(Health Secrets Newsletter) Canine peripheral vestibular syndrome (PVS) is a common condition that few people are aware of, and the frightening symptoms of it often lead dog owners to believe that their pet has been poisoned or is having a stroke. Special attention to the affected dog’s needs and tender loving care offer the best chances of a full recovery or minimal lasting effects.
PVS usually gives no warning and strikes out of the blue. In just an instant, a perfectly healthy dog can become extremely ill. The symptoms of PVS usually include the following:
1.Staggering and falling
2.Vomiting – may appear yellow and frothy
3.Eyes moving rapidly from side-to-side
4.Head tilts to one side
5.Refuses food and water
PVS is not a malfunction of the brain – it is caused by inflammation in the inner ear. The nerves of the inner ear that connect to the cerebellum become inflamed, causing loss of balance, disorientation and other distressing symptoms. It is important to note that not all dogs experience the same severity in symptoms. It is thought that the milder the symptoms, the quicker the recovery. Relapses are not common, but possible. Although there is no known cause, PVS is sometimes the result of infection. The dog usually refuses food, drink and exercise, opting for the safety of his own bed.
Someone who has experienced a severe bout of vertigo can understand the trauma that the pet undergoes. During this time, special attention and tender loving care is essential. Hand feeding, including water may be necessary. Even then, some dogs refuse food and water for as long as a week. Not only does the dog feel nauseous due to the feeling of motion sickness, but it also experiences difficulty using the motor movements necessary when eating and drinking from bowls. It is important to keep an eye out for dehydration. In severe cases, intravenous fluids may be necessary.
During the recovery period, the dog should be kept in a well lit room in order to prevent disorientation. If at all possible, it should not be carried. It will also need support and assistance once it is ready to get back on its feet to make sure that it doesn’t fall while getting up and walking. Looping a towel around its body will help guide it as it walks.
As hopeless as PVS may initially seem, the majority of dogs make a quick recovery from it within three days to three weeks. Those that do not fully recover, adapt to the head tilt and unsteadiness and enjoy the rest of their normal life span.
Although this condition is more common in older dogs, middle aged dogs can also be affected. Dogs of a more advanced age don’t always rebound as quickly as their middle-aged counterparts. They may not be as active as they were before the illness, and they may have experienced sight and hearing decline.
There is no medical treatment for this condition. Should the PVS be due to an inner ear infection, colloidal silver in the ear and in the drinking water may facilitate recovery. Colloidal silver is safer and more effective than antibiotics, and certain types of antibiotics actually cause PVS. Many people report that when they give their older dogs colloidal silver, they seem to regain the energy of younger years. This may provide an extra boost to prevent age-related decline.
It is important to note that other more serious conditions can cause the symptoms described above. If the symptoms last longer than three weeks, it most likely is not PVS and it would be best to seek the advice of a veterinarian, ideally, a holistic vet.