Vestibular Syndrome – What is it, Symptoms & Treatment

by Melissa Keen

What is it?

The vestibular system is in control of balance; it stops the animal from falling over. Vestibular Syndrome is a term for any illness or disease that affects this system.


Vestibular Syndrome symptoms include the following:

  • Falling over
  • Head tilting
  • Eyes flickering (up, down, left and right)
  • Circling
  • Unsteady on their feet
  • Facial paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Loss of vision
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty eating/drinking


Vestibular Syndrome can be caused when any other part of the system is affected by disease. This includes ear infections, tumours, nerve inflammation and physical damage to the head/skull. Antibiotic treatment has also been known to cause Vestibular Syndrome in “sensitive” dogs.

Some animals can develop it with no known cause – this is known as Idiopathic Vestibular Disease.

If an underlying cause can be detected, your vet will do what they can to solve it, which in turn should help the disease get better.

If you suspect your pet might have Vestibular Disease, it’s important you get them seen by a vet immediately.

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