Should You Put A Dog Down With Vestibular Disease?

Should You Put A Dog Down With Vestibular Disease?

Vestibular disease is a neurological disorder that can cause severe balance problems in dogs. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, circling, head-tilting, and disorientation in dogs. In some cases, this condition may not be treatable, and when this is questionable, a decision may need to be made about whether or not to euthanize a dog with vestibular disease. This article will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options of vestibular disease in dogs, as well as the difficult decision of whether or not to euthanize a dog with this condition.

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That depends on the severity of the case and how it is responding to treatment. In some cases, a dog with vestibular disease may improve with proper medications and treatments, and euthanasia is not necessary. It is important to discuss all the options with your vet before making a decision.

What Is Vestibular Disease?

Vestibular disease is a condition in which the vestibular system in the inner ear malfunctions, resulting in balance problems, vertigo, and ataxia. It is most commonly seen in older dogs, but cats, horses, and some other animals can also be affected by it. The symptoms of this condition generally involve the inability to stay balanced while walking, an abnormal gait, and sudden head tilting to one side. Treatment usually involves medications and physical therapy to reduce the symptoms and allow the animal to regain their balance.

Can Vestibular Disease Kill A Dog?

No, the vestibular disease cannot kill a dog. It can cause a feeling of dizziness, a sudden stumble or fall, uncoordinated movements, and other issues. In rare cases, some dogs may experience difficulty with balance for the rest of their lives, but most dogs make a full recovery.

Typical Recovery & Survival Rate For Dogs With Vestibular Disease

The majority of dogs with the vestibular disease make a full recovery within a few weeks with no long-term problems. The recovery rate is generally very good, and most dogs return to their previous level of activity and quality of life. The severity of the symptoms and the length of recovery can vary greatly from case to case. In most cases, the prognosis for vestibular disease in dogs is excellent, with a survival rate of more than 90%.

Dog With Vestibular Disease Won’t Poop

Dogs with vestibular disease won’t poop because when they experience vestibular disease, the inner ear becomes inflamed and affects the normal balance of the body. As a result, the neurological pathways that are necessary for normal bowel movements can be disrupted, leading to constipation and a decrease in overall bowel movements. To help your dog, it is best to provide them with a dietary change that is low in fiber and added grains, as well as adding supplements such as probiotics or yogurt to help support a healthy digestive system. Additionally, it may be beneficial to implement a low-stress environment in order to reduce further vestibular inflammation. Finally, you should always consult with your vet before making any dietary changes to ensure that your pup’s health is protected first and foremost.

SEE ALSO: When To Euthanize A Dog With Liver Failure

Do Dogs Pant With Vestibular Disease?

Panting is a normal behavior for dogs, especially when the weather is hot or the dog is excited. Panting helps dogs cool down and regulate their body temperature. Unfortunately, with vestibular disease, your dog may struggle to pant effectively. This is because vestibular disease affects the balance and coordination of a dog. This can make breathing patterns more difficult and panting less effective. Even when a dog is in a resting state, it may pant heavily due to the disorder which can make the dog feel less comfortable.

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  1. Vestibular syndrome: This is the most common cause of vestibular disease in dogs. It is an acute neurological disorder that can cause a dog to suddenly start exhibiting signs of vestibular imbalance, such as head tilt, circling, and disorientation.
  2. Aging: As dogs age, their nerves and muscles can weaken, making them more prone to vestibular disease.
  3. Infectious diseases: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can lead to vestibular disease in dogs.
  4. Trauma or injury: Injury to the head or neck can also cause vestibular disease in dogs.
  5. Tumors: Tumors involving the brain, inner ear, or nerves of the ear can lead to vestibular disease in dogs.
  6. Toxins: Exposure to toxic substances can result in vestibular disease in dogs.
  7. Hypothyroidism: Dogs with hypothyroidism are more prone to developing vestibular disease.

Differentiating Between Central and Peripheral Vestibular Disease

Central vestibular disease (CVD) is an inner-ear disorder caused by damage to the brain or its nervous pathways. Symptoms of CVD include vertigo, unsteadiness, abnormal eye movements, and loss of balance. CVD is usually caused by stroke, tumor, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or other pathology within the brain or its pathways.

