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Vestibular Disease

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm cheating a little bit - this is in reference to my dog, but I know it can affect cats as well... mods, if you'd rather move this to the general chit chat forum, go right ahead...

Well it looks like Cuddles has a bout of vestibular disease and I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience/knowledge on the subject... I know that essentially it's a middle ear infection that causes the animal to basically feel seasick and dizzy... here's the hopefully short background: my mom took the dog on a walk (just around the block as always) about 745 this morning and right back at the house, Cuddles started getting all wobbly and walking like she was drunk (to lighten the mood while at the vets, I asked the pup if she'd gotten into my beer last night, hehe)... my mom got her inside where she started panting very heavily and her eyes were darting from left to right rapidly... my dad called me down since I have some animal care experience, but I didn't recognize this other than that something neurological was going on, so I called our vet which had just opened... we brought her right in - unfortunately the doctor we always see, Dr. Kathy (also a family friend) is off today so we saw a different doctor (Dr. Kristen)... they took blood to do an overall work-up and while we were there the symptoms seemed to calm down - the eyes stopped and she was walking ok - Kristen explained all of the possibilities to us from heat stress to vestibular disease to brain tumor and believed that it was just a bit of heat stress (it was already 85* at 8am here this morning)... so we took her home and got her in the AC... well the symptoms came back and she vomited a few times so we knew it wasn't just heat stress... we called Kristen again and she said there was nothing we could really do without more definitive information (ie: blood/urine results and then if necessary MRI/CT)... I decided to call Dr. Kathy to get her opinion - not that I don't trust Kristen, but Kathy's treated Cuddles since she was a pup... so I described the symptoms to Kathy and she's like 99% sure it's vestibular disease and it will clear up in a few days

Anyway, we're not freaking out but I'd love any info anyone has on this... I just feel so bad for my puppy (haha, she's 13!) she just keeps looking at us like "what the heck is going on?! please make me feel better!" She's finally been able to keep a little bit of water down and a handful of kibble (earlier she was throwing up anything injested so I was worried about dehydration - but her scruff skin pops back just fine so she's ok for now) and I think she's finally able to take a nap... poor thing kept closing her eyes trying to sleep and you could see they were just twitching... she's still wobbly when she tries to walk too, but my dad managed to get her down into the yard a few hours ago to go pee and then got her back in the house... it's just so weird that this happened all of a sudden - other than a controlled thyroid problem and some achy old lady legs, she's just great....

Sorry this was so long, haha - kinda wanted to explain as much as possible since this does affect cats, these symptoms might help someone else on here sometime
post #2 of 7
My Maggie (cat) was diagnosed with Idiopathic Vestibular Disease when she was less than a year old. She walked in circles, fell down frequently and had the nystagmus (rapid side to side movement of the eyes.) I took her to my vet and was told the same things you were told. Anything from vestibular disease to brain tumor. She was put on antibiotics (in case it was a bacterial inner ear infection) and I watched her for several days. Within a couple of days she was completely better, the nystagmus took a little longer to resolve, but was gone within 2 weeks. Sometimes there will be a residual head tilt or slight nystagmus, but Maggie has no residual symptoms. We never really figured out what caused it (idiopathic) but it did go away fairly quickly. Hope your baby starts to feel better soon!

Pookie & the girls
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks.... I've done a little research online and came up basically with what you said - guess I'm just looking for reassurance and some personal experience... I'm glad your baby came out of it ok!

Cuddles seems to be a little bit better - able to nap.... but she threw up again when my dad took her outside again, but she had drank some water before she went out - I've limited the water available to her, but I guess it was still too much too quickly - I don't want to completely take water away from her because I don't want to contribute to dehydration, but I might take it up overnight to avoid waking up to a big mess in the morning

As for treatment, Dr. Kathy is very into homeopathic treatments and not pushing meds if they're not needed and I'm one to agree that if it's not known that antibiotics are NECESSARY, don't give them (pets and people, but I'm a little more accepting of them with Oliver since he's FIV+, gotta be safe)... so we're just doin a wait and see with Cuddles, Kathy can give her something if the nausea is really excessive... yar, I hate these things that have no real "cause" - in the past 2 years I've had several "mystery" illnesses that caused me to withdrawl college for an entire semester, be hospitalized, miss and have to make-up fall semester finals, receive fluids and morphine (as well as percocet) and be stuck in my boyfriend's bed for more than 3 weeks... these things are really frustrating - I just want her to get better

Any other experiences/info would be greatly appreciated, even though we're not super worried - support's just nice
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well, we picked up some anti-nausea medicine for her today because she's thrown up a few more times... I'm hopeing she'll start feeling a little better today - hate this wait and see stuff
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just in case anyone was/is interested in this situation, I figure I'll update

Cuddles is increasingly improving! The anti-nausea medicine was/is a godsend! She hasn't thrown up any since she's been getting it and throughtout yesterday I would feed her a handful or so of dry kibble and some ice chips every couple hours, then last night I boiled her some chicken and so far so good! She seems very hungry and thirsty, but I don't want to let her be a glutton cuz she may think she's that hungry but eating too much too fast might make her throw up again... my parents said she drank a bit of water, ate a little kibble and had a few tiny biscuits this morning... if all goes well I'll give her some more chicken and kibble in a little bit

She's still quite wobbly when she walks and her head's still tilting to the right (it's so cute looking but such a sin why she's tilting), so I've stayed home to puppy sit my own dog today while my parents went to the shore

Anyway, I hope at least this is all good reference for the future if anyone's cat or dog starts to experience these symptoms... the first day is really the worst, and it's just been getting better since then - she's still been happy: waggin her tail and giving kisses through all this, you can just tell she's really confused as to what's happening
post #6 of 7
I'm soo sorry about your dog's disease.. There are alot of wonderful people here who probably have information to help.. I don't know much about it,, but wanted to say I was sorry,, and hope Cuddles gets better.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much... she's doing better as the hours progress, thank god! She's kept down some more chicken and water this afternoon... still tilting her head and wobbly when she stands, but that's even better since yesterday... poor Oliver's been so jealous because the dog's getting so much extra attention from the entire family since this happened - we're really trying to pay just as much attention to him too, it's just that the dog's getting fawned over, hand fed, carried everywhere, etc... plus, he's used to being able to kinda running up and play swatting her and the past few days he's been getting yelled at for that cuz it makes her fall over - so he's really confused too... but he still gets me all to himself at night and when I gave the dog her chicken this morning, she was on one side of me and Oliver was on the other - she got her chicken then directly after, he got some cat cookies... oh the drama, haha
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