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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17096
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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labrador aged 14.5 years. Disorientated, weak back legs,

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labrador bitch aged 14.5 years.
Disorientated, weak back legs, eyebrows constantly going up and down which is very unusual for her, dows not seem to recognise family, had to be hand fed this morning as she seemed not to know what to do.
Appeared to have en episode last night of head shaking and extreme disorientation but recovered to be her normal self
I am sorry to hear about your old girl. My name isXXXXX am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

This could be an attack of "vestibular syndrome", VS, seen in older dogs. The vestibular area of the brain controls balance.

VS comes on suddenly, the dog loses balance and can't walk. Sometimes they are nauseous. Another classic sign of VS is "nystagmus", a rhythmic twitching of the eyes, back and forth. When a dog has nystagmus, the eyebrows do twitch as you describe. Look closely at her eyeballs and see if they are flicking back and forth.

The good news is that VS usually goes away on its own after a few days. The over the counter medication "meclizine" can be helpful; a dog can take 12.5 to 25 mg once to twice daily.

Here is an article about VS:

Other less common causes of symptoms like this are brain tumors, stroke, and other diseases affecting the brain. But in an older dog, VS is the most common, and does get better.

Please let me know what else I can answer, or help with.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Rebecca,


I had hoped to have your reply in time for out 1130 appointment with our vet to use as a second opinion. However we have now returned from the vet. She could not see the eardrums as the ears were very dirty and full of wax; so the first thing is for us to clean the ears and get rid of the wax. The vet gave an injection to counter any nausea and we expect to start some form of medication tomorrow once the vet has had a second look into the dog's ears, where hopefully she will be able to see the eardrums.


Like you, the vet thought that a stroke was unlikely and although she didn't confirm any specific issue, her diagnosis and responses seem to correspond with your answer.


What brings this on and what can we do to prevent it re-ocurring?

We do not know what brings it on, or how to prevent it. I have not seen it hapoen more than once in a dog, however.

The article I sent you has some good information, but also can't tell you why it happens.

I am sorry an expert did not help you sooner; I answered your question when I first came online this morning (6 AM). Most of the experts on this service are in the US.

Hope she is doing better. Let me know if I can answer anything else,

Rebecca and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Rebecca,


I was expressing a hope not an expectation re response time. Hopefully our aged lady will get better in a few days.





Thanks for the good rating. I am glad you were not disappointed! Some customers expect answers immediately.

There are some British vets on this service, and it is always growing.

I do hope she is better soon. I will be checking back to see how she is.

How is your dog doing doing?