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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29959
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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My papillon is experiencing loss of balance, head tilt, circling

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My papillon is experiencing loss of balance, head tilt, circling and I think loss of vision as he bumps into things, keeps his down and walked and sat down on the heater vent when he always walked around the vent before. What may be causing these symptoms?
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

What you are describing sounds consistent with possible vestibular disease.
The most common symptoms can occur in any combination and include: head tilting, walking in circles, vomiting,
fast eye movements back and forth (nystagmus) or the eyes pinned to one direction (strabismus), and/or drunk-like walking

Vestibular Disease in Dogs

Generally, vestibular disease is caused by either:
1. Central disease which includes anything within the brain
2. Peripheral disease which includes problems outside the brain like inner ear infections, toxin exposure, organ problems

Initial testing usually includes a basic blood profile, which should be done immediately. To help with nausea and motion sickness, many vets will recommend giving Meclizine:


If a blood test does not reveal any abnormalities, additional testing would possibly include:
- to check for evidence of inflammation or infection within the spinal cord or brain.

But, the priority is to get into the vet now to evaluate Jack, double check for inner ear infections, and the blood test.

Very sorry to hear about Jack.
Please let me know if there is anything I did not cover for you. I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Please, hold off providing your feedback rating until you have asked all your questions. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

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