We have had a couple cases of Vestibular Disease in the past month, one of whom is the pet of our Veterinary Technician, Stacey.
Tucker is a 15-year-old Irish Wolfhound mix who presented with quick onset of disorientation, head tilt and nystagmus (irregular jerking eye movements) . The first 48-hours was very difficult for her. She could not walk unassisted and had to be hand-fed. She was unable to function on her own. During the first three days she was very nauseous due to the nystagmus. It can be very scary for owners to see their pets this way.
This video shows Tucker experiencing nystagmus symptoms. It was taken within the first 3 hours of symptoms occurring.
Symptoms lessened after 72 hours, the nystagmus was almost gone and Tucker was able to walk on her own again. At ten days post-diagnosis she is continuing to improve, is eating better and only has a slight head tilt but is still wobbly.
Although there is no treatment for Vestibular Disease, prognosis is good and most dogs are back to their normal selves in several weeks. Some dogs will have very mild wobbling or head tilt for the rest of their lives.
Please see our Lifelearn article about symptoms and treatment for Vestibular Disease.