Farli 6 Sept – Vestibular Syndrome

I got home today about 3pm. Since Farli was in the back yard and is losing her hearing, she did not know I was home. I took advantage of this to give Ritka an extra meal as Ritka needs to gain weight and Farli needs to loose weight. When I looked out the window, I noticed Farli seemed to be trotting in circles. That seemed odd. Farli then tried to go through the dog door on to the porch and got hung up in the door. I opened the door and brought Farli inside. She held her head cocked to the side, tongue hanging out and panting heavily. She seemed scared and wanted to be with me. As I went about the house looking for cordless phone, phone number, etc. she followed and seemed to become increasingly uncoordinated. She spread her legs and seemed to scuttle like a crab. Farli liked me to hold her, using my hand against her to help her balance. She did not seem to want to lay down. Farli’s temperature was 101.7 F so that was normal.

I found the Vet’s phone number and called. Dr. Adams was not there today. After I described things to the the receptionist, she went to ask the docs questions. They were busy and I was given a cell phone for Dr. Adams when she works at home. I called there and described Farli’s behavior. Dr. Adams said it sounded like Senior Dog Vestibular Syndrome. She felt Farli should be seen, but I could wait till tomorrow. I sat on the floor talking on the phone. Farli sat in my lap and began to calm down. I called the clinic back and they worked me in for a 9 am appointment.

I carried Farli to the couch and settled her there. She calmed down as I cuddled her. I’ve been working on my laptop sitting beside her on the couch. She has stayed there as long as I don’t leave too long to do a few things. I brought her dinner so she could eat without getting up. I put a little chicken flavored water on it to make sure she drank as well. Eating was awkward with the head tilt, but there was no loss of appetite so that is good. Farli is my dog that loves to eat.

I carried Farli out to see if she wanted to pee. Ritka peed, but Farli just circled the yard like a crab unless I put my hand on her to steady her. Then she stood still, but wobbled. We’ll try later.

Farli tried to get up to greet Wesley when he got home but he convinced her to settle down.

Ritka is not sure about Farli getting the attention today. Ritka is used to being the center of attention as the “sick dog”. Ritka thinks Farli got sick just to hog the attention.

52 Responses to “Farli 6 Sept – Vestibular Syndrome”

  1. RBH Says:

    Hm. “Idiopathic vestibular syndrome” (= ‘there’s something wrong with her vestibular system but we don’t know what’) was the diagnosis we got for a middle-aged cat with the same presentation. There was no specific treatment, but over some weeks she adapted to it much as humans in perceptual experiments adapt to inverting lenses. She still carries her head cocked a little to one side, but her perceptual-motor coordination seems fine now.

  2. RBH Says:

    Has Farli shown any adaptation to the syndrome yet?

  3. annie vickerstaff Says:

    Our 13 yr old border collie, Ruddles, is just getting over a bout of IVS. She had all the typical symptoms – vomiting is more associated with the peripheral version which has a better prognosis by the way.
    She is almost fully recovered except for a slight head tilt – a sign of permanent neurological damage apparently, but dogs adapt to this very well & lead a normal life.
    Onset of this problem may be associated with low barometric pressure: storms etc – so some anecdotal observations say.
    Hope Farli recovers well.

  4. Maria Dickerson Says:

    I hope Farli has recovered by now.My soon to be 14 year old shepherd mix is recovering from this strange condition.11 days ago I thought it was the end,until my vet said this is most likely geriatric vestibular syndrome.Finally today it seems like it is gone,though her body seems a bit stiff and sore,which might be understandable after trying to keep her balance for all this time.The one thing that still is a little worrying to me is that she pants at night until we go to bed but other than that it seems that all is well.She has no remaining head tilt.

  5. annie vickerstaff Says:

    Update on Ruddles: now fully recovered, no head tilt, full of beans and as spry as ever. I put magnets under her blanket in her bed, don’t know if they helped (supposed to increase blood flow) but when I had hip pain, wearing a magnet really improved it. Worth a try!

  6. Diane Says:

    Farli still has a head tilt that varies from very minor to about 45 degrees (better than the 90 degrees she did earlier). Her balance is still not “normal”. But she seems to feel fine and is ready to try most things. She did decide (and I agreed) that the agility dog walk and the teeter were scary. She does fine on an A-frame.

    Her arthitis still bothers her. We have started her on injectable adequen in addition to glucosaimine, condrotin, MSM, Vit-E, fish oil (for omega-3s) rymadil, tramadol – all to try and control arthritus pain). We went to a message clinic as well to teach me how to help her with message.

  7. Maria Dickerson Says:

    Glad to hear Farli is doing good.Roxi is better.Car rides are not so fun anymore,running is the best though.Seems the balance is not 100%,but it is pretty minor and probably won’t be completely back to normal.I think she gets a little dizzy in the car,which leads me to believe that dogs learn how to live with this condition rather then it completely goes away.Curious to know if Farli’s balance has completely gone back to normal,they’re the same age.

