Sam is a lovely 15 year of Staffi Cross who came to see us as she had all of sudden lost her balance and was unable to walk without falling over. On examination Sam had her head tilted to one side and her eyes were flickering from side to side (this is called Nystagmus). She had a definite lack of balance when she tried to walk. Otherwise Sam's examination appeared OK.
Sam's symptoms were consistent with a problem in her balance or vestibular region. In older dogs this disease is commonly due to "Idiopathic Vestibular Disease" which is a sudden onset of symptoms of lack of balance without any obvious underlying cause.
Other potential causes of there symptoms are a middle ear infection or inflammation or a growth anywhere along the vestibular nerve which comes from the brain to the middle ear. Most cases of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease will make a good recovery with time. This can sometimes take a few weeks. If a patient is still eating and drinking well, no other treatment is usually necessary. If they are not eating well then they may require hospitalisation or other medications to prevent nausea.
Sam made a good recovery over a few weeks. She is not back to full speed with her running, but is pretty close.