Author Topic: FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine  (Read 3470 times)

TheQuestKnight

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FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine
« on: June 09, 2014, 12:21:39 PM »
Hi..................

This is just an FYI for those that choose to read it..................

Our nearly 14 year old Gael had a "mini" vestibular event Sunday morning.....................she was "wobbly" when she woke up.......................and a different wobble than from her arthritic hips.....................and she wasn't enthused about eating her breakfast..................and Gael EATS WELL!!!!!!!!!!

Gael had a MAJOR vestibular event a couple of years ago....................and meclizine REALLY helped her..................as did laser acupuncture treatments!!!!!!!!!!

Long story shortened, I gave Gael a 25 mg. meclizine tablet mid-morning on Sunday.........................and by Sunday mid-afternoon, Gael was back to her normal self and READY TO EAT!!!!!

For Gael, a 45 pound Border Collie, 25 mg. of meclizine once daily is the recommended dose...............

The INTERESTING fact that I found is that recent research has revealed that meclizine blocks the receptors in the inner ear from being activated and causing "vertigo".  Nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord release a histamine at times, although no one is really sure what triggers the release of that particular histamine.  Meclizine is an anti-histamine that inhibits the histamine release as well as blocking the receptors in the inner ear from reacting.............................

This is how scientists currently believe that meclizine works in humans...........................whether or not the mechanisms are the same in the dog.......................they don't for sure; but it's known that meclizine does help dogs afflicted with vestibular syndrome.

Meclizine is available over-the-counter as "Bonine" and "Atavert"; but there are also many generic varieties, too.  At Walmart, their "Equate" brand of meclizine is only $1.47 for 8 tablets. 

So far, three of our females have been afflicted with vestibular syndrome.............................and all of them were double-digit "Sassy Seniors"................

If you are familiar with the symptoms of vestibular syndrome........................and are confident in making your own "diagnosis" until you can get your dog to your vet or to a veterinary ER...........................and you have a "double digit" dog (the most likely ages to experience vestibular syndrome)..........................it may be worthwhile to add a box of 25 mg. meclizine tablets to your medicine cabinet/travel bag for your dog(s).................

The onset of vestibular syndrome is SUDDEN........................and it can leave a dog so disoriented that it cannot or will not drink or eat for several days or more.  Whether or not early intervention with meclizine will make a difference during a major event, I do NOT know...................nor do I make any claims that it will.  All that I know is that on Sunday, it made a HUGE difference in Gael's day.........................and the day of her pack-mates...............................and for us.............................

Best Regards Always,

Al, Barb, Gael, Pellinore & Caitlin aka Castle Camelot
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

Linda W. Anderson

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Re: FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 01:05:38 PM »
I have not had any experience with vestibular syndrome, but I DO have a "Sassy Senior".  At $1.87 it's worth having some on hand "just in case."  Thanks for the tip.
Linda
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Re: FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 06:53:38 AM »
I have had several dogs have major vestibular episodes.  One had hers on Thanksgiving morning about 10 years ago.  She simply collapsed in my kitchen and could not get up for a period of time.  It was very scary.  A call to my vet on his cell phone (nice to have a family member as a vet!) anda  quick diagnosis over the phone led him to believe it was vestibular and I didn't make an ER visit.  He recommended Dramamine/Bonine or the generic equivalent.  It did help, although it took her about a week to fully get over her episode.

Some common symptoms of vestibular disease: 

"flicking eyes"--their eyes are moving back and forth rapidly
Head tilt--head is tilted on way or another
walking--if when you walk them small cirlce or figure eight they are slow to respond
lack of appetite or vomitting

Not every dog has all of these symptoms.  My first one did not have the head tilt or the flicking eyes, others have had it. 

As I said, I have had several old dogs have these episodes now, so they are not as scary for me.  I can usually tell what it is right from the onset and start the meclazine immediately. 

My vet's comment to me was, basically the dog feels "car sick" or "sea sick" because they have lost their equilibrium.  What the meclazine does is help them get over that feeling so they can eat and drink and move around.  Eventually the body acclimates themselves to the new "norm".  Some dogs take longer than others to acclimate. 


