What should you do if your 15-year-old dog has developed a consistent nodding of his head and tilts it to one side and the vet thinks he's had a stroke but he doesn't seem to be in any pain?

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Answer I have a 15 yo lab that had similar symptoms. One morning he woke up and could barely walk, tilting badly to one side as if drunk. The next day he was even worse and it was like he couldn't operate his legs anymore. Although I thought for sure he had suffered a stroke -and was set to put him to sleep, my vet talked me out of it and said to wait for a few days so he could observe him. The first two days there was no progress, and he had to be given intravenous fluids since he couldn't even drink water. But then the third day he began eating and drinking again, and the next day he attempted walking again. I took him home then, and he made further progress...walking -although still shaky. A week later, and it was if it had never happened! He was able to run, and climb stairs with a steady gait. I was told it was a "stroke-like" thing, and that dogs have a 50/50 chance of recovery -so give it some time and don't give up hope.

Answer

You might want to check your dog for a ear infection Answer: This sounds exactly like Vestibular disease, easily confused with stroke, but the clue is the tilted head. Inflammation in the nerves connecting the inner ear to the cerebellum which controls balance and spatial orientation. Usually lasts between 3 days & 3 weeks. Not detectable by examination, no known treatment, but more often than not it goes away by itself. Dog may be left with head tilt. Did you notice rhythmic eye motion darting from side to side? This also often goes with it. Dog needs careful, kind patient nursing and possibly hand feeding since it may be frightened and unbalanced. With loving, tending care, your dog should get better.