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Vestibular syndrome
04-19-2017, 07:50 PM,
Vestibular syndrome
my 14 yr old border collie has all of a sudden started acting like she's very dizzy and walks with her head tilted. Her eyes (although she's blind because of diabetes) seem to flicker. I think this may be  Vestibular syndrome. I cannot afford a vet, does anyone know how I can help her? It's breaking my heart.
04-20-2017, 12:05 PM,
RE: Vestibular syndrome
That does sound like Vestibular syndrome. Causes can range from: Unexplained nerve inflammation of the inner ear, infections involving the inner ear, metabolic disease or underlying cancer causing inner ear balance problems, stroke, brain tumor.

I awakened to mine crashing into walls in the middle of the night last Jun. She had the classic sign of nystagmus, or the eyes rolling or darting around. Basically their vision is one of the world spinning around them. Your dog being blind at least is avoiding the vision problems. Mine became anorexic, and stopped drinking water. Treatment consisted of sc fluids to keep her hydrated, and Cerenia to prevent nausea. Sometimes if it hasn't cleared up in a few days, the Vets prescribe Prednisone (e.g. relieve any potential brain swelling if present). It took a couple of weeks before she was able to walk without my supporting her with a sling. Long term effects were loss of strength (~ -20%) in the rear legs/hips. Not perfect balance, with a tendency to stumble on uneven ground. Still needs assistance to get up/down inside steps. Partial loss of hearing, and seemingly senile like at times. Last Jan she was diagnosed with nerve sheath cancer. Thus, it's possible the underlying cancer could have caused a small stroke, affecting the inner ear nerve pathway. Resulting in a Vestibular Syndrome like attack. Where she had to re-learn how to walk, and retrain her nerve pathways, much like a stroke victim.

If you can't afford a Vet, as long as the dog is still drinking water, and eating, you could just wait, and see if the symptoms resolve. If the dog has stopped drinking water, then you have an emergency situation, and seeing a Vet is unavoidable. Dehydration can be fatal in just a couple of days. You could try the motion sickness drug Meclizine, which sometimes helps. But you should confirm with a Vet a 25 mg dose is appropriate. If your dog hasn't shown improvement in a few days, then again you'll need a Vet, and possibly some Prednisone. The drug Prednisone is cheap, so your cost would be not much more than the Vet examination fee. Sometimes the Vet will suggest an MRI to check the brain which is costly, and can be deferred. If your dog were to need anti nausea medication prescribed by the Vet, then a prescription for Zofran send to your local pharmacy is the cheapest. It should work, but might not be as effective as Cerenia. Where Cerenia is a dog specific anti-nausea drug, and is expensive. The two drugs enter or affect different pathways to the "emetric" or vomiting center of the brain.

Of course your dog may have symptoms of Vestibular syndrome with the cause being something else. Which can only be diagnosed by a Vet.

In summary: If your dog continues to drink, and is still eating, you can try waiting a few days. Usually the wild eye motions will subside after a few days with Vestibular syndrome, and the dog will become more calm. If the dog has stopped drinking then you have an immediate emergency. Also the dog if anorexic should start eating in about 4 days. If it hasn't, then again, a trip to the Vet is unavoidable. If the dog is drinking, eating, and has suffered a Vestibular syndrome attack, then it will take a couple of weeks to recover some/most balance. Further recovery requiring months.
04-20-2017, 12:12 PM,
RE: Vestibular syndrome
Thanks very much for your response. Ginger is still eating and drinking her water so I will take a wait and see attitude and hope for the best.
She seems to be improving each day but is still holding her head at an angle and is unsteady when she walks.
04-20-2017, 12:25 PM,
RE: Vestibular syndrome
I am sorry to hear your dog is having problems. My dog had vestibular diseases and it was idiopathic, meaning that the vet could not find a cause. He was circling, had head tilt and eyes moving side to side At that time, he was prescribed dramamine or bonine can't recall which one exactly I used and the symptoms subsided in a couple of weeks. Sometimes it stems from ear problems so those should be checked out. If you have a hard time affording the vet, you can try to apply for care credit, I did once and they it helped a lot!
04-20-2017, 01:45 PM,
RE: Vestibular syndrome
(04-20-2017, 12:12 PM)tSonny517 Wrote: Thanks very much for your response. Ginger is still eating and drinking her water so I will take a wait and see attitude and hope for the best.
She seems to be improving each day but is still holding her head at an angle and is unsteady when she walks.

Mine almost a yr later still has her headed tilted left.  Occasionally will sway that way when walking.  Occasionally drags a rear paw during a step, and stumbles.  Lasting neurological effects similar to a stroke.  But if she sees a deer, she's ready to chase it.

Slinging a towel in front of her rear legs, while on a leash will help steady her walk outside as she recovers.  If needed, there are doggy slings for walking you can perform a Goog search on.

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