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Veterinary Neurology/Neurosurgery

AVSC specializes in diagnosing and treating pets with diseases that affect the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord. We offer possible same day, on-site diagnostic imaging services including MRI and CT scans. We also offer full service electrodiagnostic testing (EMG/NCV/BAER) for animals with neuromuscular diseases. Muscle and nerve biopsies are done on-site as well.

Dogs and cats can suffer from many of the same brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular problems that humans do. These all fall into the specialty of neurology/neurosurgery and include a wide range of disorders – seizures (epilepsy), ruptured discs, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, brain tumors, etc. Although neurological disorders sometimes cause great distress for pets and owners, many of these problems can be treated very successfully.

Because the diagnosis and treatment of a neurological disorder can be complex and challenging, general practice veterinarians often work with board-certified veterinary neurologists neurosurgeons who are experts at managing disorders of the brain, spinal cord and neuromuscular system and trained in neurosurgery. We work as a team with referring veterinarians to provide the best care possible.

Our neurologists perform a complete range of neurosurgeries on dogs and cats, such as dorsal and hemilaminectomies, ventral slot procedures, intervertebral disk fenestration, spinal stabilization, and exploration of the peripheral nerves and nerve roots. We also do state-of-the-art intracranial neurosurgical procedures such as craniotomies and ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement.

Evaluations include a thorough assessment of your pet’s medical history, along with physical and neurologic examinations. Sometimes pets with neurologic disease exhibit frightening symptoms: paralysis, difficulty walking, tremors, and seizures. Observations of your pet’s behavior help us assess the patient and provide appropriate treatment plans.

Diagnosing Neurological Disease in Pets

Our diagnostic capabilities include:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)MRI is the standard of care to evaluate the nervous system, a superior imaging modality.
Computed Tomography (CT)Best suited to evaluate bony abnormalities that may be causing neurological signs/symptoms.
Cerebrospinal fluid samplingFluid is collected from a space around the brain and spinal cord, and then analyzed for different substances.
Nerve conduction studiesThis electro-diagnostic test evaluates the health of a nerve or nerves, often performed at the same time as an EMG.
Electromyography (EMG)EMG is painless and often performed at the same time as nerve conduction studies.
Nerve and muscle biopsyBiopsy is a simple surgical procedure that allows muscles and nerves to be evaluated microscopically.
BAER hearing testReferred to as a BAER test, Brain Auditory Evoke Response diagnoses inherited deafness and problems within the brain.

These tests are all performed under short-acting anesthetics. They are used to diagnose and formulate a treatment for diseases of the nervous system such as neuropathies, myopathies, radiculopathies, myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, coonhound paralysis, and more. Common diseases evaluated with MRI include intervertebral disc disease, brain tumors, inflammation of the spinal cord and brain, and soft tissue and bony abnormalities that compress the nervous system.

Treating Neurological Disease in Pets

Once diagnosed, a specific and tailored treatment plan will be provided. Treatment plans may include medical management, physical rehabilitation, and brain or spinal surgeries for tumor removal, biopsies, and the correction of disk disease and congenital malformations.

Common conditions treated by a veterinary neurologist:

  • Seizures/Epilepsy
  • Disk disease
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Vertigo (loss of balance)
  • Strokes
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Brain tumors
  • Trouble walking
  • Weakness
  • Cranial nerve problems
  • Spinal fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury

For questions or to schedule an appointment, please call AVSC:

(508) 921-1018
Open Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm