This morning our black lab, pictured above, who is approximately 10-12 years old was stumbling, having trouble walking, and eventually fell down. Our first fear was that he had suffered a stroke. He was brought to the vet immediately and THANKFULLY the doctor did not think it was a stroke. His probable diagnoses is "Old Dog Vestibular Disease".
The following exerpt is taken from www.petplace.com:
The vestibular system is primarily responsible for keeping the head and body in the correct orientation with respect to gravity.
This system will alert the brain if we are standing, sitting, lying down, falling, spinning in circles, and keeps the body balanced. The vestibular system is comprised of nerves that start in the brain and continue to the inner ear. The sensors in the inner ear are responsible for informing the brain about any movement. Vestibular disease affects the ability of the brain to recognize abnormal body positions and also affects the brain's ability to correct these abnormalities.
Disorders of the vestibular system are divided into central vestibular disease and peripheral vestibular disease.
Central vestibular disease occurs due to an abnormality within the brain. Peripheral vestibular disease occurs due to an abnormality within the nerves of the inner ear.
Most cases of vestibular disease are peripheral and no known cause is determined. These are referred to as idiopathic.
Vestibular disease typically affects older dogs with an average age of 12 to 13 years.
Animal afflicted with vestibular disease become suddenly very dizzy and the symptoms can be very drastic and frightening to the owner.
What to Watch For:
Vestibular disease can affect an animal very suddenly. Due to the signs of head tilt, circling and staggering, many owners feel their pet has had a stroke. Fortunately, strokes are rare in animals.
I wanted to post this information so anyone who reads this doesn't have the terrible scare we had today. There is a possibility that Shadow's symptoms are of an inner ear infection so he is on antibiotics just in case. If the vet's diagnoses is correct, Shadow's symptoms should disappear in 5-7 days. He already seems to be feeling better :)
My husband found Shadow in his work parking lot almost 7 years ago. He was full grown, very skinny, but had been neutered. After several days of feeding him and seeing him nearly get hit by a car, we decided to take him in. Shadow has "Separation Anxiety Disorder". It is clear that he was abused and probably thrown out on the street to fend for himself. He is my husband's "shadow" and whimpers non stop and sometimes won't eat if my husband or I aren't around. He has gotten a little more trusting over the years and likes the very nice doggy day care he stays at when we travel.
Thanks for visiting and I hope you are all doing well.