I have a 12-year-old Dachshund named “NOODLES”. He
woke this morning and he was moving his eyes from
side to side faster than normal and couldn’t keep
his balance. He seems to be confused about
direction in walking. Can you help me?
I suspect that Noodles is suffering from old dog vestibular syndrome.
I realize that some people take offense at the word old, so please forgive the non-politically-correct name. The term was coined long ago.
The syndrome in question is common among elderly dogs. They go to bed with no problems, and wake up dizzy. Their eyes may move back and forth. They may tilt their heads to one side, and they may stagger like they are drunk. In severe cases dogs are not able to stand up or walk at all.
The cause of the syndrome is not known. However, there is good news. Almost every dog recovers in less than a week. Most dogs make complete recoveries. Occasionally dogs improve but have permanent lingering symptoms of the syndrome. These long-term symptoms generally are mild and do not affect quality of life.
Severe ear infections, ingestion of certain toxins and several rare neurological conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to the ones you describe. Noodles definitely should go to the vet. However, there is a good chance that Noodles’ problems will improve with time.