Neurology is a specialized branch of medicine focused on treating diseases of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. When something goes wrong in this intricate system, pets can exhibit worrisome symptoms.
Common signs of neurological disease include limb weakness, balance disorders, vision issues, seizures, behavior changes, muscle atrophy, and pain.
Neurological disorders can be highly distressing for your pet and, and, if left untreated, can have serious consequences. While your primary veterinarian can handle some neurological health issues, certain conditions necessitate specialized expertise and advanced diagnostics. That’s where our veterinary neurologists come in. These are the doctors who have undergone specialized and intensive residency training in this field.
Through a detailed neurological examination, our neurologists can identify the underlying cause of your pet’s symptoms and localize the problem within the nervous system.
To aid in diagnosis, our neurology team has access to state-of-the-art equipment, including a 1.5 Tesla High Field MRI, a 64-slice CT scanner, myelography, muscle and nerve biopsy, and various specialized tests such as electromyography and electroencephalography.
Once a diagnosis is made, our neurologists can provide a tailored treatment plan that can include medical management and /or surgical intervention. Medically treated neurological conditions include complex seizures, immune-mediated diseases, inflammatory diseases of the brain and spinal cord, stroke, metabolic diseases, and more.
For more advanced neurological problems and certain traumas, our neurologist might recommend surgery to guarantee the best outcome for your pet. Our neurosurgeons are skilled in a wide range of neurosurgical procedures – from craniotomy, which involves opening the skull, to cranioplasty for skull reconstruction, to various spinal cord decompression procedures, spinal stabilization techniques, shunt implantation, and more. These procedures can address a variety of neurological disorders and traumas. Here are a few examples:
- Brain Tumor: Depending on the location and the size of the tumor our surgeons can use minimally invasive techniques or craniotomy to remove the tumor, which can help alleviate pressure on the brain, improve neurological function, and potentially extend the animal’s lifespan.
- Brain Injury: Neurosurgical interventions may be necessary in cases of severe head trauma pets. Procedures can involve repairing skull fractures, removing hematomas, or addressing brain swelling to prevent further damage and promote healing.
- Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD): It’s one of the most common spinal conditions in dogs. It occurs when the discs between the vertebrae of the spine rupture or bulge, putting pressure on the spinal cord and causing pain, weakness, and even paralysis. Procedures like hemilaminectomy, dorsal laminectomy, ventral slot, and pediculectomy can be performed to decompress the affected areas of the spinal cord.
- Spinal Fractures: Pets can sometimes experience fractures in their spines due to accidents or other reasons. Our doctors can perform procedures to stabilize the spine and promote healing.
- Chiari Malformation: Some dogs have an abnormal growth of bone in the back of the skull, making the skull too small for the brain. This puts pressure on the part of the brain and can cause problems. Our neurosurgeons can remove a small portion of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain and improve cerebrospinal fluid flow.
- Hydrocephalus: This condition occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain. A shunt system can be implanted to redirect the excess fluid, relieving pressure and preventing further brain damage.
- Wobbler Syndrome: It is a condition where animals have trouble walking due to compression in their neck area. A surgical procedure can relieve compression and improve stability.
Neurological cases are intricate and individualized, demanding a careful evaluation and, at times, surgical intervention by highly skilled neurologists to ensure optimal outcomes for your pets.
We understand that it can be nerve-racking when your pet is experiencing a neurological issue. But rest assured, our experienced and compassionate neurologists are here to help address those problems and get your pets back on their feet.