  8. Diane Says:

    Farli still has a head tilt. We are in the process of moving to Michigan. Farli does NOT like riding in the car like she used to. She starts panting and sometimes shaking in the van. She is worse in the hills or mountains. No car sickness, but perhaps she is dizzy. I think the whole move is stressfull for her.


  9. Maria Dickerson Says:

    Thought I’d give an update on Roxi.We had a relapse in the end of April,of course I was out of town for a couple of days and had to rush back in a full panic!It was exactly as the first time it happened though she seemed a bit calmer like she knew what it was.I took her to a neurologist and they performed an MRI that showed no abnormalities thankfully because by this time I was convinced it was a braintumor.So like the neurologist said,it is truly idiopathic.I guess I had hoped they had a pill for this to say,here,give her this and it won’t happen again.So now I am very leery to even leave town or to change anything in Roxi’s surroundings.I have had her on antioxidants and maybe it’s only my imagination or that works very well,in fact she seems steadier now than she did before the second episode.It’s a strange condition that I wish they would do more research into.I hope Farli did well with the move and all the other animals with this condition are doing good.

  10. Diane Says:

    Farli has adjusted to life in Michigan. She likes summer better than winter. She misses flyball – but she cannot do the box turn with the vestibular issues. She occasionally has problems with stairs – I won’t let her on a full flight so she is only on half flights or shorter. She tends to walk with her legs spread out more than previously. Sometimes she looks “normal” but if she is tired or stressed the head tilt is worse and the balance more awkward. Sorry to hear that Roxi had another episode. It had not occurred to me that it would happen again. We have not had to use the harness to keep her from falling in months. Farli celebrated her 14th birthday on 2 July. She is not as sharp cognitively as she used to be. We did a full exam with lab work in April as she was still stressed from the move and I wanted to be sure there wasn’t a medical issue. The lab work all came back “within normal limits”. So she is “healthy” though half deaf, partially blind, arthritic with questionable balance. She still enjoys life and is determined to have fun even on her more painful days. She can do 3 of her 4 favorite things: Hunting, cuddling & eating (but no flyball).

  11. Maria Dickerson Says:

    Glad to hear Farli is good,she sounds just like Roxi who will be 15 in a couple of months,though Roxi is completely deaf,it’s all about sign language now!I am curious to know if Farli’s eyesight went with the vestibular issues.Roxi sees well apart from her periphilar sight,for example if she stands next to something and turns her head she always bangs in to the object which makes me think there is something in the name,periphilar vestibular syndrome,I’m no vet but I;ve never read anything about this damaging the sight in this way.I actually adopted a sister for Roxi,it’s like she has her own hearing ear dog!When Cassie runs out to chase the squirrels,or barks at something Roxi can now chime in because she knows something is going on.Also Roxi has company when I’m not home because she rather stays in the airconditioning than go to the barn with me when it’s hot!We live in California,so one advantage is the weather,like you said about Farli,they seem to fare better in the summer.Oddly enough when she had her relapse in April,we had a rainstorm ,barometric pressure seems like a factor.

  12. Teresa Says:

    Duke is my nearly 13 year old canine kid. (yellow lab mix) We have had him since he was 12 weeks old. Today he has been going through the symptoms that many of you have described on this site. I am so thankful to have found this otherwise I would have been scared to death. As I am sitting here on the couch typing this, Duke is lying on his bed by my feet and snoring. I am glad he is resting. I tell myself that is what he needs. I got up in the wee hours of the morning to let Duke outside to pee or whatever. It is not unusual for him to go out during the night but he usually doesn’t stay out too long. If I am real sleepy I will lay across the loveseat and “catnap” until he barks to come back in. Well, this didnt happen. The bark that is. When I woke up for work at 6:00am, I realized that Duke was not inside. I opened the back door and there he stood on the patio. He was very wobbly and seemed a little disoriented. I also noticed that he had vomited in the grass. When he came in, he fell a couple of times. He was very thirsty but couldn’t keep his balance to drink. I guided him to his bed and helped him lay down. That is when I noticed his eyes or actually the eyebrows moving rapidly, one and then the other. I tried to get him to take his usual glucosamine (chewable) for his hips but he didnt want it. I put a reglan (for nausea that I happened to have on hand) in some cheese and he ate that. I also took him some water to his bed and he drank quite a bit. My son stayed with him until around noon when he had to leave to head back to college. He said he gave him more water because he read where it is important to keep them hydrated. When I got home from work around 5:30pm he was still lying in his bed but raised his head as if to say Hey Mama! He had apparently gotten up during the day and managed to get about 4 feet away from his bed to throw up the water he drank earlier. (evidenced by a wet spot on the carpet) I used a folded sheet to place underneath him to act as a sling to help lift him up and with me assisted him, he managed to walk (very unstable) to the grass where he peed. I was happy about that. We came right back in to his bed. This time I put his glucosamine pill in s slice of cheese and another nausea pill. He ate them both. I boiled a chicken breast and added some rice. I plan to feed him a little as soon as it cools. Then we will tackle another quick trip outside to see if he needs to go. I pray he is among the ones that are better within 72 hours. Does anybody know how often they can relapse?