 
Audri, Lily, Cee Cee and Toto, Calypso

kpowell

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Re: FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 07:26:34 AM »
My 13 1/2 year old lab had the same thing about two months ago.  I thought he was having a stroke in the middle of the night!  The vet said that she was positive it was vestibular syndrome because his eye was twitching.  Poor baby couldn't stand up very well, let alone walk!  Very sudden.  The vet gave him nausea medicine and prescribed Dramamine (meclizine).  After about three days of confining him to a small area and him not eating much, he began to improve.  We also did acupuncture.  Today he is still a little wobbly every now and then, has an ever so slight tilt to his head, and has a much pickier appetite.
Karen Powell and
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TheQuestKnight

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Re: FYI: Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) & Meclizine (Bonine & Antivert)
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 11:51:18 AM »
My 13 1/2 year old lab had the same thing about two months ago.  I thought he was having a stroke in the middle of the night!  The vet said that she was positive it was vestibular syndrome because his eye was twitching.  Poor baby couldn't stand up very well, let alone walk!  Very sudden.  The vet gave him nausea medicine and prescribed Dramamine (meclizine).  After about three days of confining him to a small area and him not eating much, he began to improve.  We also did acupuncture.  Today he is still a little wobbly every now and then, has an ever so slight tilt to his head, and has a much pickier appetite.

Hi Karen!

.............and to everyone.  In my original post, I mis-labeled one of the OTC meclizine products..............it is ANTIVERT..................NOT Atavert........................

I don't mean to sound "persnickety"; but when it involves medications, I feel that it's best that folks know.  Dramamine does NOT contain meclizine.....................Dramamine contains dimenhydrinate, which is also an antihistimine.  It appears that the mechanism by which it works is similar to meclizine; but I wasn't able to find as detailed information for dimenhydrinate as I was for meclizine.  Apparently, the dosage for dramamine and meclizine is the same for the same weight of dog (PLEASE check with your vet for the appropriate dosage for your dog as a precaution FIRST, so you know in the event that your dog has a vestibular event and you want to administer the drug as an early intervention); but from my reading and research, Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) doesn't appear to be as "forgiving" as Bonine & Antivert (meclizine) if too much is administered......................at least there seems to be more "cautions" surrounding dimenydrinate than there is for meclizine.

Best Regards Always,

Al, Barb, Gael, Pellinore & Caitlin aka Castle Camelot
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

DeafSheltieMom

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Re: FYI: Vestibular Syndrome & Meclizine
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 12:32:11 PM »
I find it fascinating that dogs suffer from vestibular syndrome...  it sounds VERY similar to BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) that I suffer from.  It comes and goes (with no warning), but when it happens, it is a very uncomfortable to debilitating experience.  Think of it as a dizzy spell that DOESN'T go away.  There are crystals in the inner ear canals that manage our bodies' ability to maintain balance.  When these crystals become dislodged and move to a different area, it can create a feeling of imbalance (dizziness).  The feeling doesn't go away unless the crystals are moved "back" or to a location that creates relief, or the body finally adjusts to the NEW equilibrium management "system".  These attacks can last a few hours to a few weeks to a few months.  There is no known "cause", just an understanding of "what is happening".  Why some people (and dogs, apparantly) suffer from this debilitating disease is unknown.

The physical symptoms for dogs sound the same as when I get a BPPV attack.  The "flicking eyes" is the bodies' desperate attempt to find balance in the world around them (i.e., trying to keep the world from spinning).  The head tilt is also the same mechanism at work (a tilt to try to help maintain balance).  The worst part is the nausea, which of course develops from the fact that your body feels like it is in a perpetual carnival ride.  Meclizine (an over the counter drug used for motion sickness) helps a little to calm the nausea, but it doesn't cure the true cause.  Why older dogs are more susceptible than younger dogs is curious, as I've suffered from BPPV since my early 40s, and there are people who suffer from it from a much younger age.

It would be scary to watch a dog (who doesn't know what's going on) suffer from a vestibular attack, just as much as it was when I first had my first BPPV attack.  Now, I know what's going on and it is not scary.  Just very, very annoying  ::)  Good luck to all of you helping your four-legged furkids deal with this... it ain't fun.
-dayle
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