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Vertigo in Dogs and Cats

Vertigo in Dogs and Cats / Vestibular SyndromePet supplements for vertigo in dogs and cats.

Herbal treatments to reduce symptoms and support vertigo in dogs and cats.

Animals routinely experience disruption in body systems, including all components of the Central and Autonomic Nervous systems, requiring a nutritional correction to restore emotional balance, to promote relaxation and reduce nervousness and to balance mood and provide feelings of comfort and security.

Vertigo, also known as vestibular syndrome, is related to the function of the inner ear which affects your pet’s balance system and spatial orientation.

The vestibular system helps your pet process information about movement. When your pet takes a step, a message travels via nerves to the brain and affects balance. If the neural pathway is damaged, then your pet will start to show a range of symptoms associated with loss of balance. Vertigo usually affects older and middle-aged dogs and less commonly cats.

The most common cause of vertigo is a chronic or reoccurring middle ear infection, which can damage the nerves of the inner ear and cause inflammation. Other common causes include perforating the ear drum due to over cleaning of the ears, head trauma injury, stroke, tumors, polyps, hypothyroidism, meningoencephalitis and allergy.

Signs of vertigo include:

head tilting to one side (lack of control of head)

unsteady on feet

lack of balance

loss of coordination








involuntary, jerking eye movements (nystagmus)





circling in one direction

rolling across the floor

eyes flick back and forth, up and down or rotate (nystagmus)

loss of bowels

difficulty drinking due to nausea

difficulty eating due to nausea

Animals can also experience vertigo in reaction to aminoglycoside antibiotics or other drugs including amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin, and tobramycin. Diuretics and some ear cleaners that should not be used with ruptured eardrums can all result in the condition. 

The disease can be present from birth as a congenital defect. It can also be idiopathic, meaning the root cause is unknown. In older dogs, a brain tumor is usually considered as a potential cause of the syndrome.

Vertigo, or vestibular disease in geriatric dogs is often mistaken for stroke. Vertigo caused by the disease can be particularly intense in older dogs with symptoms of nausea, difficulty or complete inability to stand up, head tilt, jerking eye movements and circling

If the disease affects only one ear, head tilting and circling will be in the direction of the affected ear. If only one side of the head is involved, only the eye on that side may develop jerking eye movements which are involuntary. 

Central vestibular disease, which is a much less common and more serious form of the condition, originates inside the central nervous system. Causes of central vestibular disease (the less common form) include inflammatory disease, infection, trauma or bleeding in the brain, loss of blood flow, and cancer.

Congenital vestibular disease is usually seen between birth and three months of age. Breeds predisposed to this condition include the German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Akita, English cocker spaniel, beagle, smooth fox terrier, and the Tibetan terrier.

Vertigo can cause acute dizziness and can prevent a pet from walking normally or at all, so food and water and potty options sometimes needs to be close to your pet to encourage eating and drinking. Some patients even need to be hand-fed until they're feeling better.

Most cases of vertigo may improve rapidly with supportive care and nutritional treatment, particularly if the underlying cause for the condition is diagnosed. 

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies may help promote a calm and relaxed state of mind for your pet and help reduce pain and discomfort associated with vertigo. Herbal nutrition can safely cross the blood brain barrier safely, important in conditions related to the neurological, endocrine, immune and circulatory link in the animal body; are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory in nature; may help calm your pet to help cope with illness, stress, anxiety and nervousness by relaxing all body systems to provide whole systemic support; may help address lack of control in the Central Nervous and Autonomic Nervous Systems and neural inflammation; may help reduce motion sickness and nausea.

Soothed & Serene  – (learn more) is used to relax and calm all bodily systems of an anxious animal, particularly the Central, Autonomic, Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems, as well as for its positive effects to relax the endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive, excretory & respiratory systems; used holistically to help soothe animals exhibiting all types of  destructive behavior due to anxiety, fear, grief, separation, pain, illness, allergies, aggression, socialization issues, electrical and thunder storms due to its calming, mildly sedative, nervine effects and alternative to benzodiazepine drugs; as a nutritive to help bridge nutritional deficiencies and relieve irregularity in bodily systems;  helps restore emotional balance, promotes comfort, relaxation, balanced mood and feelings of security; helps protect the blood brain barrier, important in preventing plaque buildup in the brain related to cognitive decline and as a stroke preventative. 

Serenity Zen Dog & Cat - (learn more) is used for its multi-level nutritional and plant botanical support that works on all animal body systems to help soothe, relax, calm, balance and provide pain relief to nerves and muscles (Adrenal, Cardiovascular, Digestive, Excretory, Respiratory, Autonomic and Central Nervous Systems); may be useful for stress, anxiety and behavioral disorders; may be helpful in reducing the effects of allergies, digestive colic, storms, fireworks, travel, boarding, vet visits, separation, restlessness, irritability, depression, hyper-excitability, aggression, sadness and fear; to help address and reduce pain; to help maintain normal electrical balance in the brain, to reduce neuro inflammation,  and to modulate inflammatory response throughout the animal body.

Yummy Tummy – (learn more) promotes Probiotic digestive, urinary, bladder and gall bladder support, for all types of digestive disorders, promotes proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, for bladder (cystitis) and kidney (pyelonephritis) infections, tones and strengthens the connective tissue of the bladder related to urine leakage and urinary incontinence; for Candida including systemic Candida as a natural, plant-based steroid alternative, provides important support for cramping, pain, discomfort, Gastroenteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), prostate inflammation, BHP, prostatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) and Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS).

I Feel Good –  (learn more) contains plant based adaptogens, which helps nutritionally tone the animal body, helps boost or balance immunity as needed, including soothing an over-stimulated immune system or boosting an under performing immune system, helps to reduce all forms of system-wise metabolic and oxidative stress that undermine immunity; helps support water regulation and fluid balance in the body; helps reduce all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy); for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobilityreduces all types of inflammation, particularly from the heart to brain; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function plus much more. Recognized as one of the most important medicinal plants in the world, particularly related to supporting balanced immunity and limiting inflammation and inflammatory conditions.

Conventional Remedies:

Your vet will need to do a full physical assessment of your pet, which will likely include an ear examination and neurological tests to discover if the ear or if the vestibular disease is peripheral or central in nature.

If the much more common peripheral form of the condition is identified, an otoscope will be used to look deep into your pet's ear.

Sometimes X-rays are needed, and blood tests, culture and sensitivity, and cytology are all required to help eliminate other potential causes of specific symptoms.

Your vet may recommend a surgical biopsy for tumors and polyps that are found. If the condition is determined to be central vestibular disease, usually an MRI or CT scan, as well as spinal fluid taps, may be needed to identify the root cause. Obviously, if infection is the root cause, it must be resolved.

Nausea and vomiting can be alleviated with motion sickness medications. If vertigo stems from an ear infection, antibiotics are typically prescribed. Vertigo typically only lasts for a couple of weeks, and pet owner play an important part in a pet’s convalescence.

The disease in geriatric dogs can make eating and drinking or even going outside to potty very difficult or even impossible, so supportive therapy is often needed in the form of IV fluids, supplemental nutrition, nursing care and confinement.



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