  13. Teresa Says:

    Is this caused by anything other than stress and old age?

  14. Diane Says:

    As far as I can find out, they don’t know causes the Canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome. They do know there it is caused by a lesion in a nervous system. The vestibular nerve, one of two branches of the 8the Cranial Never, the Vestibulocochlear Nerve receives positional and movement information. The idiopathic part means we don’t know what causes the lesion. The good news is that given supportive care, dogs recover and our usually able to enjoy normal “pet” dog life.

    When Farli was first diagnosed, I was told she would be able to return to all of her normal activities. Well, the vet who said this evidently was not aware that for Farli, normal activities included hunting, flyball and agility. Farli was able to return to hunting as long as the terrain was mild, but she can no longer compete in flyball or do contact obstacles in agility. She misses flyball and really wants to race – she can complete the jumps, but not the box turn. She was so happy then I let her “play flyball’ and she clearly wanted to do her normal box turn, but realized she couldn’t and stole the ball instead and turned on the flat. Farli is now able to do weave poles again and occasionally tries to do contacts – but she falls off the dog walk and/or see-saw, so I try to prevent her from going on them.

    Farli and I were both very disappointed that she could no longer do all over _HER_ normal activities. However, Farli enjoys life and for that I’m grateful. Farli enjoys playing with Ritka, snuggling with family, eating and romping in fields. Occasionally she goes to agility club and plays on the puppy agility equipment or just enjoys the social time. She still “hunts”, but her sense of smell is marginal at best now. (I watched her go with in a foot of a bird on the down wind size with no recognition. this is the dog that used to point birds from 200 ft or more from her birds and found birds no other dog could find)

    So I have a dog with the lab work (blood, urine, fecal) of a healthy dog (all values within normal limits) that is mostly deaf, partially blind (poor peripheral vision and cataracts), poor sense of smell, hip dysplasia, arthritis, with a tilt that enjoys life with determination. She is the love of my life and my best dog ever! I dread the day that she dies, or I have to decide it is time – but as long as she enjoys life we will rejoice in each day together.

    Diane & Blackwood’s Linden Farli JH UTP3 OA OAJ CD RN ONYX TDI

  15. Diane Says:

    Oh I forgot, I used a harness to help Farli walk and balance when her vestibular symptoms were a real problem. She is still not allowed on a flight of more than 3 or 4 stairs. The harness allowed me to hold her up and keep her from falling (or spinning) but for her to “walk” as much as she was able and learn to use her body again. I was lucky to have a two buckle harness (easier to put on since you don’t have to lift a leg through an opening) with a extra strap over the spine to use for a handle. This way I could hold the strap like a suitcase handle and support her as much as needed and let her do as much as she could.

  16. Teresa Says:

    I just purchased a harness for Duke today. I think it will be a great help for us both once we get accustomed to it. We just made our first trip outside with it on. I could tell he was a little unsure of it but he managed well. It has been less than 48 hours since we first noticed the symptoms. I can see a very slight improvement (although not any worse). How long was it before you noticed a significant improvement in Farli? Also, in the meantime how was his eating habits? Duke has only eaten a little chicken and rice soup… he is drinking pretty well but I wish he would eat better.

  17. Diane Says:

    Farli and I were lucky as Farli did not have any nausea with her vestibular disorder. I think you should continue to give nausea meds and stick to rice & chicken broth. If he can’t keep food/fluids down contact your vet. I know some dogs need IV fluids and nutrition support as their brain sorts out the messed up signals. I’m thinking Farli was showing signs of improvement in about 2 or 3 weeks. Watch to make sure Duke does not get dehydrated. I went to see the vet a few times with Farli – perhaps not strictly needed in her case, but I felt better having her checked.

  18. Teresa Says:

    Duke is improving daily. I am still giving him nausea pills but he hasn’t actually thrown up since the first day. I am going to try to withhold the nausea pill tomorrow. He is eating the chicken/rice broth and drinking water. I have made it a point to give him plenty of water so that he stays hydrated. He is peeing several times a day. This morning it was raining so I set the umbrella just outside the door for easy access when I took Duke out. As I headed back in to get Duke from his bed, guess who was standing at the door? You guessed it! DUKE! YEA! I was so excited. I didn’t even have time to put his harness on him. He walked out to the grass on his own. Of course, he was a little unstable and I was right there helping to keep him from losing his balance but I was elated! Yes I do plan on taking Duke to the vet but as long as he is improving I would like for him to be a little stonger as I know it will take a lot out of him to go and I don’t want to add more stress. Thank you for input, I really appreciate it.

