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Tasha is our 15-year-old female border collie.Tasha is our 15-year-old female border collie.

During the night we woke up to Tasha thrashing around on the floor in great distress. By the next morning we knew that something was very seriously wrong. When she finally managed to stand up she staggered and veered across the room and her eyes were moving rapidly from side to side. We cried buckets and called my mother-in-law to come over as we were sure that she had had a stroke and we were going to take her to the vet, probably returning without her. My mother-in-law has visited Tasha nearly every day for play and exercise while we were out at work and is the main reason that Tasha has been such a healthy and active dog and we wanted her to be with us.

Our wonderful vet – Dr. Johnson of the Carling Animal Hospital – after a quick exam of Tasha said “Guys, I’m pretty sure it’s not as bad as you are thinking – I think Tasha has Vestibular Disease.” He then explained to us what vestibular disease is (we had never heard of it before – see the description at the end of the article) and the prognosis was good – it was just a matter of time and tender loving care. He examined her thoroughly to rule out any other possibilities (such as an ear infection) and concluded that it was in fact vestibular disease.

It took at least eight weeks before Tasha improved. We have four back stairs out to the yard and I had to carry her in and out each time she needed to do her business. It was also difficult to get her to eat – imagine wanting food when you feel sea sick. After about a 10 week period she was vastly improved but to this day has a tilt to her head and now mainly just has issues that you would expect in a dog of her age – reduced eye sight and hearing and occasional shaking in her limbs.Vestibular disease can also occur in cats and in people.

Here is a brief description of vestibular disease:

Idiopathic (idiopathic means of unknown cause) Vestibular Disease (IVD) is a disorder of the vestibular apparatus in the ear and most often occurs in senior dogs. The vestibular apparatus coordinates movements of the head and the eyes with the rest of the body –almost like the body’s gyroscope.

Symptoms can include: rapid eye movements, titling of the head, drunken movements and staggering.

Unfortunately, as did we, it can be confused with the pet having had a stroke… so it is very important to visit your vet as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.

Picture Credits: Image by Jacqui.


  1. Kevin Coughlin says:

    Thank for this. You may have saved my dogs life. The kemptville vet didn’t know what my dog had, but that matches my dogs illness. I’m gonna go to the Carling Vet too. Thanks again.

  2. kiwipink says:

    my dog has vestibular disease and it’s been a week now, and she still can’t walk or sit up. i feel so bad for her and i don’t know what to do for her..she cries lots and tries to stand and then just falls over..her head is very tilted and i think this is part of the reason she can’t stand..i have read that it takes time and she will get’s just so sad..she is a pug and is 13.5 years of age..any feedback or suggestions are very much appreciated at this time

  3. homer says:

    kiwipink………fret not. Last Saturday the same thing happened to our 14.5 year old Boarder collie/lab. I was positive it was a stroke and made plans (as much as it broke our hearts) to have him put down. Sunday a visit to the vet and Vestibular Disease was diagnosed. He could barely stand let alone walk but after a night’s stay at the vet, and a whack of meds, he’s on the road to recovery. From lots of reading on this topic, I’ve found that each dog (like humans) will heal at a different rate. Our doggie is now walking (wobbling) and still has a “depth perception” problem with stairs so it’s the carry up and down thing for awhile. But keep the faith. I’m hoping (and praying) that the $1,000 vet bill was all worth it. I can live with the head tilt, as long as I get my doggie back (or almost back) to where he was before this happened, I don’t care how much it costs me.
    Cheers and good luck.

  4. andrea says:

    Last night my 12 1/2 y.o chocolate lab came stumbling into my room. I was so worried,thinking it was her arthritis. THEN she threw up. I rushed her to the 24 hr animal vet, and they diagnosed her with vestibular disease. Rapid eye movement, cant stand, and shaking all over. He wanted to do numerous tests, but I declined. They kept her in the hospital, giving her IV fluids and meds for the dizziness. I just called and the Dr, said she is standing, eyes still moving, but not falling. I am picking her up from there and bringing her to our vet this morning. I really hope she does better. It worries me. I cant even pick her up to take her out! Anyone find anything that really helps the dogs best? She is my baby, and it hurts to see her like this.

  5. budandsadiesmom says:

    WE came home on thursday night to find our 16 year old Doberman Bud cowering on the floor unable to move and trembling…we talked to our vet and the vet college here on the island and they all thought it was a stroke, on examination by the vet 2 hours later he diagnosed vestibular disease and gave him a shot of an anti-inflamitoryand gave us the pills to followhe is standing with assitance and still leaning to his left and has decreased appitite but vastly improved!!

  6. budandsadiesmom says:

    Perdnzone is the drug

  7. Kristy says:

    My Siberian Husky, started stumbling around yesterday, I called the vet and he thinks King might have this, but his eyes don’t move rapidly, nor is he throwing up, he just can’t walk straight. He normally has a head tilt because he is blind in one eye. If anyone could tell me if there are different degrees of this that would be great? My Vet here in N.S said to give him a couple days to see if he has improved but he has’nt…Does anyone have any info. or know where I could go?

  8. Jamie says:

    My 14 year old chow mix dog was diagosed this morning with the disease. around 4:30am he woke up and walked right into our dresser, we thought maybe he couldnt see but it just got worse. He started vomiting, walking in circles and his eyes were twitching badly. Im concerned about his bathroom time. He is completly unable to walk how will he use the bathroom? They gave him some motion sickness medicine too so hopefully he will be able to eat. I have 2 young boys that are in tears right now they hate seeing him like this. Im praying for speedy recovery.

  9. Rexthedog says:

    I AM SO GLAD I FOUND THIS SITE !!!! At 5 am my wife woke up and said there was something wrong with our Border Collie Rex who is 14 years 10 months old (to the day). He was trying to stand and couldn’t, shaking, not throwing up …which was good. We got up and figured this was the end…a one way trip to the vet. We were so upset. We took him to the vet and she said it is probably a stroke, but the more I read here and some other sites the more I am convinced it is vestibular disease. He now has the nystagmus that wasn`t present during the visit, no appetite, and walks drifting to one side and can`t do stairs at all. I notice that this is the third border collie here. I wonder if there is something with the breed. A friend of mine had 2 borders and a border/sheltie. The border and the cross were never diagnosed with this problem, but the symptoms are eerily familiar. A heartfelt thank-you to all. Cuz we love our dog. Will keep you posted as to whats happening.

  10. Joan says:

    I am thankful to my daughter for sending this site this morning. We took our Bailey to vet yesterday as we were sure she too had suffered a stroke … all the symptoms … and our vet diagnosed her with this disease which we’d never heard of. She is a hound-huskey mix of 14 yrs. It came on so suddenly two nights ago; staggering, rapid eye movement, hind quarters collapsing and definitely couldn’t do stairs. It will take time and loving care we’ve been told and I’m sure we’ll enjoy her companionship for at least another summer at the cabin!

  11. S_beaulieu says:

    My 16 year old siberian husky was recently diagnosed with vestibular disease. She didn’t have rapid eye movement either just hind quarters collapsing. When I brought her back from the vet, I gave her an aspirin and the next morning she was better. I gave her an aspirin a day for about 5 days and she is back to where she was before this happened.

  12. heather says:

    I wish i had of seen this website last October 2008. I had a large shepard/lab mix 13 1/2 years old. Champ had these exact systems I am reading about. He woke one morning and could not move. After a couple hours of this, I took him right to the vets, wish they misdiagnosed. They gave him some strong athritis medicine and sent us home. Champ got worse by the next day, vomiting, panting, wining. He could not even support himself to stand-up. My husband had to carry him outside to go to the bathroom. Two days later his sighs were no better, back to the vets. Gave him a needle for arthritis, more money, no results. After fours days, Champ had not ate, had a bowel movement, was toadley confused and crying and panting all night.
    The vets and I decided there was nothing more we could do so I had Champ enthuisized. Do I ever wish I had of found this website before I had to put my best buddy down.

  13. Harleys Mom says:

    My Harley had the same happen May 2, 2009. Because it was Sunday, I took him to the Kingston Regional Pet Hospital and the on duty vet (Dr. Bob, I must get his full name) diagnosed Vestibular within one minute of seeing my dog. He said meds would not help, just a lot of TLC, hand feeding and carrying up stairs. Harley is in week 3 of this and improving. His night vision is still poor and his head still tilted, but otherwise, he is happy and in good spirits. My heart goes out to Heather who’s best friend was taken from her because of a wrong diagnosis. I recommend the Kingston Regional Pet Hospital to everyone. They are awesome! And I did not get hosed with thousand dollar bills!

  14. sirkane06 says:

    If anyone ever has something happen with their dog and the dog’s eyes are going back and forth rapidly, know that this is probably vestibular disease and not a stroke, and that most dogs will recover. I put down my best friend because my vet said he was suffering. He never mentioned anything about maybe it was just vestibular disease and could recover. I put my dog down. My heart still aches. I know now, by all of the symptoms, that my dog had vestibular disease. He would of recovered. Why would a vet not tell me about vestibular disease? Aren’t they supposed to know about this? I will never trust another vet again. You are best to get on the internet and look up your dog’s symptoms and find out before you even make a trip there what might be wrong with him.

  15. Claudette says:

    Gravol will help the nausea. I have a 70 pound lab who has peripheral vestibular disease.We are in our third day. AS she is a big dog, 2 teaspoons or the equivalent of 10cc’s of “liquid” gravol that you can get at any pharmacy. They don’t eat because they are suffering from the equivalent of motion sickness. If they don’t drink their water, hand feed it to them as they have trouble licking from the bowl. My dog can go a few days without eating but I am hand feeding her salmon and cheese

    I am taking her out by the garage so she doesn’t have to do stairs.

  16. calliesmom says:

    my 14 yr old cocker spaniel just got diagnosed with vestibular disease after having two events and being rushed to the emergency room twice. I thought that she was having a stroke. The second time it occured they did an MRI and other test and ruled out tumors/lesions basically ruling it a vestibular event due to the loss of balance and the rapid eye movement. I have had dogs all my life and have never seen nor heard of this disease. I am grateful that it is not a tumor/etc. but am still learning about this disease.

  17. Tim says:

    Our 14 year old Lab just had her second attack of this. Knowing what it is and what to expect helps the owner, but more so the dog. I think our fears didn’t measure to her’s the first time. As much love and constant assurance that she is not alone seems to help. This is day four…slower to recover this time, but going in the right direction. Neither time did she have vomiting. Never lost her appetite either…she is a Lab! Patience and reassurance has helped our pal get through this. Thankfully, our vet diagnosed this over the phone the first time. No stairs! You don’t want any other complications.

  18. Dguzi says:

    Our 14 year old spitz mix (don’t really know what else, he mom was a runaway) had the exact same symptoms…shaking, eye back and forth, no vomiting, could not stand or walk. Our vet was also WONDERFUL and diagnosed Chatou immediately with vestibular disease. Chatou is improving every day. On day 10, she finally barked to go outside. Steps are still not a good idea. She can do one or two slowly but we are always there just in case. We are on day 12 and she is finally eating on her own. She will only eat baby food on her own (half a jar), I have to hand feed her the wet food. The only help I need is with water. She is not taking any fluids. I’ve tried using a syringe to put it into her mouth but I still don;t think she is getting enough (and she does not like the syringe) Anyone have any advice on how to get her to take fluids?

  19. Liz says:

    Dguzi – try adding a bit of chicken or beef broth to the water to see if she likes it more.

    Good luck!

  20. Dguzi says:

    Thanks for the help. Chatou is doing much better. She i finally eating her dry food and we aren’t too worried when she is going up and down stairs. She still has the head tilt but all around, she is doing much better. A note to any dog owner going through vestibular disease: It’s a long recover and requires a lot of patients. Don;t give up on your best friend, he/she will get better and have many years ahead of them

  21. tiabits says:

    Our 16 year old golden retriever, Sara, has her 1st attack of geriatric vestibular disease about 2 months ago. We also though she was having a stroke & when we took her to our vet, the recently graduated vet that was filling in for our regualr vet thought it was a stroke as well. He told us we would have to put her down.
    Luckily he asked us to leave her for further observation and later called us to say it did not seem to be a stroke & may be this vestibular disease. But since he was unfamiliar with it he told us if she was not better in 24 hrs she would not recover & we would them need to euthanize her.

    Since I realized he was inexperienced I decided to wait a few days till our regualr vet was back & call her. I was so gald I did….she immediately assured us it was vestibular syndrome & she would fully recover after a couple weeks. Main thing was to keep her eating & drinking. She gave us anti-nausea medication & said no other meds would help…it would simply resolve itself.

    Sara did not eat much the 1st couple days but did drink a lot. After a few days she was much improved & insisted on going for her walk although she walked like a drunk..poor girl. But her stubbornness got ther thru it all & she was better in about 2 weeks…head tilt & all gone. The only thing that lasted longer was her perception difficulties…she could not tell where her food was or treats that were handed to her she often misjudged.

    She has now had her 2nd attack, only a couple months from her last one. we were told that it was the humidity that triggered it.
    This time she is slower to recover. It has been 2 weeks & she is still moving her head around trying to focus and her head is still tilted a bit. Her depth perseption is much worse & she cannot do stairs yet…she seems to want to, but stops, unsure.

    She seems more confused this time around aswell. And the past couple days I have noticed when she walks she often will turn & then circle once or twice & then start to walk again. Sometimes she does this only a few times & other times its more & I will have to stop her & lead her a bit to get her out of it.

    This circling concerns me as it leads me to believe there is a neurological problem. She did not do this last time & our vet has advised us to watch her for unusual behaviour besides what she experienced the last time.
    The vet said sometimes there may something else going on along with the vestibular syndrome & it is overlooked.

    Has anyone experienced the circling with their dog? I am waiting a few days before calling our Vet since it may just work itself out but I am concerned that it may mean something else is happening that we are not aware of.

    All the best to all of you & your dogs!

    I know how diffiecult it can be but I have realized that my old girl can still teach me a lot….she has taken these attacks so well…& althoug she was very frightened at 1st she has been determined to resume her regular routine & keep on trunkin.
    Stubborn yes but I believe she is just determined to continue a good life with her humans. She has taught me yet another life lesson!

  22. Samson says:

    My Schnauzer was diagnosed with vestibular disease almost 2 weeks ago. He is 13 1/2 yrs. I wondered too if it was a Schnauzer thing because my groomer said her Schnauzer had it this past spring, but reading this site, it is evident that it can happen to all types and sizes of dogs.

    Samson is going much better than the first morning I noticed him. He can now walk and I can take him on walks with me, He never did stop eating and never vomited. I guess he was lucky.

    He still does not do stairs and cirlces a lot. It’s like he doesn’t know where he is sometimes and he seems worse when he just wakes up until he gets going a bit.

    It scares me to think this may happen again, and that it may be worse.

  23. emi says:

    9/14 my dog mickey, a 14 yr old lab mix was stumbling & all the symptons of what we thought was a stoke. Took him to the vet expecting the worst news, but to our delight was diagnosed w/vestibular syndrome.
    My question is do you try to push him to walk around or just let him do whatever he wants (just lay down & do nothing). He’s drinking on his own & I have to spoon feed him can food.

    Thanks for any advise

  24. heidi says:

    Tobi, my old mix (poodle/fox terrier) of 16 yrs and 2 mnths is having his 4th case of geriatric vestibular syndrome. The first one accured 1,5 yrs ago. It was in a weekend and first vet that saw the dog suggested a stroke. Thank heavens for the internet as I found out and was sure it was something else because he never passed out, just fell down because he couldn’t get his balance. Like someone here mentioned, he was circling sometimes as well and severe nystagmus, vomiting and tilting head.
    But this time, he won’t eat, he stays seasick and I’m worried I have to make some drastic decessions the coming day(s). He sleeps and drinks but is dripping saliva now and then from being sick. Four days in a row he ‘s on all kind of injections, but somehow his condition won’t improve. He’s still wobbly on his feet, but the tilted head and the eyemovement seem to have gone and the medicine did stop the vomiting
    But he just won’t eat. I tried forcefeeding him some chickenstock at least. But somehow he seems too old and fragile to keep going.
    Allthough the vet was surprised how good his heart still is, and that makes him to go on, but he must be so sick if he won’t eat. And that’s a big worry, how fair is it to keep on waiting? I just don’t know.
    So first timers… don’t be worried, it takes some time and they’ll get better as mine used to do.

  25. Bernay says:

    My Lab 14 yrs old has this in March of 2009 and now last week again.. I was so glad I found you guys the 1st time or I would have panicked.. My vet was great.. WE are on a treatment of Predisone and some nausea meds at night.Also ear drops my Vet thinks this may have casued it this time..(she has some crudin her ears) . I had to hand feed her this time.. Its only been 3 days but she doing better.. WE had a wind burst in Las VEgas and she almost fell down when she went pee shes still very wobbly.. I use a dog sling to help her get around if she needs it.. She was circling but not now.. I cry whenI read all your post but it helps to know you are not alone..

