Neuromuscular Disease Treatment
The neuromuscular system is a delicate combination of nerves and muscles that is responsible for motor activity within the body. When diseases affect the neuromuscular system, a pet may experience muscle weakness that prevents simple tasks like standing, running, and even swallowing. In some pets, neuromuscular disorders may cause only mild symptoms; but for others, it can have a detrimental effect on the animal’s quality of life, potentially causing paralysis and breathing difficulties.
When a veterinary neurologist treats a pet with a neuromuscular disorder, the first step is identifying the cause of the symptoms. Sometimes, pets present with a primary neuromuscular disease that directly affects a component of the peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction or muscles. Examples include degenerative diseases, toxic diseases, infection, and nerve inflammation. However, some neuromuscular disorders are caused by diseases elsewhere in the body that have a secondary effect on neuromuscular function. Examples include cancer, kidney disorders, and hormonal conditions like Addison’s disease.
Treating a Neuromuscular Disorder
Treatments and long-term outcomes for neuromuscular disease are directly correlated to the source of a pet’s disorder. Blood work and x-rays will be necessary to identify secondary diseases or traumas. Neurological tests, such as an EMG can also help narrow down affected nerve regions and muscles, and a biopsy can confirm the presence of a degenerative or inflammatory condition.
Some pets make a full recovery with treatment, such as those given anti-protozoal agents for a toxic disease or those treated for an endocrine disorder, such as hyperthyroidism. However, there is no cure or treatment for many types of neuromuscular conditions, though some pets can experience an improvement in symptoms with supportive care and certain dietary supplements.
For more information about neuromuscular disease diagnosis and treatment, contact our office to schedule a consultation.