  19. Diane Says:

    Glad to hear that Duke is feeling better! I’d guess to gradually shift back to his normal dog food if he is no longer nauseous. Sounds like he has started to cope with the confused signals from his vestibular system.

    Best wishes.
    Diane & Blackwood’s Linden Farli JH UTP3 OA OAJ CD RN ONYX TDI VC

  20. Teresa Says:

    Update on Duke. It has been one week today since he started experiencing the symptoms. He is doing so much better. Still walking like he’s dizzy at times but he no longer needs assistance getting up and down. He is back on his dog food but that was harder than I anticipated. I was afraid that he was not going to ever get his appetite back. Each day he continues to improve. I hope we never have to go through this again although I know it is possible.

  21. Maria Dickerson Says:

    I am glad to hear that all the children are doing better.We just had a low pressure storm move in so I was a little nervous about Roxi and made sure there was no added stress during those days,since I am shell shocked since her relapse in April.But thankfully nothing happened.I read on a veterinary site that there was a case that relapsed seven times in a year but that seemed highly unusual compared to the collected data they had at the time.Both times Roxi was back to just about normal in three weeks.It seems an unusual cruelty that this mainly affects older dogs when they need all the coordination they can get considering all the other ailments they have to deal with.Roxi runs around quite a bit and jumps over things and every time I think she is going to fall but she manages,the balance has never been the same but it’s hard to tell if it’s her age or the remains of the vestibular.I just hope with all my heart she gets to life the rest of her life without any more relapses of this awful disease,she is my angel.

  22. Maria Dickerson Says:

    Oh,by the way Teresa,on the journeys through cyberspace on this subject,I read that your best to keep a night light on for your dog while they have the symptoms.I guess their night vision is affected as well as their sense of placement in space.I did this for Roxi,I don’t know if it made her feel better but it helped me think that she did.

  23. Joan Says:

    I’m so relieved to read about everyone’s experience with this terrible and cruel syndrome called idiopathic vestibular. My best friend and companion, 15 year old Rookie, who is a Bouvier des Flanders, came down with these unusual symptoms yesterday. The back legs went first , then the rapid eye movement, and the twitching of the eyebrows and the head tilt. I really thought his time was up. God does answer prayers. Last night I slept with him on the floor of the livingroom. It’s 2 sets of stairs to the bedroom. I don’t know if he will ever get up those stairs again. It’s another set to go to the front door to do his business. He weighs 90 pounds. Today my son and I got him inside a blanket and very carefully got him outside. I used a sheet folded up to makeshift a harness to help him stand up long enough to poo, and he could not stay up to pee and he has not peed since yesterday morning and that was all over the floor when he couldn’t get up and he was nervous. He is drinking alot and eating a bit. But I worry about the not peeing. Right now he is laying by my side trying to sleep, but his eye brows are jumping up and down. I will try again to see if he will pee. I hope this does not cause any problems for him

  24. Valerie Says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Our sweet wonder dog, Zoey, approx. 15 is going through this right now. This is her third time in 1.5 years sadly. We just found out this week that there is a name for it and that it seems to be non-life threatening – thanks to postings like this. Her first two episodes lasted 48 hours each and disappeared as quickly as they appeared. This time around it seems a bit more severe and is now going into day four. Zoey wants to walk, eat, drink, pee and poop, which is a relief. Her inability to stop her eyes from flicking back and forth seem to be what is frustrating her the most. She can’t see her food/water or where she is going. Thanks for the info – we’ll buy her a harness tomorrow. Our vet did suggest putting wet dog food in a lot of water (in a bowl), so that she can drink/eat more easily. This seems to work and helps with hydration.

  25. Janet Richer Says:

    Hi –

    I was just browsing through various internet sites to see what further I could learn about this geriatric vestibular syndrome. Actually I wanted to see if it could be caused by stress.

    Brandy, my lab-golden mix had a spell a year and a half ago. Took her to the vet and he explained that time takes care of most of the symptoms – although he did give her a shot of cortizone, which he said may help. She got over it pretty well in a few days, but had another event a few weeks later which took longer to overcome (or compensate for). That time she pretty much lost her appetite, so I’d have to be inventive to enhance whatever I gave her. It became primarily chicken together with some of her usual food mixed in.

    She did pretty well after a few weeks. She’s now 14 and has had kidney disease for a couple of years – and, of course, arthritis. Yet she has been quite perky and doesn’t look her age – although she still stumbled now and then. I attributed that mostly to aging and arthritis.

    I was just figuring that things – all in all – were going quite well when a few days ago she couldn’t get up to go outside – kept flopping around on the carpet (I had put more area rugs around as there would be days when she would fall on the hardwood floor or the kitchen tile.) So I figured that it had happened again. Called the vet (it was Sunday) who said he had a few appointments and to bring her in. I had noticed the eye action once again, so I knew, but thought I’d have him check her anyway. This is Tuesday and, while wobbly, she’s doing better.

