Like humans, the brain and nervous system of your canine companion is too complex to comprehend however doctors have noted common neurological disorders in dogs. The symptoms, where observed, are not considered as seriously as they should be. They are dangerous and critical, and can happen at any stage of your dog’s life. With that said, identifying symptoms early may be life saving or at the least, may give an otherwise uncomfortable situation a great deal of relief.
Common Neurological Disorders in Dogs

Red Flags

The following symptoms should make you rush your dog to your vet.

  • Pacing and circling in a compulsive manner, even though it is creating sores on the dog’s feet
  • Pressing its head for no obvious reason against some hard surface like a wall
  • Vision problems causing your dog to bump into objects; moreover, if your dog’s rubbing its eyes continuously, it might further injure or produce lesions
  • Not following or being able to understand simple commands such as “heel”; the change in behavior can be observed in addition to reflex problems like not being able to go up/down a flight of stairs
  • Shaking uncontrollably

Such uncontrolled behavior and actions is not to be reprimand. Instead, each specific symptom characterizes certain type of neurological disease, the onset of which was brought on by external factors such as a reaction to medication, injury, exposure to toxic materials, or hereditary issues.

Common Neurological Diseases

These include:

  • Seizures

The symptoms and the duration of the episode determine the type of seizure he’s experiencing. Brain tumor, liver disease, and toxic substances can cause it; seizures with no cause as such are called idiopathic. If your dog’s having frequent seizures, then it’s likely to be diagnosed and treated for epilepsy. If these epileptic instances are short, then it’s not lethal.

  • Degenerative Myleopathy

The spinal cord nerves start to get worse in this condition, thereby leading to a decline in nerve function. Your dog will not be comfortable performing even the normal routine tasks like defecation and running because it has started to lose function of the rear legs and gradually becoming paralyzed.

  • Dementia

If your dog is ten years or older, it won’t be uncommon to observe cognitive dysfunction, changes in its personality, confusion and sometimes blank stares at times. Several studies point to similarities between Canine Dementia and the Alzheimer’s so it’s possible that the chemical and physical changes that come with age cause it.

  • Others

Dogs having stroke (loss of balance and falling down), canine vestibular syndrome (eyes moving in weird patterns), canine wobblers’ syndrome (lack of coordination) and Myasthenia Gravis (muscle weakness because of disrupted communication between the nervous system and muscles) are some other examples of these disorders in dogs

Diagnosis and Treatment

Since a majority of symptoms are similar to different neurological diseases, it’s a fine line for the vet to make a clear and definite diagnosis and treat accordingly. Diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRI and ultrasound scans help determine it; some vet will even order urine and blood samples before prescribing medications. It’s better if you have videotaped your dog’s actions.

Remember, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for explanation of your dog’s actions and whether you’ve missed something in your observation; also if your dog’s being given some sort of supplements or formulas, do inform your doctor about it.

Has your dog exhibited any of these signs? How do you soothe him?

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