Neurological Symptom: Behavior Changes

Pets have unique personalities that their owners get to know fairly quickly. You may know that Fido does not like loud noises and will always bark at July 4th fireworks and that Whiskers perks her ears when she hears a specific keychain jingle. You will also know when your pets’ behavior changes. If those changes persist for more than a few hours, it may be time to contact The Animal Neurology & Imaging Center (The ANIC) for neurological testing.

Common Behavior Changes Observed

behavior changesWhile not every type of odd behavior is cause for concern, some behavior changes may indicate neurological dysfunction in your pet, such as:

  • Acting “spacey” and/or confused
  • Change in aggressiveness—either a typically mellow dog or cat getting more aggressive or an aggressive pet becoming inexplicably placid
  • Change in personality
  • Confusion (for example, randomly barking at food bowl)
  • Increase in vocalization
  • Lethargy
  • Moments of disorientation

Some behavior changes may be noticeable right away, such as head pressing or continuous circling; others may take hours, possibly days to discern as lasting behavior changes.

When Is a Behavior Change Symptomatic?

Pets can exhibit behavior changes for a variety of reasons, not all of them medical. For example, moving to a new home or a change in daily routine (as when one of their humans goes away to school) can increase a pet’s stress, which is often demonstrated by behavior changes.

If your pet’s behavior changes have no easily identifiable stimulus and they last for more than a day, the change could be symptomatic of a neurological disorder.

Find out What May Be Causing Your Pet’s Behavior Change

For many pet owners, peace of mind is invaluable, so it is worth a call to The ANIC to speak to a veterinary neurologist about your pet’s behavior change. Based on your description of the behavior change, we may recommend emergency service or schedule an appointment for a neurological examination when it is convenient for you.

Behavior changes can be a sign of neurological dysfunction in pets. If your dog or cat is not acting their typical self, contact us for a consultation.

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