  26. Kathy says:

    I’m wondering how Sara the 16 yr old retreiver is doing? Well I hope! I ask because my 14 1/2 yr old retreiver has just had her second attack of vestibular disease. She did walk in circles the first time which was about 2 mths ago. She made a full recovery after alot of tender loving care. We had to carry ourside for her to do her business. She struggling to lift herself to perform, the vet suggested we use a rolled up towel to lift her back end but she would have none of that! Gravol is really the only thing plus time that helps. But now she has had a second attack and I am worried what the future holds for her. She is just eating a touch but is drinking so that is good. just wondering how Sara’s recovery was after the second bout. the vet did mention that once it happens, it tends to happen again… :(

  27. Krickett says:

    So glad I found this website, my 10 yr old German Shepard just had his first attack. He seems to be doing okay, is walking to go outside and eats when hand fed, steak and chicken breasts barbecued. He seems to be drinking quite a bit. We have him on gravol for the nausea but he is still having the runs really bad anyone else have this added to the list of symptoms?
    Any advise you have would help!
    Thanks Much
    Karen for my Old Guy

  28. Hunt says:

    Our 15yr old Chow/Border Collie Mix is on his second battle with this. He had it last February and it took him 8wks to get better. Vet told us then he could get it again. Got up Tuesday of this week to him throwing up and stumbling around, now his head is tilting. It took 4days before until he could eat a couple of hand feed bites and keep them down. Is it something about cold weather that triggers this? We live in Virginia and temps are very cold, as they were last February. Hope all are recovery. At least this time we know what to do.

  29. Jane says:

    7 months ago (June 24 2009) our 12 year old border collie, Gracie, came down with a severe attack of vestibular. For several months prior to this full blown attack she had been stumbling on occasion, hated the stairs and was terrified of the hardwood floor, even though we had runners down. We thought her eyes may be going and we knew she had some arthritis, so put the stumbling down to that. She was upside down for 4 days and then when the nystagmus subsided she started to feel a bit better. Her eyes were cloudy, left ear droopy and her head very tilted. It took about 12 weeks before she was back to almost normal. I say almost because she has not been able to walk since. She never did suffer from vomiting nor did she stop eating and drinking although I did have to do that by hand for about a week in the beginning. The road has been slow. She has been having massage every 5 days and her canine massage therapist has been a great support along with my husband and several good friends. Up until five days ago she was doing so well and now she has had another attack. No eye nystagmus this time, but her head is hard to the left and of course she does not like to be moved, but once settled seems content and ready to accept food and visitors! her muscles have remained strong and her weight has been maintained, her coat is good and her eyes are bright, she is int. in what is going on around her. Blood work done last fall was excellent.It has been a lot of hard work and I am fortunate to be able to stay home and look after her. We built her a large, plexi glass shelter with a sod bed, out on our deck. That way she can be taken outside on a sliding bed and do her business. The shelter is heated with 4 – 250 watt heat bulbs and can have 1 to 4 on depending on the outside temperature, it is also lined with a thick bed of straw. We are waiting, watching and hoping that she will recover enough from this attack to be able to hold her head almost straight again. Before this last attack she was able to scoot around on her belly, using all four legs to push and pull…she can still do this but is not as comfortable. This is a horrible disability. I have cried buckets and just about driven my family and friends mad with all my talk about it. I have been all over the internet and it seems there is no homeopathic or scientific cure.
    Here are some things we have tried with some success to ease symptoms and arthritic discomfort. Traumeel drops for inflammation and can also be used for degenerative processes of various organs, arthrosis of the hips, kness and other small joints, bruising and sprains. Vertigoheel to help with the dizziness and nux vomica to help with a sensitive digestive system. DGP (Dog Gone Pain) for arthritis. Right now there is a possibility that Gracie could have a slow growing benign tumour, or it could just be the ‘regular’ vestibular. We wait and watch and hope. Having owned several other dogs, cats and horses we know that we will know when it is her time…..but until then we continue to give her the best care we can..even though it is like keeping a small pony in the house, with all the straw that gets tracked in and out…good job I have a good vacuum cleaner..

  30. Sheri says:

    After reading all the comments about this disease I thought that I would tell you about my dog, Mati. She is a 13 1/2 year old Miniature Schnauzer. In May 2009 she was diagnosed with bone cancer and we amputated her back left leg to take away the pain. She has been getting around with a little difficulty but is doing well. The vet had given her 1 month to 1 year before this terrible disease would return, but to our satisfaction, so far it has not returned. Now this morning we had noticed when she went out she was staggering, leaning to 1 side and falling over. I had assumed that she had a stroke and called the vet immediately. Much to our relief we found that it had been this vestibular disease and that she will get better in time. After all that she has been through, we are glad that she will recover and keep giving us more joy in the years to come.

  31. Sophie says:

    I was very happy to find this site – the description that everyone is putting up is exactly what we witnessed with my 14 year old border collie. One week ago, she suddenly started to pant heavily, sway from side to side, head tilting and falling as if the floor was moving under her. Our first thought was like everyone else and that she was having a stroke. We took her to the vet but by that time she had recovered and no diagnosis was made. It happened a second and third time within the next week and that’s when I began my internet search and found this diagnosis. I will be going back to the vet with some printouts and show him what I suspect is wrong. In the meantime I’m using gravol to settle her down so she can eat and when I see her start to pant and I know the episode is coming on, I hold her steady until it passes – usually 2 or 3 minutes. I understand that this may go on for another couple of weeks but at least I know it’s not fatal and I can help her get through it. She recovers her mobility after each episode and there appears to be no residual effect. I just am grateful to have found all this information and didn’t react swiftly and have her put down. So my advice to anyone who has something occur like this, it’s very frightening but take the time to inform yourself before you make any decisions – a decision you may well regret in the end.

  32. Capone says:

    I just had a similar experience with my 13 year old Golden Retriever. My vet did say it was vestibular so I was lucky. She did prescribe an over the counter medicine called BONINE and I do believe it helped him the first 10 days to adjust. She also had him on predisnone for 10 days as well. It has been three weeks and he is doing pretty good a little wobbly still but getting better.

  33. sherlar says:

    Our 13.5 year old Australian Shepherd was diagnosed on the 9th of October with vestibular disease. She had all of the exact symptoms. She seemed to recover somewhat, with only occasional staggering. Unfortunately we found her dead on the morning of the 19th of October, having made no noise at all during the night. She just passed away in her sleep. I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but I would like to hear from you if it has.

  34. Kat says:

    So sorry to hear your girl didn’t make it.My 10 yr old German Shepherd ,Shay,was just diagnosed with this on Sun.I live up north and rushed him to a 24 hr emerg,clinic in Brampton.He suddenly started falling, and started to drool and get sick,each time he got up he got worse until finally he couldn’t stand at all.Then he started flipping right over,I was sure he was having seizures.and a stroke.He was laying down trying to turn to the right and crying constantly.The vets gave him a shot of a valium like med.and said to watch him for two days .if he got worse to take him back.He was drinking with help as soon as we got him home.he’ll eat canned food but only by spoon feeding,he seems to not be chewing his food,I tried mixing kibble but he swallows them whole? He weighs 100 lbs and couldn’t stand so was on pads but refused to pee..on day 2 he was able to get up onto his elbows so we managed to get a sling under him and get him outside…It took him 3 days before he pooped.He’s on day 5 now and getting better,he can use his front legs and is getting the use of his hind legs,but still needs help.I was sure he was blind because he seemed to not know where I was,his eyes rolled up more then from side to side.I have had Shepherds for 35 yrs and have never heard of this before.It’s good to know they’ll recover.It’s scary at the beginning but it seems to be getting better each day.I’m glad I took him to a vet who knew what this was,I feel so bad for dogs who have been misdiagnosed and put down.

  35. Beni Kearns says:

    Our 14 year old Skye Terrier, Duncan, has just been diagnosed with his second episode of Vestibular Disease. He had his first attack about 14 days ago. The first attack was very mild and he recovered very quickly – within hours. However, his second episode has been worse. It started yesterday. His head now tilts to one side and his balance is not good. In fact this morning he was a little worse than yesterday. Unlike some others, though, he still eats and drinks. And he can stand and walk although he cannot do stairs. And he is very anxious.
    The vet gave him a shot of Cerenia to help with the dizziness and nausea. (So far, there has been no nausea.) She sent us home with a couple of tablets of the same drug to administer to him as needed. She thought he would he would improve in 3 to 5 days so we are extremely hopeful. I have read the many others posts on this blog and now realize that it may take longer than what the vet thought. I am thankful for this site and everyone’s input and experiences. It gives us some different perspectives on the disease and greater insight into what to expect.
    Our old friend is a very determined old soul and he still likes to hike out into the yard to visit his usual places. He is a rescue dog. We have had him for going on 6 years and had a very hard life before he came to us. My husband and I hope he still has at least one good summer left in his future.

  36. Kim Fawaz says:

    My 14yr old terrier mix was just diagnosed with vestibular syndrome on Feb.18th and I am so thankful for this site! I can echo the sentiments of many who have said it was terrifying to watch when you have no idea what is happening to your pet or how to help. My little guy ‘Calvin’ started panting funny and then vomited. When I ran to see what was going on the look of sheer panic in his eyes reduced me to a blubbering idiot. His eyes were huge and the pupils were flicking back and forth. His body ended up going rigid, more so when I tried to move him and he ended up flipping upside down and flailing. I honestly thought he was either dieing or having a seizure/stroke. He vomited a 2nd time and urinated on the carpet which is so not him. What through me into overdrive with panic was when he started yelping like he was in pain and twisting all over the floor. I was quite a site by the time I got him in to the vet which was about 45mins after this began.

    My vet, whom I adore, pretty much knew right away that he was suffering from Vestibular Sydrome. She gave me these little homeopathic pills (Sepia 6)which seemed to stop his eyes from being messed up almost right away. Other than that, I’ve been giving him gravol for the nausea.

    He does not want to eat anything but has been drinking water from a syringe. Calvin has not been able to get up/stand at all so we have him on puppy pads. I also found liquid food for him! Ensure for humans…well I found DogSure at Pet Value. The clerk actually reccommended it when I told her the problem. Calvin seems to really like it. Vanilla!!

    A friend where I work had just gone through this with her senior lab and he bounced back much quicker. That made me very worried but reading this blog has shown me that just like people, dogs too can recover at different rates. So, we’ll let him set the pace and just continue to baby him until he’s back to himself….or as close to that as possible!!!

  37. Beni Kearns says:

    I just want to update my previous posting on February 5th about our 14 year old Skye Terrier, Duncan.
    I am thrilled to report that he has fully recovered and doing all the things he used to do before the attack. It took almost 3 weeks for him to recover and his was a relatively mild attack. But, slowly, things improved. We did not have to administer any additional medications to him other than those the vet sent home with us.
    We made a point of keeping him eating by adding goodies to his food – poached chicken breast and the like – so that he kept his strength up. I think it helped.
    So, Kim, keep working with Calvin. Time seems to be your best ally in this condition. Like our Duncan, your little guy is a terrier and they just never stop trying. Keep your spirits up and let us know how he is doing. I will check back regularly for updates. I think I can safely say that we are all pulling for you and Calvin.

  38. cathy kearns says:

    Our fourteen year old Libby (Jack Russell) scared the stuff out of us in the wee hours on Thursday as she became disoriented,clumsy and threw-up everywhere. Her eyes were rolling around in her head like a doll and she could not keep her balance. I freaked out as our little dog had not exhibited any health problems previously..I cried and cried and cried..this illness came on so quickly!! We made a trip to the emergency clinic as we thought we were about to say goodbye to our best buddy!! The vet told us, worse case it was a tumour, best prognosis would be vestibular syndrome..blood tests the next day eliminated any thoughts of tumours confirming vestibular disease. Now four days later after much TLC, cuddling, hand-feeding “special” food including boiled cicken, rice and corn and keeping Libby upright as she sniffs her favourite spots in the garden and neighbourhood have helped her on her way slowly to recovery…she is still on the mend four days later but we are optimistic with her progress so far…a lot of patience and hope will help the process…I will post again with an update at the end of the week. Hang in there Calvin and Duncan!!

  39. Beni Kearns says:

    On February 5th, I submitted a post to this blog about our Skye Terrier, Duncan. I followed up with another posting on Febraury 21st. I would like to share some follow-up information about Duncan.

    After the initial attack, Duncan started to lose weight. He was very lethargic and quite withdrawn. He had never been an overweight dog. In fact, he was best descibed as a very lean dog. Now he started to lose weight that he really could not afford to lose, especially at his advanced age. He still ate but his appetite seemed to be trailing off. We found this to be very alarming.

    We were at a loss as to how to handle this. Feeling we needed to try something different, and remembering reading that someone on this site had tried and recommended acupuncture for this condition, we tried chiropractic treatments. (We would have tried acupuncture but could not find anyone in our area who did this for dogs or any animal for that matter.)

    After the first treatment, Duncan was very lethargic and we wondered if we had made it worse for him. But, two weeks later after his second treatment, the change in him was very fairly amazing. He started to return to his old self. He was active again, trotting and running around, playful and engaged with us. He wanted to go on walks, chase robins that dared to land in our yard, all the old stuff. He carried his head and tail up again – something he had not done for a long while. In fact, all of his body language improved. His appetite returned. But, perhaps, what is most impressive for us is he actually started to gain a little weight. For the first time in the period he has been with us, he put on a couple of pounds!

    After another two weeks, he had another treatment. And this has simply soldified his gains. At the chiropractor’s recommendation, we will go to once a month adjustments. And if he handles that length of time between adjustments, we may go to once every 6 weeks. Time will tell.

    Duncan stands patiently while the chiropractor does his treatment. He does not try to move away from her as she works on him. Sometimes she moves a joint that is a bit sore and he yips but still he stands there. We are fortunate as she comes to our house for these treatments.

    Duncan still has days when he is expreiencing a case of the “wobblies”, as we call them. On those days, he is a bit quieter. But I would recommend to anyone whose dog is not quite him/her self after a bout of vestibular disease to try chiropractic treatments. You should notice, after two or three treatments at most, some big improvements. Duncan is still 14 years old, and there is no changing that fact, but, none the less, these treatments have certainly improved his quality of life. And that is all we really what him to have: a good quality, pain free, happy life.

  40. Beni Kearns says:


    I hope Calvin and Libby are recovering well.

  41. PA girl says:

    Hello… My dog , 9 Sydney- half golden half black lab has this for sire and has been on Prednisone to build up his immune system and an antibiotic to help clear up an inner ear infection…although the vet I take him to is his back up vet– he had a former owner who gave him up and I love their vet but it’s farther away and hard to get in there. He seems to do ok o some days and it’s been at least a month now..other days he scare s me with his heavy panting and heart beating fast and leaning onto things to keep his balance. I hate seeing him like this- he is such a good dog. It says in everything I read this can be lesions on the brain, cancer, hypothyroidism or it can just be from the inner ear infection and with meds clear up and they can return to normal. Hopefully when I go away soon on a short vacation, he will be ok at the pet resort he and my other dog will be staying in. They are aware. He’s been there before but not under his illness.. poor puppies- I am praying for all your babies to get well SOON! Hugs and healing kisses to all our dogs.

  42. PA girl says:

    Update- I was researching Hypothyroidism in dogs which is often confused with Vestibular- Please read about this one because I am wondering if this is what my dog has (post above) Treatment is possible with this one.. some ongoing meds may be needed for the rest of the dogs life but you really need to be correctly diagnosed. I am hoping to get some positive answers if they will see my dog today (his regular vet) It’s a drive, but worth taking him in. Will let you know how Sydney does.

  43. Michael says:

    My 15 year old peke started with the head tilt, vomitting and nystagmus today. I hope it is just this and not cancer. The vet gave us antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Hopefully he responds to it or it just goes away on it’s own if it gets worse we must do bloodwork and an mri. Thanks for your informative post I don’t want to put my little guy down as i can’t afford an mri (plus general anesthetic) and surgery on top if he has cancer so I hope it’s just vestibular disease. Very sad tonight but your article has left me a bit more hopeful.

  44. Sophies Mom says:

    Hello, my just turned 14 yr old Std Schnauzer who has been extremely healthy for her whole life was diagnosed with Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome this past Saturday.
    An ear check and normal blood work ruled out infection, toxicity and hypothyroidism which are listed as possible causes of changes to the “vestibular system”. Ear and/or brain cancer as well as encephalitis (distemper infection and non infection causes like a tumour) are also listed as causes of disruption of the vestibular system. ear and brain cancer would cause a symptom of pain on opening the mouth which Sophie does not have and this came right “out of the blue”.
    Our (great) Vet calmed us down on Saturday as we were thinking the worst.
    They cautioned us that it may still be stroke related or cancer related but for now to just go with the current symptoms. Our Vet is not a pill pusher and we left with nothing except encouragement to bring her back if she could not drink (she would have to stay in hospital on an IV) and gave her an anti-nausea shot to help with the sea sickness she was feeling (causing vomiting). It has been a long and hard road since Saturday (thought she would die that day and then thought I would with all the care needed) but each day she has shown improvements. I luckily have flexibility to stay home (and get no sleep!) so have been able to nurse her at home but I know that this would not be the case for everybody.
    I strongly suggest blood work right from the outset because it helps to rule out so many things and is worth every penny. We will not opt for an MRI or other testing because if it is a tumour there is nothing we can do and she will simply get worse,..or she will get somewhat better and more functional (as she is doing) and we will be able to cope with her care needs. I wish all of you the mental and physical strength and perseverance to nurse your pet until you see (as my Vet said) that they will either get better, or they won’t.

