Canine Vestibular Disease

Vestibular disease in dogs, also known as canine vestibular syndrome, can dramatically affect their quality of life. The condition causes inflammation to the cerebellum, which is responsible for helping to control balance. Dogs affected by the disease will be unable to even walk properly at times, since they can’t balance themselves properly.

Canine Vestibular Disease

Older dogs are usually more prone to developing the condition when compared to their younger counterparts. However, even middle-aged dogs can have problems. Puppies aren’t usually affected.


Unfortunately, no one really knows why canine vestibular disease occurs. It just seems to appear out of nowhere.


With an inability to control their balance, dogs with this condition can be unable to stand up properly. Milder symptoms include falling down, tilting of the head, and general incoordination. Since they can’t control their fine motor skills properly, they may be unable to eat from a bowl. In these cases, owners have to feed their dogs by hand.

The signs caused by canine vestibular syndrome can be present for up to three weeks. More fortunate canines only have to deal with the symptoms for a few days.


The symptoms of canine vestibular disease can easily be confused with those generated by other illnesses. An infection of the inner ear is one of the most common. Lymphoma and even head trauma that causes brain damage can also cause dogs to exhibit similar signs. A physical examination of the ear backed up by x-rays will help determine what’s the true problem.


There is no treatment for this condition. The inflammation will just have to subside on its own. While it does, owners will need to help their dog when necessary. The symptoms should go away after a few days, although it may take a few weeks in some dogs. In most cases of vestibular disease in dogs, the symptoms will never return. Some dogs do have future episodes though.

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