Just Ask the Expert: Differential diagnoses in a dog with a head tilt
Dr. Bruyette welcomes internal medicine and endocrinology questions from veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
We saw a 5-year-old spayed female rat terrier mix 11 days ago for acute onset of imbalance and stumbling. No nystagmus or nausea or change in mentation had been noted. On examination, the dog was ataxic and had a head tilt down and to the right. Its left ear was held erect, as was normal for both of the dog's ears, but the right ear was held down. No nystagmus or spinal pain was noted. The dog appeared to have normal cranial nerve function, but we could not evaluate the ears or conscious proprioception reflexes. We initiated treatment with antibiotics, and there has been no change in clinical signs. What should be on our differential diagnosis list other than vestibular disease?
David S. Bruyette, DVM, DACVIM
1. Garosi L, McConnell JF, Platt SR, et al. Clinical and topographic magnetic resonance characteristics of suspected brain infarction in 40 dogs. J Vet Intern Med 2006;20(2):311-321.