View Full Version : Vestibular episode

03-26-2010, 12:56 PM
Hi all,

This morning Brin, my springer spaniel scared me stiff as he was bringing up yellow, frothy bile and started wobbling over when he walked. He keeps slipping on the wooden floor and falls over altogether when he shakes his head. I was convinced it was a stroke or something worse until I googled vestibular disease and his symptoms fit exactly, except that his eyes do not have the flickering. He has now been to the vets who confirmed it (I didn't tell him I had looked on the internet until he said what it was and even then I don't think he liked it!) He said it was a mild case as he could still walk in a straight line and he has no head tilt. It still scares me every time he falls over in a heap so I don't know what he must be thinking. He is still hungry so that's a good sign but I just wish I could keep him still. He has always been a strong dog and recovers remarkably from whatever happens to him so never wants to sit still and follows me around everywhere as soon as I move. I suppose I could use it as an excuse to sit down all day!

I know there are a few here who have had experience of it and wondered how long it lasts and does it usually happen again or is it a one off? I feel alot calmer about it now than I did this morning and just hope it doesn't get any worse.


03-26-2010, 02:04 PM
Hi Linda,

I can't help answer your questions but wanted to say that I can only imagine how terrifying it is to watch your baby go through these type of episodes. My little one has had a few small seizures and that was bad enough. I never want to see another one for as long as I live.

I hope Brin recovers quickly and I'll be sending positive thoughts your way.


03-26-2010, 06:35 PM
Hi Linda,

CVS (Canine vestibular disease) is so scary especially when it strikes a usually healthy strong dog.

I don't know much about it except Nelson (since passed) had an episode a few years ago. He was about 12 year old Kelpie and had no health problems, it happened during a walk with hubby. They were several kms from home and he just seemed to lose his balance and not be able to walk straight or even stand without staggering.

Nelson had to be carried home. He also still had an appetite but couldn't walk straight unless he lent on the wall of the house to move around. His symptoms started to disappear after about 24 hours and he kept improving over the next few days until I think it was about 5 days and you wouldn't know anything else was wrong with him. Occasionally over the next few years I would sometimes notice a slight lean as he walked but it was only occasionally.

I think the severity is different in each dog and also the recovery time and even whether it is likely to happen again. So we were prepared for another episode but it never happened.


03-26-2010, 06:51 PM
Hi Linda,

We are a partcipant.

The first episode was short.

The second was about two weeks later and after two years she is still having some effects.

Please do be aware of another episode, in particular if the Dr. does not see nystagmus.

We first gave anti-nausea meds and then waited.

She has never recovered completly, but does ok.


03-27-2010, 03:49 AM
Thank you Glynda, Jenny and Scott.

Brin is still the same this morning but seems happy enough. I did notice yesterday afternoon that his head did tilt slightly to the left but his eyes are still ok. I also remembered that a year or two ago on 2 or 3 occasions he seemed to fall over for no reason and seemed disorientated for a few seconds. I did mention it to the vet at the time but it never happened again so I'd forgot about it.

I was amazed yesterday as I watched him walk up the garden wagging his tail non-stop, in typical springer spaniel style, as though he hadn't a care in the world. A vet once joked 'no brain no pain' as he would let you do anything to him. It seems a little unfair but I knew what he meant!

He desperately wants to go on a walk but will have to wait until he his a bit more steady on his feet. At least I feel a bit more optimistic that he will get better from this, fingers crossed.


03-27-2010, 06:08 PM
He desperately wants to go on a walk but will have to wait until he his a bit more steady on his feet. At least I feel a bit more optimistic that he will get better from this, fingers crossed.


Not suprising to me.

They do not get it that they have become compromised.

They want their routine.

If it is CVS he will recover from it. It is up to you to see him through it.

Thanks for asking Linda, and best to you and Brin.


03-27-2010, 09:45 PM
Hi Linda - so sorry that Brin had the vestibular episode. Zoe had a bad case of CVS back in December. Fine one day, next day couldn't stand without falling over on her side. She didn't have the head tilt at first either, but it became obvious a day or two in. Her case was pretty severe and landed her in the hospital for a week. The first week, she could barely stand and needed lots of assistance to walk. She even became totally incontinent - mainly because she couldn't keep her balance to walk and squat. Annie's mom also dealt with CVS in Oct. and she offered good advice to me in Zoe's thread.

They did give Zo an anti-emetic for nausea but she continued to eat ok throughout. We stopped the anti-emetic when she went home. Several other things I learned. I would have her lie down sphinx style to eat and put her bowl right between her front legs. That way she could find her bowl easier. Theey don't really recover from CVS, per se. They just learn to adapt to the imbalance, I guess. Least that's what I read and our vet said.

