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How to feed a dog with vestibular disease
Hi, I have a one and a half year old shepherd/poodle cross. She has always been a great dog, but about a month ago I noticed she was a little off with her eyes. They were not working properly, and she was drooling. I took her to the vet and was told that it was just the vestibular disease. She was prescribed an antibiotic and had an eye check, but the vet did not recommend anything more. It was not a big deal, and my dog is a fighter and has a good life expectancy. I have tried reading articles, but I am just not understanding anything. When I ask the vet he gets defensive and says, "just give her lots of treats and feed her well." Does he mean give her a certain kind of food? Does he mean that I should give her special treats or something? How long should I wait until I can start giving her a certain food? I want to do everything I can to make her better, but I do not understand.
I would also like to know what I should do if she is no longer able to eat. She is not walking anymore, and has stopped using the bathroom. Should I just put her down? Is there anything I can do?
Vestibular disease in the eyes, or vestibular syndrome, is usually caused by the vestibular apparatus becoming over- or under-active.
Vestibular disease is commonly treated with a combination of an oral antibiotic (such as amoxicillin or erythromycin) and a prescription drug (such as diazepam, or diazepam and chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine) to relieve any anxiety.
It may be possible to alleviate the symptoms using an oral antibiotic, as it is believed that it can prevent the vestibular apparatus from becoming over- or under-active.
An antihistamine is also commonly used to reduce eye secretions.
Diet is very important in the treatment of vestibular disease and it is important that a vet who is familiar with canine digestion is consulted for advice.
Your vet might advise feeding a diet that contains a higher protein content as this might help to reduce the over-activity of the vestibular apparatus.
Another option is to give your dog a specially prepared high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for the duration of the treatment.
Your vet can advise you of this and if he/she is not able to give you the prescription medication (due to legal reasons), it may be necessary to use a prescription diet.
In the meantime, you may like to look at the articles on dog food.
You may want to reduce the volume of food given. Do this by reducing the size of the amount you give, or by reducing the number of meals given in a day.
If your dog refuses to eat after three meals, it may be necessary to consider the option of feeding the dog by mouth, as this will not allow you to control the size of the meals or the amount.
Your dog may be more comfortable eating at a time when you are at home, or in a familiar environment.
If your dog has trouble walking, this may be improved by using an assistive toy or a small rubber band in the mouth to help the dog keep its mouth open while eating.
If your dog becomes distressed or agitated when eating, you might find a distraction can help to alleviate this. This can be achieved by playing music or having a toy available for your dog to play with.
I would suggest that you continue to monitor your dog's condition, as these symptoms could be a side effect of the treatment rather than the disease itself.
It is not normal for a dog to stop eating, but a lack of appetite can be an indicator of the severity of the condition.
If your dog does not eat well, it is important that you get medical attention.
You may want to take a photograph of your dog with a ruler placed underneath it to show how thin your dog is, but make sure you use a ruler that is big enough to fit a whole dog under.
If your dog stops eating and is losing weight, you may want to get your dog checked over by a vet as soon as possible.
If your dog has stopped eating, is in pain and has stopped walking, you may want to consider putting your dog down as soon as possible as it may be too late for your dog.
The first and most important step is to find out what has caused the vestibular syndrome in your dog.
It is extremely important that you know if the syndrome was present before the surgery because it is possible for the vestibular syndrome to return in the future.
Vestibular syndrome is caused by the vestibular apparatus (the inner ear) becoming over- or under-active.
This can be caused by a physical problem such as ear infections, or a psychological problem such as an emotional trauma, but the problem is more likely to be an emotional problem.
The vestibular apparatus sends information to the central nervous system (CNS) that controls the movement of the head and body, and it is this information that sends instructions to the muscles to move the head and body.
It is possible for the vestibular apparatus to become over- or under-active, but it is only possible for the vestibular apparatus to become over-active, which will result in a loss of balance.
The vestibular apparatus will work in one direction (such as up) and then return to the same position, while the brain sends information to move the head and body in the opposite direction (such as down).
When the vestibular apparatus becomes over-active, it is only possible for it to send a signal to move in the same direction that it had originally moved.
If the vestibular apparatus becomes over-active it is not possible for it to send information to move the body, which results in the dog being unable to move its head and body in any direction.