Does my pet have a neurological issue?

Neurological issues can affect pets of any age or breed and symptoms vary so it's important for pet parents to know the signs. Today our Tucson veterinary neurology team share some signs that your pet may be suffering from a neurological issue.

What are neurological issues?

Neurology is a specialized area of veterinary medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the central nervous system of pets. Neurological issues are conditions and diseases that block or negatively affect the ability of your pet's central nervous system to communicate properly various parts of your pet's body.

Your pet's central nervous system includes their spinal cord and 3 sections within the brain:

  • The brain stem which controls many basic life functions.
  • The cerebrum that is in command of decision-making.
  • The cerebellum that helps to coordinate your pet's movement and motor control.

Signs of Neurological Issues in Pets

Because your pet's central nervous system controls basic life functions, decision making and coordinated movement, the signs of neurological issues vary depending on which part of the central nervous system is affected. That said, some of the most common signs of neurological issues in pets include:

  • Unusual or jerky eye movements
  • Abnormal gait, unexplained weakness or paralysis
  • Foot dragging or knuckling of paws
  • Pain along the spine, neck or back
  • Head tilt or leaning
  • Seizures of different kinds
  • Loss of balance
  • Scratching at the air without making contact with their body
  • Cognitive or behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation such as staring into space or getting stuck in corners

Common Neurological Conditions in Pets

There are a number of neurological conditions that can affect cats and dogs including:

  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Stroke
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative disorders
  • Spinal or brain trauma
  • Peripheral nerve diseases

How a Veterinary Neurologist Can Help

Board-certified veterinary neurologists receive years of extra education and testing in this specialized field. As such they possess a more detailed understanding of conditions relating to your pet's nervous system and are able to perform more advanced testing.

Advanced neurology services may include:

  • A detailed consultation regarding the brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular issues that your pet is experiencing, such as intervertebral disc disease and other causes of weakness or paralysis, seizure management, encephalitis, tumors, and disorders of hearing or balance
  • Advanced Imaging including MRI and CT
  • Cerebrospinal fluid collection and analysis
  • Electrodiagnostic evaluations including electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), electroencephalography (EEG) and brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER)
  • Neurosurgery including hemilaminectomy, ventral slot procedure, craniotomy, stereotactic-guided brain biopsy, ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, stabilization and fusion procedures, fracture repair, nerve and muscle biopsies
  • Ultrasound-guided surgery and other procedures

Neurology at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson

Our veterinary neurology department at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson is overseen by our experienced Board-Certified Neurologists (Dr. Marie Dantio, Dr. Robert Bergman and Dr. Rainier Ko) who are supported by a dedicated staff of skilled veterinary technicians.

Why choose us to care for your pet?

If your pet is diagnosed with a neurological issue our team can help.

  • We have years of experience diagnosing and treating neurological disorders in pets
  • Our neurology specialists work in the same facility as other skilled and experienced veterinary specialists (including surgeons, and internal medicine, dermatology, thyroid, and eye specialists) making collaboration easy.
  • Our facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, allowing our specialists to diagnose conditions quickly so that your pet's treatment can start sooner.
  • The neurology team at our animal hospital provides pets with patient-focused care that spotlights quality of life when dealing with complex neurological disorders.
  • The technology at our facility allows us to provide animals with image-guided surgeries and treatments for the best possible outcomes.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pet showing signs of a neurological condition? Contact us to learn more about having your pet seen by the experts in our Neurology department

Does my pet have a neurological issue?

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