Vestibular syndrome in dogs can be expressed as a condition that makes you feel like everything is spinning around, just like vertigo in humans. Vestibular syndrome, which is seen mostly in advanced ages, occurs suddenly and is usually expected to resolve within a few weeks. In this article, you can find answers to frequently asked questions about vestibular syndrome in dogs and vestibular diseases that cause this syndrome.
What is the Vestibular System?
The vestibular system can be defined as the system responsible for maintaining balance. This system, which controls the balance and prevents the animals from falling, is very important. Central components in the brain and peripheral components in the inner and middle ear form the vestibular system. Balance system sensors are located in the inner ear. Balance control is achieved both by the position and movement of the dog’s head, and by the position and movement of the body and eyes. Balance sensors in the inner ear of dogs detect the position of the head in space when standing or moving. Position information is transmitted to the brain as electrical signals. The balance control center in the brain ensures that the necessary messages are sent to the muscles so that the body can stand upright.
What are the Diseases Affecting the Vestibular System?
There are a number of different diseases that cause vestibular syndrome in dogs. Health problems that affect the vestibular nerve and cause this syndrome can be expressed as nerve tumors, neuroinflammation, underactive thyroid gland, head trauma, cyst in the brain, and thiamine deficiency. Idiopathic vestibular disease, which affects older dogs and has no known cause yet, also causes vestibular syndrome. Infection, inflammation or tumor in the middle or inner ear are also among the causes of vestibular syndrome. Vestibular neuritis, also known as balance nerve inflammation in dogs, causes balance problems due to damage to the nerves in question as a result of inflammation or infection.
Vestibular Syndrome Symptoms in Dogs
In many dogs, sudden loss of balance, disorientation, head tilt and irregular eye movements are among the symptoms of vestibular syndrome. The phrase “my dog can’t stand” usually refers to this syndrome.
Head tilt can be expressed as positioning one ear down from the other ear. Irregular movements of the eye are called nystagmus and are defined as irregular movements of the eyeball to either side or to the opposite and upwards. In dogs with vestibular syndrome, the wobble is very clearly visible, even if the dog wants to go straight, it moves in a sliding line to the right or to the left. Dogs with vestibular syndrome may experience nausea due to the close proximity of the balance center to the area of the brain that controls vomiting.
Balance sensors are located close to the hearing sensors in the ear, the nerves that control the movement of the eyelids, lips and ears. Because of this proximity, diseases affecting the vestibular system can cause hearing loss, sagging of the facial muscles, or facial paralysis. These diseases can affect different parts of the brain, causing seizures, weakness, vision loss and difficulty in eating and drinking.
How Is Vestibular Syndrome In Dogs Diagnosed?
If you think your dog has signs of vestibular syndrome, you should definitely consult a veterinarian. The symptoms of vestibular syndrome, which can be defined as my dog cannot stand, must be taken into account. Because the diseases that cause this syndrome must be treated. Many dogs with vestibular syndrome may not have an ear canal, eardrum, inner or middle ear infection. For this reason, deep ear infections or brain diseases can be detected by imaging methods such as MR, X-ray or computed tomography. Taking samples from the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is also among the methods used in the diagnosis of vestibular syndrome.
Vestibular Syndrome Treatment in Dogs
Treatment of vestibular syndrome in dogs, if diagnosed, varies according to the underlying cause. Correct diagnosis of the underlying cause is therefore of great importance. In the case of vestibular syndrome due to infection, antibiotic treatment is generally preferred. When tumor-related syndrome occurs, treatment procedures that will prevent the tumor from pressing on the nerves are emphasized. Although the underlying cause changes the course of treatment, supportive treatments are also applied to increase the dog’s quality of life during the diagnosis and treatment process. In severe cases, supportive treatments should be sought when the dog is unable to eat or drink on its own. If the dog has lost its balance to a great extent and is experiencing panic due to this situation, sedative drugs can be used. Medication may also be recommended for nausea caused by vestibular syndrome.