Idiopathic Vestibular Disease in Dogs - Definition

Idiopathic Vestibular Disease


Idiopathic vestibular disease, also called geriatric vestibular syndrome or IVD, is a non-progressive disturbance of the peripheral vestibular system in middle-aged and older dogs. The vestibular system regulates the body’s ability to orient itself in space, maintain balance, preserve posture and coordinate movement. It is intimately associated with a dog’s inner ears. What causes IVD is not known. Damage to the inner ear and abnormal production, circulation or absorption of fluid in inner ear canals have been suggested as possibilities, as have immune-mediated disorders. Affected dogs develop a sudden head tilt, jerky eye movements, dizziness, disorientation and loss of balance. They stagger, circle, collapse, vomit and are in obvious distress. The profound symptoms of this condition can incapacitate dogs and are extremely frightening. Fortunately, they usually go away within several days of their alarming appearance, although varying degrees of incoordination can continue for weeks.

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