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My 12 year old Border Collie male recently had a bout with vestibular disease and I was wondering:  How many people have had a dog with vestibular disease?  What age were they?  Did they recover completely and how long did it take?  Did it reoccur?

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I had one dog who had a vestibular episode when she was about 11 yr old.  She clearly felt pretty awful for about 2 day, but by the end of the week I would say she was about 75 % recovered.  She still had a pronounce "list" to one side and was still just a bit wobbly on her feet, but by then she was back to being playful, had her full appetite and was eager to go on walks.  She continued to gradually improve over the next couple months, but she always had a very slight head tilt.  I don't think most people would have noticed it, but I did, and a rehab vet I took her to for a different issue spotted it immediately. She lived to almost 14 yr old with no recurrence.  It's tough for the first few days because there's really nothing you can do but let them rest, and there's no way to explain to them that they'll feel better in a few days.   But they do recover pretty well, and I shudder to think how many dogs have been put down because their owners mistakenly thought the dog had a stroke.

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Yep, pretty common in the seniors unfortunately. My guy took about a week to feel better and the head tilt never completely went away. I used Dramamine to help and it really did help. That and feeding on the floor, a plate vs a bowl, keeping them in a nice not bright area..I saw that the bright lights and sun made things worse. Good luck, it's no fun but generally good recovery.

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We are about five days into it and every day he is doing a little bit better.  The biggest issue has been his appetite. At first my vet wasn't sure if he had a brain tumor or encephalitis so she had him on antibiotics to treat encephalitis.  When she saw him Saturday evening his signs were very subtle.  By Sunday morning he looked like classic vestibular with the horizontal nystagmus and even his eyebrows twitched all day long.  I'm hoping his continued poor appetite is more due to the antibiotics than anything else and once they are done it will go back to normal.   I do feel horrible for him.  He has always been so incredibly high strung and athletic that this is really difficult for him.   I've heard of some dogs having a recurrence  but I don't think that is too common.  At least I hope not, although I will gladly nurse him through vestibular rather than deal with encephalitis or a brain tumor.  Thanks for the input.

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The Dramamine may help with his appetite as well, won't hurt. My guy was one that reoccurring did happen..much easier on me the second time around! Good luck and I hope he feels better soon.

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My guess is that the appetite issue has more to do with your dog still feeling dizzy and nauseous from the vestibular disorder than because of the antibiotic, but the antibiotic is a possible culprit.  I would ask the vet about whether you need to continue with the antibiotic.  I know you are supposed to never quit an antibiotic treatment part way through, and I understand the reason for that.  But in this case, it turns out that there isn't an actual bacterial infection anyway, so you shouldn't have to worry about selecting for the resistant survivors by quitting treatment part way through.  And while you are asking your vet about the antibiotic, ask about dramamine.   No one suggested that when my dog was going through this, but it makes sense that it might help. 

Hang  in there.  I know that it's tough to feel so helpless to do anything to help our buddy when they are in such obvious misery.   But they do get better, and from what I've read, recurrence is pretty uncommon.

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Aschlemm, my Shoshone had 2 episodes of vestibular disease as well. The second was milder than the first and didn't last as long. My vet also recommended Dramamine and we just kept that on hand after the second bout, but she only had those two. And she didn't have an appetite either until the dizziness went away.

It's pretty scary to see, but from what I read/heard, largely benign. And yes, much easier to deal with than other options.

Glad to read he's recovering.

Ruth & Gibbs

 

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Well, the antibiotics were done Thursday evening and Friday morning he was a new dog!  Perhaps it was just coincidence but he went back to a greatly improved appetite and a return to his old behaviors.  I did use Dramamine, 50mg twice a day, Sunday, Monday,Tuesday but really didn't think it helped.  Wednesday I gave him Cerenia instead and didn't think that helped either.  Maybe he just worked through it and had improved by Friday regardless or perhaps the Clindamycin gave him a sour stomach on top of everything else.  Who knows? 

     We went for a short walk today and he looks about 80% normal.  Still a little unbalanced with an occasional head tilt but not too bad considering.  He was so happy to get out!  Yesterday he was back to chasing leaves in the yard!!!!  I was so happy to see that!!!!  He has always been a really silly dog!!!!

    Thanks again for the input. 

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I'm so glad to hear he's feeling better.  I bet you're feeling better now too, aren't you?  Even when you know that their chance of recovery is excellent, it's pretty hard to feel so helpless to hurry the process along.

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Oh, you better believe I'm feeling better!!!  I'm having a rough start to the new year, a good friend died in a car accident and my aunt has terminal cancer. But every time I look at Logan and realize how much he has improved and how much worse my year would be without my dog, I have to smile and give a prayer of thanks. :)

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Shoshone's head tilt did take a few days to fully resolve, but as long as those creepy whirly eyes were gone I was happy!

I'm sorry for your loss, aschlemm. Unexpected loss takes your breathe away, it feels like. And glad you have Logan up and around and being himself. That always helps.

Ruth & Gibbs 

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I have no personal experience with vestibular disease, but I do know that sometimes the head tilt doesn't go away. A neighbor's older (sorry, but I can't remember her age) JRT mix got it and though she recovered from the worst of it, a slight head tilt remained for the rest of her life, which was at least a year or so. It didn't seem to bother her much.

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Ruby had a vestibular attack when she was 11 or 12.  She is now 15 and extremely active and vital.  The vet gave her something for the nausea and that took care of it.  It did take her a couple of months to recover.  The only residual symptom she has ever had is a cute head tilt when she is excited,  or wants something.

 

Kathy Robbins

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