Ultimately, most pet owners ask me one simple question when their pet is having a neurological problem:
Can You Fix My Pet?
Neurological disorders in dogs and cats can be very scary to the pet and to the pet family. The nervous system is the part of the body responsible for things like walking, coordination, interacting with surroundings, problem solving and senses such as seeing, hearing and balance.
When the nervous system isn’t working in dogs and cats, neurological symptoms may include:
- Seizures or convulsions
- Balance problems or walking with a head tilt, drunken walk or wobbly walk
- Dragging of the back legs or front legs
- Inability to walk
- Back or neck pain
- and many others
Are These Neurological Conditions Treatable?
The likelihood of getting better really depends on the cause of the symptoms. For example, seizures can be caused by more serious things like brain tumors and meningitis, but can also be less life-threatening conditions such as benign epilepsy.
Balance problems can get better on their own in a couple days or can be due to causes that are life threatening.
Even scary things like paralysis or inability to use the limbs can be completely cured. Sometimes surgery is needed for the best chances of getting better, but many causes of paralysis can improve with rehabilitation.
How Vet Neurologists Treat Neurological Disorders in Dogs
The first step in trying to help your pet’s neurological condition is to be examined by a veterinary neurologist. Neurologists are experts in neurological disorders in dogs and cats. At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, our board-certified veterinary neurologists see neurological disorders every single day that most other doctors and even specialists only see on occasion.
After an examination, our neurologists will be able to tell you WHERE in the nervous system the problem is (for example, is the problem in the brain, or the spinal cord of the neck, or the nerves, etc). They will also be able to tell you HOW BAD the problem is. Finally, they will be able to tell you the conditions that MOST LIKELY could be causing your pet’s symptoms. Based on the examination, they should be able to discuss with you the chances of your pet getting better based on the severity of symptoms and the likely possible causes.
Ultimately, tests are often necessary to narrow the list of possible causes down to the exact cause. At that time, the best treatment plan can be known.
Again, our neurologists are experienced in neurological conditions and are best equipped to give you pet the best chance of recovery. More importantly, we are all pet parents and understand the bond you have with your pet.
Most Neurological Conditions in Dogs Are Treatable
The best chances of a good outcome require an examination by a board-certified neurologist. Examination will tell us where the problem is, how severe the problem is, and let us know the short list of the most likely causes. Testing may be necessary to come to a full diagnosis, but in certain cases, testing may not be recommended if we feel there are good chances of getting better without testing.
Back and Neck Pain Symptoms
Dragging of the Legs
Overview of Symptoms of Vestibular Disease