Recurrence of Dog Vestibular Disease

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dog tilting head

This article was updated on March 31st, 2022

In many cases, vestibular disease resolves itself spontaneously: most dogs will start to improve within 2 to 4 days, with 71% of dogs showing improvements after a median of 4 days after diagnosis according to this study: Vestibular disease in dogs under UK primary veterinary care. The majority of dogs will make a full recovery within 2-6 weeks.

However, it is also fairly frequent for clinical signs to recur or persist the first twelve months after diagnosis. In this article, we will present a few data points about the recurrence of vestibular disease in dogs.

Assuming that the cause of vestibular disease is relatively benign (for example in the case of idiopathic vestibular disease or middle/internal ear infection), time to recovery will typically follow these patterns:

  • Symptoms such as a head tilt and incoordination often disappear within the first 1-2 weeks.
  • Many dogs will make a full recovery within 2-6 weeks.

Recurrence or Persistence of Clinical Signs with Vestibular Disease

The recurrence or persistence of symptoms can be fairly common: a study of clinical signs and MRI findings in dogs with peripheral vestibular disease found that after a median follow-up time of 12 months:

  1. Head tilt persisted for 34.5% of dogs.
  2. Symptoms of facial paresis persisted for 28.5% of dogs.
  3. Incoordination when moving (ataxia) persisted for 4.1% of dogs.

In total, these neurological deficits persisted in 52% of dogs. 188 dogs were included in the study with a median age of 6.9 years.

Recurrence of vestibular disease was noted in 17.6% of dogs in the first 12 months.

You can learn more about the recurrence of vestibular disease in dogs in our related article about dogs not recovering from vestibular disease:

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  • Dr. Winnie, Veterinarian

    Dr. Winnie earned a Master in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria's Veterinary School. She is a full-time Veterinarian specializing in internal medicine for companion animals.

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Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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