    I began wondering if it was brought on by stress. She had gotten trapped under a smallish table one day when I was out – in an area of kitchen tile – and when I came in was panicking, trying to free herself and get up. Don’t know how long she was in that state. That was two days before she had the attack.

    I hate to see her trying so hard when she’s having the attack. I’m just grateful that it is something that they can live with and compensate for. Can you imagine how we would be in such circumstances? The vet said that she has learned how to deal with it and is very placid about it. I’m also glad that while there was some appetite loss last year (she seems to be eating fine this time around). she wasn’t vomiting. The vet said that they often have to feed with fluids to get them through.

    It was interesting to read all your comments – and good to hear about how others dealt with the situation.


  26. Craig Says:

    I have a Dalmatian going Thur this for the second time in a month recovery the first time was about 4 days this time i can tell its going to be a little longer but he is 15 and is drinking and eating well but turns in circles and falls down a lot the dog is also now deaf too but once he rebounds he is fine just a little shaken for a few weeks but then settles back into a normal routine for a 15 year old dog. I hope this is the last incident for a long time its very hard on the dog and hard on my back carrying around a 65lb dog but he will get Thur it but i do wonder about relapses how often not to many I hope.
    Oh one thing I read on the net was that you should not try to keep them quiet in darkness because when it is dark they cant see well and they need to retrain their brain to adjust to spacial and horizon orientation it makes sense to me.

  27. Teresa Says:

    It has been 7 weeks since Duke’s episode and he seems to be back to normal except that he has a little trouble backing up in small spaces. He doesn’t seem to be able to maneuver himself around as well. I think he may be nervous about falling. Also, he has lost his taste for his dog biscuits. Before this happened, he LOVED his biscuits and looked forward to his daily treats. Now he is turned off by them although he is eating his dogfood well and likes other dog treats.
    Duke went to the vet several weeks ago and got a great report. They did a urinalysis on him and all the lab work was normal for a dog his age. Also, he is maintaining his weight.
    Maria, thanks for the tip about the nite-lite. I actully have a small lamp on a table that I leave on for him. I started doing it right after it happened and still leave it on in case he gets up during the night. (trying to keep him from getting stressed) Most of the time I drag his bed to my room where he sleeps on it by my bed.
    I find myself really watching him closley in the event of a relapse. I hope he never has to go through that again, but I fear that he will.
    I hope the other dogs mentioned on this site are doing well.
    Keep me Posted.

  28. Blake Says:

    I have a 13 year old Australian Shepard – Bailey, who unfortunately developed this teriible syndrome. He has been going through this for 3 and 1/2 weeks now. Initially the vet prescribed him some medication for motion sickness, which I gave him for the first five days. As we live in a warm climate Bailey liked to lay on the cool tile in the bathroom, so after reading many of your helpfull comments, I kept the bathroom light on for him, and padded the bathroom with comforters and towels, so he wouldnt hurt himself as he was rolling and falling and bouncing off the walls. Although he has maintained an appetite, it was deminished during the first week , and I had to feed him mostly wet food (which he normally never eats) by hand, as he wouldnt eat his normal dry food. I carried him outside for the first week and a half, and now I can take him outside on his leash, although he is still unstable he can walk on his own. It seems to me that his hearing and eye sight have been severly effected by this. During weeks 2 and 3 I started to put him back on his regular schedule, going out at the same time he always has, on the same path he alwasy takes, then walking him slowly back inside for his food. He seems very disoriented, in that when I take him to where his food has been kept for the last 7 years, he seemed like he had never been there before, and once I show him the food, he smells it, then eats, almost like he can hardly see. He still continues to walk in circles, still has the head tilt, but his eyes are stationary now. We call him our “once in a lifetime dog”, he was always so active and athletic, I can hardley stand to see him like this and it breaks my heart. I have been his major caregiver since this happened, and Im very patient with him, however, the rumbling are starting now from others, that perhaps its “his time”, or maybe its cruel to let this go on. I cant bare to give up on him just yet. The research I have done on this says that it usually lasts from 4 days to 3 weeks, I anticipated a slower recovery as he is an older dog, but I am not seeing major improvements daily. He has had a complete check over from the vet, and everything is with the normal range for a dog his age. I wonder how much longer it will take before he will return to a normal life for a dog his age? My heart goes out to everyone posting here and their beloved pets, I hope for a recovery soon.

  29. cindy Says:

    9 year old greyhound developed these symptoms last night. She couldnt’ walk, when she could walk, she walked in circles. Eating a bit, not drinking, except what i can get in with a turkey baster. Peeing with encouragement. Nystagmus still present and occasionally some frantic panting. Vet thinkds it is vestibular disorder or possibly a stroke. She is currently taking Dramamine and baby aspirin, in the event it was a stroke. Reading this website, gives me hope! Will keep you posted.

