Marty Pictures

Martin Star the puppy with
Congenital Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome


I found Martin Star, or Marty, at the Kentucky Human Society in Louisville KY, in December of 1999. He was 8 weeks old, weighted 4 1/2 lbs., was a bag of bones, had kennel cough and was the cutest little short hair black spitz I had ever seen. I just had to bring him home. The little pup was full of spunk and would strike a pose to melt my heart. He was also sick, Marty was given good food to eat and medication to fight the kennel cough. When I brought the pup home, I noticed that he tilted his head to one side when he walked and after the first week of medication the puppy did not change this behavior. I asked the veterinarian why the pup would behave this way, the veterinarian was unsure. As Marty continued to grow, other unusual behaviors were noticed like not jumping on the furniture and visual problems of not being able to locate motionless objects well. I told my veterinarian about the behavior I had observed and he was still unsure of what Marty's problem was. So I decided to take Marty to the Veterinarian school in Knoxville TN and have his eyes checked. The Veterinarians performed a complete eye exam and announced that Marty has perfect vision! "But what is his problem?" I asked. Several of the vets got together and talked it over. They decided Marty had a congenital form of Peripheral Vestibular Syndrome. This is a problem with the inner ear. Most of the time the inner ear problem is a temporary condition caused by a injury or illness affecting the head. In Marty's case, he was born this way.
As he grows older, Marty is learning to adapt to "Marty's World" of moving visual images caused by the involuntary movement of the optical nerves. He has difficulty pin-pointing the location of objects close to his face but does fine with objects which are farther away. Marty has a wonderful, happy personality which has enabled him to over come his problems. He has learned to jump up on stationary things like furniture and stairs. I have taken Marty out into the public and exposed him to many different environment so that he can learn to adapt to the world around him. Marty has his bad days when he gets dizzy spells, which cause him to fall to the ground or to throw up. I have learned to help Marty manage his problem and he does very well on a daily bases.

Revised: October 28 2002
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