Should You Put a Dog down with Vestibular Disease?- (2024)

The simple answer is “NO”. You don’t have to because this issue is not really fatal and most of the dogs do recover themselves after hours to a few weeks. And the thing is it’s not that painful to the dogs. The only problem is that they are not able to mock around comfortably.

It’s a bit uncomfortable as a pet owner seeing your dog not active but personally. But I would personally recommend waiting and seeing to recover themselves naturally. That’s the best for your dog because idiopathic vestibular disease is very common in dogs.

So, Let’s understand more about the topic:

What is vestibular disease in dogs?

Basically, it is a balance disorder in simple language. Most of the dogs get this issue when they are in their old age like 10-13 years old. Dogs have a vestibular system that is located in their inner ear and the brain. That helps the dog to maintain its physical body balance.

Normally that’s how they run, jump, and play with you. And when that part gets disturbed for any reason, the dog has this issue. It makes them dizzy and disorientation in their physical movement.

Should You Put a Dog down with Vestibular Disease?

What causes this Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

Most of the common issues could be:

But you should be aware that this issue might not be only the reason why your dog is experiencing vestibular symptoms. There might be different ongoing health issues in your dog which is just an additional progression of symptoms.


Most of the time your dog shows no prior signs. It’s a sudden attacking disease where you could get no warnings. But when they got this disease, you can see the dog won’t be able to walk freely. More symptoms include:

  • Walking and circling only just in one direction
  • Nystagmus ( This makes the eye move rapidly from side to side)
  • Often tilting the head
  • Not able to walk long distances
  • Vomiting might occur because of the dizziness
  • Change on regular sitting positions
  • Also drinking and eating habits might be changed suddenly
  • Confusion

These are the common symptoms you can see when your dog is diagnosed with this issue but still, there are many other symptoms you can see in your dog. As a pet owner, I reckon you can notice your dog’s regular behavior.

Should You Put a Dog down with Vestibular Disease?

Cure for Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

So, if you see these abnormal symptoms in your dog then first of all don’t panic. It’s normal and your dog is going to be completely fine.

Some dogs get recovered within a few hours and some might take a few weeks. I know it’s hard seeing your dog suffering and just wait & watch.

So before you start curing this disease, you need a formal veterinary doctor’s advice. They will observe the dog’s movement and take the necessary blood test, urine test, x-rays, or pressure checks.

And they might also have an ear MRI or CT Scan in case of the tumor probability.

As I already mentioned earlier, most of the dogs will recover themselves but in exceptional cases, they might prescribe some antibiotics for ear infections if they have. Like if they have a tumor, additional medicine might help to stop growing.

In some cases when dogs aren’t able to walk then injectable antinausea or IV fluids will be given. Also, sedatives for reducing anxiety and growing relaxation.

Your dog might be having some issues like anxiety, stress, and comfort inside them. So, your vet may suggest you guide them in their daily activities that you can do as a home remedy for your dog.

  • Normal walk
  • Stay calm
  • Assist in balancing & walking stairs
  • Make them relax
  • Give them the best food possible to increase the appetite or add some toppings like bone broth
  • Make their beds clean with food and water close to nearby
  • Use the dog harness or walker

But as I have seen, It’s very rare the dog has been hospitalized in this case. So, don’t worry about that part.

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Is it possible to prevent vestibular disease in dogs?

No, It is not completely possible. Because the main reason is that the exact cause of this disease is still unknown. But yes, minting your dog’s lifestyle healthy and risk-free environment with good nutrition will surely help to minimize the risk of getting this disease. That means vestibular disease in dogs is recurring.

Post-reaction after Dog Recovers from Vestibular Disease

After a dog recovers from vestibular disease, it’s common for them to experience some residual effects or post-recovery issues.

While these issues are usually mild and temporary, it’s important to be aware of them and monitor your dog’s progress.

