Back Basics: When and Why to Offer Neurosurgical Referral for Dogs

Spinal cord injury in the dog has a variety of stages (peracute to chronic) and severity (from complete paralysis) on emergency presentation to a planned appointment for back pain. While many diseases can cause damage to the spinal cord, it is key to recognize which diseases can be managed on an outpatientbasis and when patients should be referred for neurosurgical diagnostics and treatment. Common Diseases Causing Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs The most common diseases…

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Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) in Dogs: When to Rest and When to Refer

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a commonly encountered neurological disease of the dog; however, clinical signs within this affected population can be widely variable. With a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, it is important for veterinarians to identify between cases that can be medically managed and those that would benefit from referral. The goal of this article is to provide tools for identifying cases of suspected IVDD and tips for determining when to rest versus…

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Approach to New Onset Seizures in Senior Dogs and Cats

Seizures are a common clinical sign in many diseases of the brain. In broad terms, the etiology of a seizure falls into three general groups: idiopathic (sometimes referred to as ‘primary epilepsy’), reactive (in response to a metabolic disturbance or toxin), and structural (cause by cerebral pathology). In any patient presenting for recent onset seizure activity, there is one critical question that should be answered during initial evaluation: “Are there any signs of reactive or…

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Canine Epilepsy: Current Ideas and Therapies

Epilepsy is the most common neurologic condition within the domesticated dog. Epilepsy in itself is a complex disease and by this very nature can make one patient easy to treat while the next drug-resistant. Epilepsy itself is defined as the enduring predisposition of having epileptic seizures. An epileptic seizure is defined as a transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain. Common clinical signs of epileptic…

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IDEXX Diagnostic Challenge: Beagle with Neurological Signs

Take the IDEXX challenge and diagnose this dog’s neurological problems History and signalment: A six-year-old female spayed Beagle mix presented to the MedVet Columbus neurology service with a 2-month history of left sided vestibular signs with a rapid progression over about 5 days to a non-ambulatory state and nystagmus. The clinical signs had early on showed improvement with corticosteroids. Imaging studies by the neurologist revealed a brain mass via MRI. The mass was located on…

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