Updated at: 18-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

golden-retriever-2701033_640.jpgVestibular disease affects the nerves that send messages back and forth from the dog’s eyes, inner ears, and body. In doing so, it alters the dog’s ability to balance thus causing him to sway back and forth either while standing or walking. Other symptoms of vestibular disease are: Head tilt.

We see our four-legged dogs walk constantly but we rarely ask ourselves how quadruped animals do it. Well, the truth is even science was a bit confused with this question up until recently. Here’s some info about how dogs walk, along with what causes a swaying gait in dogs.

Vestibular disease affects the nerves that send messages back and forth from the dog’s eyes, inner ears, and body. In doing so, it alters the dog’s ability to balance thus causing him to sway back and forth either while standing or walking. Other symptoms of vestibular disease are: Head tilt.

Why is my dog wobbling side to side?

Vestibular ataxia is the result of an issue with the inner ear or brainstem. Along with staggering, stumbling and falling over, signs of ataxia include head tilt, walking in circles, vomiting, nausea, and flicking of the eyes from side to side.

Why is my dog wobbly and lethargic?

Things that can make your dog lethargic and weak can range from infection and disease to pain and medication. And because weakness and lethargy can indicate anything from a chronic condition to a life-threatening illness, you should always talk to your vet when you notice either symptom.

Why Does My Dog Sway When Walking?

The walking pattern is scientifically termed as gait. Proper gait involves good balance and uninterrupted coordination. The balance and coordination promote smooth and rhythmical movement.

Conditions that impair the balance and coordination lead to abnormal gaits. Abnormal gaits clinically manifest with so-called “swaying.”

There are several possible causes for dogs swaying back and forth. Following are some medical causes for a swaying gait in dogs.

Vestibular disease can be triggered by a plethora of factors, but in most cases, the underlying cause remains unknown. The condition is more common in older dogs from certain breeds. It manifests with nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, swaying back and forth, head tilt, uncoordinated eye movements and falling at the side of the head tilt. Vestibular disease is a self-limiting condition and usually resolves on its own without veterinary assistance.

Traumas and injuries to the head may result in abnormal gaits. Depending on the severity of the injury, the consequences may be temporary or permanent.

Middle or inner ear infections affect the balance center which directly leads to loss of coordination, impaired balance and abnormal gait. To avoid long-term consequences, ear infections require prompt and aggressive treatment.

Stroke is often confused with vestibular disease because they have similar clinical manifestations. However, stroke is not self-limiting and always requires prompt veterinary attention.

Tumors of the brain often disrupt the connection between the central and peripheral components of the nervous system which ultimately results in neurological signs. The clinical manifestation usually involves swaying back and forth, head tilt and rapid eye movements. Sadly, brain tumors are hard to manage and more often than not cannot be successfully treated.

Tick-borne illnesses such as the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever transmitted by the lone star tick and American dog tick cause neurological issues (loss of balance and coordination) as well as stiff gait. Unless treated, this fever can be deadly.

Other possible causes include ingestion of toxic substances such as the dog ingesting household cleaners, antifreeze, plants, medications (pet or human), chocolate, low blood glucose (as seen in small breed puppies and dogs who ingested products with xylitol, Wobbler syndrome or a bulging disc in the spine.

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Why is my dog wobbling side to side?

Vestibular ataxia is the result of an issue with the inner ear or brainstem. Along with staggering, stumbling and falling over, signs of ataxia include head tilt, walking in circles, vomiting, nausea, and flicking of the eyes from side to side.

Why is my dog wobbly and lethargic?

Things that can make your dog lethargic and weak can range from infection and disease to pain and medication. And because weakness and lethargy can indicate anything from a chronic condition to a life-threatening illness, you should always talk to your vet when you notice either symptom.

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What Should I Do If My Dogs Sway When Walking?

If you notice your dog swaying, call your vet and schedule an appointment. The vet will determine the underlying cause and suggest the best treatment strategy.

Some causes of swaying are benign and will resolve on their own, but others are more serious and potentially life-threatening. Since you cannot tell the difference on your own, seeing the vet is of paramount importance.

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