Neurological Symptom: Eyes Darting

Some neurological symptoms pets experience are obvious—like dragging hind legs or head pressing. Other symptoms may be subtler, such as eyes darting. However, a symptom that is less obvious does not necessarily indicate a lower level of urgency with which it should be diagnosed and treated.

If your pet has darting eyes, bring them to The Animal Neurology & Imaging Center (The ANIC).

cute puppy and kitten Recognizing Eyes Darting as a Neurological Symptom

It is fairly easy for a pet owner to distinguish darting eyes (also called nystagmus) from focused concentration or tracking. If your dog or cat is tracking a small object, like a bug or moving shadow, you will see their eyes “jump” vertically and/or horizontally as they follow the object. Your animal will also move its head in the direction of the perceived movement.

Darting eyes, on the other hand, is a repetitive back-and-forth motion of the eyes. Your pet will likely keep their head still, and they do not respond to attempts to get their attention.

What Eyes Darting May Indicate about Your Pet’s Health

Eyes darting may be a sign of a neurological disorder in the vestibular system—the part of the brain that controls balance.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Neurological Symptoms

The ANIC is staffed by neurologists who have the specialized knowledge and training to accurately diagnose and treat your pet. When you bring your pet to our nearest clinic, our doctors may determine during an exam (and possibly diagnostic imaging) the cause of your pet’s darting eyes. Diagnosis may be aided by video recording of your pet’s behavior if eye darting is an intermittent symptom.

Accurate diagnosis is required before the proper treatment or referral can be made. Please contact us to speak to a neurologist to find out if emergency service is required or if you can wait for a scheduled appointment.

If your pet has darting eyes, contact us for an emergency or scheduled neurological exam.

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