How Does Canine Vestibular Disease Affect a Dog's Eyesight?

by Naomi Millburn
    Dogs with vestibular disease often display aversion to walking.

    Dogs with vestibular disease often display aversion to walking.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If you've noticed your pooch experiencing some difficulties with equilibrium, he could be dealing with vestibular disease, or essentially, issues within the system. The system is in charge of providing dogs with both balance and direction as it pertains to their current locations. Canine vestibular disease is particularly prevalent in dogs who are at least of middle age, so take note if your cutie is in that category.

    About Vestibular Disease

    The vestibular system is made up of parts of the ears and brain. Sensors within the ears figure out the exact location of a dog's head. They then take those details and transmit them to the dog's brain. The brain takes all of it in, and then promptly instructs the canine's body to maintain an erect stance. The point of all of this is to stop the dog from collapsing. The vestibular system also is responsible for commanding the motion of a dog's limbs and eyes. A variety of things can lead to disruptions in the vestibular system, from persistent ear infections to head wounds.

    Eyesight Problems

    Vestibular disease can indeed lead to troubles in canine vision. The vestibular system collects data that works alongside the senses to keep dogs walking with both equilibrium and sharp, focused eyesight. Disorders that are involved with the brain and balance in general can often impact seeing. They sometimes influence different brain segments and trigger eyesight deterioration along with feebleness, trouble eating and seizures.

    Strange Eye Activity

    You might be able to pick up on vestibular disease simply by looking at your dog's eyes. A common sign of the disorder is unusual fluttering of the eyes -- nystagmus. If your pet's eyes look like they're always switching from one spot to the other, take matters seriously and get him to the veterinarian. Dogs with vestibular disease lack control over these movements.

    Other Telling Effects

    Canine vestibular disease shows itself in many ways unrelated to vision and eyes. If your sweet pet has the disorder, it might seem like his balancing abilities have gone out the window. He might seem confused all the time. You might also notice him angling one head to the side a lot. This angling frequently causes dogs to collapse to the floor. You might see a lot of throwing up in dogs with vestibular disease, too, particularly in the beginning stages. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian without delay.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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