As Amazon Associates, we may earn from qualifying purchases. See disclosure in sidebar.

How Long Can Dogs Live with Vestibular Disease?

Score for Seniors:
Activity Level:
Weight: Pounds

Author:

vet inspecting a chihuahua's ear

Vestibular disease in dogs is a treatable condition, with most dogs making a full recovery within 2-3 weeks. Assuming that the cause of vestibular disease is relatively benign (for example in the case of idiopathic vestibular disease or middle/internal ear infection), clinical signs such as a head tilt and incoordination will often disappear in the first 7-14 days. In these cases, dogs can make a full recovery and their life expectancy will not be affected significantly. Despite experiencing vestibular disease, these dogs will go on to live long and happy lives.

However, recurrence of vestibular disease remains frequent, with clinical signs persisting in the first 12 months after diagnosis. As many as 1 out of 3 dogs will experience long-term clinical signs (See our article “What to do if your dog is not recovering from vestibular disease“). If the cause of vestibular disease is more serious, life expectancy will vary significantly.

Can Vestibular Disease Be Fatal to Dogs?

Vestibular Disease in dogs can be the result of a variety of medical conditions, such as:

  • an inner ear problem,
  • a brain tumor or lesion,
  • a collar-related injury, or
  • nervous system dysfunction.

However, there is often no clear underlying issue: 70% of dogs are diagnosed with vestibular disease without a clear specific cause according to this study (the most prevalent cause was ear problems for about 26% of dogs with vestibular disease).

Although it isn’t the vestibular disease itself that can kill a dog, the other effects of these causes could result in a dog’s death. When the cause of vestibular disease might be something more sinister, a dog’s prognosis and life expectancy might be significantly worse. Dogs that suffer from vestibular disease as a result of a tumortrauma or poisoning may be in a more critical condition. These conditions can, unfortunately, be fatal to your dog.

How Long Can Dogs Live with Vestibular Disease?

This will depend on the cause of the vestibular disease. Vestibular disease is simply a result of a more serious condition that could be fatal to your dog:

  • Dogs with idiopathic vestibular disease or an ear infection may make a full recovery within 2-3 weeks and continue to live a normal healthy life.
  • Dogs that develop vestibular disease due to a trauma or a brain tumor might have a shortened lifespan because of this; exactly how long dogs will live with vestibular disease will depend on the severity of the trauma or tumor. For example,  The median survival time for dog with a brain tumor treated with steroids alone is 2-4 months (this survival time can be increased through the implementation of chemotherapy and radiotherapy).

A dog that shows no improvement several weeks or months after diagnosis may have a more serious underlying medical condition that needs to be investigated: advanced imaging with CT / MRI scans will likely be used by your veterinarian to determine next steps and identify the cause.

These more serious causes of vestibular disease in dogs are often grouped together under the term ‘central vestibular disease’. Learn more in our article “What to Do if Your Dog is Not Recovering from Vestibular Disease.”

Related Posts About Vestibular Disease in Dogs:

Should You Euthanize A Dog With Vestibular Disease? by Dr Cathy Barnette - After 14 years of working as a vet, I can diagnose some client concerns in an instant. When a client… [...]
dog shaking head Can Vestibular Disease Kill a Dog? by Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon - Vestibular disease arises spontaneously, and, often, resolves itself in the same way. For the most part, vestibular disease is a… [...]
dog tilting head Recurrence of Dog Vestibular Disease by Dr. Winnie, Veterinarian - In many cases, vestibular disease resolves itself spontaneously: most dogs will start to improve within 2 to 4 days, with 71%… [...]
dog at the vet What to Do if Your Dog Is Not Recovering from Vestibular Disease by Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon - Being able to maintain balance is a pretty basic ability, so losing your footing makes life very difficult. The symptoms… [...]
dog with bowl of food How to Feed a Dog with Vestibular Disease by Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon - If your dog suffers from vestibular disease, you’ll know how much they can struggle to eat. Many dogs with vestibular… [...]
Dog Vestibular Disease: a Veterinarian Guide for Dog Owners by Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon - Old Dog Vestibular Disease can be triggered by a number of things, including inner ear problems, a collar-related injury, a… [...]

Author

  • Jason is a pet specialized writer who works with our veterinarian team (https://seniortailwaggers.com/meet-our-team/) to write in-depth articles about pet health and behaviors.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.