Neurological Disorders in Dogs: Dogs have the same nervous systems as humans and experience trauma and degeneration of the brain, spinal cord, vertebrae and peripheral nerves just like humans.
The result is a neurological disorder that is often cured or managed.
When a dog has a neurological problem, the symptoms are very obvious, sudden and frightening.
Paralysis, tremors or seizures are some of the symptoms of something wrong with a dog’s nervous system – a network of cells that carry signals to the brain and body.
To give your dog the best chance of recovering from a neurological disorder, it is important that you recognize the signs.
To help keep you informed, ask experts to share important information about the most common types of neurological disorders found in dogs, their symptoms, how they are diagnosed, and possible treatments.
What is Canine Neurological Disorder?
Canine neurological disorders are diseases that come from the central or peripheral nervous system of your pet. The 3 main areas affected by canine neurological disorders are
- Spinal cord
A change in the animal’s ability to perceive the environment can be caused by disease in the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system.
Early signs of nervous system disorders include behavioral changes, seizures, tremors, pain, numbness, coordination disorder, and weakness or paralysis of one or more legs.
The effects of injury on sensory and motor function depend on its location and severity.
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Spinal cord injury can cause numbness and paralysis below the level of the injury. Mild spinal cord injuries can cause clumsy movement and mild weakness of the limbs.
Moderate spinal cord injuries can lead to greater weakness of the limbs. In severe spinal cord injuries, complete loss of mobility (paralysis) and sensation may occur. However, not all spinal cord injuries cause paralysis.
For example, an injury to the spinal cord in the lower back is not an organ paralysis, the bladder loses control.
- Injuries to the brain can cause different effects, again affecting any part of the brain.
- Dog Injuries to the brain stem can cause loss of balance, limb weakness, hyperactive reflex, stupor or coma.
- Injuries to the cerebellum cause head and leg dysfunction, tremors and loss of balance.
- Dog Injuries to the brain include complete or partial blindness, loss of sense of smell, seizures, coma, stupor, movement or circulatory behavior and inability to recognize the owner.
- Some injuries to the nervous system can cause obvious damage within 24 to 48 hours of injury.
Chronic damage is usually caused by inflammation of the vessels in the brain or internal bleeding. Strokes caused by clogged arteries or high blood pressure are very rare in pets.
What are the common symptoms of neurological disorders?
With brain disorders, the symptoms include:
- Head tilt
- With spinal cord, symptoms:
- Inconsistent gait or complete paralysis of anterior or posterior limbs
- Problems with urination
- Loss of feeling of pain in the affected limbs
Symptoms affecting the nerves of the face:
- Facial paralysis
- Inability to blink
- Loss of tongue function
How neurological disorders in dogs are typically diagnosed?
What next after observing the symptoms of a neurological disorder in dogs that is determined by the type and cause of the disorder. For example:
- The slipped disc is fixed with spinal surgery.
- Autoimmune disorders can be managed with medication.
- Brain tumors can be treated with brain surgery or radiation therapy.
Unfortunately, there are some neurological disorders that are untreated or cost-preventive to prevent.
In these cases, you can trust our compassionate staff to help you understand and deal with the loss of your pet.
The veterinarian begins their assessment with a comprehensive history, which includes questions:
- When did the signals start?
- Does the dog have pain?
- Are there travel or injuries?
Do they eat what they should not have, or do they take any medications?
You can expect your dog to have a physical exam and a more specific neurologic test, testing for nerve function and reactions.
Often, tests are recommended to assess systemic health, such as blood function or urination, to look at blood cells and organ function, Frequent imaging of the area is the next step, and may include advanced analyzes such as radiographs or MRI or CT scans to prevent the loss.