Zoe took over a month to get to where she could walk decently again, but continued until the very end to have problems with certain things. Nighttime walks were harder for her That's apparently because their sight helps them with their balance. Also, she was able to go "up" stairs again, but only 2 or 3 at most. Going down was much trickier and again, we only allowed her to do 2 or 3 - and only on a leash or with a steadying hand. Annie's mom said the same thing about Annie - on the 'going down'.

When Zoe first came home from the hospital, I used a shoulder harness to walk her, attaching the leash to that instead of her collar. That seemed to give her more stability. I would pull up gently on the leash, and kept my hand close to where it attached to the harness at the top of her shoulders. Eventually, we used the harness just at night. Also, I noticed that if she tried to look sideways or over her shoulder while walking, she'd lose her balance. And uneven surfaces were treacherous for her. Like in our neighborhood, the places she'd go potty were hills with that thick, clumpy ornamental grass. I don't know how many times she fell in that stuff. But she didn't seem to mind. I was more worried, for fear she'd injure one of her legs or some such - like she'd done before.

I'm not sure why Brin wouldn't have the nystagmus and I did read something about that but can't remember exactly what now. Maybe it's in Zoe's thread (from the December posts.) Most dogs do return to where they can go about a fairly normal life. But it was the worst thing to have to watch in the beginning. I couldn't imagine how Zo could ever recover, as bad as she was that first week. Like I said, it took about a month or more for her to get back on track and for me to stop watching over her every move. Sue

03-29-2010, 03:26 PM
Hi Linda,

Sue's explanation is better than mine.

I think she is right, they do not recover, but they do come to cope with it.

I also am right, it is not easy and it is up to you. You and Brin have to find the coping point.

The situations are so different, the only thing I can do is relate our experience.

I thought she was dying. It was over three years ago. I have to help her up and down steps and sometimes she just lays down and woofers until someone helps her up, she is still here, and mostly happy, we think.

She is still with us at 16years and is happy every day.


03-29-2010, 10:10 PM
Hi Linda! Sorry for the late reply! Niko had a bout of this a few years back. Came on out of the blue in the middle of the night. We woke up to him vomiting. Got him settled, and fell back asleep for a bit, then woke up to the sound of him peeing! He NEVER peed in the house (this was pre-cushings). Lights on and vomit was everywhere. He couldn't stand. We freaked and rushed to the ER - certain he would die. Well.... knowing what I know now, I can laugh a little.

He was given bonine 2 x a day for a week. He slowly improved, but it took him about 4-5 days to walk w/o any help.

He recovered for the most part within about 2 weeks, though he still got bouts of vertigo when he'd lay down. That never went away. (We could see his eyes going) Strangely enough, I have something similar (BPPV) so now I know how he felt! It never really flared up again, except once after I cleaned his ears. The next day, he was on a tilt. His head was tilted, and he walked like he was on a slant. He circled in one direction. I was so worried, and thought it was a stroke or something. Turns out a little ear cleaning can set it off. He was fine the following day.

Anyway... it's frightening, but really not too bad a thing. As I've learned with my BPPV, you get used to the occasional vertigo and it doesn't reduce the quality of life. I do keep bonine around though!

My best to you!


03-30-2010, 03:45 AM
Hi, thank you again for the replies Sue, Scott and Bettina.

You will be pleased to know that Brin is alot better now. He hasn't fell over since Sunday just misses his footing every now and again especially if he is rushing around excited, usually when there's food involved! His head is very slightly tilted but he never did get the nystagmus, don't know if that is a good or bad thing. I seem to remember reading about the 2 different types of vestibular disease and I'm sure with one they don't get that but all of his other symptoms fit in with the one that they usually recover from.

I know what you mean Bettina, I thought that Brin would die too but remembered reading on here about vestibular disease, not even knowing what it was, but knew it made them fall over. So, before I even went to the vets I had a good idea it was that, otherwise I would have taken him thinking he wouldn't be coming back. I know vets don't like us doing our own research but, most of the time I think it stops us being so worried rather than making us worry more. I know if I hadn't researched and found a specialist myself Brin would have gone blind at 4 years old through KCS.

He and Spicey will both be 14 this year and I hope they live alot longer.


03-30-2010, 07:42 AM
He and Spicey will both be 14 this year and I hope they live alot longer.

pbbbbtt..... their both still PUPPIES at 14! ;)

glad he is feeling better! :D