  45. Suzie says:

    How do you give water to a dog with vestibular syndrome? My 16-year-old border collie was diagnosed today and I’ve been trying to get her to drink water…my best (albeit very sloppy) approach has been to partially fill a small Baggie with water and let her slurp out of it with much of the water falling on the floor. She’s disinterested in her former source, a normal bowl.

  46. Beni Kearns says:

    Try and get a large syringe – at least 50cc, no needle attached, of course – from your vet. (We live in the country and our vet also attends farm animals so this was pretty easy for her to supply.) Fill it with water and s-l-o-w-l-y release the water into the side of her mouth (between her cheek and her tongue). It may take a couple of tries. And it will have to be done frequently. It is still kind of messy but it is more targeted. That was what my vet suggested for us. But our dog had a relatively mild attack of it. Your dog, if she is experiencing a more severe attack, may have to be hooked up intravenously at the vet’s to ensure she gets enough fluids.

    Hang in there. It DOES get better. Good luck.

  47. Bonnie Logue says:

    I am so thrilled to have found this site, as just two days ago on Tuesday June 14th my 15 1/2 yr old Bichon Oscar suffered a “vestibular accident” as the vet called it, comparing it somewhat to a stroke in humans. My boy had thrown up in the middle of the night, walked like he was drunk, could hardly keep himself up on his feet, severely tilting to the left side, eyes flickering all over the place, and threw up one more time before we were able to get him to the vet. I was scared to death. We got him to the vet as soon as we could, and after examining him, she made her diagnosis. I must tell you that she has been Oscar’s vet since we first got him as a wee ball of fluff at just 7 weeks of age….she knows him as well as I do. She feels that he has a mass on his brain, but despite that, she feels that he will recover from this episode in time. We do not feel that any type of testing is an option at this stage, because to put him through those things isn’t going to change what is sure to come. She really didn’t have any prognosis, but simply said that he could have another episode or perhaps even a seizure, and then we would have to decide what is best for our boy.

    We have noticed some slight improvements over the past couple of days as far as his mobility goes. He can get around a bit better, albeit tilted to the left. He is drinking very well, but so far nothing to eat. We are going to try and entice him with a little bit of his favorite thing – barbequed steak!!! Hope that will bring a bit of his appetite back. We are hoping for some more small improvements, and I am going to try and give him a wee bit of Gravol (as recommended by my vet) with his water to see if that helps with the dizziness and nausea that is no doubt suppressing his appetite. We love him dearly and don’t want to see him suffer any pain. My husband and I do not have any children, so he is truly our baby and only want what is best for him.

    It is refreshing to find this site and be able to share with those going through the same experience. Good luck to each of you as you embark on this journey into uncharted territory, which sounds like the case for almost all of us here. Just love them as they are and take it one day at a time.

    God bless to each of you.

    Bonnie and Oscar

  48. Arya says:

    I just wanted to put out there that 15 year old dog is having an unusual progression of idiopathic vestibular disease in case some one else thinks theirs is hopeless.
    She either got worse before getting better or had a progressive onset rather than a sudden attack. None of the vets at my clinic have seen this before and the prognosis a few days ago was very bad. My dog’s anxiety was phenomenal, even with xanax; that was probably the worst part. Her anxiety increased as her bladder filled. She’s a good dog and she didn’t want to go inside (and carrying her down the stairs became too difficult because of 50+ pounds of flailing and because she couldn’t stand or pee once I got her out). Once she urinated or defecated her anxiety would decrease a little.
    The vet lent me two harnesses one for the front end and one for the back, which made a huge difference in being able to lift and steady her.

    I was out of town when it struck, so Saturday through Sunday afternoon are based on calls with my pet sitter.

    –Saturday morning she had trouble getting up and didn’t want to eat and some anxiety
    –Saturday afternoon seemed all better and took two nice walks
    –Sunday morning she couldn’t get up, refused food, was anxious, head tilt, nystagmus. She did get up herself once on Sunday morning. The emergency vet diagnosed vestibular disease. Sunday afternoon was able to stand if placed on her feet. Ate dinner.
    –Monday morning took her out to urinate and she was able to stand when I held her up. Nystagmus, head tilt, anxiety. Great appetite
    –Monday afternoon I could not get her to stand up. Great anxiety. Didn’t try to move. great appetite
    –Tuesday was the worst. Couldn’t get her feet under her at all, she just flailed around if I moved her. Nystagmus, head tilt, insane anxiety even with xanax. Food and chewing the only thing that relieved the anxiety. Tried to move but would just roll. Vet very concerned that it appeared to be getting worse rather than better. She said we needed to see some faint glimmer of improvement by Thursday or be thinking about the end. Very bad night of anxiety and incapacity. Thought we would not make it to Thursday at all.
    –Wednesday morning. pulled herself around some. Nystagmus slightly less or wishful thinking? Good appetite. Anxiety.
    –Wednesday afternoon. Was able to get her to her feet! She stood and walked with help (double harnesses were key), took her outside helped her urinate and defecate. She wagged and wagged while shaking and whining. Great appetite. Glimmer of hope achieved.
    –Wednesday night –less nystagmus. less anxiety.
    –Thursday morning. Calm. Nystagmus gone. ate but appetite not great. Less steady when I got her to her feet to go out.
    –Thursday afternoon and evening. trying to get up, successful with front end. By evening she had stood up on her own and staggered across the room unaided! Calm. Eating but not ravenous like before.
    –Friday. Calm and staggering around. Afternoon took her downstairs and she got very excited. Went for a walk. Defecated on her own and standing. Later peed standing on her own. Went up a few stairs. Very unsteady but happy.
    –Saturday. Head tilt only very mild. Running. Wants to play with other dogs (I’m very protective though). Took a little walk on the beach. Falls down when she shakes her head. Unsteady but getting around.
    I think we’re out of the woods on this and improvement will hopefully continue.
    Don’t give up. Not all progression is the same.

  49. mark & LOGAN & OSCAR says:

    my 6 yr old rottweiler has been diagnosed with vestibular disease he has been off balance for weeks i thought it was ear mites though my vet said fungal infection /& Vestibular’s.He & her put him on some drugs at first they seemed really helpful but when we got to the half ration of the med’s he seems to be relapsing .head tilt to eat drink has hard time with stepping off the porch.pees a lot but that’s the med’s the doc said that would happen.A friend of my sister said surgery would run 800/1000.Tues we go back for a 10 day check up to see if the med’s solved the inner ear fungal infection.My cousin heard that a product ‘ coral -phytoplankton ” called UMAC would help to supplement his vitamin intake product can be purchased at health food store cost of $ 40. for 90 cap/giving 3 per day ( he 115lbs )and that this would help LOGAN to supplement his vitamin levels. he has head tilt when eating & drinking has unsure foot placement on the left front though he has basic energy levels he is some what not far his double dose of med’s were a great improvement though now were down to 4 pills per day he seem to be relapsing ,,,5mg Prednisone steroid.for inflamation. for those who’s pets are having a hard time eating try can tuna seems to provide lots of energy to my guy & no name is fine about a buck each.i wonder if his brother OSCAR will get this to.Rottweiler only seem to live 10 yrs 11 tops so he would be middle aged .same as a lot of these story’s.Well i hope all are friends get well soon. as my best friends are still with me today .

  50. Ryan says:

    Hi all, meet Mitzi! Mitzi is a 21 year old snauzer mix. Here is what has happened so far:

    07/18/2011 – I was visiting my father out in the country for the most part. She was monitored outside walking around for some time. It was a hot day. I always wait to see her panting, and then bring her in. She went to the front yard. She ran into a sprinkler. She just stopped and sat there. I went to get her. She was somewhat out of it. I put her down to rest for a bit. She was back to normal half hour later.

    07/20/2011 – My Dad visited me. Mitz puked later that night.

    07/21/2011 – 07/23/2011 – She refused her normal foods. Chicken Soup for Soul with deli meats. I fed her hamburger, chicken, rice, and even deli meats by themselves during this period.

    07/24/2011 – 07/28/2011 – Introduced one old food and one new dog food. She still had no interest in Chicken Soup for Soul. I gave her Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck and Bison. I mixed in Wellness topper or filler lamb. The all meat kind. I then mixed Chicken Soup for Soul with Wellness.

    07/29/2011 – Person whom I live with left. Less than half hour later in afternoon, Mitz had two seizures within 5 minutes of each other. Or at least I think she did have that. The second one was very bad. Never heard her cry in that way ever. After coming out of it, she started walking really fast all around with her head down. She ran into the walls, table legs, etc. Once at the wall, she would put her head down and just stand there at it. I put down cushions everywhere so she would not hit her head anymore like that. She was fine later that night.

    07/30/2011 – She was fine all day. Ate good and everything. Even was out getting plenty of exercise. Barking like you always does, etc.

    07/31/2011 – She ate her lunch was fine before that. Then, a few hours later I put her outside (I have to carry her out because of steps); she kept losing balance and fell. She puts her head down, and her nose into the ground. Normally straight down into it. She just sits there. Eventually, she will fall over to her side (these symptoms are still current as of today).

    08/01/2011 – Emergency clinic- potential problem according to them most likely a brain tumor. Full hospitalization necessary! $1500-2000 dollars for I think 2 days. Running tons of tests, etc. MRI recommended but not in cost estimate! MRI could find brain tumor or other problem. I said no to their request of staying there. I got fluids under neck and anti-nausea injection. Parking lot outside, Mitz was walking almost normal. Came home fed her chicken and rice. Gobbled up! Later this day, hamburger and noodle (after sleeping and laying down all day). She vomitted a lot of that up. Still wanting to drink water!

    08/02/2011 – Laying down a lot. Just vomit in morning! Went to regular vet! Received fluids, and anti-nausea injection! Vet recommends euthanasia to person whom I live with who brought her there. Thinks brain tumor! He said she’s just shutting down. Prevent her from suffering. “My Dad suffered (he told her). I wish I could have ended his suffering earlier than I could”. I think he ended up taking him to some country where that stuff is legal.

    08/03/2011 – Regular vet for fluids. Glucose injection. Different vet however. Did regular checks, but not too interested in discussing Mitz’s condition with me. Going on vacation the next day, etc. I still think she does a good job. Maybe Dr. Death talked to her before I came is what I’m thinking.

    08/04/2011 – Went for second opinion late at night (right after midnight) to new emergency place. Third place now! She ran full blood panel. White blood cell count normal! Says she has renal failure! Suggested euthanasia! I asked her tons of questions of all sorts of possible other problems. Wanted $2000 and admittance to hospital for only 1 day. Ouch! I finally met Dr. Death. He gave me a lecture about her suffering, etc. Mentioned his Dad again (thatta way to bring your personal life to work and see how it affects others? I doubt he does.). Reaffirmed euthanasia. Was adamant! Again, brain tumor, body shutting down, etc. Just fluids again for Mitz with glucose check not injection (this at normal vets).

    08/05/2011 – Brought Mitz in for fluids, but this time stood my ground to Dr. Ditz (death?)! I right away said I had a few things to say. Talked about Mitz, etc. and what I believe, etc. How I’m going to give her a chance. Listed 4 possible things and gave it to him! Severe concussion, stroke, Parvo virus, and of course Vestibular syndrome. He went off the list and just mentioned one reason for each thing on why she could not have any of them. Concussion – dog’s skulls 4 times thicker. Stroke – one side of their body would be paralyzed. Parvo – think just no way (I can’t remember his reasoning). Vestibular – no eyes back and forth happening (forgot what that is called). It actually got to a heated exchange too. He mentioned he felt insulted that I even question his diagnosis for Mitz. I fired back that I was insulted that he’s telling me to kill my dog without any clear or close to certain diagnosis for her. As nobody knows what’s wrong with her. Then, he continued to attempt to convince death for her to me. I played along and said I’d call him the next day and bring her in. Let’s just say I never called, and certainly never brought her in there. In fact, it pissed me off to try even harder with her to help her. This guy clearly wants nobody questioning him. I got the “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. When your house has an electrical problem; do you go down the street and ask the retard, or do you call an electrician? I went to school for this”…..etc. etc. etc. i.e. – nobody knows more than him about animal care in the world. I tried explaining that I know my dog better than anyone and I’m with her all the time….I think that gives me a chance to know some things. He ended up saying she did not need fluids after checking her skin. I just left the room.

    08/06/2011 – Vet #4 visit. New vet. A little more open to other potential problems, but still going back to the brain tumor again. However, a little more understanding. She DID NOT think Mitzi was suffering after checking her body over and the like. But, thought she was very sick because of her kidneys. Thinks that makes her feel like having the flu. But not in deep suffering. Wanted to hospitalize and work on improving kidneys. A reasonable price for two days too. I decided to think about it due to the cost. I enjoyed my visit. She was open to the idea of TRYING to TREAT Mitzi. She did not mention death-time, but she did refer that if Mitzi does not improve that I may want to do that eventually. The only good experience to date. She wants me to call her this coming Monday. So, Mitzi got fluids there, came home and slept all day long.

    Progress – Mitzi still has not eaten anything on her own since Monday. I tried ensure through syringe by putting at front of mouth one day. Just tried baby food tonight or last night with syringe! I have been using karo syrup (clear) to rub on gums for glucose level to stay up.
    She HAS had a want to drink water. I just balance her at her bowl and she drinks it. It is a challenge at times even then, but she at least has the interest. I finally tonight got out a 20 ml syrings or squirter that was used to flush my ear wax to give her water. ((I go from the back of the mouth holding the syringe and the tip is at the front of the mouth and release the water. I enter where there is a gap in the teeth toward the back on an angle that would end up in the middle front part of her mouth. This way, it does not squirt right down her throat if she is not ready to drink.)) Tuesday was not a good day. But, each day since then seems to be little steps happening for the good.
    Just started giving her meclazin (12.5 mg which is half of the 25). Use pill cutter to cut in half. Give it every 12 hours.
    She has had lots of diarrhea lately, but no more vomitting. Seems to keep pushing for diarrhea often. Her balance is not all that bad, but its not all there. She starts walking a little bit then stops, tips her head forward and just sits there. Nose into ground. Seems like she almost goes into a coma as she then falls to her side.
    She does have puss coming out of eyes in the corners. Also, snot out of nose a lot. Puss is a strong yellow when on white kleenex. She is just sleeping most of the day every day by just laying there.
    Finally tonight, after taking the meclazin two times…she woke up around midnight. First, she had diarrhea. Then, I took her outside to finish that up. Next, took her down stairs to clean her butt and the like in the bath. Brought her up, she wanted to start walking around. At first, just little steps. She’s keeping her balance. She did good. So I tried to give her chicken, she smelled it but did not eat it. I took her to drink water. After drinking, she started walking around almost like she was back to normal. Then, she started her stopping coma thing again. I just think it was great to see her walking around. She finally seems to be sniffing food a bit more too. Little steps is what they are!

    I’m going to keep up the water 20 ml. Keep giving the meclazin. Let her drink on her own. Get her fluids under skin. Syrings ensure, chicken broth, or baby food. Rub karo syrup on gums three times a day. Just keep trying!

    Before all this, Mitzi was not just some dog that layed around all day long. She is very active. Very vocal. Very full of life. She still goes to the park where I let her roam on her own under supervision. She loves just roaming. She loves the breeze out the car window on my lap. She loves eating. She even still gets a sprint going from time to time. Most recently, she caught me off guard by starting to go really really fast. It had been a long time since seeing her do that. I tried to catch her, but she ran into a concrete porch with her snout. She got right back up.
    She always gets right back up when she falls. This is a rare time where she does not. She is so courageous and tough. I’ve learned more from this dog than probably any person in my life. Very intelligent too she is! I’ve never seen something like it.
    She has a full life, and should not just die because others think she has no chance. Sure, they may end up being right….I don’t know whats wrong with her for sure. But, she has a RIGHT to live no matter what her age. I’m not going to just kick her to the curb because she is 21, blind, and now sick.
    One thing I’ve noticed with pretty much all vets and even some close to me who know her condition (not you Lap, although today you questioned)….they all give me the “she’s too old” and then just think about putting her down. It’s all about her age. Total age discrimination. So sad really. Nobody wants to help out an old dog really! She’s still a life. Why so quick to discard her?

    I never have noticed her eyes going back and forth. She does have most of the other symptoms if not all for vestibular.

    Well, that’s where I’m at with everything. If you read this whole post, then you get a medal of determination because it is very long.

    I’m open for any suggestion and help. Thanks!

  51. Ryan says:

    Oh, and I wanted to mention that most of these vets request information from previous one to be faxed to them. If they see paper work, and it says “brain tumor”, then they most likely will say the same thing too. Kind of like they are afraid to leave the clan and be an individual.

