Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Cape Cod, MA
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A very strange ailment
Tyler is recovering from a very strange ailment called vestibular disease or, in his case, geriatric vestibulitis, due to his age.
About four weeks ago on a Friday evening, I noticed him staggering to the right while walking from one room to the other, as though he was drunk. It passed and the next day, he had another brief episode with a little bit of stumbling as well. On Sunday, it happened again at which time he also fell. I checked the internet and discovered his symptoms seem to be those of vestibular disease. It involves an equilibrium issue which causes staggering, vertigo, nausea, a tilted head and walking in circles, as well as rapid side-to-side eye movement. On Monday we took him to the vet who confirmed the diagnosis, although he still did not have the tilted head and was not walking in circles. He showed us the rapid eye movement which was really eerie. The syndrome is mostly idiopathic, but can be caused by an inner ear infection or a brain tumor which is really rare and can strike at any age, coming on all of a sudden. He gave Tyler medicine for motion sickness, as well as an antibiotic, in case it was an inner ear infection. By the time we got home, he had the head tilt and was walking only in circles. It was very sad to watch and brought tears to my eyes. He couldn't eat because of the nausea and spent most of the day and night sleeping. Fortunately the symptoms abated in a coupe of days, although the whole episode has taken a lot out of him. He still has an unsteady gait at times and seems to be having a bit of doggie dementia, i.e, "why did I come into this room," as he stares at the walls. Another thing that I found odd is that when he began to eat again, he would not touch his HK which he literally danced for prior to this syndrome and will only eat dry kibble and nothing else. Very strange, but at least he's eating and keeping up his normal weight.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to share this experience, as I had never heard of this disease nor encountered it in our 34 adult years of owning dogs. I hope none of you ever gets to see it in person, as it is very upsetting and there is really nothing you can do to help.
Mary (miss you, Bailey-1996-2011 and Tyler-1997-2015)