Neurological Issues in Your Pets- The Signs To Look For

What are neurological issues?

Neurology is a specialized area of veterinary medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the central nervous system of pets. Neurological issues are conditions and diseases that block or negatively affect the ability of your pet's central nervous system to communicate properly various parts of your pet's body.

Signs of Neurological Issues in Pets

Because your pet's central nervous system controls basic life functions, decision making and coordinated movement, the signs of neurological issues vary depending on which part of the central nervous system is affected. That said, some of the most common signs of neurological issues in pets include:

  • Unusual or jerky eye movements
  • Abnormal gait, unexplained weakness or paralysis
  • Foot dragging or knuckling of paws
  • Pain along the spine, neck or back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in Routine
  • Head tilt or leaning
  • Seizures of different kinds
  • Loss of balance
  • Scratching at the air without making contact with their body
  • Cognitive or behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation such as staring into space or getting stuck in corners

It is important that if you see any or a multiple of these signs in your furry friend that you contact your vet as soon as you can for an appointment. Pets (especially cats) are good at masking their pain or if they are sick and it could be too late if you wait too long. If your normal vet is booked up, find your nearest urgent care for your pet.

Common Neurological Conditions in Pets

There are several neurological conditions that can affect cats and dogs including:

  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Stroke
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative disorders
  • Spinal or brain trauma
  • Peripheral nerve diseases 

How a Veterinary Neurologist Can Help

After seeing your vet, if they believe this could be neurological, they may refer you to a specialist in neurology. Board-certified veterinary neurologists receive years of extra education and testing in this specialized field. As such they possess a more detailed understanding of conditions relating to your pet's nervous system and are able to perform more advanced testing than your normal vet. These tests can be costly so it’s important to speak with your vet and the neurologist about payment and possibly payment plans in order for you pet to receive the care they need.