Neurological disorders in dogs are rare, but they do happen. And when it happens, you really feel sorry for your buddy as it experiences many bad symptoms throughout its life. However, it is not that easy to diagnose such symptoms and distinguish the diseases from one another, because some of these symptoms are common is several of these disorders. To assist in diagnosis, one thing that pet owners can do is to document/video their dogs experiencing the symptoms or the “episodes” of their disorder.
Neurological Disorders in Dogs
According to an article in eHow.com:
neurological disorders can affect any part of the dog’s central nervous system, including the spinal cord, brain and nerves within the body. Some disorders are congenital while others are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown.
According to the article, some of the neurological disorders which can occur are Degenerative Myelopathy, Dementia, Epilepsy, Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME), and Hepatic Encephalopathy. Obviously, these have to be sorted out by a qualified veterinarian. Some are treatable, some are not.
Neurological disorders in dogs can be truly frightening, especially the epilepsy/seizures. Dogs have no control of their bowels, fall and toss on the ground back and forth, and make scary noises. However, if epileptic instances are not very long, then it isn’t very lethal. It is just a matter of cooperating with your dog and vet to find cure for the seizures.
Stroke in dogs is also a cause of panic, especially when the dog was okay throughout the day and suddenly collapses like nothing. Elder dogs are the usual targets of stroke. There is, however, a more horrific disease called canine vestibular syndrome. In this disorder, the dog’s eyes circle and move around in weird patterns.
Dogs with such diseases often have difficulty in walking, along with excessive drooling and nausea. There is a type of movement called compulsive spinning, a.k.a. tail chasing, in which dogs rapidly chase their tails as if it is an anxiety disorder. It also needs a different approach in treatment.
All owners will be saddened about the fact that their dog suffers from trouble in walking and other symptoms of such neurological disorders. There are a number of serious disorders for dogs, including canine wobblers’ syndrome, which is seen with the dog’s lack of coordination. Another is intervertebral disk disease which also hinders normal walking procedures of a dog but a lot easier to diagnose. And then, there is the lethal head trauma, and even the poisoning, both of which can occur to your dog the least you expect it, and usually have no cure.
Diagnosis of neurological diseases are very hard for vets because some symptoms are similar and the fact that they don’t always see the dog’s symptoms. There is usually no clear and definite diagnosis, and this is where you can really help by videotaping your dog’s actions.
Usual actions of a vet will include treatment that starts from the symptoms themselves, since there is typically no definite diagnosis made at the beginning. A dog’s responses will the basis of the diagnosis, as well as a couple of blood tests.
Always ask your vet for further clues and explanation about your dog’s disorder, but do not complain to them when they cannot make a definite diagnosis and are unsure of their findings about your dog. Vets will be honest when that time comes and all you can do is just cooperate with him/her to find out about your dog’s disease.
Vets have the obligation, however, to explain the possibilities and ways of getting the right diagnosis and the steps to be taken for it, such as treatments and tests. In this way, the owner should be well-informed about how things are going to work out for his/her dog. Not only that, dogs and owners also get to learn more about how a dog’s nervous system works and the many diseases that occur.
Fortunately, I have never witnessed any neurological disorders in dogs, either mine or those of friends. Have you?