  52. Shannon says:

    I just experienced this scare with my dog Joey (Ottawa Dog Blog Dog of the Week, August 8) a couple of hours ago. We woke up and his back legs just kept giving out under him. It was clear that his mind was still very sharp; he couldn’t understand why his body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do.

    I took him outside for his pee and watched him stagger like a drunk around the backyard. It was awful. I assumed he had had a stroke while he had been sleeping.

    It was a one-hour wait until the vet opened, and during that time I saw some dramatic improvements. His walking straightened out. He went up and down the stairs (I was scared to death, but he was very insistent that he go through our normal morning routine). But any time he’d lean left to sniff at something, or shake his head, he’d stagger like he had vertigo.

    The vet is guessing that it’s vestibular disease. From the comments above, I gather that we were pretty fortunate today that the symptoms disappeared so quickly. Joey is only about 7, but he is a rescued dog and I’m sure the mistreatment in his ‘past life’ has accelerated a problem which he should not have had to deal with for several years.

    Thank you to the person who posted this article. It is tough finding worthwhile information on canine health online.

  53. Jill says:

    Our 13 1/2 year old Border Collie had his first epsiode late last night. We woke to close windows bcause of wind and when he tried to come say hello, he fell over. I immediatly noticed the rapid back and forth eye movement and called the vet hospital right away.

    We took him into the CARE Centre here in Calgary and Dr. Kirsty Royale (my favorite) immediatly stopped our tears. He was not going to die then and there and there and there is hope.

    We have had blood work done to rule out any other external causes, and are hoping it is just plain old age.

    He is walking like a drunk and I am carrying him down the stairs outside, but there IS hope!

    Going to see if I can get him to eat some cheese and kibble, tummy still queasy.

  54. Kathryn says:

    Hi Jill,
    I just got back from the CARE centre with my 15 1/2 year old border collie too. Looks like she has vestibular as well. They took blood, but no results yet. She was in there for a long weekend a few months back with some unknown really bad bug, and they were fantastic. So far she is eating soft food and drinking lots. How is your dog doing? Has he improved?

  55. Brenda says:

    Our 12 yr old border collie has most of the symptoms that everyone else is mentioning. The thing that worries us the most is that she is drinking water, but she does not want to eat at all. I made hamburger and rice, bacon, steak meat. She has always been fussy and she is very sensitive. Its been 6 days now and no food. Anyone got any ideas?

  56. Ryan says:

    Two days ago I came home to find my dog Molly (11y.o. Shih Tzu) had thrown up a couple times. Didn’t think too much of it. Later that night she did something a little odd – can’t remember what – but my wife picked her up. When she put her down she just fell to the floor and seemed a little disoriented/freaked out. I picked her up and calmed her down and when I put her down she started doing barrel rolls. We went straight to the after hours vet. They told us probably a stroke and hinted at the fact that we might have to consider putting her down soon.

    Yesterday she was OK in the sense that we thought she just had a stroke, but really not great. She could walk sometimes but not really not well. Today she’s been having quite few of the ‘attacks’ where she goes into the barrel rolls. She doesn’t have the eye twitching but her pupils go as big as diner plates. She’s had her appetite and has been drinking as best as she can manage. I have to steady her between my legs and bring the dish up to her.

    I thought today was it, wasn’t sure if she’d make it to the morning before we could see her regular vet. TBH I was sneaking her some treats that probably aren’t the best for her, but I was thinking that we were going to be making a one way trip to the vet in a few hours. All through this my wife was online doing some reading and got talking to an online vet, who suggested it sounded like peripheral vestibular syndrome. Since I’ve done a ton of reading and the symptoms are a 95% accurate!

    This blog has been a great read and given me a lot of hope as it sounds like exactly what we are going through… even the (hopefully) misdiagnosed stroke. We see the vet tomorrow morning and “peripheral vestibular syndrome” are probably going to be the first words out of my mouth when we get there. Hoping for the best anyway. Wish us luck.

  57. deb says:

    our 13 year old maltese went through this this past weekend – i too though it was a stroke. i took her after hours to the vet and he immediately put her on IV fluids (she has age related digestive issues as well and has been steadily losing weight). she had not eaten or drank anything for 24 hours. she spent the weekend there (man, that was hard!!) but she came home yesterday. she is on prednizone and antibiotics, fairly standard treatment for vestibular disease from all the research i’ve done. she goes in spurts – she’ll walk – still very wobbly – and pee fairly unassisted, eat fairly well (despite the tilt) but then she lays lifeless for 5 or 6 hours, or longer, to the point where i’m worried she’ll just die in her sleep! i basically spoon feed her. this morning i was so excited that she walked to her water dish twice – nothing since then :-( i have more hope after reading this but does anyone have the same experience of having your dog be completely lifeless for such a long period? it scares me, but i can’t imagine how much scarier it must be for her! breaks my heart to see my little girl so still!!

  58. deb says:

    she walked from the bedroom to the back door today to pee. she had 3 HUGE meals. she peed 5 times. she pooped for the first time since thursday. she walked up 2 little stairs (with supervision.) yes…. today was a GREAT day. don’t give up hope people, i was ready to put sweet little cosmo down 4 days ago. wow. i did a ton of research but the thread of comments on this site was by far the best one. thank you all and keep loving those seniors :-)

  59. colette says:

    I have an 11 yr old border collie mix that was just diagnosed with vestibular disease. She also has an enlarged heart. Does anyone else have simalar conditions in their dog….. She is very slow and unsteady on her feet.. Breaks my heart. thanx

  60. Deb says:

    My 14 yo collie/beagle mix, Trey,displayed the head tilt, horizontal eye movement, and twitching of his limbs while lying on the floor after eating his dinner yesterday. It really scared me! It’s been two days now and I’m praying that he gets better. He can’t even stand…poor baby. He’s been resting on his orthopedic bed, and I have been giving him drinks of water from a small bowl. He’ll only eat small amounts, and I’ve got him on Bodine (motion sickness meds, along with an anti-biotic). Several weeks ago, he had tapeworms and I gave him medication from the vet’s for that. Could this have helped to bring on the vestibular syndrome?? Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words…they’re very helpful! I wish speedy recoveries for all our buddies!! Deb

  61. Darren says:

    Had to share my story as I received so much info and inspiration from this post site.My 13 year old healthy active Border cross woke up with alot of vestibular syptoms.Scared silly I got her into my vet right away to confirm it.Awful thing to have to go thru so unexpectedly,but do not give up.I gave her a Gravol pill for 4 days which seemed to help. She did not eat or drink a thing on her own for 5 days.Third day I made a milkshake with softened dog food, turkey,gravy,etc. and used a large syringe to inject food and water into the backside of her mouth ,inject between the teeth slowly.Visit your local pharmacy for a syringe,lots of sizes and cheap or free.Trying to get her to eat all her faves on day six but still very fussy but started drinking on her own,then I tried some regular flavour beef jerky and she started woofing it back,yee hah! Today has been eating more including some fine plain ground beef.Seems to have trouble still chewing larger harder pieces so keep them small and soft for awhile.My pal is well on her way to a full recovery,just be patient and do not give up.
    Thank You to everyone for all the great info.

  62. Russ says:

    This thread has been so comforting. Thanks to everyone dating back years for offering your experience. It has really helped ease my mind.

    My 14 year old Border Collie slipped off the bed for the first time ever 2 days ago and I jumped to help her up as she was straining making me think she had broken a leg.

    I finally got her up and noticed her eyes were twitching left to right non-stop. She immediately lost her hind leg footing and slipped again to the floor when I let her go.

    My poor neighbor was rudely awakened (1am) as I knew she used to work with a vet and thought she might have something to offer. She assumed it might be a stroke and I would need to see a vet asap. She was great, and within minutes had texted 2 separate local hospitals.

    In the mean time, I was doing my own research online based on her symptoms and found the following very helpful site. (there are 4 pages, so be sure you see the links at the bottom numbered 1-4)

    Since my girl seemed to display all the classic symptoms, I decided to wait and see if she showed any improvement. As the 24th hour hit, she was showing signs of improvement, less eye twitching, and more stable which helped me get a bit of sleep.

    The next morning, she seemed energetic and ready to do her business, as I did I, so I let her out the back door and me into a library. When I returned about a minute later I noticed her wobbling, almost falling to the ground and disoriented. I scooped her up and brought her back inside knowing I had to see a vet as soon as the doors opened. I needed to make sure my arm chair diagnosis was correct and nothing more severe. As I waited for the vet to open in the next hour, she fell to the ground flat bellied several times and didn’t want to get up. My fears increased thinking this must be more serious than I thought.

    When I arrived at the vet, I noticed her head tilt for the first time, she was still stumbling occasionally but still walking on her own. Her eye twitching was minimal.

    The vet immediately suggested Vestibular and said another dog just a few doors down had the same thing and it was common in older dogs and my girl was displaying all the signs. “She should be better in about 5-7 days”. (Experiences here seem quite longer, but I hope she is correct)

    She did not take any blood work, but did check her temp, ears and physical exam. Afterwards she suggested Meclizine (for motion sickness/appetite) and much rest. If she stopped eating or drinking, I was told I will need to bring her back and they may have to keep her overnight for a few days.

    Luckily, she is eating fine, though I did have to hand feed her tonight (not sure if she would have eaten eventaully but she was off schedule so i gave it my best shot), she is drinking fine, and drinks loads if I add some chicken stock to her water. Her energy level is low and she gets up and just wanders around the room with no real direction.

    When I let her outside, she will stand in one place for a very long time before stumbling around the yard in locations she usually does not explore. It is as if she is not familiar with her surroundings and unaware I am even there. (this is very unusual, as she almost always wants to know where I am).

    I am hopeful I am in the worst of time trenches with this sad disease and am looking forward to better days.

    For now, she is getting 25mg of Meclizine twice a day (recommended 1mg per pound, making sure she is eating/drinking and lots of rest as suggested by the vet.

    The article I referenced above offers two types of Vestibular (Central and Peripheral). My Vet didn’t know what I was talking about when I as the difference, so printing that article for your vet may help educate them.

    This is such a sad thing to watch, but I am hopeful and thankful it is not worse. There is hope!

  63. Russ says:

    Just a quick follow-up from my post above from January 7th.

    I am happy to report my Border Collie has had a near full recovery in just a few days.

    She had a loose stool for the past few days and stopped eating, but just today, by adding some chicken broth to her science diet food, she began eating like a champ.

    I never had any issues with her drinking fluids by simply adding chicken broth to her water. She would drink as much as I gave her.

    She is now walking very good, though not at 100% percent with a slight wobble every once in awhile and her head tilt has nearly returned to normal.

    To those of you just going thru this, just know there is hope! This is a terrible thing to watch to your best buddy, but with a little late night TLC, your pooch will most likely pull thru this!

  64. Jamie says:

    I first want to thank everyone for their posts! I have been frantic for the past 3 days! My little baby shizu Preppy who is about 9 years old started stumbling around like he was drunk. We thought at first something might be wrong with his foot so I took him to get his nails cut. He was examined a bit and I got some Prednisone and took him home. He was very lathargic. He was laying on his chair (ok so it’s mine) and then I saw him on the floor and he threw up. Then he stumbled around a minute and laid down on the floor. I went to him and he was limp and his eyes were kind of rolled back. I immediately took him back to the vet (not his regular one b/c we were out of town) and they started saying that it was likely neurological, like maybe a stroke. They sent me to an emergency hospital 40 miles away. Once there they said he needed to go to another hospital and see a neurologist (about 90 miles away). I asked for prednisone and antibiotics and took my baby home. The next day he seemed to improve a bit and even ate some soft food. The following day he didn’t want to eat and wasn’t even wanting to drink water from the dropper I was using. I took him to the place where there was a neurologist and they started talking about doing an MRI and Spinal Tap. This was on Saturday evening and they said it would be done today. Then today they said it would be tomorrow and I had started doing more research and realized that for most neurological issues the treatment is either steroids/antibiotics or of course surgery/chemo (which is not an option for such a tiny baby). Not to mention that the reviews of this place talked about how it is more focused on money than the animal.
    Once we got home I noticed that on the presriptions they had reduced all of his meds by half. I think they were trying to keep him down so it would justify the need to MRI etc. In about 5 hours my regular vet will have us waiting at their door.
    I will keep you posted.
    Pray for my baby..I’m not giving up nor am I trusting these people. I’ve spent about $1200+ so far and will spend until I get the truth!

  65. Jamie says:

    Just got back from regular vet; she asked what had been happening with Preppy and the first thing out of her mouth was vestibular disease! Thank God! Finally, someone with honesty. I’m still not counting on it 100% but it is definitely worth trying. Preppy is much better today, eating and drinking some and I think it is due to getting him back up on the Prednisone dosage instead of the reduced one at the hospital.
    However, the vet just called and she said she spoke with the neurologist and was somewhat convinced that the Spinal Tap and MRI may be a good idea. She however didn’t push it and said we can wait to see how Preppy is doing.
    I love this vet; she is the one who found that my 16 year old wheaten mix had melanoma and said that if she were my dog, I wouldn’t amputate her ear and go through chemo. She said that the treatment would most likely kill her before the cancer did. That was almost a year ago and Leah is doing great still.

    I will update you if there are any difficulties with Preppy…

  66. Jamie says:

    Ok, so far Preppy has had 3 full doses of prednisone and has been eating, drinking and barked and jumped off the bed! Amazing!! “you go Prepperoni! Keeping you posted!

  67. MRice says:

    My 2 year old Brussels Griffon is suffering from Vestibular Syndrome. He never lost his appetite, and is on antibiotics, and an anti nasuea medication as well as ear drops which are a steroid drop. I hope this is a temporary situation, and he gets well soon, we are going on the second week, but reading this site, I believe he will get better. Poor baby

  68. Argelia says:

    Our 12 yr old dachshund mix was diagnosed with geriatric vestibular disease. He is sleeping with his eyes open! Has anyone else’s dog experienced this?

  69. Claudia says:

    Thank you all for sharing. If your dog is on Metronidazole, please read on! Shasta, my 14 yo male collie-golden+ mix showed first signs on 2/22/12. Shaking, stumbling, eye movement, tilting. Got him to the hospital within a couple of hours where they diagnosed “benign vestibular disorder” He began to improve within a few hours and was far better the next day, and back to normal in a few days. (I gave him meclazine for dizziness for a day or 2, which seemed to help and he did continue to eat.) But this morning (5 days later), his symptoms returned – but worse – and are not improving at all. He is eating and drinking, but cannot walk or staggers and tilts when he tries, his eye movement continues and he just needs to lay on his bed. Thanks to this site, and Russ – who posted on 2/7/12, suggesting we take a look at the website: , I found a likely cause for this problem in Shasta, and one that may be a cause for many others… Shasta has been on Metronidazole for months due to inflammatory bowel syndrome. It has worked well for him, but may be the culprit for these symptoms. It is a common drug used to alleviate gatrointestinal issues, but is highly suspicious with long term or high dose use – causing “ataxia, recumbency, opisthotonus, positional nystagmus(rapid eye movement), muscle spasms and occassionally seizures.” If your dog takes Metronidazole and you are on this site, please also check with your vet, and be sure to go to the this wesbite as well: I’m heading back to the vet tomorrow to see if this is Metronidazole toxicity.

  70. sylvia christakos says:

    Our dog had canine vestibular syndrome. she just recovered after 3 weeks. Everyone’s posts were extremely helpful. without the internet I would have been at a loss with regard to what is going on. The dog did indeed fully recover. The pet and the owners just need to hang in there.

  71. kailash says:

    doctor my pet was suffering with idiopathic vestibular disease since last month .
    It stopped eating food gradually i had it vaccinated it gradually recoved but stopped totally eating.
    now one day i have took it to veterinary hospital where he was been given 200 ml DNS ,polybion 1 inj,GM 1inj(not confirm if it is gentamacin).

    doctor also asked for helmonil-c inj but it is not available in our city.

    its 3 days today my dog is not eating a single bit of food nor drinking milk.

    can u suggest me solution.
    my dog is 13 yrs old.

    kailash (india)

  72. Pam says:

    Our chow-golden mix has his second episode of vestibular syndrome 12 days ago. Taylor was an adult when rescued from the pound, so we guess his age at 16. The first episode was mild and he was almost 100% within a week. This time was much harder on all of us. He fell over with each step he took & didn’t drink or eat or poop for a couple of days. Hand-feeding him rotisserie chicken whet his appetite and he’s getting chicken mixed with dog food even now. After 12 days he is able to walk, eat, drink, poop, etc. but not great control over his back legs and a has good tilt on that sweet head of his. We have to put up a baby gate to keep him off stairs and help him up and down them when it’s required. He’s brave and determined and we hope that his remaining days are happy and anxiety-free. When he plays with his toys, we forget that he’s as old as he is, even for a moment, and we are grateful for these moments.