  30. Teresa Says:

    I hope Bailey is showing signs of improvement. I commend you for being patient with him and not giving up on him. He’s lucky to have you. You mentioned that you were keeping him in the bathroom… where did he stay before the syndrome appeared? I tried to keep Duke’s routine as normal as possibe for fear that any changes would just add stress to him and prolong his recovery time. I only work 15 minutes away from home so I would come home on my lunch hour and take him out, give him water and food. (I took it to him in his bed). I read where the 2 most important things during this time are to keep them hydrated and to be there for them……. and give them lots of love. (TLC)
    Cindy, I hope your dog is doing better also. I read that over the years there have been dogs put down because of misdiagnosis in thinking it was a stroke when it was vestibular sysdrome. I am so thankful for this site because Duke my have been one of them as I first thought he had a stroke or seizure.
    Keep me updated.

  31. cindy Says:

    Has anyone had any problem with their dog going back to their normal diet? She will only eat cooked chicken. Anything else she turns her nose up. Just wondering….

  32. Teresa Says:

    Yes, Duke lost his appetite for his dogfood. I fed him small amounts of boiled chicken and rice with broth. This lasted for a good while (several days) I gradually added his dogfood back into his diet. I would mix the chicken with his dogfood. That is the only way I could get him to eat it. (the dogfood) It has been 8 weeks and he will finally eat without having to add anything to entice him. He still won’t eat many of his dog biscuits. He has definitely lost his taste for them.

  33. cindy Says:

    Thanks Teresa,
    I have started to mix some food in with her dog food and it appears to be working. Hopefully she will be back to normal soon!

  34. Katie Says:

    Dear Fellow Owners of Pets with IVS,
    My Roxie was diagnosed with IVS on Monday and spent 3 days with the vet. He sent her home and said she would do better there. She is not eating or drinking. I’ve tried
    many of her favorite foods. Does anyone have a suggestion?
    Thank you,

  35. Diane Says:

    See if you can get her to lick your fingers- sometimes that works. Dip them in something good – canned cat food sometimes works. I remember spoon feeding my dog cottage cheese – sometimes the added attention helps. Also, Farli did NOT get motion sick, but she had mechanical problems eating. Sometimes it helped if I put the food in her mouth – she had trouble mechanically picking the food up with her head tilted.

    Is she getting anything for nausea? many dog get nausea – as in motion sickness or like car sickness. From that point of view you might try something easy on the stomach – rice & chicken broth. That cat food can be a bit rich – but sometimes the richness is what gets them to eat – you have try different things – there is probably nothing wrong with her GI – system – just a side effect. But if you have ever been car sick or sea sick you get the idea….

    Hydration is a concern. You might make a soup or a stew. Boil some meat (chicken is good) & veggies. Even if you can get her to lick the broth of your fingers or a spoon. You might syringe in a small amount in her mouth and see if she will swallow.

    Best of luck

  36. Katie Says:

    Thank you Diane. I just read your thoughtful ideas. I will let you know how things are going.

  37. cindy Says:

    Hydration is most important. I used a turkey baster to get water into my dog. Fill it up about halfway, then gently put it into the side of the dog’s mouth and squeeze a little in at a time. I did this several times a day.
    Also, my dog seemed to prefer cooked chicken, which we hand fed her for the first few days. Good Luck, it a really trying condition for both dog and owner!

  38. Katie Says:

    Yes this situation is so trying for Roxie and us. She started to drink out of a small syringe and is now drinking more from her bowl. Thank heavens for your suggestions Diane and Cindy. I have covered my fingers with ADE(a food from the vet) and she’s been licking a little. She ate a little boiled chicken, cheese and 5 mini dog
    biscuits. The amount is small. but I am thankful for that.

    She will not get up to walk and I am not sure if she can. Diane, I did get some anti nausea medicine form the vet and I think It has helped but she just has a fear of getting up. Unfortunately she has not urinated except for once because she is 72lbs, and I cannot pick her up to get out and Bill just had open heart surgery and cannot do any lifting. I’ve begged her to wee wee on the rugs or towels we’ve provided but she is too much of a lady to do that.We have a large step leading to the backyard and she has had trouble with it before and I think this is a part of the nervousness she feels. Roxie has been through a lot in her 14 years of life and is usually a fighter, but I am afraid this time.

    Today is another day and I pray that she eats. I don’t have a clue how to get her to do the bodily functions, but I will call the vet and see if he has suggestions.

    Your help Diane and Cindy has been a blessing. Thank you.

  39. cindy Says:


    she may be too dehydrated to pee, so keep pushing the fluids. Nature will have to enventually take it’s course. Try to coax her to stand and move about a bit. We have a big dog as well, nervous at a baseline, so getting out to pee was not fun. Once she got her land legs again and some confidence she did better. We have a few stairs off the deck, so i just led her down and into the yard. Stay with it, from what i hear, this is not a permanant condition. good luck.

