Geriatric vestibular disease in dogs, also known as old dog syndrome and canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome, has an average onset age of 12.5 years. Before delving deeper into dog geriatric vestibular disease, we must first understand the classification of dog vestibular disease:
Classification of dog vestibular disease
Symptoms of vestibular disease in dogs
Whatever the cause, vestibular disease, as the name implies, is a disease caused by abnormal and interrupted function of the vestibular system in dogs, most notably as a sudden loss of balance. The following are the most common symptoms:
1. Common symptoms of central vestibular disease and peripheral vestibular disease in dogs
2. Symptoms specific to central vestibular disease in dogs
3. Symptoms specific to peripheral vestibular disease in dogs
You can roughly determine which type of vestibular disease your dog has based on the symptoms listed above. (If your dog exhibits symptoms of suspected vestibular disease, please consult a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.)
What is vestibular system？
Before we can understand the causes and treatment of old dog vestibular syndrome, we must first understand what the vestibular system is and how it works.
The vestibular system of dogs is a sensory system that contributes significantly to balance and spatial orientation. To coordinate movement and balance, it primarily detects motion, head position and spatial orientation. The vestibular system is divided into two parts:
Peripheral vestibular disease can result from peripheral vestibule damage. There is a set of vestibular labyrinth and otoliths in each ear of the dog. When one ear’s vestibular system is damaged but the other is not, the dog will tilt its head or fall to the damaged side. More specifically, the impaired peripheral vestibular system reported that the dog was moving, whereas the eyes reported that the dog was not moving; the two reports converged in the brain, resulting in a cognitive conflict. This erratic cognition can result in loss of balance, disorientation, rotation, and fall. The dog’s symptoms will go away once the consistency between the vestibule and the visual system is restored.
When the central vestibule is damaged, the symptoms are similar to those seen with peripheral vestibular damage.
Vestibular disease in dogs causes
1. Causes of dog geriatric vestibular disease
The cause of the geriatric vestibular disease we discuss in this blog post is not yet known, although some studies suggest that it may be related to specific immune damage.
2. Causes of peripheral vestibular disease in dogs
3. Causes of central vestibular disease in dogs
Old dog vestibular disease treatment
A notable feature of old dog vestibular disease is that the level of symptoms of loss of balance decreases rather than increases over time. Symptoms of nystagmus typically resolve within a few days, while symptoms of head tilt and loss of balance typically resolve within 1-2 weeks. As a result, this is an acute idiopathic disease that can be cured on its own, and no effective treatment plan is recommended.
Only in dogs with severe vomiting can diphenhydramine be administered subcutaneously at a dose of 2-4 mg/kg body weight every 8 hours to relieve vomiting.
While the dog is healing, the owner can make the following changes to the dog’s living environment to improve the dog’s comfort:
Geriatric vestibular disease in dogs, with an average onset age of 12.5 years, is a disease that affects the peripheral vestibular system (inner ear) rather than the central vestibular system (brain stem).
The disease’s cause is undefined, but some research suggests that it may be linked to specific immune damage.
The symptom usually improves within 72 hours, but it may take up to 2-3 weeks to completely heal on its own. If the dog is vomiting excessively, the veterinarian may recommend diphenhydramine injections to control the symptoms. The dog owner’s only option is to improve the dog’s living conditions and make the dog more comfortable during the dog’s self-healing period.