Our beloved pet companions can be affected by many types of neurological disorders. These may be congenital, genetic or acquired diseases and can affect pets of any age or breed. Our board-certified veterinary neurologist is here to work together, with you and your primary care veterinarian, to diagnose and treat neurologic problems your pet might experience. Our goal is to do all that we can to improve neurologic function so that your pet will experience the best quality of life possible.
Some of the more common indications of neurologic problems in pets may include:
- Weakness or paralysis affecting one or more limbs
- Changes in behavior or vision, seizures, disorientation, confusion, unexplained lethargy or dullness
- Loss of balance, incoordination, head tilt or nystagmus (rhythmic, involuntary eye movement)
- Tremors or other movement disorders
- Back, neck or head pain
- Weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles, difficulty or pain chewing, regurgitation, or changes in bark pitch or tone
- Focal or generalized muscle atrophy
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
If you feel that your pet has signs of a neurological problem, please notify your primary care veterinarian. They can determine whether a consultation with our veterinary neurologist is appropriate. Some neurologic conditions, such as a sudden onset of seizures, are emergencies. If you are not sure if your pet is experiencing an emergency, our emergency service is here to help give you guidance on whether you should bring your pet in on an urgent/ emergency basis, or whether (s)he can be seen on a routine appointment, with referral from your primary care veterinarian.
What is a board-certified neurologist?
A board certified neurologist has chosen to pursue additional training after veterinary school including an internship and residency in neurology. This training consists of a minimum of a 1-year internship, followed by a 3-year residency program that meets guidelines established by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). The specialist must also pass rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
Neurologists treat many conditions such as intervertebral disc disease, congenital or developmental malformations of the brain and/ or spinal cord, tumors of the central nervous system, vestibular disease, degenerative myelopathy, seizures, meningitis and traumatic brain or spinal injury.
What to expect at your first visit:
When you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a new patient form if you have not already submitted one through our website. Following this, a veterinary nurse will escort you and your pet to an examination room to obtain a history. The nurse will then take your pet to be examined by Dr. Miles in an area that will provide adequate room for evaluation of gait, mobility and coordination. The neurological exam is non-painful and non-invasive and involves testing vision, observing behavior and awareness, looking for indicators of neck or back pain, checking spinal reflexes, evaluating nerve function to the face and looking for evidence of weakness or incoordination in the gait. Dr. Miles will go over these findings with you and may even repeat portions of the exam in the room, to go over abnormalities.
After the findings of the neurological examination is discussed, we will discuss the possible causes for your pet’s clinical signs, as well as potential action plans for diagnostics and therapy, along with associated costs. During this time, please feel free to ask questions about your pet’s condition or other concerns you may have. You are an integral part of the decision making process. Some of the diagnostics that may be recommended may include advanced imaging (CT or MRI), spinal fluid collection and analysis, x-rays, blood tests, etc. Our goal is to provide the individualized care for your pet, and respect your wishes and goals.
Expect this initial consultation to take 45 to 60 minutes. Because many of our diagnostics require anesthesia, they may be scheduled on a different day than the initial appointment, or we may ask you to leave your pet for the rest of the day depending on the tests that may be needed. After diagnostics are completed, we will discuss the results in detail, and provide treatment options. You will receive a summary of your visit (including diagnostic results and interpretation, if performed) along with discharge instructions within 24-48 hours of your consultation.