  40. Diane Says:

    When Farli did not want to walk, I used a harness to help her. I was lucky in that the harness I used had a handle over the back so it was easy to help her balance. I coaxed her up and then held the handle over her back to help stabilize her movement. She seemed more confident when I held the harness – she knew I would not let her fall even if your balance gave out. Even when she started to get better, I held the harness from the door, across the porch and walkway to the grass. As her balance got better, I let her walk on the grass on her own – Falling on the grass does not hurt as much as falling on concrete. Good traction helps too. I have runners, rugs and carpets scraps (I got some left over pieces that were 3×4 ft or larger, but left over from where wall to wall carpet was installed someplace) on the kitchen floor and in the garage where the slick floor is easier to fall on. The added traction helps prevent falling and the cushion makes the pain less if she falls anyway.

    I suggest a harness – a regular “pet dog” harness would work if you can put your and through a back strap. Roxie might feel more confident trying to walk if she knows you won’t let her fall. Also moving around, etc will help her brain learn how to cope with the scrambled input it is getting. The brain will learn and get better and interpreting the mixed up signal – this will reduce the motion sickness and let her walk around better. Farli was back running in the fields in just a few months – she was a bit clumsy, but very happy to be back “hunting”.

    Best wishes for a fast recovery to Roxie.

  41. Katie Says:

    Hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday. My vet suggested putting Roxie down because she was not walking or eating. She is drinking water. So I was discussing this with my brother on the phone and lo and behold Roxie got up off of her mattress and walked. I nearly fainted. She walked a little more {this was on Thanksgiving morning}. She got up this morning while we were asleep and tried to make it to the sunporch door to go pee pee but did not qiute make it. The effort was there. WE took her for a ride to her favorite place”the park”. We drove to McDonald’s and got her two small burgers. She ate the meat. We know the steps are little but we are not giving up. Diane and Cindy you do not know how you have helped us to stay with Roxie and keep the faith. God bless you both for taking time to write about your beloved pets and their cicumstances,

  42. Diane Says:

    I’m very happy to hear that Roxie has started eating and walking again! It is so great that she made the effort to try to go outside to pee. I’m glad you kept working with her and loving her. It sounds like Roxie is starting to get better. I hope she continues to get better.

    Hugs from Diane
    Rooroos from Farli – still wobbly, but still enjoying life

  43. Katie Says:


    Sending smiles from Roxie and I to you and Farli. We have been working so hard on recovering from the symptoms of IVS. Roxie has progressed to the point of eating normally and is drinking well also. She is regaining her ability to walk on flat carpeted and grassy surfaces. Her balance is much better. Some days Bill and I almost cry at the progress we’ve seen her make. Yesterday I was in bed and heard these footsteps on the kitchen floor. I knew it was not Pi the cat. It was Roxie and I was scared to death she would fall and get hurt. She made it from the den to the bedroom. She was proud as punch and had a smile on a mile wide. She really is understanding that she is doing better.We are so thankful to you and everyone on the website for encouragement and suggestions. We take one day at a time and are thankful to have Roxie still with us. We are so grateful to you Diane , Cindy and all of you wonderful people who have taken time to share. We wish health and happiness to you and your babies. Bill , who is a kind of drinking glass half empty kind of guy just marvels at what special people you all are. Blessings, Katie

  44. Leora Says:

    So reassuring to read all the comments and advice regarding this strange illness. Our 14 yr old Dalmation Christie is on day 5 – has been very dizzy, not walking without help- an then even when we guide her outside she staggers around in circles. Our vet is concerned that it may be stroke related, but we’re hoping it’s ideopathic vestibular disease and that she’ll recover in time. She is drinking a lot, but only eating very small quantities, and sleeps just about all day. Our vet suggests that if she hasn’t shown signs of recovery at all in 2 or 3 days, we consider putting her out of her misery. I feel very torn, as although she may have had a stroke and may never recover, it may be IVS, and she may still have a good few years of quality life ahead of her. Before this illness, Christie was very active despite being deaf and having poor vision.

  45. Teresa Says:

    Leora, It has been 5 days since you posted Christie’s condition… I hope she has improved. If it was IVS she should be showing improvment by now. My Duke is doing well after his episode 4 months ago. Duke is over 13 years old and I worry that he might relapse but so far he has been fine. He’s just old. I do leave a small lamp on for him at night in the event he needs/wants to get up in the night. Please let me know how Christie is doing.

  46. Larry Says:

    My 14 year old border collie mix is going through IVS right now. I don’t know why your vets are telling you to consider putting them down. I live in a rural town in virginia and my vet instantly knew what it was and after researching it online I found she was 100% right.

    My dog Casey in on day three of her issues. She actus normal (happyness wise) but she is unstead (though today she jumped on the couch by herself!). She is drinking and peeing but not much food (some cheese and a few of her milkbones) so I hope to get her to eat solid food by putting some broth or something on it.

