My dog’s head tilts to the right; what causes that?!

Dear Seth:

My dog's head is tilting to the right at about a 45 degree angle.  What causes this?  Is this because he is a Cocker Spaniel and commonly gets ear infections?
A head tilt in dogs usually indicates vestibular signs which means there is an issue with the middle or inner ear. Ear infections are the most common cause of head tilts. Other causes may include:

  • foreign bodies
  • head trauma
  • punctured ear drum
  • brain inflammation
  • possibly cancer

Your veterinarian will get a complete medical history in addition to performing a thorough physical examination to determine the cause of the head tilt. Supportive care may include:

  • IV fluids
  • topical ear medications
  • antibiotics

In some cases, the animal can become nauseous and begin to vomit due to the head tilt.  In that case, antiemetic and antivertigo medications may be prescribed.  While your animal is being treated, do your best to keep them away from stairs and off of couches while they are experiencing problems with their balance.

Does this commonly occur with your dog at home? Did you seek treatment to alleviate his pain? Please share which medication worked best to help your dog.

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