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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My dog staggers and his head is tilted, lithargic,will not

Customer Question

my dog staggers and his head is tilted, lithargic,will not eat, but he will drink a little water occasionally. diagnoses and treatment? I do not see anything in his ears.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.
Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
This sounds quite concerning. The head tilt, staggering are highly suspicious to indicate a vesitbular nerve problem. The vestibular nerve can be affected as it passes through the inner ear or primarily in the brainstem.However, a primary brain lesion could also lead to staggering and neurological signs. This is a problem that really does indicate a veterinary visit is indicated. Your vet needs to look for evidence of ear infection/disease and then treat that appropriately and also rule out a primary brain (cerebral) problem. There is medication that can help if this is a vestibular nerve problem.
Most commonly if this is vestibular then it is caused by vestibular syndrome which is of often unknown cause. It usually improves on its own over 3-7 days (sometimes 3 weeks) but dogs are quite ill (naueasted, staggering) during that recovery. Medication can really help this nausea. I do not see any indication right now for penicillin.
I feel uncomfortable recommending any over-the-counter product as this could worsen the situation, depending on what is going on (primary cerebral versus vesicular).
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