    The worst part aside from the scary first moments is that she pees on the rug in the middle of the night. She NEVER goes inside but she has the past three nights. I hope its just part of the syndrome. Poor dear!

    Have hope people and unless your dog is in obvious pain give it some time. I wouldnt consider putting Casey down just because she is dizzy all day!

  47. Wesley R. Elsberry Says:

    Early in December, 2007, Farli started showing new signs of illness. She stopped eating as usual. We got some lab work done, and it showed that she was in renal failure. That news came on a Friday evening. We kept her hydrated as best we could using subcutaneous fluid injections over the weekend. On Monday, December 10th, we took her into the vet’s office. The news was not good or encouraging. We took Farli home and arranged for a vet who made house calls to put her down at home. We spent the afternoon doing what we could to make things as enjoyable for Farli as we knew how, including letting her chase a partridge in the yard. Farli died that evening on our couch, with Diane and I there with her in her last moments. It was a real wrench to make the decision to let go.

    Farli had lived with the vestibular system problem for over a year. It was only in the first few weeks that it made a serious difference in her quality of life. I’d encourage others who encounter this problem in their pet not to give up too easily when IVS first presents. It looks awful at the outset, but our dog and others have adjusted to the condition and can live a mostly normal life thereafter.

  48. Cathy Says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I am sooooo glad that I found this site! Our 13 year old lab suffered her first episode in May 2007. She was getting up to go outside and looked at me with panic. Her front legs wobbled and she staggared over to the door.It was over as soon as it began and there were no more problems until 4:30 am on June 29, 2007. We awoke to the sound of Betty bumping into the wall as she was trying to stand up.My husband and I jumped out of bed and took her outside. She staggared into the yard to urinate and then somehow jumped back up on the deck and got inside the house. She was panicked and panting. We tried to calm her down by stroking her and talking to her. After about 30 minutes we decided to take her to the emergency vet. On the way to the car, she tried to chase a cat, but fell over. We figured that it must not be life threatening if she was thinking about chasing!
    The vet gave her quick physical and while looking into her eyes told us that it was probably IVD or PVD. She gave us info that she had printed out from her computer and sent us home with some motion sickness pills. Betty regained her balance within a few hours and had a good appetite. She didn’t have a residule head tilt, but did not return to the same, energetic dog that she had been. Although she ate well, she lost weight and muscle tone. She seemed to be confused. It took about six months to build up her weight and she was back to walking a mile a day.
    Yesterday morning(seven month after her episode) at 5:30 am, she had another episode. Fortunately I still have some of her pills and immediately gave her one. She paced around the house for about an hour and finally fell asleep for the rest of the day. Last night she ate well, but seemed disoriented and frustrated. Her eyes were moving rapidly back and forth. We calmed her by petting and she slept all night. This morning she seemed better. She slept most of the day and seems even better tonight. She goes to the vet on Monday for a check up.
    This is a very scarey experience for both the dog and the “parents”, isn’t it?
    I hope that Betty’s story will help someone else see that your dog will recover and that there are others going through similar experiences.
    Thank you all for sharing your stories. You have given me hope for my old girl during her relapse.

  49. Cathy Says:

    It’s been two days since Betty’s relapse and she is doing so much better. Still just a bit wobbly, but her eyes seem normal and she looks great. She has been in very good spirits and has a healthy appetite. I was baking today and she stayed in the kitchen with me sniffing the aroma of banana bread.
    The motion sickness pills really seemed to work for the dizziness. I am thankful for every good day that I have with her.
    She goes to the vet tomorrow.

  50. Diane Says:

    Cathy I’m glad to hear that once again Betty is recovering. It must be very confusing for the world to seem tilted or spinning or what ever happens when their orientation for “up” gets messed up. I still miss my wonderful Farli each and every day. So remember that each day with Betty is to be savored. Best wishes.

  51. Cathy Says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Diane. Betty went to the vet for her physical today. She has an infection in her right ear which is the side that was tilted. She got some drops to be administered once a day for two weeks. She also got a supply of Reglan for the dizziness should she have another episode. He did a geriatric blood test and the results should be in tomorrow. Hope that all else is fine. She seems back to her old self today with the exception of a residule wobble if she gets too excited!

  52. Cathy Says:

    Well, it’s been a month since Betty’s “episode” and she is doing well.
    She was placed on antibiotics a few days after her physical because she had an allergic reaction to the new ear drops that the vet gave her on 2-24. They seemed to have cleared up the infection. The vet said that the eardrum on the side that was affected was gone and that he sees that a lot in older dogs that have had several ear infections over the course of their lives.
    Her blood work came back normal.
    She had a couple of bouts of nausea during the first two weeks, but seems to have once again come out of it(knock on wood!).
    She will be fourteen in three months.

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