  73. Leonie says:

    Hello, my 13 year old Belgian Shepherd girl, was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease one week ago. She had all the classic symptoms mentioned here. I took her to a holistic vet in our city, and she was given some supplements along with Chinese herbs to take, as well as a homeopathic remedy. She was also given acupuncture sessions during the week. I must say that this treatment has helped her enourmously – she is getting more and more steady on her feet as each day passes, although the head tilt is not great. She seems to be feeling quite happy within herself – loves walks, eating, playing etc. She still cant do all the things she used to, like lunging around after a ball etc – if she gets too enthusiastic, she loses balance and falls over. She cant use our stairs any more either, but I thing that might change in time. I have another practitioner lined up to treat her also – a lady who does Bowen therapy and other body work on horses, as well as other animals like pet dogs etc. This lady told me that she has treated dogs with Vestibular before – and the results were excellent. You might have to ferret around and do some detective work, to find such therapists for your dog, but it’s 100% worth it – believe me!! Regular vets have nothing much to offer pets with this condition. Just drugs which suppress their immune function and make them worse. One vet who we visited for a diagnosis, gave my girl a cortisone shot for no good reason. After that, her personality changed and she became quite agitated and agressive. She had been fairly narky prior to that shot, admittedly, however one knows when one’s pet has reacted to something in a negative way, and so you can’t even begin to convince me that her personality change was brought on by her disease etc.. grrrrrr!! Vets seem to have an answer for everything – mostly just fobbing symptoms off and blaming them on old age or disease etc, but never their own stupidity with the way they hand out drugs willy nilly. Sure, vets save the lives of pets on many ocassions, through their expertise and dedication to what they do – I just wish they wouldn’t keep inflicting these drugs on pets with already dysfunctional immune systems, just so that their immune functions get suppressed further and stop working all together. When one’s dog has Vestibular, the dog needs as much of it’s immune system functioning as possible to help correct the situation and restore the dog to health once again – the body knows how to heal, with a little support from the right kinds of therapy, but cant do this when it has to contend with toxic substances like cortisone floating around in their bodies causing havock. Write me if you want to know the remedies my holistic vet prescribed for my girl. The might help your dog too.… bye for now….

  74. Kathy says:

    I was looking for experiences with Vestibular disease since my almost 12 yr old Australian Shepherd, Tripper, was diagnosed on Wednesday. He (like so many of the other dogs) woke me up early in the morning to go outside and when he got back in had his episode. At first, I thought he had gone blind; he was so frantic and couldn’t get to me. After sitting with him and trying to calm him down, I was convinced he had had a seizure or a stroke. I was so relieved when our vet diagnosed him and told me she was going to do more tests to rule out underlying causes. We are treating him for a mild ear infection just in case. This is our 5th day since – he is up walking around, eating and drinking on his own. His head is tilted to the right side and if he walks too fast he will fall over. Anytime he moves from one type of flooring to another he becomes very unsteady, same with the grass to the sidewalk. He’s starting to act like his old self – yesterday he resumed his normal barking at me while I was in the bathroom. A habit I’ve yet to figure out, but I was pleased to hear it!

    The paperwork our vet gave us said 72 hours to three weeks for recovery, but it looks like the real recovery time is significantly longer and the head tilt might be permanent. I can live with this. Thank you all for sharing your experiences!

  75. Quinn says:

    My Boston Terrier has gone through two of these, hang in there. The second is definitely worse than the first and she made it through both. They were really hard and she definitely has some residual effects. She has lost almost all of her hearing and some of her eyesight. I will take it because it was so tough that at times, I thought we would lose her! We had a spinal tap, MRI, blood tests, x-ray’s, etc done to make sure it was not anything else. After around 4k, we were certain and just made her comfortable. This disease makes them feel like they are in a roller coaster all of the time and that is why their eyes spin and they throw up after eating. If you can have your dog sit still after eating and let their food settle, it will help a lot. If they are not eating give them boiled chicken breast and rice. It is very easy on their stomach. Good luck to those that this has recently happened to but know that it will all be ok in the end!

  76. My 14 yr old Golden Retriever began an episode of IVD 3 weeks ago. I had thought we had brought her through this trauma, but this morning, she was showing ‘stroke-like’ symptoms again, unable to stand on her own, and shaking. It lasted for about 5 minutes, and has now passed. I will have to watch her for any more of this, and suppose it’s reasonable to expect it to happen. Her activity level had really improved, although she no longer climbs the stairs at night. However, she is managing the three steps up and down to the outside.

    Here are a few things we found helpful at the beginning. I have to say that we treated this conservatively; our girl is too precious to be filling her full of drugs at her age! When she was too sick to eat, I gave her several half dose anti-nausea pills over a few days, as well as half doses of Benadryl. These seemed to help the vomiting quite quickly. Almost from the beginning, I was able to get very small amounts of softened vanilla ice cream into her, then soaked a little bread in it, soft cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, and so on. Think healthy, soft treats, all slightly warmed. Normally, our dogs are fed a complete food, but we have been supplementing her’s with canned meat,for the protein, and it is well received. Because the head tilt threw her balance off, I hand-fed her for more than a week, then tried a flat cake pan to feed her. This has worked very well, and I will continue with it.

    I wish every affected dog and owner a good outcome from this very worrying condition. Be patient with your dear animal companion – and yourself!

  77. Christy Patch says:

    My eleven year old German shepherd was just diagnosed with vestibular today and we are so thankful we have good vets. They did a thorough exam, talked to us to make sure there had been no chemical exposure or possible head injury, and then explained to us what they believed was going on. Bear got a shot of prednisone and anti nausea drugs while they educated us on how to take care of our old man and believe it or not he is already showing some improvement!
    He is eating and drinking and not crying anymore… And he stood up for me for a few minutes. This morning he fell over every time he tried. Like everyone else I was afraid it was a stroke, and the thought of having to put him down literally made me sick.
    Thank God for Dr. Miller and Dr. Murray at the MCVH.
    This site is great for info too.

  78. kristi.k. says:

    I have a 10 year old Frenchie who was just diagnosed with Canine Central Vestibular Disorder this past Monday. In the past 3 weeks, her head has been permanently titled to the left side and she has stumbled here and there. It came on very suddenly. Eating, drinking, playing, and sleeping are fine. She just has less energy and sleeps in her bed a bit more than normal. So after Googling all of these crazy symptoms, I finally took her to the vet. He diagnosed her with Vestibular Disorder and said that this is the number one misdiagnosed disorder for strokes in dogs. He explained that the dogs really aren’t in any pain and may dogs with snap out of it or learn to live with it. Many dogs are mistakenly put down:( Bottom line…vets know best and don’t Google illnesses:)

  79. Adam says:

    My 13.5 years old German cross Belgium shepherd was diagnosed with IVD. She was pretty bad for the first 2 days, could barely walk on her own. But by day 3 she was making vast improvements, and by day 4 and 5 was fully back on her feet. It’s been 8 days now, and it seems like she’s starting to become wobbly again. She woke up from a sleep today and feel over a couple of times and her eyes were flicking a bit. After about 30 mins she seemed to find her balance and the eyes stopped flicking. Is this normal on the road to recovery? Or should they just be getting better with each day, not the opposite? Thanks!

  80. phoebe says:

    i had same experience. My dog is Dachshund. He is around 13 years old. I don’t have money to take him to vet. Don’t what to do? Please anyone help give some advice or what mecidine I should give him? Thank you

  81. Daina says:

    This has happened to both my old dogs, each with drastically different reactions to seizures. My 14 yr old Cozmo (mixed breed with border collie and lab) was in excellent shape, then one night I heard banging and ran to see what was wrong. He got up and was stumbling/falling around, drooling, looking really confused. We stayed with him for a few moments trying to understand what just happened- did he have a stroke? Then he came to and got so freaked out by what had happened to him that he started screaming and hyperventilating and couldn’t walk/stumble fast enough, bashing into corners and furniture, all the while screaming and crying. I should not, Cozmo was a very chill, quiet dog. We rushed him to the after hours emergency vet. They weren’t sure (at this point we didn’t know he had a seizure) if he had Canine Vestibular Disorder or a brain tumour. Over the next 2 weeks we were all barely running on 2hrs sleep/night, including Cozmo. He just couldn’t rest. We walked in circles (always to one side), he paced, cried, was extremely anxious and disoriented. He went from sleeping 18 hrs/day to maybe 2hrs/day with the help of tranquilizers. After 2 weeks, he was beginning to get a bit better and sleeping more, thanks to the meds. Then we woke up to him having a grand mal seizure that freaked him out worse than the first time (we finally realized at this point he had a seizure the first time and that he likely had a brain tumour). He was screaming and running at us with the most heart-breaking pleading desperate intensity continuously around the clock. He was hurting himself by banging into everything so fast. He lost his voice from screaming so much. We felt so horribly helpless. A few hours later he had another seizure, then another a few hours after that. He couldn’t recover. Over these 2 weeks we brought him to the vet 3 times and emergency 2 times. No one could help. The nearest catscan was a full days drive away and he could barely make the quick drive to the vet with one of us holding him down so he wouldn’t climb over the other driving. It was the most horrible, unexpected experience and he was pleading to us to make it stop. The tranquilizers weren’t working and the seizures were getting closer. We made the hard decision to have him euthanized. I know we did the right thing , but I can honestly say I’ve never grieved so hard and long for anyone in my life. He visited me in my dreams a couple weeks later, the most vivid real dreams I’ve ever had. He let me know he was in peace.
    Now Cozmo’s mom, Daizy is 19 yrs old (black border collie mix), and just had her first seizure yesterday. Her experience was the opposite of Cozmo’s. It happened in the middle of the night- I heard banging and yelping- I ran to her and she was laying still on her side, breathing heavily. We stroked her gently to let her know we were there (she’s blind and deaf). After a while she seemed to come to and realized she couldn’t move and started groaning and whining, so I brought her to her bed and made her comfy. She was relaxed, no shaking, and slept easily. She’s handling it much better than Cozmo did, and for the first time I’m grateful that she has Alzheimer’s. She probably doesn’t remember anything at all happening. She never scratches her ears so it’s safe to say she doesn’t have a simple infection. This morning she needed help walking for the first while, but the worst of it is that, just like Cozmo, she circles continuously now to the left and has a hard time turning right or walking straight. She began circling once in a while a few months back, so we were pretty sure she had a brain tumour and that it was just a matter of time. It’s just so sad, knowing she might have a couple days or a couple weeks left or even more. As long as she can rest, eat, drink, sleep enough, and isn’t in pain, then we will keep her at home with us and make sure she’s comfortable for the rest of her days. I work from home, so I am always with her. At this age, I don’t want to give her any unnecessary stress or surgery, but we’ve always given them the best possible care money can buy, even when we couldn’t afford it. We’re at the point now where the comfort of her days is much more important than our selfish need to keep her with us as long as medically possible. We’ll take it day by day, and hope she passes on her own when she’s ready. Right now she looks content, snoozing in her bed, basking in the sunlight.
    Throughout the experience with Cozmo, we consulted with 4 different vets, and no one could give a definitive answer- maybe CVD, maybe tumour, maybe stroke, maybe inner ear infection, took blood, ear swabs, x-rays, organ tests, the works. We did tons of research online too. In the end you might need to follow your gut. Every dog will have a different experience. Hopefully it’s more like Daizy’s than Cozmo’s.

  82. Tony from Sydney Australia says:

    Nothing much to add to all of the above.

    My smallish 15 year old terrier, Bob, exhibited the classic symptoms yesterday morning. I, too, thought it was a stroke – and it may have been, that’s not ruled out, or cancer – but the vet mentioned vestibular disease and, from searching around, I found this blog.

    A day later and he’s at least no worse, perhaps 1% better – but that may be just him getting used to the world being tilted.

    He’s wobbly on his feet as it is, having arthritis in both back legs and perhaps his hip. The dizziness just adds to that. I have to say that, at the vet, his gummy legs, the dizziness and his hatred of “The Vet Smell” all combined into a performance of Olivier proportions. I thought he was going to drop dead on the spot. And so did the vet!

    However, I calmed him down eventually. No obvious ear infection, heart, lungs etc. good, gums pink (as they should be, so it’s not a dental problem), so we’re left with either something malignant and nasty, or something less so that will quieten down.

    He’d had a bit of head twitch two days before the full-on symptom presentation of yesterday morning. In fact he’s often unsure on his feet when he first wakes up,.. head tilted, everything, but he overcomes it within about 10 minutes. But this time it stayed. After four hours I decided it was pretty serious.

    The possibility of self-healing vestibular disease gives us hope that old Bob may come good one more time. Thanks to everyone here for the support to complete strangers. It gives us the strength to continue looking after them and not to panic… very important… don’t panic.

    I found him 14 years ago wandering on a busy main road, tried to find a home for him among my friends, but didn’t realize Bob had made that decision for me. We’ve been best mates ever since, inseparable, but every day since that Russian Roulette incident on the highway has been a bonus. He’s had a good life (and made life miserable for some other dogs, quite big ones too… they wonder if this 6 kilo Exocet missile knows something they don’t know, as he attacks their wedding tackle from underneath).

    But for now, I’m keeping upbeat. He’s drinking, with a little assistance (I support him at his water bowl), but not eating. Usually he has a voracious appetite, so fasting is highly unusual. Hopefully it’s just the dizziness. I’ve had bouts of it before and it can be pretty depressing, robbing you of your appetite.

    Good luck to the others here with their own dogs!

  83. Tony from Sydney Australia says:

    UPDATE on my dog Bob, from Sydney, Australia… One week after the onset of vestibular syndrome…

    We started force feeding Bob because he just wouldn’t eat, or even show any sign of wanting to. This is a dog with a very robust appetite under normal conditions.

    On the Wednesday after Tuesdays “attack”, we had to use a syringe (25cc, larger size), giving him on the first day 30cc’s (2 x 15cc loads) of thin chicken soup. He didn’t like the syringe in his mouth and tried to clam up, but once the tasty soup started flowing, his lapping and swallowing reflexes took over and he stopped struggling.

    Next day, Thursday, I bought some horrible gunk called “NutriPet”. It’s a thick, caramel-type of goop that looks like ultra-thick treacle and tastes awful, although claiming to be palatable… to dogs… (I thought I’d stand shoulder to shoulder with Bob and at least taste what I was about to pump into him). It comes in a sort-of toothpaste tube, but is almost too thick to use with a syringe. So I watered it down (took a while to mix), and he accepted the lot, under protest. It is vitamin and mineral enriched, and my vet assured me it’d keep him going.

    We ended up giving him combos of this Dog Gunk and other stuff like anchovie paste, and chicken and ham paste, as well as the old standby, chicken soup.

    Each day I’d try him at his bowl. He sniffed at it a little, but wouldn’t eat.

    And then… Sunday… Bob ate for the first time.

    He is now eating voluntarily and in relatively normal volume. He started eating for himself two days ago (Sunday), however he needed assistance from me to stop him from falling over at his bowl.

    He can now manage eating all by himself, and even had TWO breakfasts this morning (one week after the attack to the day): smelly Beef & Liver commercial pet food, and “Chicken Chien”, my own insta-creation of cooked-up chicken breast, vegetable stock and a little powdered gravy.

    He is still wobbly on his legs, and his head is still tilted a few degrees, but his demeanour seems more alert and optimistic.

    He tried chasing our other dog, a Shi-Tzu Silky cross, today, but fell over after a few feet. He wouldn’t have even tried three days ago.

    So, “Baby Steps” is the name of the game.

    I’m writing this as an encouragement to other dog owners whose dogs present with these symptoms, not to give up. Stay patient, pace yourself and pace your dog. Don’t expect miracle cures, but if each day is a little better than the last, that’s progress.

    Remember, vestibular symptoms can be a sign of something more serious, so consult your vet if it happens to your dog.

    I realize that Bob’s symptoms may return again at any time, suddenly, as they did the first time. I also realize that he may have an underlying condition causing those symptoms.

    So I’m not letting my hopes get ahead of me. He has made progress each day, and that’s great, but it’s not a prognosis. I’m just happy Bob’s still with us and is less distressed than he was just a week ago.

  84. Kristina Machusick says:

    My 17-year-old longhair mini dachshund Sadie was struck with vestibular disease 2 1/2 weeks ago. In my desperation to learn everything I could about it, I discovered a Facebook support group that has been immensely helpful. If you have a FB account, look up Vestibular Disease in Dogs. Sadie is hanging in there and improving sloooooooowly, but it has been an emotional roller coaster ride and I’m terrified of a recurrence.

