Few people know, but the brain of pets is vulnerable to diseases. A dog with a neurological problem needs to undergo a series of tests so that the veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis.
In this matter, you will know the main symptoms of neurological problems in dogs. In addition, you will have information about the diseases that most affect the canine neurological system.
What are the symptoms of neurological problems in dogs?
Veterinary neurology is a slightly more complicated area than human neurology, after all, patients don’t talk. In any case, the guardian must be alert to the signs that the animal may present.
The symptoms of dogs with neurological problems vary according to the condition. Pets may have:
- Walking in circles;
- Involuntary movements;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Lateral deviation of the head;
- Difficulty picking up or swallowing food;
- Paralysis of limbs;
- Alteration of the senses.
Dog with neurological problem: What are the causes?
We have gathered the main neurological diseases that affect dogs. Look:
Epilepsy in dogs is a health problem that generates neurological signs, such as seizures.
Epileptic seizures can have a primary origin (when the animal is born) or secondary (sequelae of a traumatic brain injury).
Granulomatous meningoencephalitis, also known as MEG, is an autoimmune disease that affects small dogs aged between 3 and 5 years. This is a common health problem in toy breeds and terriers, with females being more frequently affected.
MEG is a disease of progressive evolution, which affects the brain and spinal cord. In addition, the disease manifests itself in three ways, according to the site of the lesion: Ocular, Focal, Multifocal or Disseminated
Among the clinical signs of the disease, it is worth noting: convulsions, turning, visual impairment and lethargy. The puppy may lose interest in things he used to love to do, like playing and walking. In addition, it is also common for the animal to be prostrate and want to eat all the time.
Treatment is performed with corticosteroids and Gardenal. Other actions can improve the patient’s quality of life, such as supplementation with Omega 3 and acupuncture.
Another important point: as with cancer patients, dogs with MEG cannot be revaccinated, as vaccines overload the immune system.
Elderly dogs can suffer from Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA). Stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted.
When a dog suffers a stroke, he starts to walk in circles, he may have his head to one side and confused. His eyes may move from side to side involuntarily. In addition, the animal also completely loses control over urine and feces.
When dogs reach 12 years of age, they tend to show neurological changes. Canine Alzheimer’s, also called canine cognitive disease, is a disorder that manifests itself through neurological signs.
The dog with Alzheimer’s has difficulty learning new things, becomes aggressive, does not interact as much with the family and pees in the wrong place.
Behavioral changes cannot be ignored by the tutor. In the face of a sign, it is necessary to look for a veterinarian and carry out the tests requested for the diagnosis. There is no cure for the disease, but there are palliative treatments.
There is a neurological disease that affects the spine of the dog and is called Cervical Spondylomyelopathy. This syndrome is frequent in large dogs, such as Dobermann, Great Dane and Saint Bernard. It results from compression of the cervical spinal cord.
About 75% of cases have neurological signs, which are controlled with the administration of corticosteroids. In general, lack of motor coordination is one of the main symptoms of the disease.
Falls, attacks by other dogs and being run over are situations that result in cranioencephalic trauma.
Symptoms vary depending on the location of the lesion. In short, dogs have seizures, blindness, lack of reaction to stimuli and mental confusion.
Viral, parasitic and fungal infections can result in meningitis, a common disease in Pug, Beagle and Maltese dogs.
In dogs, meningitis manifests itself through neurological signs such as confusion, agitation and behavior change. However, it also results in fever, loss of appetite and muscle stiffness.
Distemper is a viral disease that can be prevented with a vaccine. However, when the dog is not vaccinated, it can develop the disease, which impairs the functioning of several organs. The impact on the nervous system results in seizures and paralysis.
Neurological alterations can manifest because of a neoplasm, that is, a cancer in the brain. The most frequent clinical signs are: walking in a circle, changes in behavior and convulsions.
Idiopathic vestibular syndrome
Dogs that lack balance, are disoriented, cross-eyed and move in circles may suffer from Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome.
This health problem can disappear in a short time or last for years. In any case, it is more frequent in older dogs .
Yorkshire , Chihuahua and Maltese breeds have a tendency to develop hydrocephalus. This disease manifests itself when there is accumulation of fluid in the brain.
In general, the animals suffer from a swollen head, convulsions, bulging eyes, visual impairment, staggering gait and poor learning.
Canine infectious hepatitis
A dog with a neurological problem may be suffering from infectious canine hepatitis. This disease is caused by canine adenovirus type 1 and generates inflammation in the liver.
When the disease reaches the most severe stage, it affects the neurological system, causing clinical symptoms such as convulsions, disorientation and tremors.
Although it is a preventable zoonosis, rabies still affects many dogs and can be transmitted to humans. The animal with this disease presents mental confusion, aggressiveness, disorientation, spasms and convulsions. Excessive salivation is also a characteristic symptom.
When ingesting a toxic substance, the animal may show neurological signs and muscle tremors. In this case, bouts of vomiting , diarrhea and seizures are also common .
When it comes to poisoning, immediate care makes all the difference for the dog not to suffer sequelae.
Diagnosis and treatment
Finally, as soon as the dog presents a symptom of a neurological problem, the tutor must take him to a veterinary hospital. In this establishment, the animal will be referred to a veterinary neurologist, who is able to perform neurological examinations to investigate the reason for the symptom.
In general, the diagnosis is made by eliminating hypotheses, so the veterinarian will request several tests to investigate the patient’s condition.
After all, can a dog with a neurological problem be cured?
The possibility of cure varies according to the origin of the problem. There are some diseases that accompany the patient for the rest of his life, such as epilepsy and granulomatous meningoencephalitis (MEG). Control is carried out with drugs.