NEUROLOGY AND NEUROSURGERY
Veterinary neurology encompasses diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system – the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. Dogs and cats, like humans, experience a wide variety of neurological disorders. These include congenital abnormalities, traumatic injuries, inflammatory conditions, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, intoxications/poisoning, and nutritional disorders. Some of the neurological disorders that we routinely diagnose and treat are listed below.
Initial evaluation of your pet's problem is usually performed by your regular primary care veterinarian, or an emergency veterinarian in urgent situations. Referral to a veterinary neurologist may then be recommended. While some neurological conditions can be managed through your primary care veterinarian, most benefit from more thorough evaluation by a veterinary neurologist who is familiar with a wide range of neurological problems. Serious or persistent neurological dysfunction generally warrants prompt referral.
Diagnosis of problems in the nervous system is often more difficult than in other body systems because the nervous system cannot be easily examined with routine diagnostics like blood testing and x-ray imaging. The most important part of the neurological evaluation is a complete neurological exam, which is always the first step. Occasionally, this is all that is required to identify and treat a problem. More commonly, advanced diagnostics are needed to identify the cause of a neurological problem and guide treatment options. A wide variety of treatments are used, including both medical and surgical therapies. Multiple options are usually available, and the treatment plan is always tailored to the individual animal and its family.
Neurological disorders range in severity from minor, benign conditions to serious, life-threatening diseases. Many can be treated very effectively, and dogs and cats routinely make dramatic recoveries from debilitating conditions.
Our neurologist is experienced in diagnosing and treating all conditions of the nervous system in dogs and cats. Our hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and treatment facilities allowing our Neurology team to effectively care for our patients. Neurological disorders can be complex, challenging, and frightening - our team is here to give your pet the best possible chance of recovery and to guide you through each step of this process.
Neurological conditions we routinely diagnose and treat include:
- seizures, epilepsy
- vestibular (balance) disorders
- intervertebral disk disease
- cervical spondylomyelopathy syndrome (“Wobbler” syndrome)
- brain and spinal tumors
- spinal fractures/dislocations
- atlantoaxial instability
- lumbosacral syndrome
- head trauma
- congenital malformations
- neuromuscular disorders (myasthenia gravis, myositis, polyneuropathy, tick paralysis, botulism, etc.)
- caudal occipital malformation syndrome (Chiari-like malformation, syringohydromyelia)
- degenerative myelopathy
- movement disorders (myotonia, myoclonus, tremor disorders, etc.)
Types of neurological medical and surgical procedures we offer include, but are not limited to:
- evaluation and short or long-term medical management of seizure disorders (epilepsy)
- spinal tap
- specialized laboratory and infectious disease testing
- skull and spinal x-ray imaging
- CT scan with high-resolution 3d imaging
- MRI (performed off-site)
- transcranial ultrasound
- muscle and nerve biopsy
- biopsy of brain and spinal lesions
- brain surgery (brain tumors, cysts, malformations)
- ventricular shunt placement for hydrocephalus
- spinal surgery for herniated disks
- spinal tumor removal
- spinal stabilization/fusion procedures
- spinal laminectomy, diskectomy, intervertebral disk fenestration
- less-invasive surgical techniques
- second opinions, including examination and review of imaging studies
About Neurology and Neurosurgery at United Veterinary Specialty & Emergency:
- United Veterinary Specialty & Emergency has an experienced Neurology team and state-of-the-art equipment which allows us to deliver the most advanced, comprehensive care to our patients.
- Our neurologist works with our other in-house specialists and with your primary care veterinarian to generate the best plan for diagnosis and treatment of your pet's condition.
- Regular appointments are available from Mon-Thurs. It is always best to discuss your pet's problem with your primary care veterinarian first to arrange a referral. Appointments can also be made directly if appropriate. Please call us with any questions.
Emergency on-call Neurology services are available at all times for urgent or emergency evaluations and treatment. This can be arranged by your primary care veterinarian or by an emergency veterinarian who has evaluated your pet. Walk-in emergency services are available at United Veterinary 24 hours/7 days.
What to Expect During a Neurology Appointment
- Before your appointment, please gather any pertinent information about your pet's problem, including any notes, photos, or videos of abnormal episodes at home. Please make note of any medications being used, including dose/frequency. Bring medications with you if this is easier.
If your pet's condition requires urgent care, or if same-day diagnostics are desired, please do not feed your pet before the appointment. Water and medications can be given as usual. If unsure, please call us.
- The first step in every neurological evaluation is a complete neurological exam, which is performed at the first visit. This includes a complete physical exam, gait evaluation, coordination and reflex testing, and cranial nerve examination. Our neurologist will also review your pet's medical records and any diagnostic tests or treatments already performed along with a detailed interview about your pet's symptoms.
Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care from the San Francisco Peninsula to the Silicon Valley