  85. Thanks everyone for your sharing and help. My 14-year old black lab / Belgian shephard mix (a West Philly rescue dog) had what I now know are classic symptoms last night and this morning: staggering, vomiting, rapid eye movements and slight head tilt. My wonderful vet diagnosed it immediately (after I got a friend to help me carry him down the stairs and into the car, after an anxious night!) and also checked ears and did blood work right away to rule out anything other than “vestibular accident.” He’s already eating a little bit of chicken out of my hand and drinking water, but will only lick water out of my hand — I don’t know why he can’t drink it out of the bowl, but he can’t. I had a friend stabilize his hips with a folded sheet as a cradle under his abdomen while I made a “bowl” with my hands that he could lick over and over, and that works.
    Heating up the bit of chicken to make a nice aroma really got him interested in life again, and after he ate the chicken he became interested in eating a bit of his regular food again. Since he only had his first attack last night, the vet said go slow with the food so he doesn’t throw up as he did last night and this morning. Obviously me and others he loves petting him, soothing him and staying with him, even “lying down” on his dogbed to encourage him to lie down and relax, really helps his state of mind and calm his heartbeat, which becomes rapid everytime he staggers and becomes alarmed. I put the dogbed in the back of the car to get him to the vet and am just doing everything to cushion the experience for him. I ordered a “dog belt” to better hold up and stabilize his hips when he walks, as he’s 76 pounds and I live alone and my own back will go out if I don’t watch it! That dog belt will come in tomorrow, and for him, it will be turkey and rice tonight. The vet already called to say his bloodwork is totally normal. Seems the prognosis is good, and the vet bill was $172 not $1000 like some of you, so I am hopeful despite his misery and the helps me encourage him.
    Because he wagged his tail and stood up at the warm chicken scent I’m convinced that satisfying food will help him maintain his interest in life and his strength while he recovers.
    Again, thanks for all your sharing, and when it comes to water, consider just holding a paper bowl of water with one hand, and make a little “bowl” for water with your other hand for your dog to lick. It’s time-consuming, but it is something the dog seems able to do even while seasick and disoriented.

  86. Craig says:

    Thank you all so much. My 15 year old border collie/springer came down with symptoms of being unable to stand/walk,nystagmus, vomitting etc. Me and my girlfriend were in bits. I was preoaring myself for the worst. On arrival at my vets, i was assured it was Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome, given 3 days worth of anti nausea, anti biotic for potential ear infection, and some steroids (prednisolone?)

    Its still only day 2, but i have managed to.get my beautiful boy to eat. A great way to do this is a teaspoon of honey every 4 hours. Not only does this keep the bloody sugar up.but also stems hunger.

    i have to support him to use the toilet, and.carry him.upstairs but he is on the road to recovery :)). Thank u all so much!

  87. Jen says:

    My 14.5 yr old pug, Scooby, woke me 3:30 Sunday am with a horrific cry. I found him on his side on the floor. When I picked him up, I noticed the nystagmus, severe head tilt, and he was pushing out with his front legs like he was trying to find the ground. He is unable to stand or support his weight. He just falls and rolls to the side. I called emergency vet and they told me, based on what symptoms he had, it was vestibular syndrome. I got him calmed and put him in bed with me, so he drifted off to sleep. He was started on antibiotics the next day, only because his blood counts indicated possible infection (his ears looked clear). His appetite is great, but he has difficulty drinking water on his own, so he’s given water through a syringe. As of yesterday, there had been no improvement, so steroids were started. Today there is no change. The vet believes this is idiopathic since it was a sudden onset. He did have an occasional tremor just before bed the night it happened, but it was very faint, and he was a bit restless. No other indication he was having a problem.
    My question is, how long before signs of improvement will be seen? I know it’s different with each dog, and I’m not giving up on him, but I don’t want to get discouraged either. Any replies are appreciated!!!

  88. Claire says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone on this site for their insight on the disease because it gave me hope and saved my dog’s life. My almost 15 year old weimaraner, Louie, had an odd progression of vestibular disease. My mom came and picked me up to come home for a weekend from college on a Friday at 8:30 AM, when we returned home at 5:30 PM we found Louie unable to use his hind legs with poop around him and one pile of vomit.

    He hasn’t had great balance/use of his hind legs for the last year so we thought maybe he had gotten hurt. However he seemed very disoriented as if he had a stroke. He kept doing swimming motions with his front paws like he was trying to find the floor. He was eating and drinking, and his eyes were not moving back and forth. He didn’t seem to be in pain, and his legs didn’t seem hurt.

    We knew we wouldn’t be able to get his 80 pound body into the car to take him to an emergency clinic to get him euthanized, so we decided to give him a sedative (acepromazine) to ease his anxiety till the morning when we could call our vet to come over.

    While he fell asleep, I started researching dog stroke when I came across Old Dog Vestibular Disease, which seemed like a good match because of how sudden this was and how disoriented he seemed – while not in pain.

    Louie has always reacted to sedatives weird, so he was very sedated and could barely open his eyes for about 24 hours. Our vet has had a lot of experience with ODVD, and came to our house to examine him. Louie could still not get up on his own (still heavily sedated), however, the vet made him stand up with us holding him, so that he would have to readjust and his eyes were slowly moving up and down. The vet told us to give him around 72 hours to show improvement, to give him meclazine (for dizziness), and to make him stand every now and then so he could adjust. We also placed his bed on an old rug so that when he did try to walk, he could get better traction (we have hardwood floors). Louie was still eating and drinking – he also enjoyed eating ice cubes.

    All of Saturday, Louie was pretty sedated. Sunday morning he woke up and the meds wore off. We gave him a meclazine and a rimadyl (a pain medication which he’s been taking for years). He tried getting up a lot, because he had to poop/pee, and he was seemed a little better. He could kind of balance with the help of two people and a towel to act as a harness for his rear legs. He could not walk on hardwood floors at all. However, he is was so anxious and kept trying to walk when he couldn’t, we feared he would hurt himself, so the vet told us to sedate him again. He slept the rest of the day and enjoyed a popsicle.

    Monday (today) was much better. He was not anxious and could bear more weight with some assistance. We only gave him a rimadyl this time. We were able to take him outside for the first time. Then he stood up on his own and was walking on his own (wobbly). He is even able to walk on our hardwood floors with the help of booties (for better traction) on his feet.

    If I can give any owner advice, it is to give your animal time, food, and water. There were so many hard times during this process that my parents didn’t think Louie would pull through. We didn’t see any real progress until about 72 hours after. Also, have a vet with ODVD experience examine you animal. Keep your animal as comfortable as possible in a bed with a towel under him in case they can’t make it to outdoors to go to the bathroom. Your animal just needs constant care until they adjust. Right now I am hopeful that Louie will continue to recover, and hopefully has one more summer left in him.

  89. Liz says:

    My 14 yr old female Sheltie/collie mix has had four of these episodes that scared me so much. I too thought she was having a stroke and would perhaps die. She started wobbling and had the weirdest look on her face..fear maybe. I called it ” like a deer caught in the headlights”.
    She. Didn’t quite fall down but she was having trouble moving forward. Then she began staggering and some walking backward and sideways . She was moving her head and panting quite hard. Once she got moving she took off staggering , sometimes bumping into the wall. It’s heartbreaking to watch this. But, after reading these comments, I feel better knowing that it’s apparently not painful for them. Mostly they get frightened. And, they can recover. I haven’t yet got a formal diagnosis and one of the things the Vet wanted was to do a Thyroid Panel ( $98). Now I see that this may be tied to Vestibular disease. I’m hoping for the best. I’d like to have my beautiful Skye girl around a little while longer.

  90. Anne Donaldson says:

    We are now going through our 2nd attack of this disease. The first one was terrifying the staggering the falling down the throwing up everything. We don’t know exactly how old our lurcher, Mckenzie is because he was a rescue dog but we reckon he’s 13/14 .what I call the devil eyes is the scariest part,they just won’t stay still. The first attack was straight up to the emergency hospital where he was diagnosed right away and was then allowed home after getting anti-sickness drugs. It took a few days before he was anywhere near normal. Our vet has prescribed him Vivitonin and he’s done well on them,back to his normal I’m a lurcher and I run everywhere best albeit with slight stumbles on the turns. That was back in November and we were counting our chickens that everything would be fine. Until last night, when it happened again. This time we knew how to cope and got him on his duvet on the floor with dim lighting. This morning I phoned our vet who was amazed that it had happened again because he only saw him 2 weeks ago and couldn’t believe then how well he had done. The vet doesn’t need to see him unless he stops drinking. He’s now sitting on the couch very quietly after throwing up all over the place all morning.he’s been outside to do his business which is no mean feat because we’re 3 flights up but we carry him down and he gets his towel sling under him for walking up. Going down causes the dizziness. Not interested in eating but that’ll come eventually. This time round we’re much more relaxed about it and the devil eyes haven’t happened so hopefully recovery will be quicker. But if the worst happens I can console myself with the fact that he’s had a helluva good life after his lousy start.

  91. Anne Donaldson says:

    One thing I forgot to add is that my partner has Ménière’s disease which seems to mimic the dogs symptoms but of course he knows what’s happening to him. And our vet knew exactly what it was as his brother has the human form.

  92. EJ says:

    I have a 13yr/10 month old Border Collie. She’s been showing what I now see are symptoms for a while, but it just seemed like old age before today. Her energy was always up, she was just a bit arthritic. Tonight I took her for a walk and something was wrong. She could barely walk straight or even stand. I got home and saw her eyes darting from side to side. My friend is a vet. She checked her and mentioned a few possibilities but said to see how she is in the morning and bring her in for tests. She can barely stand at all. She’s my little buddy but I have serious financial issues and don’t have the money to take care of something like this. Even with the help of my friend this looks bad. I’m very worried for her and feel terrible for not being able to prevent it. This page does show signs of hope though. And it does seem to be predominantly border collies, or at least a good percentage. I’m going to get her looked in the morning.

  93. Carrie says:

    My 14 y/o husky was acting very drunk, leaning on the fence, have rapid eye motion and did vomit 3-4 times… I called my vet and was told it was a stroke and to get aspirin in her ASAP and continue that for a week… I was still scared so I took her to the vet the next morning got a few shots (can’t remember names of shots) and about a month later she seemed to be some what herself again, with a slight head tilt and scared to be outside alone.. Always wanted to be right next to me and always looked at me as she was doing her business. It’s been a whole yr later now and she seems to be acting like a “stroke” victim again she seems lost and her back legs seem to go out to the side like she’s gonna do the splits. Vet did say she could have another stroke, but now I’m wondering if it could just be the VD that everyone is talking about… In any case, the aspirin seemed to help last time so I popped an aspirin in her treat and she seems to be calmed down… Not sure if her legs were just getting tired or if the pill worked that fast?

  94. Kerry says:

    My six year old Golden Retriever was rushed to the ER Vet on July 4th and spent four days and nights in the ER, we all thought she was critical and they treated her for Meningitis and thought there were other possibilities of a brain bleed, mini stroke or bacterial infection or a mass. Gosh I wish I had known about Vestibular Disease. She spiked an infection which is not typical with Idiopathic Peripheral Vestibular Disease. I thought she had Lyme’s Disease. After a few days a broad based antibiotics and IV fluids we started to see small improvements but there were also bad days and setbacks. I took her to a Neurologist on day 4 and I thought she was dying, I had to carry her and she had some urinary incontinence and we did a spinal tap to get an indication of what was causing her alarming neurological presentation. She was stumbling and experiencing Ataxia (leg crossing), severe head tilt to the left, neck was rigid, she was acting like a dementia patient barking at the walls, unable to lay down, slow movements, eyes were not tracking well and fluttering, spatial orientation was off like she was in a faraway long tunnel and inaccessible. No vomiting, appetite was always there but needing help with hand feeding or food and water. Her ears were very sensitive to noise and she would frighten and jump easily and fall over. When they examined her ears they so no evidence of infection. Desperate for some indication and possible rule outs we did a spinal tap at the Neurologist’s office and there was no bacteria infection but some mild inflammation and this issue remains still unexplained. Each day she made small gains with improved alertness and was diagnosed with vestibular disease and may have also had some viral infection as well. Day five she has some huge improvement has been home with me since. I would say she is now at 90% and no evidence of infection of cancer however we continue to treat with Doxycycline to treat possible ear infection and or tic borne illness just in case and the Doxycycline and time appear to bringing her back. She is young for Vestibular Disease but apparently it can happen to us all, dogs, cat, humans with no known cause and the symptom presentation is a match. Patience and gentle care is recommended but wise to see a Vet. We are so grateful for this remarkable improvement, This was so scary I thought my dog was fading away and now she is back and there are no words to reflect my gratitude and relief. The last remaining symptoms are that she is very sensitive to noise and quite jumpy I hope this fades in time. She also tires easily. Hope this is behind us soon and we can get back to playing in the woods and rivers. I have heard that this can happen again and wonder if swimming is a factor for the ears, but the Vet says get back to living, next time if it returns I will know what it is and how to care for her, but hopefully there will not be a next time. Please get your dog checked out before you assume its irreversible and find yourself considering extreme measures or euthanasia.

  95. Shannon says:

    I just found this site and I started to cry… Our beloved Cooper – border collie age 13 years passed away from this about 8 years ago.

  96. Lori says:

    My 14 and a half pit bull Tyson started acting strange last night… He came in from the bathroom and refused his treat. Thought that was weird … woke up all night more times then I can count wanting to go outside but never going to the bathroom while out… neither of us slept all night . .. He is very wobbly on his feet and had a blank look in his eyes although I never noticed any rapid movements …. He is drinking but hasn’t eaten anything now it’s been a little over 24 hours … I believe that he has had a vestibular episode from everything I have read about this … I am going to see how he is tomorrow and decide whether to take him to the vet or not … I was told that the pet stores sell doggie ensure and was thinking of trying that along with the motion sickness medicine and see if I can give him that in a syringe … I’m really scared I have never had anything like this happen. .. His nose is wet and I did take him for a walk to see if he would perk up and he did but as soon as we got home he just wondered around looking lost and walked in circles and every time I layer him down he would lay for a few minutes and get back up …i understand that this could be bc he feels sick from the motion sickness that comes with this … I forgot to mention that this morning he did vomit one time … any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  97. Lori says:

    I also forgot to add that Tyson was walking sideways and had some trouble moving forward some of the time today … He also looked so confused as if he didn’t even know his way around the house or yard .. and he also has had a few episodes of panting but didn’t do any activities to bring that on …

  98. Skip says:

    This is a site that gives helpful information. Our Labrador Retreiver named Blue has vestibular syndrome. It can happen to young dogs, so it is misleading to call it old dog vestibular syndrome (or disease if you prefer). It is important to keep lights on wherever the dog is, because it gives visual cues to help the dog orient (they use the horizon as a cue, just as we do, being able to seehelps agreat deal). If you have to carry your dog, try to keep pressure on the dog’s foot pads. This is also important to help the dog orient, because no pressure can cause them to lose their spatial orientation. Prednisone seems to be the best treatment, and a side effect is increased appetite. Our vet also recommended Meclizine, but be careful to get the non or less drowsy formula. It is sold over the counter at any pharmacy (it is for motion sickness relief). Our vet recommended one tablet a day. If you have trouble getting your dog to take pills at any time they are required, try wrapping it in cream cheese. That has proved to be a life saver in two of our dogs that absolutely could spit up pills we were sure had to be at least back to the tail. We include a small ball of cream cheese as a treat from time to time even when our dogs do not have medicine to take to keep it familiar. They love it. We rescue dogs and had seven, we lost three to other illnesses. We have four and Blue is the oldest at 9 years +. We love them as much as we love our children, and it always is painful when they are sick, and not doing well. Good luck, and give your dog all the cues you can think of too help them stay oriented

  99. crazydogluver says:

    OMG this just happened to my 5yr pitbull girl Gucci. Out of nowhere she was walking like she was drunk , staggering and falling down. Her eyes looked like as if she was chasing something. I panicked picked her up got my neighbor to drive to the emergency animal hospital. It’s been almost 2 weeks and she still struggles to go potty and walk around but day by day I see improvements. My poor little girl looks at me like mama what going on. Anyone who has gone through this just be patient with your forever friend and all will be well.

  100. judi says:

    I hoped I would never see this again after losing my 15 Yr old collie to it on his third bout of it some years ago. Like many here no one seemed certain what it was and I am so glad that we nursed our dog through it and went on to share another year together. However our 11 Yr old Shepherd today is showing signs although does not have the nystagmus which is first thing we checked for. The staggering about and bumping into things is the worst sign and the head tilt and vacant look so many mention. The saddest thing is that I will not be able to nurse a 50 kilo dog that easy but I will certainly give him my best shot which any dog deserves.

  101. Shiba Shake says:

    My 14year old Shiba was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease a week ago! Thank you for this post! It really gave us an idea of what to expect and hope for a recovery. I just wanted to add one thing I am doing for my pup! I do physical therapy with her at least three times a day! I take a pillow case and produce a sling under her mid section so I can hold some of her weight and can help direct her so she is getting exercise for her muscles and learning compensate for the tilted head! I only do this for maybe 5-10 minutes and then she is tired. Our vet has us giving her 25mg of Dramamine 2 (or Less Drowsy active ingredient Meclizine HCt twice a day. She is also on antibiotics for an inner ear infection!

  102. Anita says:

    My baby boy was diagnosed with vestibular 2.5 weeks ago. It was the scariest thing. The vet said he was in terrible condition because he scratched his eyes and had terrible ear infections (which the emergency vet didn’t see) the very also suggested we put him down. I just wasn’t ready to do that and as I stated to do more research, my fingers are crossed and I’m hoping he recovers. Anyhow, it had been an extremely difficult couple of weeks but I do see improvement. My boy is starting to walk but seems to be falling over to the right. He’s on over the counter medication for his dizziness but he’s still wobbly. He is a 14 year old shihtzu. I am here trying to find any medications that may help speed up the recovery?

