Neurology FAQ

What is a board-certified veterinary neurologist?

A board-certified veterinary neurologist is a veterinarian who provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for patients with neurological disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary neurologist is similar to his/her human-medicine counterpart in that he/she has completed an internship and residency in the specialized field of neurology (an additional 4 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a board-certified veterinary neurologist must pass two rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Why should I seek the care of a board-certified neurologist?

Your veterinarian may refer you to a neurologist if your pet has experienced any of the following signs:

Paresis/Paralysis or Weakness of one or more limbs
  • knuckling, dragging leg(s), abnormal gait
  • monopareseis/monoplegia, paraparesis/paraplegia, tetraparesis/tetraplegia
  • inability to stand, inability to move 1 or more limb(s)
Balance Disorders
  • lack of balance, head tilt, circling, nausea, falling/rolling, eyes flickering (nystagmus), tremors, uncoordination (ataxia), Horner’s syndrome, exaggerated gait/high stepping (hypermetria)
Vision Disorders
  • blindness, walking into objects
Seizures (episodic & stereotyped)
  • sudden/violent shaking, paddling, dilation of pupils, unresponsive/staring, loss of consciousness, salivating/drooling, stiffness, twitching, involuntary urination/defecation
Pain
  • crying out, holding up limb, low head carriage, tense muscles, decreased/limited mobility, changes in appetite
Other Neurological Signs
  • difficulty swallowing or chewing, decreased facial movement, voice changes, muscle atrophy of the head, collapsing, hearing loss, behavior changes (confusion, pacing, wandering), lock jaw (trismus), dropped jaw.

For what conditions might my family veterinarian refer my pet to a neurologist?

  • Arachnoid Cyst
  • Atlantoaxial Joint Instability
  • Brain Tumors
  • Cerebellar Disorders
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Deafness
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis
  • Head Trauma
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Lumbosacral Disease
  • Metabolic Brain Disorders
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myositis
  • Necrotizing Encephalitis
  • Neuropathies
  • Neurotoxins
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Spinal Trauma
  • Tremor Syndromes
  • Vestibular Disease
  • Wobbler’s Syndrome