Peripheral vestibular disease (PVD) is an inner-ear disorder caused by damage to the balance organs in the inner ear. Symptoms of PVD are similar to CVD but generally affect one ear and are usually caused by infection, inflammation, trauma, toxicity, or benign tumors. PVD may present with unilateral symptoms, such as vertigo, imbalance, nausea and vomiting, and hearing loss. Treatment of PVD often requires antibiotics, anti-inflammatory therapy, and/or surgical procedures.

How Long Can Dogs Live With Vestibular Disease?

Most dogs are able to make a full recovery from Vestibular Disease and live a normal lifespan; however, some dogs may have persistent symptoms that can significantly impact their quality of life. The prognosis for a dog living with Vestibular Disease ultimately depends on the underlying cause and how effectively it is managed.

How To Feed A Dog With Vestibular Disease

  • Make sure to offer the dog small amounts of easily digestible foods. This can include foods such as boiled chicken or fish, rice, boiled potatoes, and lightly cooked vegetables.
  • Make sure you feed your pet multiple times a day and in small amounts if possible. This will help prevent them from becoming nauseous.
  • If your dog isn’t eating their regular food, try offering more wet or softer food that is easier to digest. You can even puree or mash up dry kibble and mix it with oatmeal or baby food to make it easier to swallow.
  • If your pet is having difficulty with balance or walking, you may have to hand-feed or even syringe-feed them depending on how severe the problem is.
  • Make sure you keep the area around your pet’s food bowl clear of any sudden movements or loud noises that may further disrupt their equilibrium.

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  1. Ensure your dog is confined to a safe, padded environment, such as a dog crate. This will reduce the chance of injury and ensure no objects can interfere with the recovery process.
  2. Provide your dog with a soft, comfortable bed and assure that it is clean and in good condition.
  3. Offer frequent water and small meals that are easy to digest, such as chicken and rice.
  4. Monitor your dog’s eye movements and head position to determine when his condition is improving.
  5. Speak to your veterinarian regarding any medications or therapy that may be beneficial to your dog’s recovery.
  6. Consult your veterinarian regularly and keep a log of your observations, including any changes you may notice in your pet’s behavior and general condition.
  7. Give your pet plenty of love and attention, and encourage movement and activity (if possible) under direct supervision.
  8. After your dog has recovered from the worst of the vestibular disease, it is important to reintroduce activity and exercise in a gradual, step-by-step process.

What Can You Do At Home To Help A Dog With Vestibular Disease?

  • Create a safe and comfortable environment. Remove anything that might be dangerous, such as furniture, and provide comfortable areas with pillows and blankets.
  • Control movement. Provide as much stability as possible by moving slowly and using your voice to reassure your dog whenever sudden movements are necessary.
  • Serve smaller meals to reduce the amount of energy needed for mealtimes.
  • Provide slow, gentle exercise, like leash walks.
  • Keep trying new activities. Dogs can improve with time, so it’s important to stay open to different activities, like jogging or swimming.

SEE ALSO: Dog Wound Healing Stages Pictures


Q. Can dogs sleep with vestibular disease?

A. Yes, dogs can sleep with vestibular disease. However, it is important to provide a safe, comfortable environment to help minimize the stress of the disease. It is best to provide a bed that is low to the ground and easy to access, a bed with bolster sides can help provide stability while sleeping. You may also want to block off any stairs or other areas in order to help minimize the risk of falls or injury.

Q. Can a dog recover from vestibular?

A. Yes, a dog can recover from the vestibular syndrome, but the rate and extent of recovery will vary depending on the underlying cause. Many dogs with the condition will experience a full or partial recovery within a few days or weeks, while some will take longer or may never fully recover. The support and care of a veterinarian is important for a successful recovery from vestibular syndrome.

Q. Can old dog vestibular disease come back?

A. In most cases, old dog vestibular disease does not come back. However, the underlying cause could still be present, so it is important to monitor your pet’s health and seek prompt veterinary care if any symptoms of the condition recur.


Ultimately, it is up to the owner to decide whether or not to put down a dog with vestibular disease. Many dogs with this condition can live long, healthy, and happy lives despite the disease. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, vestibular disease could also resolve on its own in some cases. Due to the unpredictable nature of the disease, owners should consider all available options carefully before making a decision.

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