Q. I have a 13 year old pointer mix, after a 2 mile walk she had difficulty standing up on her back legs, and also this odd rapid movement of her eyes.

Answered By

A. Thank you for your question.

The odd rapid movement of her eyes is called nystagmus and is usually referred to a problem of the vestibular system. This is a body system in charge of controlling the balance and spatial orientation.

Diseases affecting this system can be peripheral (outside central nervous system) or central (originates inside the central nervous system).

A vestibular disease can result in signs such as loss of balance, head tilting, circling, staggering and nystagmus.

The peripheral form of the disease is much common than the central one.

Among peripheral causes idiopathic (means without any underlying identified cause) peripheral vestibular is by far the most commonly seen in general practice. Usually the improvement in idiopathic form is quick and sometimes the signs disappear completely after few days.

Most cases improve quickly with supportive care and treatment.

I would recommend to take her to your veterinarian for a consultation if she does not improve in the next 12hours. Your veterinarian will then understand if the vestibular disease is likely, if it is peripheral or central and will give most appropriate treatment.


Dr. Orioles

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