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Digital Subscriptions > Animal Wellness > Feb/Mar 2017 > VESTIBULAR DISEASE – when your pet is off balance

VESTIBULAR DISEASE – when your pet is off balance

Dizziness, falling, lack of coordination, a tilting head… these are all symptoms of VESTIBULAR SYNDROME in dogs and cats. It looks scary, but depending on the cause, the prognosis is promising.

Dogs Cats

What would you think if your dog or cat developed a sudden head tilt, seemed uncoordinated and had trouble controlling his facial muscles? You might assume he’d had a stroke. Even though strokes are seen in these animals, there’s another condition that looks similar and is more common – vestibular disease.

Vestibular disease occurs when there’s a problem in the body’s balance system. The balance center has two components – one in the middle ear (peripheral) and the other in the brain (central). When something goes wrong with either component, the dog or cat does not know where he is in space (see sidebar at right for symptoms). When vestibular disease is suspected, it’s important to determine if the pet has the peripheral or central form.

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