Much of the neuroanatomy of dogs and cats is the same as that of humans. And like the human’s nervous system, the organs and tissues can deteriorate with age or because of infection or congenital defects. Just like for humans, accurate diagnosis is required to find the right treatment for your furry friend.
Common Neurological Disorders in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats have the potential to develop or suffer from a number of neurological dysfunctions, diseases and disorders, such as:
- Seizures (epilepsy or idiopathic seizures)
- Inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord
- Autoimmune disease
- Infection of the brain and/or spinal cord
- Slipped disc (ruptured intervertebral disc)
Some neurological disorders are the result of trauma, and when an inherited susceptibility is present, everyday activities for your pet, like jumping in/out of a car or on/off a bed, can be traumatic to the brain and spinal cord.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Pet Neurological Disorders
Because neurological disorders affect your pet’s “control center”—i.e., their brain and spinal cord—you may notice a change in motor function and/or behavior. Common symptoms include:
- Inability to use one or more limbs
- Weakness, shaking legs
- Loss of balance
- Stumbling, staggering or other gait irregularities
- Head pressing
- Pain, which may be expressed through vocalization or change in demeanor
Symptoms may present suddenly or gradually, depending on the underlying condition. If your pet’s symptoms are intermittent or subtle, providing video of the behavior can be useful to our doctors during a neurological examination.
The First Step to the Right Care for Your Pet
Many neurological disorders in pets can be cured or managed, but only if they are properly diagnosed. For the expertise and advanced imaging equipment required for neurological diagnoses, you need to bring your pet to The Animal Neurology & Imaging Center (The ANIC) in Phoenix.
The ANIC has a board-certified neurologist available 24/7 for consultations with pet owners and veterinarians to determine if emergency service is necessary or if your pet can safely wait until the next day for a scheduled exam.