Conditions We Treat: Neurological Disorders in Dogs & Cats

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Neurological Disorders in Dogs

Our specialists are able to diagnose and treat a significant variety of neurological disorders in dogs and cats. Since we focus exclusively on conditions of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles, know that your pet will receive expert treatment from every member of our team.

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

IVDD can be described as a slipped disk, ruptured disk, or bulging disk, depending on the type of damage that occurs. If a disk swells or ruptures, it may strike or compress the spinal cord, affecting an animal’s ability to walk.

Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Seizures occur due to an abnormal burst of electrical activity in the brain. What causes seizures can be separated into 3 categories: problems that happen outside of the brain but have a secondary effect on the brain; structural problems inside the brain; and idiopathic epilepsy, which is also the most common cause of seizures in dogs.

Vestibular Disease

Vestibular disease is when a pet has balance problems, which are characterized by head tilt, poor coordination, and unusual eye movements. From your perspective, it may seem as if your pet has vertigo. The vestibular system includes the inner ear and a portion of the brain stem.

Atlantoaxial (AA) Luxation

AA luxation is a spinal disorder in which there is excessive movement between the first two bones in the neck. This condition is most common in small breed dogs, often due to hereditary factors where the AA joint forms incorrectly.

Encephalitis in Dogs

Encephalitis is swelling of the brain, a condition that may have infectious or non-infectious causes. Clinical signs may include seizures, lack of balance, walking in circles, stumbling, and blindness. Small breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Chihuahuas, and Pugs are more likely to be affected.

Chiari-like Malformation and Syringomyelia in Dogs

Chiari-like malformation (CM) is abnormal bone growth inside the back of the skull. This puts pressure on the brain and disrupts the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which can result in syringomyelia (fluid-filled cyst) formation within the spinal cord.

Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)

FCE occurs when a piece of fibrous cartilage blocks blood flow to a section of the spinal cord. Without a blood supply, this section goes without essential oxygen and nutrients, which can lead to spinal cord dysfunction.

Brain Tumors in Dogs and Cats

It is not uncommon for older dogs and cats to develop brain tumors, which can be categorized as either primary (form from the cells and lining of the brain) or secondary (originate elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain).

Cervical Disk Disease

Cervical disk disease is when one or more disks in the neck (the cushions between the vertebrae) wear down and rupture, causing compression of the spinal cord and various symptoms including weakness, wobbliness, neck muscle spasms, and buckling of the front legs.


Discospondylitis is a condition in which an intervertebral disk and its adjacent vertebrae become inflamed due to a bacterial or (less likely) fungal infection. Dogs with discospondylitis may act painful and have difficulty walking. Large-breed male dogs are most commonly affected.

Strokes in Dogs

Strokes may be caused by bleeding in the brain due to high blood pressure, clotting or platelet disorders, or metastatic cancer. Other causes include closing or blockage of a blood vessel due to hypothyroidism, kidney disease, cardiac disease, or Cushing’s disease.

Neurological Disorders in Dogs & Cats