Dogs and cats can suffer from many of the same brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular problems that humans do. These all fall into the specialty of neurology/neurosurgery and include a wide range of disorders – seizures (epilepsy), ruptured disks, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, brain tumors, etc. Although neurological disorders sometimes cause great distress for pets and owners, many of these problems can be treated very successfully.
Because the diagnosis and treatment of a neurological disorder can be complex and challenging, general practice veterinarians often work with board-certified veterinary neurologists/ neurosurgeons whom are experts at managing disorders of the brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular system, as well as in neurosurgery.
We offer possible same day diagnostic imaging services with the MRI being on-site.
We also offer full service electrodiagnostic testing (EMG/NCV/BAER) for animals with neuromuscular diseases. Muscle and nerve biopsies are done on-site as well.
Our neurologists performs a complete range of neurosurgeries on dogs and cats, such as dorsal & hemilaminectomies, ventral slot procedures, intervertebral disk fenestration, spinal stabilization, and exploration of the peripheral nerves and nerve roots. We also do state-of-the-art intracranial neurosurgical procedures such as craniotomies and ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement.
Diagnosing Neurological Disease
Evaluations include a thorough assessment of your pet’s medical history, along with physical and neurologic examinations. Sometimes pets with neurologic disease exhibit frightening symptoms: paralysis, difficulty walking, tremors, and seizures. Observations of your pet’s behavior help us assess the patient and provide appropriate treatment plans.
Our diagnostic capabilities include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — MRI is the standard of care to evaluate the nervous system, a superior imaging modality.
- Computed Tomography (CT) — Best suited to evaluate boney abnormalities that may be causing neurological signs/symptoms.
- Cerebrospinal fluid sampling — Fluid is collected from a space around the brain and spinal cord, and then analyzed for different substances.
- Nerve conduction studies — This electro-diagnostic test evaluates the health of a nerve or nerves, often performed at the same time as an EMG.
- Electromyography (EMG) — EMG is painless and often performed at the same time as nerve conduction studies.
- Nerve and muscle biopsy — Biopsy is a simple surgical procedure that allows muscles and nerves to be evaluated microscopically.
- BAER hearing test — Referred to as a BAER test, Brain Auditory Evoke Response diagnoses inherited deafness and problems within the brain.
These tests are all performed under short-acting anesthetics. They are used to diagnose and formulate a treatment for diseases of the nervous system such as neuropathies, myopathies, radiculopathies, myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, coonhound paralysis, and more. Common diseases evaluated with MRI include intervertebral disk disease, brain tumors, inflammation of the spinal cord and brain, and soft tissue and bony abnormalities that compress the nervous system.
Treating Neurological Disease
Once diagnosed, a specific and tailored treatment plan for each patient with a neurological disorder. Treatment plans may include medical management, physical rehabilitation, and brain or spinal surgeries for tumor removal, biopsies, and the correction of disk disease and congenital malformations.
Common conditions treated by a neurologist:
- Disk disease
- Abnormal behavior
- Vertigo (loss of balance)
- Spinal cord tumors
- Brain tumors
- Trouble walking
- Cranial nerve problems
- Spinal fractures
- Traumatic brain injury