breed

Q. My Shih Tzu is very confused running constantly in a circle

A. Your dog may have what is called idiopathic vestibular disease. The vestibular system is composed of portions of the brain and ear and is responsible for maintaining our sense of balance. When something goes wrong with the vestibular system, it feels like the world is spinning.

Dogs with idiopathic vestibular disease have some combination of the following symptoms:

A head tilt

They are unsteady on their feet and may fall over

They circle in one direction or even roll across the floor

Their eyes flick back and forth, up and down, or rotate in a circle (this is called nystagmus)

An unwillingness to eat due to nausea

Vomiting

These clinical signs are not unique to idiopathic vestibular disease. Infections, tumors, inflammatory diseases and other conditions can all adversely affect a dog’s vestibular system, so a thorough physical exam is necessary. But when the symptoms seemingly appear out of nowhere in an older dog and then start to improve over the course of a few days to weeks, idiopathic vestibular disease is usually the cause.

Answered By
DEBI MATLACK

Was this helpful?


Related Questions

Related Articles


Aggression in Dogs Toward Familiar People

Dominance, Fear, or Predatory Aggression in Dogs While some consider aggression to be normal behavior in dogs, it can be impulsive, unpredictable, and even dangerous. Aggressive behavior includes growling, lip lifting, barking, snapping,...

Read More
When Your Dog is Overly Aggressive Towards Other Dogs

Interdog Aggression in Dogs Inter-dog aggression occurs when a dog is overly aggressive towards dogs in the same household or unfamiliar dogs. This behavior is often considered normal, but some dogs can become excessively aggressive...

Read More

DISCLAIMER: The answers in Ask petMD are meant to provide entertainment and education. They should not take the place of a vet visit. Please see our Terms and Conditions.

IMPORTANT: The opinions expressed in Ask petMD content area are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training.

Our Ask petMD experts include veterinarians, vet techs, veterinary students, pet trainers, pet behaviorists and pet nutritionists. These opinions do not represent the opinions of petMD.

User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a petMD veterinarian or any member of the petMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, timeliness, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions.

petMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment. Do not consider petMD user-generated content as medical advice.

Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on petMD.

Continue Reading