  103. Robin says:

    Thank you so much for whomever started this information. I had the horrible experience of this. My 10-year old rat terrier had this happen on Wednesday of this week. I thought she had a stroke as she couldn’t walk or stand up. This is my child and I was beside myself. My vet got me in right away and the diagnosis was Vestibular Disease. I had never heard of this and I was a Vet tech for 8 years, even though I trusted my vet, I did what every parent would do and started researching this disease. That is how I found this awesome site that answered all my questions and put my heart at ease. Marah is not on any medication and is doing ok. She still can’t walk but she is now eating alittle. I am giving her water with a syringe and she is pottying with my assistance of helping her stand. She only weighs 12lbs. THANK YOU so much for what everyone has stated here as I needed the comfort of knowing she will be fine eventually. Marah lost both of her eyes (glaucoma) with surgery a year apart so was harder to diagnose since they couldn’t track her eyes but by everything I have read I do believe that is what she is going through.

  104. Cheryl says:

    HI, we have a 17 year old husky/sheba Inu mix who was just diagnosed with this disease. for us it is a learning process but she is slowly improving each day thank you for the dog surivival stories

  105. Zeeshan says:

    My 2 year old female golden labrador is our baby and something suddenly happened to her which no one in the house could notice. She began falling on her wrists (can’t even wag her tail) and by the time my wife & I got back home, she had small wounds slightly behind her toe nails owing to falling on her wrists. Her body shakes a lot, she does not have a head tilt nor rapid eye movement. She eats more than she used to and whatever disease it is, it started at a time when she was on heat and our male labrador (Leo) was trying to mate with her. He would follow her everywhere and try to climb on her to mate. I am in a developing country where vet care is extremely poor. There are no radiology facilities (except Ultrasound) not even a CT Scan or MRI. The best vet here couldn’t diagnose the problem and prescribed Delta Cortel (which is a steroid) at a very high dose (6 in the morning and 6 at night) along with Neurobian.After taking steroids at this dose, she would pant a lot and drink a lot of water and wants to sleep outside the house when it is freezing here. For toilet, we have to carry her (lift her from the belly) because she would take a few steps and fall down to the side or on her wrists. We decreased the dose to 5, then to 4+4 and now to 3+3 but no improvement as all this treatment was a shot in the dark. Even if we manage to have her CT Scan done, the Vet clearly told us that he wouldn’t be able to operate since he is not trained in this country for it. PLEASE HELP!!! ITS AN EMERGENCY. It has been her condition for the past 2 months. Getting up thrice or more every night and attending to her from dawn to dawn is taking a toll on my health as well. SO, PLEASE HELP!

  106. Stephen says:

    I am currently going through this with my dog a cairn terrier the vet recomended puting him down but I refused. They never mentioned this this ailment and kept him for almost all day with no other advise that take him to the emergency when they about ready to close. My partner was so angry. After the emergency hospital we brought him home he was doing better but as of last night he has gotten worse. Everytime I hold him he snuggles his head into me and I’m waiting for him to get better. Thanks for this website I will wait and see and make sure that we do what is best for my dog. Please make any recomendations for make my dog more comfortable through this situation.

  107. Kerry says:

    The emergency hospital should be pretty well acquainted with this condition and please note that when my dog was sick with this it was up-and-down and so we would have steps forward and then we would decline and then balance out and it just took time. My dog was on a course of antibiotics for about two weeks which helps with what we assumed it was a inner ear infection but sometimes antibiotics can be helpful and sometimes not. Also I consulted initially with a neurologist who was able to identify that this was vestibular. But I wished that somebody had advised me to be patient and not do too many expensive interventions because time really revealed what it was. Good luck!

  108. Nadine says:

    My miniature poodle had what seemed a seizure 2 weeks ago. He recovered within 20 mins. Then, on thursday the 12th Mar he had his first clear vestibular attack. He lost use of his right back leg and could not stand – was listing sideways, continued to try to walk and wanted outside. He repeatedly fell & 10 mins later made a full recovery.
    Last nite, Mar 13 after my love ate his favorite dinner within mins he got up and it happened again, only he at first lost his left back leg. I called the vet who told me to keep him calm and give him time. His eyes were bloodshot and both going back and forth and circling. He vomited and continued to get worse. He was still aware as he wanted to go outside. I took him out and had to hold him to move around – he wanted to pee-pee. Once inside it looked like he would get better as he rested for a little while. He awoke and vomited again, then began to roll uncontrollably like an alligator. I took him to the Emergency Hospital where the Dr said that at 12 yrs old, with diabetes, blind and deaf and considering that they do not know what brings Vestibular Disease on there was nothing he could do for him.
    I lost my beloved, precious baby.

  109. Galina says:

    My about 15 year old Standard Poodle woke me up at about 1 a.m. staggering around our bedroom. She was not able to walk straight and seemed to be lost. She headed toward the stairs, but fell. So I picked her up even though she is about 74 lbs and carried her downstairs. I opened the door thinking that she wanted to go outside and she immediately threw up over the doorstep. When I placed her on the couch she was salivating profusely and her eyes were twitching. I was terrified and thought that she had a stroke. So searched the google for any any info about her condition and the information popped up about the vestibular syndrome. The recommendations for Meclizine were also provided. So I drove to Walmart and got her the meds. She is slowly recovering, but it has been only 6 days. She still has trouble to do her business outside and had a couple of accidents inside. It is breaking my heart to see her in this condition. Once very strong and agile dog is sitting with a very sad look on her face. I love her so much and today I could not hold and cried in front of my students. Thank you so much for sharing with your stories. They are giving me hope and helping me to deal with this situation.

  110. Bev says:

    we are four days into this dreadful condition…… Lara our beautiful Jack Russell terrier is 14yrs Young always been very lively and full of fun. She has had just a couple of seizures through her life but nothing threatening. But on Saturday evening she had this attack seemed very drunk and tilting her head and very unhappy. We rang the vet that has known her since a puppy and we were there within 20 mins…… Very scared we thought we were loosing her? She told us she had had a seizure which had brought on this vestibular attack? We had no idea what this was. She gave her 2 injections and we brought her home. It’s very up and down one minute she shows signs of her old self and then she’s very subdued again. It’s so distressing to see. you so want them to be as they were before the attack. She is eating and drinking well and is on her feet, but she is far from her normal happy chipper self. After reading other people’s experiences it has helped us understand that time is of the essence and that each dogs recovery is different. We are waiting for every sign that she is getting better, but it’s a long process with lots of TLC. She is also on a 16 day course of prednisolone. We love her so much that we are so not ready to say our goodbyes….. We wish all of your companions a speedy recovery of this dreadfulness xxxxxxx

  111. Christine Newland says:

    Our German shepherd had his first attack of Vestibular disease. We estimate him to be between 10 and 12 years old. At first we thought his hips were going on him. Then i noticed he showed much fear of stairs and needed help just walking past the basement stairs. He could always catch a treat thrown to him and suddenly was missing every time. I noticed him fall a couple of times and thought he just slipped and then he started panting a lot and wanting to be outside in the cold all the time. When he started to get really wobbly, we thought he had a stroke and then I searched the internet and discovered Vestibular and read how many vets did not even hear of it which shocked me, as it is evidently pretty common in old dogs. He will eat fresh cooked chicken or pork and bison treats and sometimes the feeling of vertigo will make him barf it up. He is drinking well and we keep a bowl of water near him so he does not have to go looking for it. He is going on walks and is a little shaky but not bumping into things and he was even up on the couch looking out the window and barking at dogs going by which was awesome. So…tender loving care, keep some lights on to help him see better, keep water near him, give him a soft bed and lots of hugs. Take him out to help him balance when peeing….Bear pees on his own and try not to get overly upset as animals sense when we get upset. Good luck and hang in there. Will keep you posted on Bear’s progress.

  112. Julie says:

    I am fairly certain my dog has this condition. She is a 14 year old Border Collie mix. Early this morning we were woken by her falling over and stumbling around. I first though it was her arthritis, but when I took a closer look into her eyes, they are rapidly moving back and forth. I helped her up and outside and she is resting now. I have had an experience with this disease before, about eight years ago, with my Husky. His symptoms were much more severe and he did suffer with seizures also. Just recently, my mom’s 14 year old Lab mix experienced this also. Our poor dogs. We love them so much and hate to see them so uncomfortable or suffering. I can’t believe how common this condition is in seniors. I am so thankful that I found this site and thankful that everyone can share their experiences and advice.

  113. Amy says:

    My old gal is a 15 year old mix breed of pit bull and terrier. She collapsed as she greeted me when I came home. She couldn’t stand without falling to the left and was shaking uncontrollably. My first thought was a stroke. We rushed her to the vet and they diagnosed her with vestibular disease. The vet said to just give her motion sickness pills. Got her home within a few hours and she seemed to be walking okay but still off balance. The next few days her progress was fast. She never vomited or had any problem not eating. Then 4 days later at 3am I heard a thud where she sleeps outside my bedroom door. We waited through the morning but this time her eyes were rolling to the right and could not stand. She was panting uncontrollably and shaking. We took her to her usual vet when they opened and diagnosis was the same. I have noticed that this time she is off balance to her right side. She is normally a nervous dog so this was putting her over the top. She had been panting heavy for 14 hours and could not sleep. I contacted the vets and one of them prescribed Alprolazam for anxiety. I gave her a very low dosage to see how she would be in 30 minutes. After about a hour her panting stopped and she calmed down. I had to bring her water bowl to her and food. She was able to eat and drink. I take her outside on a harness to help her walk and go to the bathroom. It has now been 36 hours since her second attack and I can see inprovement. Luckily I was able to take these 3 days off from work to be with her. It is exhausting care and watch over her but she is my best friend and has always been here for me. I am hoping for a full recovery as she is a very strong willed dog. I have installed baby gates to keep her confined in our family room and big towels and pillows on the floor to help balance her and keep her head up. I will post again in 2 days to let you guys know her progress. It’s nice to have this site so we can all be informed of these different situations. Always love your four legged friend as if there is no tomorrow!!!

  114. jo says:

    My dog Dexter is a 14yr plus lurcher cross and has just had his second bout of this disease. This time he still recognised us and responded to our voices we took him to the emergency vet who gave him steroids and anti nausea meds, he won’t eat but has managed to get back on his feet although still very wobbly. I took him back to the vet as he has really bad diarrhea and has done for the last 3days,if we get him to eat the special food we got from the vet it goes right through him. Has anyone else experienced this problem? He will drink but I’m worried that he is wasting away, they said he could have a brain tumor but he is too old for any invasive procedures. He also has a heart murmur,feel very helpless as do not want him to suffer!

  115. Sasa says:

    Thanks for all the encouraging words. It gives me hope that we can get through this. My PJs story is very similar to what is posted here. She is a 15 year old Schnauzer who had very mild attacks before. Today though, we are on day 1 of a severe attack (nystagmus, vomiting, head tilt, circling). She is on Bonine and antibiotics, sleeping now and we are very hopeful for the coming days. Sending light and love to all the doggies and their owners going thru this.

  116. carol says:

    We woke up to our dog being unable to get out of bed and staggering drunk when she finally did. I called the 24 hr emergency vet number and she diagnosed vestibular syndrome. Se hasn’t been sick and did drink a bit this morning. She has also since licked some water off my hands, she won’t eat anything though.

    Its the worst time for this to happen, Sunday morning of the holiday weekend. The vet has assured me that my dog should recover, but obviously to monitor her and if she doesn’t eat or drink much tomorrow to take her in.

  117. Kathi says:

    We are going through this at the very moment, same story. Molly is a 10 yr old chocolate lab who is in good health, seen her hips starting to give out then came veering hard to the left. Head tilt is also to the left. This started on Wednesday and by the next morning she couldn’t get up. took her to our awesome loving vet and within a minute she diagnosed her with vestibular disease . still thinking we were leaving without our girl was surprised and relieved to find out this was “treatable”. Because Molly has had many ear infections (some bad) she is being treated with anti-biotics,steroids and ear meds. This has been horrify to us as pet parents, she has not walked since nor has she eaten. Can barely get her to drink. The first day she stopped walking we carried her but now any kind of movement she starts almost a seizure like motion then barrel rolls over and over until we get her propped up off her left side. Eyes are almost rolling all the time,not really back and forth, more up.We had to just let her use the floor and clean up behind her because every time we try and move her it causes “seizure” and it takes quite awhile to get her back. When we do then starts the panting, drooling and panic. By far the most awful thing, patiently awaiting our vet to open tomorrow for some advice. HEARTBREAKING for sure. Everyone says hang on , we’re trying. Thanks for sharing everyone, other stories/experiences have helped get us through so far.

  118. carol says:

    Is there an emergency number you can call? I did yesterday morning and got great advice from the vet.

  119. carol says:

    Is there an emergency number you can call? I did yesterday and got some great advice.

  120. Kathi says:

    Update on Molly, 10 yr old choc lab. Tuesday now and she still isn’t walking or eating but wanting to. Yesterday she started crawling really well and no longer goes into that seizure like state, which is relieving. Vet told us yesterday to hang in for a a few more days and assures us she will get somewhat better. Way brighter today and drinking tons so it’s more positive on day 6 of symptoms starting. We were so close on the weekend to making the decision none of us want to ever make but reading the advice / experiences of other people who have shared really helped us get through it . Thanks!!!! Hoping tomorrow will be better, and the next.

  121. carol says:

    Bonnie is slowly improving and has eaten more today. She is also walking a little better, but is still walking into things, only the 3rd day so as well as can be expected. She has an appointment with the vet tomorrow,so I hope she will be pleased with her progress. So glad your dog is improving Kathi!

  122. Joan says:

    Toby is a 13 yr old collie cross. He woke us Tues morning by crashing down the stairs. When we got to him he was unable to move and had been sick. His eyes were twitching and his back legs out of action. He lay still for a long time. We thought it looked like a seizure but searched the net and found vestibular disease.

    During the day he picked up a little, no food or drink though and in the evening was sick again and had a bit of a relapse. We couldn’t go to the vet easily as he is a fairly heavy hound and too ill to pull around.

    Day 2…went to vet and he had a steroid injection for anti inflammatory purposes. The vet said it was a stroke, we said vestibular syndrome. she checked his ears and said they were ok. He seemed to enjoy the car ride which was encouraging. At the vets he dragged himself round the waiting room to say hello to everyone despite a severe signs of normal behaviour. But still no food or drink. The water bowl was obviously unwanted and even a smaller bowl though he would lick water off the floor. Trying to use a syringe was unwelcome and eventually we used a flat saucer with very small amounts which worked.

  123. Joan says:

    Day 3 signs of improvement. Bought a harness to support his rear end. Made it to the garden and we sat out for an hour in the sunshine. We went to his favourite walking place and made painfully slow progress to the first bench. Still no food at all, tried all the favourites but no dice. Finally got him to lick butter off my fingers..a bit grudgingly just to do me a favour. Carried him upstairs and had a quiet night.

  124. Kerry says:

    Sorry to hear of this struggle with your dog. When my golden could not drink we got IV fluid that were injected like a humpback under the skin and that was extremely helpful. My dog would take water in small amounts from my hand as I hung it over her bowl and kept dipping small amounts, you might see if that works. I think the name of the game is patience. My dogs ears checked out on two occasions where they were assessed and yet it appeared she had a secondary infection that I think was deep inner ear so we started a course of antibiotics and on day 6 she made a dramatic shift. There were terrifying set backs along the way. I think most often our dogs are misdiagnosed with stroke, suspected tumor or seizure disorder and its vestibular. It is so terrifying and dramatic hard not to panic. Good luck and time wiill be the ultimate determining factor. There are things for comfort care anti nausea meds and antibiotics.

  125. Joan says:

    Thanks for your advice Kerry. Our day 4 was a bit of a setback. Just laying about looking tired. We wondered if we had tried too much the day before. Still nothing to eat. We phoned the vet and arranged to visit again for a further steroid injection and also something for the nausea. Later that night he ate a schmacko forget the beef, chicken, rice etc…lets get some junk food.

    Day 5…walking better. Went out to a favourite pub and sat in their garden where we often share food. Took some healthy snacks along but no interest. Later though more schmacko, chicken/rice rejected again but he took some dry dog biscuits. I hope we may be on the mend.

  126. Jamie K says:

    All I can say is thank God for the internet.

    I came home Saturday night from a 5 hour work shift. My 3 dogs came to the door to greet me, but I noticed my 13 year old lab was walking funny. I opened the back door to let them all out and he refused to go out. Then he collapsed. He got up, but stumbled around and collapsed again. My first 2 thoughts were that he was either poisoned or had a stroke. I ruled out poison because there wasn’t anything he could have gotten into inside my house and he just didn’t really have any other symptoms that would lead me to believe he had been poisoned. As I was examining him more closely, I noticed that his eyes were moving rapidly, like he couldn’t quite focus. He’d focus for a split second and then his eyes would quickly drift to one side, then he’d quickly focus again. I also noticed his head was tilted. So I called the emergency vet (it was close to midnight at this point) and they just kept telling me to bring him in. Well, I decided to do some internet research first and Googled “My dog is stumbling around like a drunken sailor” and the first few posts all discussed Vestibular Syndrome. The descriptions all fit and the videos looked exactly like what he was experiencing. So I decided to give it 48 hours for improvement before taking him in. I sat on the floor with him for awhile, had a good cry, and put pillows all around him to help him feel more secure.

