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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My dog is having trouble walking straight.

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What can cause my dog to not walk straight, lean to one side, not holding his urine and is whining?


How old is your dog?
Check his eyes- are they moving rapidly back and forth?
Is his head tilted to the side?
Is he arching his back?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

He is 14 years. Mix of Sheppard and Rhodesian. His eyes are responding normally, and his head is tilted to the side. Also, he is not arching his back.

Ok thanks.

It sounds like your dog has Vestibular Disease. The vestibular system is the connection from the brain stem to the inner ear and it coordinates balance. Vestibular disease is a disruption in that pathway. in young dogs it's usually due to an inner ear infection. In older dogs it's usually due to an unknown cause and we call it old dog vestibular. Rarely it is caused by a brain stem tumor. Common presenting signs are: head tilt, nystagmus (rapid eye movement), falling, circling, rolling and nausea.

The good news is that old dog vestibular disease will usually resolve slowly over 7-10 days with no specific therapy. I usually put them on Meclizine (Antivert) to help with the nausea and I think it helps to resolve the signs faster than with no therapy. If the signs progress over the next couple days, then an MRI would be indicated to rule out a brain tumor. Try not to get too discouraged as it can take some dogs up to 5-7 days to regain balance and to be able to walk normally in the severely affected.

I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

He is eating and not having any nausea. Should I take him to see a vet?

Yes, I think you should get him seen and started on Meclizine even without the nausea as it helps with the signs.

You don't necessarily have to go to an ER vet tonight, but I would get him seen in the morning.

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