Neurological Symptom: Continuous Circling

Behavior changes in pets can arise for a number of reasons, including neurological disorders and/or nervous conditions. One such behavior change that may indicate a problem is continuous circling. The veterinary neurologists at The Animal Neurology & Imaging Center (The ANIC) can determine what may be causing this behavior and how to effectively treat or manage the symptom.

When Circling Is Not Normal

Dogs and cats both “circle” for a number of reasons. Dog owners will, no doubt, have seen their pet circle the area where they are going to lie down or chase their tails. Dogs and cats both circle people of interest—often those with food in hand.

However, circling may be a symptomatic behavior if:constant circling

  • Your pet travels in circular motions to navigate a space or come when called
  • Your dog or cat is circling continuously, obsessively
  • Your pet does not respond when called while circling

Some animals may also tilt their heads when circling.

What Circling Can Mean

Continuous circling can be an indicator of a number of health issues, such as:

  • Vestibular disease (a disease that affects the inner ear, which controls balance)
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia

These health issues may arise from neurological events or conditions, like stroke or degenerative disease, or they may be the result of infection, aging or other systemic problems.

Get Help for Your Pet

If your pet suddenly exhibits continuous circling or if your veterinarian can find no cause for the behavior change, contact The ANIC. We provide advanced neurological diagnostic and treatment services. If the circling behavior is caused by an underlying neurological disorder, the sooner your pet is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.

If your dog or cat is continuously circling, contact us to schedule a neurological exam.

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