Facial and vestibular neuropathy of unknown origin in 16 dogs

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The aim of this study was to describe the signalment, clinical presentation, diagnostic findings and long-term follow-up in dogs with concomitant facial and vestibular neuropathy of unknown origin.


Appropriate cases were located through medical record searches. Inclusion criteria comprised dogs that had: clinical signs of facial paralysis with concomitant peripheral vestibular syndrome, thyroid function tests, no abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and tympanic bullae, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis.


Sixteen dogs met the inclusion criteria. Facial paralysis had acute onset (<24 hours) in all dogs, thyroid function was within normal limits. There was albuminocytologic dissociation in cerebrospinal fluid of 69% of the dogs. There was complete resolution of clinical signs in 31% of the dogs but 38% showed long-term vestibular deficits, 46% developed hemifacial contracture, 15% had permanent facial paralysis and 15% relapsed.


Facial and vestibular neuropathy of unknown origin shares similarities with idiopathic facial paralysis. The prognosis for return of normal facial and vestibular function is guarded and there may be relapse after recovery.

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