Canine Vestibular Disease

There was something terribly wrong with my almost-13-year-old golden retriever, Holly. It happened suddenly, out of the blue:

Her symptoms were:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Nystagmus (eyes flickering back and forth) and rhythmic eyebrow twitching
  • Severe head tilt: One ear was pointing to the floor, the other ear was pointing to the ceiling
  • Apparent confusion/disorientation: She was looking around the room in an unfocused fashion, as if she didn’t know where she was or what was happening
  • Inability to walk or stand: She scrabbled around helplessly on the floor. When we lifted her, she lurched sideways, staggered, and fell against the wall. She had a no balance. Some dogs walk in circles.

It was very alarming.

Was this a stroke? An ominous neurological affliction?

No, these are classic signs of Canine Vestibular Disease, also down as Old Dog Vestibular Disease. It is a problem with the inner ear, causing dizziness, loss of balance, and nausea.

Basically, the dog feels seasick.

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