  • Balance and coordination: Your dog may still show some minor balance issues or occasional stumbling even after recovery. But don’t worry these can gradually improve over time as their vestibular system continues to stabilize.
  • Head tilt: Still a slight head tilt may persist even after your dog’s recovery. This is usually not a cause for concern unless it really affects your dog’s daily activities.
  • Sensitivity to movement: Some dogs may remain sensitive to sudden movements or changes in their surroundings, causing them to feel disoriented or anxious. So you can help create a calm and predictable environment for your dog. It can help them to minimize these sensitivities and provide them with a sense of security.
  • Hearing or vision changes: In rare cases, vestibular disease can have an impact on a dog’s hearing or vision. While most dogs recover these senses fully, some may experience long-term changes.
  • Anxiety or behavioral changes: The experience of the vestibular disease can be stressful for dogs, and they may develop anxiety or behavioral changes as a result. Patience, positive reinforcement, and a consistent routine can help them regain their confidence

It’s important to keep in mind that each dog’s recovery is unique, and the extent and duration of post-recovery issues can vary.

Regular follow-up visits with your veterinarian will ensure that any concerns are addressed promptly, and appropriate measures are taken to support your dog’s ongoing well-being.

Remember to provide a supportive and loving environment for your dog as they continue to adjust and regain their strength.

With time, patience, and proper care, most dogs recover well from vestibular disease and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • How long can a dog live with vestibular diseases?

The disease is normal so, any dog with vestibular disease can live a normal life as other dogs. Aside they might have some abnormalities often.

  • Can vestibular disease in dogs cause permanent hearing loss?

It’s rare for vestibular disease to cause permanent hearing loss in dogs. Most cases affect their balance, not their hearing.

  • Are there any alternative therapies or natural remedies that can help with the vestibular disease in dogs?

As we already discussed earlier, there isn’t a specific cure for vestibular disease, your vet may recommend supportive care to manage the symptoms. Alternative therapies like acupuncture or herbal remedies may provide some relief, but it’s not 100% proven.

  • Can stress or anxiety trigger vestibular disease in dogs?

Stress or anxiety doesn’t directly cause vestibular disease. However, these factors can trigger symptoms or make your dog more susceptible to developing the condition. It’s important to create a calm and stress-free environment for your furry companion.

  • Are there any known genetic factors associated with vestibular disease in certain dog breeds?

Yes, some dog breeds, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, and Doberman Pinscher, have a higher predisposition to developing the vestibular disease. While genetics may play a role, it’s not the sole determining factor, and other causes like ear infections or age-related changes can also contribute to the condition.

  • Can vestibular disease in dogs affect their sense of balance even after recovery?

Yes, Dogs can experience residual effects on their balance even after recovering from vestibular disease. But in most cases, these effects gradually improve over time,

  • Are there any specific exercises or activities that can aid in the rehabilitation of dogs with vestibular disease?

Yes, there are certain exercises and activities that can assist in the recovery of your dogs. These may include gently encouraging your pup to walk and navigate obstacles, performing head movements to improve coordination, and providing a safe and secure environment to prevent injury while they regain their balance.

  • Can vestibular disease in dogs be a result of head trauma or injury?

Yes, in some cases, head trauma or injury can lead to vestibular disease in dogs. Trauma to the head can affect the inner ear and disrupt the vestibular system, causing balance problems and related symptoms..

  • Are there any precautions I should take to prevent my dog from injuring itself during an episode of vestibular disease?

During an episode of vestibular disease, it’s important to create a safe environment for your dog. Remove any objects they could stumble upon, provide padded bedding to minimize the risk of injury from falls and avoid stairs or high surfaces that could pose a danger.

  • Can vestibular disease in dogs cause changes in behavior or personality?

Yes, dogs with vestibular disease may experience temporary changes in behavior or personality. They may appear disoriented, confused, or even scared due to the sudden onset of symptoms.

  • Can a dog die from vestibular disease?

This disease is distressing for you and your dog but it rarely leads to death. Most cases of vestibular disease in dogs, whether peripheral or central, are typically not life-threatening

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