Sudden onset geriatric vestibular dysfunction in the canine is a commonly seen condition in veterinary practice and can be very disturbing for dogs and their owners.
Symptomatic relief for nausea and supportive advice is managed with veterinary medicine.
As human physiotherapists we often see cases of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) in our human practice, and effective protocols for diagnosis and treatment of this condition have been developed over the years.
I have recently treated a lovely dog and performed the modified repositioning postural manoeuvre (Epley) which has been reportedly used in veterinary literature for canine patients for peripheral vestibular condition. This manoeuvre has been identified as most effective in treating symptoms of BPPV caused by otoliths in the posterior canal.
The success rate of this therapeutic repositioning has been reported as high as 90% after a single repetition.
This was hugely successful with this lovely patient, with symptoms resolved immediately (including nystagmus, head tilt and ataxia). Importantly for success, we need to assess and treat these patients as soon as the symptoms start with greater success reported within 24 hours.
My treatment combined manual therapy (for upper cervical spine), massage, acupuncture and gentle stability training and supportive advice for the owner. This epley manoeuvre was performed and was very well tolerated.
This dog was amazing to treat and will continue to be monitored.
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