Did my dog have a stroke signs of vestibular syndrome?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

It is understandable that you may be concerned about whether your dog had a stroke or if it is displaying signs of vestibular syndrome. Both conditions can cause sudden onset symptoms and difficulty walking. While I am not a veterinarian, I can provide you with some information that may help you understand the similarities and differences between these two conditions.

Vestibular syndrome in dogs is often referred to as “old dog vestibular syndrome” because it is commonly seen in older dogs. However, it can occur in dogs of all ages. The exact cause of vestibular syndrome is not always known, but it is believed to be related to a dysfunction in the inner ear or the brainstem. This dysfunction affects the dog’s balance and coordination, leading to symptoms such as a head tilt, loss of balance, difficulty walking, and involuntary eye movements.

On the other hand, a stroke or FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism) is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain or spinal cord, respectively. This interruption can occur due to a blood clot or the rupture of a blood vessel. Strokes and FCEs can also cause sudden onset symptoms and difficulty walking in dogs. However, unlike vestibular syndrome, strokes and FCEs are not typically influenced by age and can occur in dogs of any age.

The symptoms of a stroke or FCE in dogs can vary depending on the location and severity of the event. Some common signs may include sudden weakness or paralysis in one or more limbs, loss of coordination, difficulty standing or walking, head tilt, and in some cases, pain or yelping. It is worth noting that pain or yelping is more commonly associated with FCEs rather than strokes.

If your dog displayed sudden onset symptoms, yelped in pain, and immediately had difficulty walking after leaping for a tennis ball, it would be best to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to perform a thorough examination and run diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms. This will help guide appropriate treatment and management options.

While both vestibular syndrome and strokes/FCEs can cause sudden onset symptoms and difficulty walking in dogs, there are some differences between the two conditions. Vestibular syndrome is more commonly seen in older dogs and is related to a dysfunction in the inner ear or brainstem, while strokes/FCEs can occur in dogs of any age and result from a disruption of blood flow to the brain or spinal cord. It is important to seek veterinary attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your dog’s specific condition.