to young dogs too. Her Vet said most dogs do recover and that recovery is typically as sudden as onset. He predicted Laddie would be better in one to one and a half months. The eye movement only lasted half a day. A month to the day Laddie just suddenly stood up and walked again. Laddie was unable to stand up, let alone walk, for the whole month except he could do a bit outside on the grass. Laddie was given antibiotic as a "just in case" I think. Sis had to carry him in and out to toilet and put her back out doing it. The Vet said to hold Laddie's paws when she carried him as their feet dangling when they are so disoriented seems very, very distressing to them. So Sis had help when she could get it. Laddie retained some head tilt but by 2 years later only someone who knew him very well could see it as it diminished as time went on. Time went on till Laddie was well over 16; he walked, ran, played and then slowed down again as he got very old. Good luck with Timber.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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I believe Grace was 6 when she had her episode--so definitely not just in geriatric dogs.

Any improvement today?
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Old August 9th, 2014, 01:38 PM
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Thank you for your replies. It is interesting to hear all the different experiences with this.

We didn't have a great night but I see a slow improvement. She is now able to walk on her own around the house but has a lot of trouble lying down. We try and help her but she is very reluctant as I'm sure she feels she will fall. Same with the stairs to get off the deck. Even though she can't get down, we try and help by wrapping a scarf around her tummy and guiding her but she would rather not go at all even though her bladder is about to burst. She's too heavy for me to lift so I struggle to get her down and she tends to panic when she feels she might fall. Last night she needed to go out, but once we woke up and realized she was at the door, she had an accident. The rapid eye movement is even slower than yesterday so that is good but she hasn't eaten anything in two days. She is drinking water but has no appetite but this is fairly common. I shouldn't say she didn't eat anything, she did have a spoonful of peanut butter but that is all she would accept even though I cooked three types of meat with veggies. Overall, she is heading in the right direction so that is good but you sure need to have patience.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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What is vestibulitis , I had not heard of it before?
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:17 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Here's a thought, at her age it's possible she hurt herself in the stumble. Maybe her back. if something went in her back then you have to be careful of any carrying aids you use. They might put pressure on her back in the wrong place. I have seen several such holder upper type things and some of them would have been very bad for my dog's back.

My sister's dog was distressed, panting and off his food too though. I do believe those symptoms are not out of the norm for vestibular disease. Plus, it's been very hot where I am. Is it hot where you are? That might account for some of it too?
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Old August 12th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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That's good info. Very possible she may have hurt herself as she had a few hard falls. Yes, I have read that panting is not uncommon. She is a husky and we are in Winnipeg so 28 today, 31 tomorrow. We have the air on high though and I have a fan running where she sleeps.

Barkingdog, vestibular disease happens suddenly in all aged dogs but more often in seniors. There is a vestibular apparatus in our middle ear that controls balance. Although it can be caused by infection, tumors, in most senior cases it is idiopathic meaning there is no known cause. The current theory are that the calcium mineral crystal in the ear move and that causes a loss of balance so literally the dog has no idea what is up or down causing them to stagger or fall, nausea and dizziness. There is also rapid eye movement which I think is caused by the dizziness as the brain is firing off too many signals. The mineral crystals are sending these signals to the nerves which in turn is trying to tell the brain you are off balance. This also happens in humans but our poor dogs don't have an understanding of what is going on and they tend to also have symptoms of anxiety. Generally, symptoms resolve between 1-2 weeks but some dogs may always have a slight head tilt.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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Is she eating any better today?
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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Halo is 14 now (lab X) and she pants constantly. She has been diagnosed (as it were) with atypical Cushings disease. Apparently panting and excessive drinking are common symptoms of cushings. Not trying to scare you, just saying. We have heavy panting all the time. I spent a medium sized fortune trying to get a diagnosis of cushings (ultra sound, blood work) and in the end the adrenal glands were enlarged - as shown in the ultra sound - but the cushings blood test came back normal, hence the diagnosis of atypical cushings. For a further $600 dollars we could have sent more blood to the US, but enough is enough.

So just throwing that out there as it may explain some of the panting, cushings of course is common in older dogs.

Our Malamutes are panting heavily also with the heat - when they're not just passed out!

I hope Timber is doing better now.
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