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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29058
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our eldely dog has been diagnosed as having vestibular neuritis/vertigo...

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Our eldely dog has been diagnosed as having vestibular neuritis/vertigo... Our vet says it's probably related to climate change (we live in Vancouver, B.C.) He had one episode last November and again just in the past couple of days. He couldn't walk, kept falling to his left side and could stand on his own. Last Nov. it took him a week to get back to normal and we are noticing again each day is getting a little bit better (from the lastest episode.) He gets monthly cartrophen injections (btw, he's on prednisolone for severe allergies) for his arthritis. Both in NOv. and now we noticed that the episodes were MUCH worse right after his injections... Do you think these injections might have something to do w/ his dizzy and imbalace episodes? Also, any suggestions on how to speed up his recovery? Thanks for your time!
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
We don't recognize any link between sodium pentosan polysulfate (cartrophen) or prednisone and the "old dog vestibular disease". In fact, we haven't been able to associate any repeatable drug, infectious agent, degenerative or malignant process with this disorder. The same vestibular symptoms can appear in cats and in that species there is current interest in investigating whether the herpes virus could be responsible. In dogs we can only say that the vestibular symptoms we see should be the result of a disease process in the middle/inner ear, cerebellum, and brain (ischemic or vascular stroke?). No treatment has been shown to accelerate natural resolution of this idiopathic vestibular disease. I do feel, however, that an anti-nausea drug such as meclizine or maropitant should be considered in dogs with clinical signs of nausea and vomiting.

Your noticing a possible relationship between his injections and this disorder is intriguing because some internists feel that an immune-mediated mechanism is responsible. Could the injected drug be stimulating his immune system? We don't know and the immunosuppressive drugs such as glucocorticoids (prednisone, e.g.) haven't been shown to help which would belie that idea. Your care as noted is exemplary and I would expect his recovery over a 1-2 week period. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi! Greetings from rainy Vancouver! Thanks for your quick response! Would an anti-nausea drug make him less dizzy? He's not throwing up, mind you, and has a good appetite, but he's still much thinner over the past few months. Is there any food supplement that might speed along his recovery?


Thanks again!

P.S. Have you ever heard of the change in seasons causing vertigo?


You don't know rain until you've lived in Hilo!
Yes, those drugs are ideal for addressing vertigo (dizziness). He need not vomit to be nauseated. No, no supplements - no nothing - has been found to speed recovery. Feeding more of what he's been accustomed to is more appropriate than adding something new. At his age it's best to limit protein intake (preserves renal function) but if you'd like to give him a higher fat content food I have no reservations. Duke's vet has an amazingly tasty and rich (44% fat!) food designed for convalescence called Hill's Prescription A/D. Duke will "inhale" that food. The only way I could see a change of seasons affect the vestibular apparatus in dogs would be if the change in atmospheric pressure associated with seasonal change could be responsible. You're quite welcome. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks very much, you've been most helpful! Smile
It's my pleasure. My best to Duke! Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it!