Vestibular disease

Common info

The vestibular system maintains the balance and equilibrium of the body. The main component of the Vestibular system is in the middle of the brain and another is in between inner and middle ears. The loss of the Vestibular system can be instant, often found in elderly dogs or dogs who have paralysis caused by instant inflammation of the nervous system.


Vestibular system is an essential sensory transmission that controls the equilibrium of the body and the direction or spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. The Vestibular system is associated with the auditory system. It’s a component in inner ears since the body movement consists of rotation and transition. Because of these movements, the Vestibular system comprises two components which are the semicircular canals which indicate rotational movements and the otoliths, which indicates linear accelerations. The vestibular sends signals primarily to the neural structures that control eye movements such as vestibular-ocular reflex for clear vision and enable an animal to maintain its desired position balance in space.


The cause of Vestibular syndrome in cats and dogs is still unknown. It’s divided into 2 types include ear infection, there’s inflammation which causes severe infections, and poisonous ear, caused by antibiotics such as streptomycin or gentamicin. In some cases, there might be brain injuries which can affect Vestibular syndrome. Vestibular syndrome is most common in elderly cats and dogs. However, the disease can occur in all ages. For cats, they might be paralysis from instant inflammation of the nervous system.


  • Vestibular Disease
  • Head shaking
  • Vomit
  • Slow movement or lose the balance
  • Walking abnormally
  • Weak
  • Eye twitching

Equilibrium and walking problems are the most common symptoms. Dogs will try but they won’t be able to walk like normal, they might not be able to even lift their legs or stand. If the symptoms are instant, it might be caused by the bloodstream blockage in the brain and there might have twitchy eyes. Significant symptoms are head tilt, walking abnormally, walking in a circle, and the symptoms that are instant, new, and never seen before (changes in behavior)

Treatment and Prevention

There will be no treatment until the Vestibular disease is diagnosed. In severe cases, they will be given medicines through the vein and they need to be under care until they can walk by themselves. Also, make sure that there are no other complications. Tranquillizer might be needed for them to relax, reduce vomit. If having an ear infection, they need to be prescribed with corticosteroids to heal the inflammation and ear pain.  Don’t let them move too often because they might fall.

  1. Wikipedia | Vestibular system
  2. VCA | Vestibular Disease in Dogs
  3. Honestdocs | โรคหัวเอียง
  4. Wikiwand | ระบบการทรงตัว
  5. Lauren Garosi. 2007. Vestibular disease in dogs and cats. In Practice journal. 29 : 151-157.
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