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
These clinical signs are not unique to idiopathic vestibular disease. Infections, tumors, inflammatory diseases and other conditions can all adversely affect a dogâ€™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.