    He threw up all night, so at 6am I went to the drug store and bought Dramamine (had seen that many others gave it to their dogs to help with the nausea). Once that kicked in, he drank some water. He wouldn’t eat though and I don’t blame him. I sure don’t feel like eating when I’m carsick! The vomiting stopped and his eyes slowed down, but were still going back and forth. He was still stumbling a lot, so I put a leash on him and guided him with my body for trips outside. He didn’t want to play or get up. Understandable.

    I worked from home on Monday and kept an eye on him. He finally ate (a cooked pork chop and some cheese). By the end of the day, his eyes had finally stopped the back and forth thing. He still wasn’t very hungry and drank water here and there. Still was not a fan of walking around. I continued giving him Dramamine in the morning and again at night.

    Tuesday (day 3) I had to return to the office, so I put pillows around his dog bed and made him comfy. Still helping him outside to potty. Still not eating much, but drinking water ok even though his aim is a little off when he’s trying to get his face in the bowl. Still falling and stumbling. Head still tilted.

    Wednesday was the same as Tuesday, but he decided he wanted to play fetch. It took him awhile to actually pick up his ball because his depth perception and aim is way off. Once he got it though, we went outside and he went a ways out into the yard for me to throw it to him. I gently tossed it to him, and of course he missed it (he likes to catch the ball in the air), but he had fun trying. He did it a couple more times. He also felt good enough to bark at the neighbors across the street. Still not eating enough (maybe a cup a day with gravy mixed in, compared to the normal 3-4 cups he usually eats) though and it has me worried. Wouldn’t take a pork chop either.

    Today is Friday. Almost a week has gone by. He refused treats today. He seems sad today too. Hoping he is just having an off morning and isn’t relapsing. I’m hopeful he’s going to recover, but I’m sad to know that it’s very likely that he’ll experience more VS episodes over the rest of his life.

  127. Jamie K says:

    Reporting back on Dex’s progress… For the following 3 weeks, he was only eating half of what he usually does and lost quite a bit of weight. Then one day, his appetite came back and now he’s eating normally again. I believe that’s when the last of his dizziness/queasiness left him during his recovery. It’s been nearly 12 weeks since his episode. This past week, he began really running around like he used to. If I throw his ball outside, he can catch it in the air again. He likes to play with the other dogs again. He’s jumping up on the couch again, although sometimes he wobbles just a bit to catch his balance. Yesterday, I was sitting in the living room watching television. He came over and dropped his ball in my lap and backed up. That’s how he tells me he wants me to throw it inside. So I did. I lobbed it at him and he jumped up and caught it and then brought it back. We did this several times. It’s like the VD never was. I don’t know when or if he’ll have another episode, but for now life is good again.

  128. Echo's mom says:

    Like so many others. Thank You. My vet diagnosed correctly right away, but said improvement in 3 days. As the days carried on, with some, but not a lot of improvement I wondered what i should do. All of your stories helped me have hope. Here is my 12 year old golden Echo’s story

    I believe – and hope – that it is now safe for me to say that I will not have to be making any tough decision on Echo. It has been a journey of miles measured in inches of progress. On day 11 he is not ALL better, but he is much better.

    Last Monday – when i was, of course, out of town for work, that’s when all bad things happen (another pet emergency, flood, break in, and now this #4) – Tamara found Echo barely able to move and throwing up. Jeff, my wonderful across the street neighbor, helped her get him in the car and she took him to David Tack – the vet. David tentatively diagnosed him with Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome, also known as dizzy dog or old dog syndrome. In essence it is the worse vertigo and/or seasickness you can imagine – and worse. He had no orientation, didn’t know if he was up, down, or side wise and of course had no understanding of what was happening to him. His eyes were bouncing around in their sockets (called Nystagmus), And his head tilted to the right. All he could do was lie full out on his right side and not move anything.

    David told me, unless there was some bad underlying cause, like a tumor or stroke or blood clot, or…., which would cost $$$$$ to diagnose and then there would be nothing to do, he would get better within 72 hours. And if not, I would have to make that decision to put him to sleep. Well in 24 hours – Tuesday (day 2) – he was worse, which is not supposed to happen. This syndrome is not a progressive thing, they are fine one minute and as bad as they get the next. Luckily I have the best boss in the world. So i came home early, and I have been able to work at all hours from home through all of this to be there to help Echo out.

    Echo stayed in the hospital until Saturday with IV and catheter. He was also on Valium to control anxiety at being so disoriented, antibiotics in case he had some underlying infection and because his urine had blood in it, and an anti-nausea medication.

    Everyday there was some little improvement that I clung to. Nancy asked me if the eye movement was horizontal or vertical – horizontal good, vertical not so good. It was horizontal. And, on Wednesday (day 3) his Nystagmus was gone. By Thursday (day 4) he could pick up his head a little. He would eat and drink if i hand fed him – because he couldn’t orient to find the food and water and the bowl had to be put at the correct angle so with his head tilt he could get in the bowl.

    In 72 hours, when he was supposed to be like back to normal, he was a very little better. I found a blog out of Ottawa Canada that had stories about this going back to 2009. Some dogs had taken up to 5 weeks to improve, a very few had bad things and didn’t improve, and others had relapses. It gave me hope though and I will add this story to help give others hope too.

    He continued making small improvements for the week; able to sit up a little leaning right, then more sternally, then he would allow us to move him to his left side. In the mornings he was more lethargic and slowly perked up as the day went on. I was on a roller coaster, at times hoping that he was going to be ok, and others bawling because i was afraid he wasn’t. He quite wagging his tail on Thursday (day 4). The vets couldn’t or wouldn’t guess at his prognosis.

    Finally on Saturday (day 6), he was drinking enough that they disconnected his fluids. I had taken Gypsy and Pepper in to visit a couple of times and he perked up a bit at that. So I asked if he could come home to give him a little more time with his friends and give me more time to make a decision. He came home with a catheter. Jeff’s brother, round the corner neighbor, brought him from the car to the house. The minute he got home, he was happier.

    That night he started trying to crawl. He was NOT going to potty in the house – what a good boy. He has been on a sheepskin rug this whole time. I dragged him outside on it. He just laid there. Then when i stepped inside for just a minute – he STRUGGLED to get up and poop. Woo hoo. I got there just in time to help him back to the rug. I dragged him back inside on the rug.

    Over the next 4 days i dragged him everywhere inside and out. He weighs over 50 lbs, and I gotta say it really did great things for my butt and stomach muscles ! He continued making small improvements. Sunday (day 7) he would move himself to lie left or right or sternally. He walked 8 ft, pooped and collapsed, so he went back to the Vet to get his catheter out. He struggled that night and I took another dive into fear.

    On Monday (day 8) he walked 20 feet – i think more because he could only stay upright if he kept moving and he couldn’t stop himself anyway, like a new bike rider. He was looking like a motorcycle that was taking a deep turn – listing to the right 30+ degrees. On Tuesday (day 9) David told me to put him back on rimadyl for his hips. That did the trick. Within 12 hours he was walking around the yard. HE was and is so funny though, because he did not want me to see him like that. He would only get up when he thought i wasn’t watching. One time, he had walked quite far in the yard. He was coming back to his rug, when he saw that i saw him. The look on his face was priceless. IT was like – oh no, she saw me, now what do i do. David thought maybe he is embarrassed. I think he is dependent on me. who knows

    Today (day 11) he still has the head tilt. That may never go away. But he is able to get up by himself and is walking around quite a bit when he goes outside – he is unsteady, stumbles falls, and gets back up. He is happy and started wagging his tail again. This is all very exhausting for him, so i still drag him around inside the house at times. Yeah it is exhausting for me too. Tamara brought over 5 yoga mats that are spread all over the house, because the tile is too slippery for him. He is walking outside on his own – with me encouraging him and standing by his right side to keep him from falling over.

    David says, his course has not been the norm – as one of the other vets said, he didn’t read the text book.

    Keep the faith!

  129. Linda Gillio says:

    Day 6 of our vestibular ordeal .German Shepherd 9 yrs old.started with vomiting 5 or 6 times. Next day weak in back legs stumbling. Took her to emergency. Called it old dog syndrome. Gave her cernia.knocked her out. We cooked white rice and boiled chicken meat only. Fed her small amts. Every 2 hours.She wouldn,t get up at all. Mobile vet came out. Found ear infection put her on cephalexin every 12 hours. MECLIZINE 25 MG every day. She drank well .noweats her regular diet. Walks to car gets up in car for rides. Still stumbles a little. Have to grab her collar to take her out to pee.she had 2 episodes of diarrhea. Now no poop 4 days. Going to give her mineral oil tomorrow. She never had nystagmus. But did head tilt and circling and confusion.all your info so helps. I just want this to be over.She had an ear infection opposite ear 2 weeks prior to symptoms. I hate that this can happen again.We will nurse her love her and see it through.thank you all for your stories.

  130. Jim Sutton says:

    Can this effect the dogs vocal cords? My dog has not made a sound since he was diagnosed with the disease? Thanks for the assistance, Jimmy

  131. Joanie says:

    We have Sprollie sisters (Springer/Collie), they are only 7 yrs old. Today the smaller border collie sister was coughing when I let her in from outside, then at suppertime she got sick all over her bed out of nowhere. When we tried to help her, she tried to go outside and fell on the stairs. Now she seems to be dizzy. I brought her food dish to her and she did eat, but was tipping over a bit trying to eat. I am not sure if she is weak from being sick or if it is the start of this disease now. She is border collie, which seems to be a common thread, but not really a senior and I didn’t notice any eye movement, she just looked confused. She’s never been sick, seemed almost embarrassed at the attention we gave it and now she’s curled up sleeping behind hubby’s legs. She jumped up there on her own after eating so I guess I will keep an eye on her till morning and see what happens.
    Thank you though, at least I know now this happens a lot with borders. They are from the Ottawa valley and now in New Brunswick and we would be lost without them. Our cat suddenly died in her sleep not long ago, we can’t fathom losing another one of our girls.

  132. Jim says:

    Thank you all for your posts, Our Maggie is a 12 year old female Lab X, She came to us 11 yrs ago as a stray, cold, wet, and hungry, likely on the run for days. Shes been through 2 cancer operations in 2015 and came through both of them very well. She is truly the light of our life.
    Seven weeks ago are Vet told use that she has old dog Vestibular disease, she’s had a full blood work up and everything came back normal. These past 7 weeks has been very hard on my wife and I, its hard to watch such an active dog like our Maggie reduced to one that walks like she’s drunk, slipping, falling at times and episodes of the eye twitching that last sometimes up to 20 seconds long. Maggie still eats like normal, only vomited a few times over these past 7 weeks.
    Last night my wife and I had a discussion that every loving pet owner never wants to have.
    I woke this morning at 3 am not being able to sleep with worry about our Maggie. I jumped on my laptop and started searching and reading up on this disease, which I’ve done so many times over the past seven weeks, but for some reason I missed this page of posts.
    Your posts have given me a light at the end of the tunnel, today I’m going to Vestibular proof this house, first stop will be picking up mats and carpet runners to cover all hardwoods and tiled hallways.

    Thank you all again for your posts….Jim, Brenda, & Maggie

  133. Gail says:

    We are so very sad – our 15 year old rescue aussie cross, was fine, healthy, aging, stoic, a wonderful boy. He suddenly could not get up on January 9, 2016, late in the afternoon. He had been treated for an ear infection in September. We carried him outside Saturday and Sunday and he was able to stand up once outside – he just couldn’t get up into that position by himself. I got him water over those two days which he took, and some hand feeding of his soft food. On Monday, he still couldn’t get up and we took him to the vet, ready to have him put to sleep as what quality of life is there for him when he can’t get up. The vet thought liver disease as I told her his urine had gotten progressively darker and then a deep rust colour by Monday. I now wonder if this was a result of some dehydration as he wasn’t drinking his usual amount. We made the choice to have put to sleep as he was so weak, and with inability to walk, we had no idea that this could have possibly been Vestibular disease, with chance of recuperating. It has been 3 long months without him – it’s visceral how much I miss him and his dear comforting face and ways. I wish we could have had the chance to nurse him back, but we did not and this most awful feeling tears me apart. I am hoping time will heal this severe pain and loss, but it hasn’t at all, thus far. It’s been a real personal tragedy.

  134. Padders says:

    Please help me! My collie cross rescue dog has been diagnosed with vestibular and hasn’t eaten for five whole days, although he’s drinking a little ways now and then. I’m sick with worry. I took him to the vet twice, and he was on a drip 24 hours yesterday and I brought him home today. How long can he go without food? He doesn’t allow me to force feed him.

  135. Amy G Ziegler says:

    Have you tried steak or chicken? Also, I gave my dog a nausea pill and Xanax. It relaxed her and the appetite grew. Sorry to hear, it is one of the worst things to go through.

  136. Gail Foreman says:

    How is your collie cross doing? I hope he is ok, how old is he? I am still just aching for our loss. I am thinking of you and praying he gets better.

  137. Wendy Flint says:

    My 14 yr old Pekingnese was diagnosed with this on Thursday.He fell against the sofa and his eyes were the first thing we noticed, the rapid twitching. I was convinced it was a stroke and that we were going to lose him. He had a thorough blood test and was given an anti-sickness injection.The first visit he wasn’t given the injection , I had to take him back the next day. Never ever give up on your babies. I’m so thankful to have found this site as it has given me confidence he will get

  138. Cheryl says:

    My almost 17 yr young rat terrier Cedric too has vestibular disease. One day he was fine, the next day he was falling over, stumbling and disoriented. I was crushed. After 2 visits to different vets he was diagnosed with vestibular disease. He is my baby. He has difficulty eating and drinking. I found he really loves baby food especially turkey and broth and beef and broth. He eats right from the jar while I hold him. When the jar is half way gone I fill it up with water and shake it. He laps this up and I refill again when it is half empty. This helps him get his drink. He does not like the syringe trick but we use it if needed. I had no idea I could love this little guy like I do. I try to encourage him to walk some with the aid of a chest harness and leash which does help. He gets very tired so I do not know if this is good for him or not. He is on prednisone and antibiotics. Thank you for this site. It brings me comfort knowing Cedric is not alone. God bless.

  139. Joanna says:

    my 13 y.o Border Collie had VD attack about 3 weeks ago. its was very scary to watch because my thought was that she is having a stroke. she was unable to keep her balance, was falling to the one side, had head tilt and her eyes were flickering all over the place. that happen at 3 am so we rushed to 24hr vet clinic. the vet had told us that Emma is having vestibular disease and that the dog should get recover on her own. for first few days she wasn’t eating much but she was drinking.
    now, at 3 week mark she is back to normal ! she is drinking, eating, going for walks, barking, chasing the rabbits and birds and jumping on the couch,
    so far so good but it was terrifying to see my fur-baby when she so sick before. I hope she won’t have another attack ( keeping fingers crossed!).
    thanks for this blog and good luck to all dog lovers out there. it will get better! ( hopefully)

  140. Pam says:

    My almost 15 yr old shih Tzu, Chloe, was diagnosed with Vestibular last weekend. She had a UTI and had been on antibiotics prior to the episode. I had noticed her walking back & forth in the yard, it was weird. Then she had issues trying to stand up with her hind legs, then her head tilt and eye spams and falling. Thought it was a stroke too or brain tumor. After $1,000 at the Vet we didn’t want to pay for an MRI, but vet didn’t recommend putting her to sleep (not that we asked), said her eye movements were better. In the week we have had her home I’ve seen improvement. She’s eating from a spoon, taking water from a syringe and standing and scooching along the enclosure but she still can’t get her hind legs up but only maybe 1/2 way. We take her out as much as possible when home, but have wee pads down. And it smells…bad. We change them 2x a day and have doggie wipes to clean her off, gave her a bath, will have to throw the carpet remnant away soon and maybe get a cheaper other one. I think she’ll be better in another week or two. Just need to get rid of the stinky smell.

  141. B Lawther says:

    My 12 year old GSD was diagnosed May 5th, 2016 with Vestibular Disease, he hasn’t gotten over it yet. Sure he has good days, but when he has bad days they are extremely bad. He takes 20mg of prednizone daily to stave off the symptoms, although his gait and head tilt are ever present. I am truly beginning to believe he has been mis-diagnosed and perhaps he had a tumor. His ears have never been an issue always clean, never infected. I feel as though he should have recovered by now. He pants constantly even though he lives indoors with an AC set on 68 and can’t keep control of his bladder. All of his blood test came back normal. He whines every now and then as if he is in pain, this is not something he ever did before. I’m overwhelmed with guilt.

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