Posted : 11/9/2008 2:30:34 PM
It can be difficult to tell the difference between vestibular and stroke -- and the flashing of the eyes (where the eyes flash left/right/left/right in rapid sequence) often is the defining issue.
It is ultimately an inner ear problem hence the steroid to reduce inflammation. Sometimes the only real difference is told in whether or not they recover. A stroke produces actual damage, whereas they will usually recover from "old dog vestibular" (which doesn't just happen to old dogs either).
When my Foxy had it he recovered from the first bout (which was in November) but did not from the second (which was in the end of February). At that point his body just gave up (he was 19).
Be **VERY** prepared for the side effects of the prednisone and ask your vet if you can also give something like milk thistle (or even Marin or Denosyl if your vet isn't a holistic vet) to counteract the side effects on theh liver of the pred.
pred causes a super big stress on the kidneys and has other side effects. You must NOT just 'stop' the pred. It is addictive to the body (you may know this -- and maybe that's why you're asking but for the benefit of anyone who doesn't I wanted to mention this).
They become VERY afraid during old dog vestibular. Often something to relax them is necessary. I used valerian root on Foxy. Valium is also used. But I will never forget the morning he woke up -- he actually woke ME up during the night. He had gotten so disoriented he walked himself into such a tight circle all his muscles spasmed. It took us hours to massage him enough so he could even lie down.
good luck -- feel free to email me if you want more help. This is a very OLD thread so most of the original posters may not be around.